Bible Ballistics: Christmas Fortnight-Really?? Vol. 5 #05
We have been talking about Christmas. There is a lot of debate going around about Christmas—is it good? Is it bad? Is it worthwhile or vain? While those are good questions, I’ll only deal with my perspective of these things and how we are often perceived.
I must say that there are valid historical issues that many wrestle with concerning Christmas, and I do understand that there is cause for consideration. The thing that I would like to deal with is what are we celebrating? I would like to tell you what I celebrate—I celebrate Jesus. When I celebrate Christmas, it is because I love Jesus and I celebrate HIM everyday of the year. Every day that I draw breath, I thank and praise God for sending HIS own son to be made flesh that He might live in a body of flesh and “DIE” for me, and all who will believe.
I’ve read the articles, I’ve checked the historical data and while I understand and comprehend the issues, I take issue with the accusations and attitudes that seem to fly at this time of year. Paul tells us that idols are not of any significance and we who know God, know that HE is the only true God. Jesus gives us the highest order of things.
Matthey 22:35-40, “Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
I love God!! My mother and father loved God and lived godly lives in front of my siblings and me. I don’t remember a Christmas that we didn’t know that Jesus was the object of our worship. I knew from the time that I was a small child that Jesus wasn’t born on “December 25”, but we ‘celebrated’ His incarnation on that day. Our season was full of giving to others as well as to one another. Just as I knew from the time I was in grade school that there were not ‘3’ days and nights between Friday and Sunday of Jesus death and resurrection. Why? Because I was taught to reason and focus on Jesus not the ‘peripherals’. It was a time when love, laughter and generosity ruled in our home. Where we were taught that all the decorations, tinsel and lights were not the issue but Jesus was the issue. I treasure those memories and I didn’t then, nor do I now worship an idol—I worship Jesus. I praise God that HE came and took on flesh for me. I can enjoy the beauty of God’s creation and see His glory in things that the world has tried to pervert. I don’t have to pervert them, or reject them when I can see God and glorify HIM in His creation.
While I will continue to focus on Jesus, and call others to do the same, I believe we are to respond to one another in love. We may have differences of perspective on God’s Word and it’s meaning, but we are to extend love and respect to one another. We don’t have to beat one another up over our differences. Jesus Himself said that the evidence to the world that we are HIS isn’t in our doctrine-as important as that is–; nor is it in our hierarchy, our polity or our viewpoints!!! Jesus said in John 13:34-35:
“A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another; as I have loved you, that ye also love one another. 35 By this shall all men know that ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another.”
We are to love one another as Christ Jesus loved us. Perfect ‘agape’ love is what we are to display to one another and to the world. Love that does what is best for the recipient, not the giver!!! God’s love cost the life of HIS son to pay for my sin. I am to love you, and all those who belong to the Master (as well as the lost world) with love that does what is best for you, not me. I am to obey God and share HIS truth as I understand it and have opportunity to share it, remembering where I was when God reached down to and for me!!!
Romans 5:6-11 says, “For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. 7 For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. 8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. 10 For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. 11 And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement.”
Christ died for lost mankind—including me. How about you? When we were ‘without strength’—‘Christ died for’ us– each one of us. We were sinners, (and are sinners, just saved sinners now—we all fall short every day), and Jesus died for sinners. But He didn’t just die for me/us to be ‘saved from wrath through Him’, but also for us to be ‘justified’ (made right in standing with God), saved from wrath, and reconciled to God, because sin had made us enemies with God. Jesus saved and saves us by His life, and the Holy Spirit then works within us (see verse 5 of Romans 5). Therefore we can “joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ” who purchased our ‘atonement’ (the payment for our wrong/sin), and we can ‘re’joice every day because as 2 Corinthians 5:21 says,
“For he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.”
Christ’s death at Calvary takes our sin, and His blood imparts HIS righteousness to our account, when we are ‘born again’. Because the ‘blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin’—delivers and cleanses us from our sin!!! (See 1 John 1:7, 9).
That’s what ‘Christmas’ is to me!!! Jesus come in the flesh to pay for my sin.
Hebrews 2:14-17, “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 15 And deliver them who through fear of death were all their lifetime subject to bondage. 16 For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. 17 Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people.” All people!!!
And dear ones, I celebrate that incarnation every day of the year and during December I love to take opportunities that God provides to share the Good News of what Jesus did, with those who are often more open to HIS salvation during this season than perhaps any other time of the year. Whatever you do with the “Christmas” issue I hope that we will each extend love and respect to those with different viewpoints than our own. May the “love of God” be seen in us despite our differences? As Paul reminds us,
Colossians 3:8-17, “But now ye also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. 9 Lie not one to another, seeing that ye have put off the old man with his deeds; 10 And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: 11 Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. 12 Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; 13 Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do ye. 14 And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness. 15 And let the peace of God rule in your hearts, to the which also ye are called in one body; and be ye thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord. 17 And whatsoever ye do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God and the Father by him.”
So what am I saying? I’m saying we are to love one another, as Christ loved us. When we were weak, lost and sinful Jesus loved us and saved us. We are to love others that are perhaps weak in their faith; to forgive those who are arrogant in their faith; to speak the truth in love to all in the faith, and even more so to those on the outside, who need the gospel of Salvation in Jesus our Lord. Remember:
Romans 14:3-5, “Let not him that eateth despise him that eateth not; and let not him which eateth not judge him that eateth: for God hath received him. 4 Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant? to his own master he standeth or falleth. Yea, he shall be holden up: for God is able to make him stand. 5 One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind.”
As Paul tells us in Ephesians 4, we are one body in Christ Jesus, and God is growing us to maturity in HIM. Let’s rejoice in Jesus always.
Ephesians 4:15, “But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:”
My prayer is that with Paul I can say, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” 1 Corinthians 1:2 Only one message—only one way!!!
I desire to have integrity toward my God, His Word and His glory. May we share in love and not contempt, whether we celebrate “Christmas” or not. Whether we have this persuasion or another, may we let others see the love of God in all that we say and do, not belittling or being spiteful, but with kindness and love, sharing Jesus. I’ll close with Jesus’ own words:
John 10:10, “The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly.”
I find it interesting that Jesus says He came that we might have “life…..more abundantly”!!! He said that He gave His life that we might have ‘life’ not ‘right’!!! Are you standing in ‘love’ or your view of ‘correctness? It’s your choice. We are to “study” to be approved to God, but never without love!!!