Tuesday, 21 December 2010

The Wonders of Christmas

The Wonders of Christmas
(Part 1)

“Where is He Who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the east at its rising and have come to worship Him”(Matthew 2:2 AMP)

Hello and welcome to today’s Truth for the Journey (part 1 of 2). This part is mainly the introduction; in the second part we are going to look at the “Origins of Christmas vs. Blended Traditions” and what is really behind this festival that we all enjoy so much. Yet again Christmas is just around the corner and what a wonderful time of the year this can be! People are mostly upbeat, positive and friendly; everyone is looking forward to the “festivities” ahead!

Jenny and I love this time of year. With “pagan-trappings-aside,” Christmas can be a truly genuine family affair – which can only be good! Our children love the snow; 12 inches this year – for Italy that is really quite something! (In fact my wife and I actually spent our honey moon here in Tuscany almost 17 years ago, and in all that time we have never witnessed snow like this year!) On top of everything else about Christmas we can’t forget all the exceptional company that we share, the yummy delicacies that we taste and the happy conversations that we enjoy!

It’s also an opportunity to see folks that we haven’t seen all year round; close friends and extended family, as well as giving and receiving gifts! In the midst of all of this is all the other paraphernalia that goes along with Christmas: the decorations, the songs and all the special entertainment that’s available – it’s all so seemingly delightful! Nonetheless there is a vast difference between the Christ-motivated-and-Christ-centred-festivities that we are “meant” to enjoy and the commercialised-version-of-Christmas that we all get “propelled” into each year!

In our particular house-hold - I can honestly say that we have “never” celebrated “Santa” or “Saint Nicholas” with our children or our relatives - yet we certainly enjoy the family and the “gift-giving-gift-receiving” part of Christmas – it’s the best part! Although I might add; no one should wait to “stand-on-ceremony” or for “special-occasions” before they buy gifts for their loved ones! We should do it all year round and find fun ways of “randomly-expressing-our-love!” In fact that can be much more enjoyable at times; especially with children!

Actually I like to buy them all gifts when they least expect it. That way they learn that they don’t have to “earn” my love; rather I can shower them with love regardless! Even when funds are low, one can still find “inventive” and “ingenious” ways of blessing those special and closest to us – without waiting for special events like birthdays and such. We are free to love – all-year-round! Likewise we are free to show our reverence for Christ, His birth, death, burial and resurrection – all-year-round! And not just stand on ceremony – weddings, funerals, christenings and church-calendar-holidays! We must be free.

Going back to Santa however, we chose not to “mislead” or “misinform” our children [including the tooth fairy or Easter bunny!] Our children have always enjoyed Christmas and Easter without introducing all the paraphernalia that other children experience. Proof that Christmas can still be enjoyed without any of that. I believe that we can be transparent concerning the truth about Christmas (with its pagan origins) yet without spoiling the awesome opportunity that it presents for “evangelistic-witnessing.” A lack of wisdom results in extreme behaviour which is only ever misinterpreted as being negative. (Then again, balanced and faith filled behaviour can also be misinterpreted as negativism by certain people!) However my point is this; people in general tend to love holidays and being festive - BUT can they still see the Christ of Christmas or just the Christmas tree and all the other trimmings? Has He been “crowded” out altogether? I beg to suggest this is true.

Then in addition to this revelation, every Christmas we have another one, such as: "Oh-no-we've-over-spent-again!" The novelty of Christmas usually wears off between the last present opened and the final washing-up! In the midst of all this - Jesus has long been and principally replaced by “commercialism” and our “lust-for-things!” Especially in this hi-tech world of ours; the latest computer games, gadgets and gismos have simply taken-over-our-interest! These things are not bad in themselves. Who wants to be a kill-joy or party pooper? After all Christmas is the ultimate-excuse-to-party for most folks – even with church folks! (This includes college-parties, student’s-night-out, the annual-office-party or simple family-get-togethers).
Then the “anticlimax” arrives - January! All those fancy and expensive gifts that we indulged ourselves with are now “half-price” in the January-sales! What a come-down after such fun and now we have to go back to work (business-as-usual) in order to “pay” for it all – meaning that our major “festivity-hang-over” is none other than our own “debt!” (All this while more than half the world remains dismissed to dire poverty, while we squander the very money that would help them most. Consider that the money spent on fireworks alone would quite easily feed the many masses of hungry folks all over Africa!)

Having said all of this (we are all guilty of festive indulgence one way or another!) it is safe to assume that Christmas for most people has little, if anything to do with the birth of our Messiah and King. Yet for Christians specifically – there should be some depth of understanding where this holiday is concerned and what it is really all about.

QUESTION: does the average Christian understand the type of evolution that “Christmas” has radically undergone over the generations? What does all the paraphernalia that we so readily accept really “represent?” (The evergreen, the mistletoe and not forgetting Saint Nick) Most of us can acknowledge that much of what we accept as the true accessories of this holiday have actually “distorted” its original meaning. “Christmas” actually meant “Christ-Mass.” Knowing this then - is it wrong to ask, “Where is the Christ of CHRIST’S-MASS?”

Father thank You for the awesome opportunity that this major holiday represents for witnessing; help me to utilize this time well to witness to my family and close friends. Give me wisdom and understanding to walk out this holiday with reverent and Godly fear. My interests this Christmas exceed materialism – for “You” are my primary focus this holiday, along with those that You have placed on my heart, who need to be reached in some way. Use me this Christmas. Amen

Father You so greatly loved and dearly prized this world that You gave up Your only begotten (unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life. This is the true gift and prize of Christmas. Hallelujah! (John 3:16 AMP)


Motto: ‘God Chooses, then the Spirit Tests, but You Must Respond!’Copyright 2010 © Alan Pateman Ministries


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