Archive for October, 2010

The Original Sin

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , on October 8, 2010 by Xrystiann

 

Advertisements

Jesus Christ Or Santa Claus

Posted in Religion with tags , , , , , , , on October 1, 2010 by Xrystiann

We are now in the Holiday season. A time of year when we look forward to celebrating the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Recently, we thanked God for past and present blessings during our national Thanksgiving holiday. And now we look forward with great anticipation, to December 25th, Christmas day. We prepare for festive celebration and rejoicing: families gather, gifts are purchased, and food prepared.

It is interesting to note that we are a nation that loves to celebrate. We enjoy setting aside a day, an hour, or a week to enjoy some specific occurrence or occasion. This is not, however, a recent tradition for mankind. Pagan history is filled with festive celebrations from the appeasement of gods, to fertility, to the increase of crops.

It was commanded by God that the Jews stop to recognize and remember how Jehovah/God brought them safely out of slavery and bondage into freedom and peace. And it was during the Passover (holiday), when the Jews were required to return to Jerusalem, the center of national worship, and remember what a mighty God they served. Consequently, we find it proper and in order to point to the coming of our Lord and Savior.

Our calender is replete with celebrating days for various events and individuals. Easter, Labor Day, New Year’s, Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Grandparent’s Day, Memorial Day, Martin Luther King Day, Christmas, are just s few. Name the occasion and somewhere on planet earth its being celebrated. Yes, we are a people that loves to celebrate.

Accordingly, it will serve us well to stop and ask ourselves, why are we celebrating? Why are we so jubilant? Why dine together? Why do we festivally fellowship, and socialize, with friends, relatives, and neighbors? Why the trees and trimming?—the tinsel and glitter. Why all the city decorations, firework stands, glowing lights, children being photographed with a man in a red suit? Why all the shopping and cluttered malls and freeways? One may simply say, “it’s Christmas Time… Don’t you see the Santa Claus, his reindeer’s, the toys and the Christmas Trees? It’s Christmas Time. Yes its Christmas Time.” That’s what the celebration is all about….Or is it? Is all the rejoicing for Jesus Christ, a light to lighten the Gentiles or is it for Santa Claus? What is all the festive celebrating really about? Is it for the Savior or Santa? Are we as anxious about the annual celebration of the birth Jesus Christ as we are about the arrival of Saint Nick?

Let’s turn our attention to the gospel according to St. Luke 1:26-33 and here we will discover exactly where the spotlight of this season should fall:

“And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the Angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee; blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her Fear not, Mary: for thou has found favor with God, and, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.”

Jesus Christ or Santa Claus? It has become more difficult to determine whether the Christ child is at the center of Christmas or Santa Claus. A primary reason is because the spirit of this season, as promoted by the world has become one gigantic commercial venture. We have gone from a season of joy and grace to a season of greed. The spotlight, if not far removed, has been precariously dimmed on the Christ child born in a manger. However, chubby little man in a red suit with a bag full of goodies is bathed in radiant beams and proudly displayed. The world has cleverly managed to turned the hearts of many Christians away from “the word that became flesh and dwelt among us,” St. John 1:14.

The most anticipated aspect of the Christmas holiday season is the receiving and giving of gifts. Hence, the commercialization of Christmas world wide. There is nothing wrong with sharing gifts, sharing is a blessed act. But we should not make sharing gifts the central focus in our christian Christmas experience. Giving, in every way, must be a daily event not a contrived, once a year, special occasion act. Giving should be a daily experience, not a seasonal one.

Surely, all of our hearts pound with excitement and expectation just thinking about the Video games, Furby’s, Barbie dolls, Nintendo 64’s, the Playstation, the jewelry, and the furs. The little kid in all of us should be exuberantly charged looking forward to our gifts; but the receiving of gifts should not be the main focus.

Our paramount act during this holiday should be that of praise and thanksgiving for what God has provided the world. He has given us a sacrificial lamb. His only begotten Son and in Him we have the most expensive and most precious gift from God to man, “ For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in him should not perish , but have everlasting life,” St. John 3:16. It is the Christ child that brings prominence to this holiday season and makes it a Merry Christmas not the ho! ho! ho! of Santa Claus.

A shopping bag I received from a gift shop read, “Jesus is the Reason for the Season.” Most would wholeheartedly agree that Jesus is the reason for this holiday season, and not Santa Claus. But as we observe an abundance of “greed and lust” that permeate this holiday season, we are no longer “beholding his glory, the glory of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth,” St. John 1:14. Many are concerned with worldly things and not the “holy thing” conceived by Mary, St. Luke 1:35.

I wonder would God be pleased with our Christmas hassles or with our Christ like hope. Think about it. Would God be pleased with the financial debt most of us accumulate during this season? Would He be pleased with our seasonal giving? Would God be pleased with our “shop till we drop” attitudes? Or would He be more excited about our sacrifice and faithfulness. I wonder would God prefer our wrapped gifts with pretty bows or would He be delighted to have our body, spirit, and soul. We must be careful not replace Jesus Christ with Santa Claus and the ungodly spirit of this season. Surely, our Lord would not be pleased.

We must keep the Christ child raise high above the glitz and the clamor of this holiday. We must lift Him above the toys, above noise, above the false hopes that often accompany this time of the year. We must lift Him up so that His entrance may be visible and undeniable. The world needs to see Jesus Christ not Santa Claus.

The angel Gabriel lifts up Mary’s yet to be born son. Gabriel announces that He will have no ordinary entrance for, “The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God,” v. 35. Mary’s yet to be born Son would have no ordinary life. “Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel,” St. Luke 2: 34. His name shall be called Jesus—the salvation of Jehovah: “For he shall save his people from their sins,” Matt. 1:21. Mary’s yet to be born Son’s death, burial, resurrection, and ascension would all prove to be extra ordinary.

Further Gabriel revealed that Mary’s yet to be born Son would be great: great in His love, great in His compassion, and great in His sacrifice. Jesus would live a great life. He would teach great parables. He would preach great sermons. He would heal with great power. He would be a great example. He would die a great death. He would be resurrected in great fashion. He would give the great commission. He would ascend to a great height. And He would rule universally and forever with great authority.

Jesus Christ is the Son of Man and the Son of the Most High God. He is God’s beloved and only begotten Son; whom God declares, “I am well pleased.”

This holiday the choice is yours “Jesus Christ or Santa Claus.” Mary’s baby or Santa Claus. Son of the Most High God or Santa Claus.

Santa will fill your stocking,
But Jesus will fill your heart with
Love that never fails,
Peace that surpasseth all understanding
Joy, unspeakably joy.
Santa comes only once a year—Christmas Eve,
But Jesus says, “Lo I am with you always.”
“I will never leave you nor forsake you”
Santa is making a list and checking it twice,
But Jesus has our names written in the
Lamb’s Book of Life.
Santa brings gifts,
But Jesus brought the gift of eternal life.
Santa comes with his sled and reindeer,
But Jesus is coming back with a mighty army
To receive unto Himself, His bride, the Church
Jesus Christ or Santa Claus?

– Clarence Talley