Wednesday, December 24, 2008

True Meaning of Christmas

Many of us who are Christians realized that we live in a fallen world, and that much of what is around us is pagan, or of pagan origin. The word “Christmas” translates to “Mass Of Christ”. The word "Christmas" comes from 4th century AD Roman Catholicism. The “mas” of Christmas comes from the Mass, or Eucharistic service of western Catholicism. The early church chose this date to point to the Christ's birth represented over the pagan traditions of the Roman empire. Early Christians wanted to replace pagan holidays by Christianizing the festivals of December. In other words, the church was not endorsing a pagan ceremony but establishing a rival celebration. Biblically, “Christmas” does not exist. There is no account of Christians gathering to celebrate the birth of Christ to be found anywhere in the New Testament. In the 17th and 18th centuries, under the influence of the Protestant Reformation, Christmas feasts assumed more modest proportions.

What is the Christian's responsibility in a pagan society? We must be careful not to incorporate pagan customs into the worship of our God. The story of Jesus is generally familiar to anybody who knows anything about Christianity and many people who know very little about Christianity. Christmas has become so confused with paganism. We hear a lot of talk about the spirit of Christmas and the spirit of love. What Christmas is about is God loving us sinners. Christmas is, of all things, the event that focuses on divine redemption. Christmas is not about people to people, it is about God to people, showing His love and forgiveness through Christ. "Is my spiritual life superficial or real?" I will not understand my spiritual character deeply unless I subject myself to the spiritual discipline of the Holy Spirit and have a wonderful relationship with God who I know.

Love that God gives to a friend is one of the greatest blessings on earth. Friendship eliminates half of our troubles and doubles our joys. A real friend is scarce and rare. My perspective from what I am reading from the Scriptures, that if we desire honor and glory from God, we must display humility first. Many Christians desire spiritual excellence because they see Christ's image in the Bible, but they fail to have the daily discipline required to produce that excellence. If its hard to forgive, then it is hard to love another because LOVE forgives. Love hopes all things (1 Corinth 13). Love refuses to take human failure as final. With Christ in me, my human failures are never final. Love never keeps a record of wrongs. Love forgives and love is unable to think about them anymore. Forget the past and move on. Focus on the future as I focus on Christ at the same time. Romans 4:8 (also Psalms 32:2) "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him". If I am not amicable and being cold, then I am not behaving like Christ who is ALWAYS amicable and inviting.

Merry Christmas everyone.

2 comments:

LISA EMRICH said...

Merry Christmas to you Jim.

This verse stood out to me today - "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him"

I've not read that one in a long time. Thank you.

Merelyme said...

Amicable and inviting...very wise words. You are absolutely these things and then some.

Wanted to apologize for not coming to visit as often as I would like. Your writing is so inspiring and I miss out when I don't get a chance to read you.

I hope you have a very joyous holiday. Thank you for your friendship.