Christmas is a day on which we celebrate a commitment from God, our Father, to a sinful, unrighteous people.
As John 3:17 says, “For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved” (NKJV).
God made a commitment on that very first Christmas to give us an opportunity to accept the gift of His Son, so that He might have fellowship some day with all His children. But it appears many of His children were likely to stray and lose out on this opportunity.
“For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
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Through Christ we have an opportunity to not only celebrate His birthday, but to reflect on and give gratitude for His coming and His birth. He carried our sins to the cross — certainly, His Father knew the suffering He would endure for us.
Christians started holding festivals around 165 A.D. to celebrate Christ’s birth and passion. The word, Christmas, comes from the 11th century “Christes Maesse,” meaning Christ’s Mass, a festival commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ.
The non-faithful people of this world can certainly call Christmas a holiday — it is true, it is a holiday — but there’s no escaping the origin of this celebration. It is the commemoration of the birth of Jesus Christ. It would seem fully appropriate that on this holiday a Christmas tree in Indiana would have a cross on the top of it, reminding us of our risen Lord. The season in which Jesus was born is the reason we celebrate.
For all of those who want to abolish Christmas, I thank you for continuing to celebrate the holiday that represents the birth of Jesus Christ. For those of you who are offended by the words “Merry Christmas,” I suggest that each time you say, “Happy Holidays,” you are reminding us of what the holiday is that we celebrate. And you are renewing the curiosity of others who want to know the inescapable answer.
Christ in Christmas
No measure of political correctness is ever going to remove Christ from Christmas. Oh, it can be tried via legal attempts in court. And I suppose one could try to legislate Christ — and, of course, the reason for the holiday — out of Christmas. But I would suggest such attempts will be about as successful as those by all the demons of the world for so many years.
I don’t have one Jewish friend who is offended by the words “Merry Christmas,” any more than I’m offended by “Happy Hanukkah.” These are not holidays that were made by men or Hallmark holidays. (Yes, these are holidays capitalized on by American commerce — for that matter, commerce around the world.) These are holidays that have been created by God Himself.
It would not be possible for Christmas to be hidden away in a dark corner of a room somewhere. God will continue to touch hearts to be curious about this holiday. This will be the time of year where we will continue to have more opportunities than ever to share the love of Christ with so many others.
Remembering His People
This will always be a time in which the weak and weaselly people of the world cower at the mere mention of someone being offended by a cross on a tree or a manger scene in a yard.
But make no mistake about it: God will not cower away from His people. He will continually give us an opportunity to accept the free gift that He offers every Christmas and every day of the year.
When we hear the greeting, “Happy Holidays,” maybe our response should be, “Thank you for the reminder. May you be blessed this Christmas.”
Dan Celia is president and CEO of Financial Issues Stewardship Ministries, Inc., and host of the nationally syndicated radio and television program “Financial Issues,” heard daily on more than 600 stations across the country and reaching millions of households on the National Religious Broadcasters Network, BizTV and Dove-TV.