Article of the Month

 

December 2007

Christmas

 

Christmas and Easter are the two major religious holidays of liturgical churches. Christmas, obviously, has become the single largest celebration—now extending beyond its liturgical beginnings to a frantic, commercialized super-holiday (celebrated by many with little or no Christian connections).

In this brief Article of the Month, we want to go to the simplicity of the season and its significance in the framework of God’s plan for us.

There are dry facts about Christmas.  We will mention them hurriedly because they are not our focus:

 

1.               Biblically, it is relatively easy to establish that Jesus’ birth was in the vicinity of early October, not December 25th

Thus, late December probably was the time that Gabriel announced to Mary that she would have Jesus. 

(Luke 1:26-31)

 

2.     The greatly celebrated pagan holiday, The Saturnalia, was in late December in the Roman Empire.  It is likely that the growing apostate church utilized that popular date as an exciting season to celebrate and emphasize Jesus’ birth.

“Christmas” comes from “Christ’s Mass” and, thus, was not likely so called before the establishment of “the Mass,” sometime about the Fourth Century.

3.     The celebration of Jesus’ birth is not a Scripturally- designated obligation for Christians.  However, it is an important event, and it clearly brought the rejoicing and singing of angels at its occurrence.  (Luke 2:-15)  If angels sang, so can we!  If kings brought gifts to the newborn king, it is not inappropriate if we, in the same spirit, exchange little remembrances to express the joy of the significance of the event.

THE MEANING OF THE EVENT

Jesus was born to die.  He came to be a purchaser of the forfeited life rights of Adam.  (Luke 2:35; Galatians 4:4,5; Hebrews 2:9; I Corinthians 15:21, 22)  Thus, in the plan of things, Jesus’ death was immeasurably more important than his birth.  In harmony with this, he does instruct his disciples to memorialize (or celebrate) his death.  (I Corinthians 11:24-26)  However, he never could have offered his humanity unless he had first been born—the exact perfect human equivalent of Adam.  (Hebrews 2:6, 7 compared to Hebrews 2:9.)

The angels emphasized the ultimate object and importance of this special birth:

Luke 2:10 The event launched “tidings of GREAT JOY.”

 

Luke 2:10  This GREAT JOY would eventually belong “TO ALL PEOPLE.”

Luke 2:11  Jesus was come TO SAVE the world.

Luke 2:14  This birth was to eventuate in the true glorification of God.

Luke 2:14  It will eventuate in PEACE ON EARTH!

 

The prophets had earlier predicted the same great events.  Isaiah, for example, detailed:

2:2, 3        God’s Kingdom would eventually rule with righteousness.

2:4            War and its weapons will become extinct.

9:6            Jesus will take over the government of the world.

9:7            Eternal peace and order will result.

11:3          Perfect judgment and righteousness will prevail.

11:6-9       Ecological balance and harmony will result.    

                Ignorance will be a thing of the past.

The testimonies from Isaiah and all the other prophets go on and on and on.  The birth of Jesus was the birth of the finest hopes of all mankind—believer and (current) unbeliever alike. (I Timothy 4:10)

With these elegant and simple truths and hopes, we wish you a joyous season of contemplation of the life and joy awaiting the earth resulting from the birth, life, and death of Jesus, our Lord.