Exactly what is Christmas all about? Is it just the trees, shopping, gifts, cards and eating or it is something more? This year as in several before there has been a lot of discussion over whether we should just say “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas.”
Luke 2:1-7, tells the story of Mary & Joseph on their way to Bethlehem. Mary, though a virgin, is expecting a child, and upon their arrival at the local Inn, they were told there was no room. Maybe this is typical of some of the Christmas celebrations today. There is a lot of activity, but little room for Jesus.
The Celebration of Christmas is ALL about Jesus. The first recorded celebration the birthday of Jesus was about AD98. In AD274 an emperor of the old Roman world chose December 25th as the birthday of the unconquered sun (S-U-N). He recognized that at this mid-winter date the sun reaches its lowest point in the Southern sky and gradually begins to move North again. (Today we call this the winter-solstice. It actually happens about December 22.) To celebrate this annual rebirth of nature, houses were decorated with greenery and candles; and presents were given to children and the poor.
By AD 336, the church had decided that all believers should celebrate the birthday of the Lord Jesus, the unconquered Son (S-O-N), the Son of righteousness, on December 25th, since the actual date was unknown, and the church adopted many of the decorating traditions of that day. To this the Germans added Christmas trees; the Italians added Nativity scenes; the Dutch added Santa Claus or “Saint” Claus (who was bishop of Asia minor in the 4th century). Colonial Americans added chimney stockings; current day Americans added Black Friday, Small Business Saturday and Cyber Monday and the ACLU adds confusion. Are you surprised to know that Santa Claus was/is a Christian!
Here’s the question: Is there any room in your celebration for Jesus or has he been crowded out by: Parties, parades, pictures, poinsettias, and presents?
Over forty percent of annual retail receipts are made up from Christmas shopping. Americans send 4 billion greeting cards by U.S. mail and an untold number by email.
In 1644 the English Parliament passed strict laws making it illegal to commemorate the Christmas season in any way. Christmas celebrations had become so depraved and rowdy that the meaning of Christmas had been completely lost in an abundance of partying, drunkenness and rioting. Decent people found it necessary to stay indoors for safety.
No matter how hard you try you can never crowd Jesus out of Christmas. Call it a holiday… but holiday is just the compound contraction that means Holy Day. Call it Christmas…. and know the “Christ” is Jesus and “mas” means worship. So every time we say Christmas we are saying “worship Christ!” Call it Xmas…. X is the Greek letter chi, a frequent abbreviation for Christ. So every time we call it Xmas we are still crying out CHRIST-MAS.
Focus on Giving… see the Wisemen; Focus on singing… hear the angels; In the Candy Cane’s shape of the we see the shepherd’s staff; In its color… salvation; In the three strips…the Holy Trinity; In the taste we remember…that the Lord is good.
In the lights…see His star; In the color green…see that he offers eternal life; In the white see His purity; In the purple see His royalty; In the gold… see His riches; In the red..see His blood; In the gifts… His generosity; In the Christmas tree… we see Him on Calvary’s tree. Christmas is ALL about celebrating Jesus and God’s love for us.