Merry Christmas? Are you kidding?


There isn't much that can be said about Christmas that hasn't already been examined, dissected, analyzed, theorized, dramatized, and categorized.
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We've been told that it was essentially a pagan holiday, taken over by the Christians, and therefore should NOT be celebrated as a religious holiday.
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Then we're told that the pagans are trying to take Christ out of Christmas and it is therefore becoming a secular holiday and we should take a stand.
Then someone dropped Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, and the Winter Solstice on top of that and it all gets a bit confusing.
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So--other than the opportunity to receive gifts and to stress out over buying them--what's the big deal about Christmas? What's God's opinion about it all?
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I don't pretend to speak for the Lord; however, all we have to do is take a long look at what He has said for himself and His opinion becomes pretty clear.
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The Christmas story itself reveals a painful truth--people haven't changed much. Herod's response to the news of a Messiah was to do whatever he could to erase it: Kill it, stamp it out, cover it up, pretend it never happened and everything will be fine.
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America has revived and perfected Herod's response to such an extent that the new generation has no concept of their value as human beings created in the image of God. Get God out of public life, out of our schools, out of our government, and everything will be fine.
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The juvenile crime and suicide rates show us how well that theory is working.
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God sent the first telegram to the stinky, lowlife sheep guys sleeping out on the ground. They had no problem with the news at all and accepted it for the gift it was. But what about all the townspeople they told? Scripture mentions that they spread the news far and wide. So where was everybody else? I'm sure a few of the curious wandered over to have a look, but what about the masses?
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They had the same response most Americans have: indifference. "Sure buddy, angels. Right. Whatever. We've heard versions of this story a hundred times. Yeah, if it was true, why would God tell you first, huh?"
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So why did God do it that way? Why not send His Son in a blast of fanfare, wait until the year 2000, and have it televised by satellite worldwide? Surely everyone would believe it then. Isn't that the point? To save the world? Wouldn't that have been a better idea? Easier on everyone?
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Maybe that's the point. Maybe it's supposed to be hard. Jesus came to a life of hardship, poverty, and cruel death. Salvation of mankind was hard. It started that way and it ended that way.
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As many have rightly stated, "Freedom isn't free." And salvation isn't free. It cost God everything He had. Too many times we make it sound as easy as buying a time-share: "Just pray the prayer, sign on the line, shake the preacher's hand, tithe once in a while, and you're in!"
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That wasn't God's idea and it's grossly inadequate. Christmas was about a choice to send the very best as a gift to the very worst. But God expects something in return: faith that is willing to give Him everything you have.
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It took a lot of faith for a teenage virgin to believe she was going to be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah. It took faith for Joseph to go along with it. Faith brought those shepherds down out of the hills to be the first visitors. And God wants faith to lead each heart to that manger.
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Christmas is personal. It's individual. It's about a Savior coming for you, and it doesn't really matter whether you light a thousand candles, go to Christmas mass, or set up the biggest lighted creche in the state. All that matters is what happens in your heart the other eleven months of the year. You can celebrate Christmas every day of the year once you've personally met that baby in the manger. Only then can you honestly say, "Merry Christmas."
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And so from one unworthy shepherd to another, I wish each of you, my blog friends, a very special Christmas as you celebrate this most precious of all gifts. Have a very blessed Christmas.
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1 comment:

Silly Susie said...

and a happy new year, snakes