Friday, December 18, 2020

Christmas 2020

 

Christmas!

            I recently had a discussion with a very well-meaning Christian friend at work, and she shared that she didn’t believe that Christians should celebrate Christmas either as a secular holiday or a religious holiday. Her argument was based on that fact of the pagan influence that has overtaken the holiday, and from a secular view it has become materialistic.  

            Started to think about her position, and yes I have always thought that the we have over secularized the meaning of Christmas, with Santa Claus, and the hustle of buying Christmas presents for everybody we know.  However, I wondered about the Holiday celebration as a Christian, have we in the church lost the “Reason for the Season” in this push to celebrate a Holiday.

As I have looked through the writings of the Early Church Fathers, (I’m open to being corrected) I don’t see much discussion on the celebration of Christ Birth, nor do I see much discussion on the celebration of Easter either.  The emphasis is around the facts, Christ was born in Bethlehem, to the Virgin Mary, Shepherds and Wise Men came to see him. It wasn’t until almost two hundred years after Christ birthday do we see the church having a celebration or feast to remember it, and it wasn’t until well into the 4th or 5th century do we see Christmas becoming part of the church calendar.

So, what does this tell me?

1.       The Early Church Father’s and the Christian Community as a whole emphasis was not on the Celebration, but on the Message.

 

2.       They had a very clear focus on the Message that a Savior was born in a manager without fanfare to save a lost and dying world.

 

3.       That my purpose today is to remember the Reason for the Season! Christ the King was born to give the greatest gift for me.

 

Please do not misunderstand me, I believe the church should celebrate the Birth of Christ and use every opportunity to share with the World that Christ came as a baby, lived a Sinless life, and died on the Cross for everyone’s sins, providing for all humanity the greatest gift of all. However, I believe the focus and emphasis must be on Christ and not the Celebration!

As I reflect on gifts, parties, celebrations, and yes even Christmas Eve services that I and others will be involved in this year either in person or by virtually, connecting. amid the most unusual Christmas season in modern history, with medical professionals, governors, and even pastors telling us to social distance, to have gifts mailed straight to the person, and don’t have a Christmas Eve or Christmas Day celebration in our own home.

This is the perfect time to slow down this Holiday Season and spend some time as the  First and Second Century church fathers and Christians would have done, simply reflecting on the Birth of Christ and the meaning for us personally.

Honestly, I plan to sit back in my comfortable chair and read the Christmas story from the Gospels and reflect on the Real Reason for this Season … Christ Loves Me!

My family and I pray that you have a Merry Christmas and that the New Year brings you great opportunities to serve HIM.

 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Looking forward to Christmas 2020!

           In the middle of all that is happening this year in our families, communities, churches, and nation I’m looking forward to Christmas more than ever.  This year has been a whirlwind of uncertainty, we have seen people in good health die from a virus that we still struggle to get a handle on, we have seen a contested election, to the economy taking a nose dive, to chaos in the streets,  governors and mayors acting like little dictators, to not being able to attend church on a regular bases or in some cases not at all due to the uncertainty, and being in many cases limited to watching our pastor preaching and teaching to us through social media platforms.  

          However, the reality in midst of all this is I’m looking forward to Christmas!

I believe there are three things Christmas, especially this year brings for me personally. 

          One, it brings the assurance that Christ is alive and well. Born in the manager over two thousand years ago, he a came to earth to assure me even in the midst of Pandemic, Chaos in the streets, or who sits in the White House he is keeping his promise to love me and provide for me.

          Even when anxiety for some is at an all-time high this time of the year, Christ loves me and has promised to walk through the events I am facing with me and giving me his peace and comfort if I’m willing to ask.

          Two, it brings me comfort in knowing how important family is.  We all understand that Christmas celebrations will be different this year. I believe that this Christmas will allow families to slow down and focus on the real Reason for the Season together. Yes, there will be presents exchanged, and dinner enjoyed, but it will be smaller for some and allow for a more personal time of reflection.

          Third, it will bring us all to a point of Personal Reflection!

          Everybody must answer the question who is this Child is to me? You can go through life acting as if you don’t care and that is your choice.  However, the reality is God cares, and God will hold us all accountable for the decisions we make. Over 2000 years ago God was willing to send the Greatest Christmas Gift to the human race to live a life that would 33 years later provide the greatest sacrifice at a place called Calvary. As we celebrate this baby over the Christmas remember that this child would later grow up to be the same man that gave his life on the cross for our sins.

          It is imperative that we understand that God only sent one gift entering heaven and that was this Baby Christ Jesus that we celebrate on Christmas.

          The shepherds came to see him, the wise men sought him, the King Herod (the government) tried to destroy him, and the world needed him.

          To all my family and friends around the world today, we have only two choices … to be like the shepherds and wise men and seek him, find him, and worship him or we can be like Herod and despise him, reject him, and suffer the consequence.

          Please take time this Christmas Season to reflect on the Bible’s account of the event’s that transpired 200o years ago and seek to know HIM and worship HIM in your personal life.

 

I would like to wish you a Merry Christmas!

I love you and praying that you and yours will be blessed beyond measure!

Reflecting on scripture!

            As I read this morning from Mark 2: 1 – 12; I felt a special sense of urgency.   I was reflecting on the types of people we en...