Pamela Christian – Monday, December 15, 2014
People of all faiths, and those who claim to have none, have adopted the traditions of Christmas. Christmas in America has been relegated to a family holiday centered around meaningless festivities, bountiful feasts and other self-indulgences. With reflection on the real-life benevolent known as St. Nicholas, gifts are given this particular time of year in an effort to express generosity and caring. With Christmas increasingly becoming a secular festival, anyone can partake of its self-gratifying excesses.
A search for Christmas images turns up hundreds of photos of Santa Claus, snowmen, Rudolph, elves, the Grinch and more. with only two images of the nativity, when scrolling down the samplings. Try it yourself to see. All these “symbols of Christmas” are designed to replace the true meaning of Christmas and in the process replace Christ.While some Christians bemoan the pagan origins of many of the Christian customs, as a Christian, I am more concerned with the digression of the pure awe and wonder that should characterize this holy day.
Glenn Packaim, an ordained Anglican Priest, wrote:
When I meet with people, I hear about the busyness of life, the chaos of managing schedules and expectations that come cascading in from all sides. There is a mournful nostalgia in their eyes and a wistfulness in their voice as they recall the moments of wonder that once graced their lives. The truth is, I know this feeling well because it’s not just in the people I meet with; it’s in my own heart. Where has the wonder gone? Have we forgotten how to stand in awe?
Even the word awesome has become commonplace in our language greatly minimizing the true meaning of what it is to truly be in awe. Think back: when was the last time you experienced overwhelming awe? Have we closed ourselves off from the wonders of our existence, preferring instead a world of our own making? Can anything that we create truly satisfy or is there an intrinsic desire to discover something or someone greater than ourselves?It is particularly interesting that we are living in a time where people are earnestly seeking self-actualization—the realization or fulfillment of one’s talents and potentialities, especially considered as a drive or need present in everyone. Additionally, people today are keenly intent on making a difference in this world—doing or being a part of something that betters life as we know it. I assert that the desired solutions can be found in the real Christmas.
Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus known as the Christ,
Without the birth of Christ—Christmas—humanity would have no hope whatsoever.As humans, while we can accomplish great fetes, we also demonstrate tremendous destruction. History is replete with evidence of atrocities brought on by humans through all time and history. A cycle we cannot escape in and of ourselves. Clearly there is no hope in our natural existence. There never has been. That is precisely why Christ came to this earth.
The advent of Christmas commemorates the occasion when God, who is triune in nature—three co-equal persons in One, God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit—sent God the Son to earth. God the Son who’s earthly-birth name was Jesus, was miraculously conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit in the womb of a virgin named Mary. He was therefore born both fully God and fully human. To fulfill his mission however, Jesus willingly laid down his deity—his power as God—to live entirely human. He was tempted by every evil known to man, yet he did not sin. That is, he did not cooperate with evil in any way. He preferred God and rejected evil. In his humanity, his relationship with God the Father was through prayerful communion and obedience. This gave him wisdom and insight and accessibility to the power of the Holy Spirit. In this way he overcame evil, fully operating in his humanity yet utterly dependent on God the Father. The life of Jesus is our example that we may do likewise.
Ultimately at his death by crucifixion, Jesus, who knew no sin, willingly bore the sins of the entire world to provide a way for anyone who desires to escape sin and be in relationship with God the Father. By believing in Jesus as the Christ, and receiving Him as personal Savior, anyone can be freed from the sin, evil and destruction of this life. By faith in Jesus, God offers not only salvation from the ravages of this world, but a new eternal existence—one that by following Jesus’ example establishes meaning, purpose and victory and hope we cannot otherwise have.
Our hope is in Christ! Oh, come let us adore him!
When was the last time you paused to marvel at the stars at night, the sunrise in the morning or a hummingbird in flight? Has there been anything that has captured your attention, allowing you to transcend yourself? Do you long to find meaning and purpose for your life and to make a difference in the lives of others?
If you will choose to believe in and receive Jesus as the Christ, who offers you salvation and a restored relationship with God the Father by the power of the Holy Spirit, you will be transformed—spiritually transformed. Your eternal spirit that is born to the sin of this world, will be reborn into a new creature in Christ—you will be transformed. You will discover your God-intended purpose and how to apply your God-given talents to make a difference in the world you live. This is why I previously wrote that the solutions for what people seek today can be found in Christmas. As Christ was born at Christmas, you can be reborn this Christmas. Truly the answers each of us seek are found in Christ. Oh, come let us adore him!
All of us at Pamela Christian Ministries pray that you and your family make a point of humbly celebrating a genuine Merry Christmas!