Skip to main content

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.

 

Popular posts from this blog

Suicide & The Pulpit

Reports have emerged that Pastor Bill Lenz who was founder and longtime senior pastor of Christ the Rock Community Church in Harrison, WI died Monday by committing Suicide.   Bill was a strong advocate within the Christian community for Suicide Prevention, and along with his brother created Life Promotions, that ministers and teaches folks about Suicide Prevention and how to recover from those thoughts. Reports that I have read have stated that Pastor Lenz reported suffering with Anxiety,   Panic Attacks, and Depression for about three months, and his staff and board responded by providing support and encouragement including giving him time to seek counseling and treatment.   However, the depression became overwhelming and on Monday, he chose to take his own life.    My prayers are with his family, friends, staff, and members of his church.   Having provided Suicide Prevention training to staff members at churches and other organizations I am not sure what could have been done dif

Eight Reminders That Will Revolutionize YOU in Your Ministry to Men

     Many of you have accepted the challenge of ministering to men, whether as a pastor, a men’s small group leader, or another position within the local church. However, before we can be an effective leader of men, we must have our own house in order. We must strengthen and develop our own personal relationship with Christ, and then minister to men where they are in their growth as a Christian. Please understand I don’t write this out of some sense “having arrived” in ministry. I only write out of personal experience and watching other great men of God as they lead their men’s ministry. I have found these reminders to be the very foundational in how we revolutionize ourselves as we minister to men.        Before we get into reminders, we must first understand why our ministry to men is so critical in the local church. When I started in ministry in the 1970’s, the normal thought was to build a successful bus ministry and the families will flock to your church, or develop a ministry to

God help me stand in your place today!

I was reading Proverbs 25: 6-7 today … what a powerful passage of scripture. When you read those words in Christian Standard Bible they jump off the page: "Don’t brag about yourself before the king, and don’t stand in the place of the great; 7 for it is better for him to say to you, "Come up here!   " than to demote you in plain view of a noble." I’m fearful that too many preachers are promoting themselves above the place that God has called them to be. I was taught humility as a young preacher and even today I still hold on to these truths. I always allow the minister where I’m preaching or teaching to give my title that will be used such as Reverend, Doctor, Pastor, Bishop or Minister. I always sit on the front row or with my wife if she is there until the pastor asks me to come to the platform. I always respect the position of authority over me (Pastor/Bishop). I’m a guest at his church and acknowledge their position, and never assume that I have s