Friday, December 16, 2016

Keeping Christ in Christmas

In December, we are celebrating the birth of Christ. However, Christians are celebrating more than Christmas; Why? Because Christmas has both spiritual and social connotations. Similarly, we do not celebrate Easter, we celebrate the resurrection of Christ. However, we see that society, the world out there, is always interfering and trying to redefine what Christians should believe and celebrate. In our society, today, the world has problems with the word Christmas. 

Why? Because they have a problem with the Christ is in Christmas. First, they changed Christmas to Xmas and now Christ is completely out and we now have “Season’s’ Greetings and “Happy Holidays” and the general greeting. Some people may say that “it makes no difference – Christmas or Xmas” But this matters to Christians. Christ is not an “X”. He is incomparable, indescribable, and immutable. Christ is God. There is no Christmas without Christ. 

What we must understand is that satan’s agenda is strategic and long term. His plan is to remove Christ from everything and he uses people to implement his aim. We must always nip every anti-Christ idea as soon as it appears and not let it slide. Why? Because false ideas will grow into monsters which will becomes more difficult to stop or expelled. Christians must be vigilant to ensure that our celebrations must be consistent with scriptures because we believe in the authority of the Bible. This requires that we know which traditions are inconsistent with Christmas.

2 Timothy 2:15 reminds us “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth”. 

Rightly dividing the scriptures and not giving traditions more authority helps us keep Christ in Christmas.
Christ is the reason for Christmas because his birth was prophesied 4,000 years before it occurred, he was born of a virgin, his deity and humanity was prophesied and he was recognized as a king at his birth. 

This first prophesy of Christ’s coming to restore the kingdom lost by Adam is in the Bible.

Genesis 3:15 And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” 

That Seed is Jesus. We know that women do not have a seed - the seed comes from the man and the egg from the woman. We know that the seed will not come from the man but from the Holy Spirit. 

Now per the medical profession, the mother's blood does not normally mix with the baby's blood during the pregnancy, unless there has been a medical invasive procedure (such as amniocentesis or chorionic villus sampling) or bleeding. During delivery, however, there is a good chance that some of the baby's blood cells may enter the mother's bloodstream. God’s design the human anatomy is just fantastic and this could never happen by evolution. Why is this important? Because humanity’s original parents Adam and Eve had the sin nature, (they were tempted by satan and disobeyed God in the Garden of Eden by eating the fruit of the tree of good and evil), which is passed on to all humans. 

It is important to understand the role of blood. The blood contains life. Both Adam and Eve had the sin nature and if Jesus was born of Joseph and Mary, then Jesus would also have the sin nature. Jesus had to be pure to die for the sins of humanity. Isn’t God great? The more you study the Bible the more you can find science and biology. Christ is the reason for Christmas.

Prophesy of the virgin birth found in:

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Why was Jesus born of a woman? God made Adam fully grown and He could have done the same. The reason is that Jesus can be completely identified with humanity and fulfill all prophecies.

Christ deity, humanity and kingship were prophesied in:

Isaiah 9: 6-7 For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.

A child is born identifies His humanity; A Son is given identifies His divinity, Titles emphasizes the Trinity (God the Father, God the Son and God the Holy Spirit)

We find the confirmation of the prophecies concerning the birth of Christ in the early chapters of the books of Matthew and Luke. These accounts of the birth and childhood of Jesus show us where some of our traditions do not line up with scriptures. We must be aware of them to keep Jesus in Christmas. When we look at Christmas cards, nativity scenes, even Christmas pageants, we will see whether they line up with scriptures. While the world may do what they want, we Christians must be consistent with the Bible because it is the foundation for truth. 

Matthew confirms that:
  • Mary was a virgin (Matt 1:18 - 21)
  • Wise men came from the East in recognition of the birth of a king. The Bible does not indicate how many wise men were in the group (Matt 2: 1)
  • The wise men were looking for a young child and not a babe (Matt 2:8-11, 16 - 18)
  • The wise men saw Jesus in the house and not in the manger (Matt 2:11)
  • The wise men gave three types of gifts – Gold (a symbol of royalty), Frankincense (a symbol of worship and sacrifice), and Myrrh (a symbol of embalming, bitterness, suffering, and affliction)

Luke confirms that:
  • Jesus was a real historical person in the time of Roman leader Caesar Augustus and Syrian governor Cyrenius (Luke 2: 1 - 2)
  • Jesus was the babe in a manger (Luke 2:12)
  • Shepherds came and saw the babe in the manger (Luke 2:16)

So, we know many things:
  • The birth of Jesus was prophesied in the first book of the Bible, Genesis 3
  • We know that all the prophecies made by the Old Testament prophets concerning the birth of Christ were fulfilled
  • We know that Jesus was born in a manger. We know shepherds and animals saw Jesus as a baby in the manger
  • We know that the wise men saw Jesus as a young child about 2 years old in a house. 
  • The shepherds and the wise men did not see each other.

So, when we have our Christmas cards, nativity scenes and pageants we must convey the truth. Santa and the reindeers were not in the manger but they have their place in the social aspect of the Christmas season. Some people will object that a Christian may use Santa in their Christmas decorations.
But consider all the  pagan things we use in everyday life – clothes made by pagans and unbelievers, food produced by unbelievers, Saturday is named after the pagan god Saturn etc. We know the truth and must put things in perspective. But the real reason for Christmas was, is and will always be Jesus Christ.

The real Christmas story is the event of God becoming a human being in the Person of Jesus Christ. Why would God do this thing? Because He loves us! Why was Christmas necessary? Because we needed a Savior! Why does God love us so much? Because He is love Himself (1 John 4:8). Why do we celebrate Christmas each year? Out of gratitude for what God did for us, we remember His birth by giving each other gifts, worshipping Him, and being especially conscious of the poor and less fortunate.

The true meaning of Christmas is God loved His own and provided the only Way for us to spend eternity with Him. He gave His only Son to take our punishment for our sins. He paid the price in full, and we are free from condemnation when we accept that gift of love.

"But God demonstrated His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8)