“What’s Christmas time… but a time for paying bills without money?” (Ebenezer Scrooge in A Christmas Carol)
The meaning of Christmas seems to have been conflicted for a long time now. Charles Dickens well captured the view of the materialists in Ebenezer Scrooge. Is Christmas primarily about stuff? Getting deeper in debt without financially advancing oneself? I am not sure if people’s understanding of the celebration is better, worse or the same today. Our friend Pastor Keith did a Meaning of Christmas Survey A.D. 2010. Surprisingly a fairly high percentage of those surveyed had an accurate understanding of the Christmas celebration. I say surprisingly because the Federal Government and a number of groups have worked hard to eliminate any proper visible or audible reminders of the reason for the season. If one judged based on the television, radio, print and Internet ads, Christmas was inaugurated to give the merchants an opportunity to get their retail establishments in the black for the year. Really, none of this is overly surprising. After all, human nature is not good but sinful and as such we often do most things for personal gratification or gain. We may even know why we ought to do or celebrate something, be able to intellectually explain it but somehow lose the real reason in our practice. Even though we are by nature evil, we still seem to be able to do good things, perhaps exhibit the Imago Dei (image of God) in our actions. I know some will read this and shake their heads in disagreement while asserting that they are good and/or, as I have heard so commonly expressed these days, especially by politicians, that we are all children of God. The problem is, the Politically Incorrect Jesus wouldn’t agree with them. In Matthew 7:11, while He was teaching He said to His listeners:
”If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give what is good to those who ask Him!”
Here He contrasts evil people with a good God. Even though we are evil, He says, we can and do give good gifts. But we give them to those who love us, our children. On the other hand God gives to those who don’t love Him. Some years ago we did a Journal article titled simply “The Gift”. Since you can read this on your own I won’t retell it here but I will say that the true meaning of Christmas is:
”But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law, so that He might redeem those who were under the Law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.” (Galatians 4:4-5)
Even though we were evil and were not children of God, He made provision through the gift of His Son that would enable us to be adopted as children of God. The birth of the Savior had the shadow of the cross looming large over it. He truly was born to die and He gave His life willingly for those who were in rejection of God. Like Paul, I say, “Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Corinthians 9:15)
May you receive His gift of salvation and have the best Christmas ever!