After seventy two years on planet earth I still am asked the question, “How do you explain the meaning of Christmas?” I think the greatest explanation is found in John 3:16, “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.” Brothers and sisters there isn’t anyone who can outdo what God has done. There isn’t a greater gift known to mankind that one can think of or imagine that can compare with the Gift that God has already given us.
Christmas is many things to many people. To some it is the physical things of this world. It is a time of “black Friday” and shopping till you drop. It is a time of “ringing up” credit card debt while forgetting that those bills will be due soon enough. For others it is a time of parties that include drinking and carousing. Still for others it is a time of traveling and entertaining guests. There are some who are into fun, food, and frolic without any thought of God or His Son. They are in love with Santa, Rudolph, and Frosty instead of the Creator of the universe. In spite of all the earthly wisdom that clouds our world I want you to take a few minutes and concentrate on the true meaning of Christmas with me.
What does the message of Christmas mean?
1. To the child of God Christmas is a time of remembering. We remember the baby in a manger given for the salvation of the world. Oh what a night when that once in human history child was born; never to be repeated. We remember His birth, life, miracles, death, and resurrection. These are all life changing events that cannot be altered by time or space. These attributes are reflected in Joseph, Mary, Zacharias, Elizabeth, Anna, Simeon, the shepherds and a cast of millions throughout history; which includes you and me.
2. It means a time of loving and thinking about our position in the life and work of the Kingdom. Even those that are outside of Christ make a greater effort to be more gentile, kind and loving. It seems that people examine their lives and seek to be more considerate of others and more generous during the Christmas season. They get involved in caroling, toys for the needy, fruit baskets, visiting shut-ins and meals for those who are needy. You see love cannot look with indifference on the hungry, sick, and lonely; love must give and that is just what our Father did on that long ago starry, starry night to every living creature.
3. It means that it is a time of forgiving. I see families fractured by ignorant petty grievances that cause “loved ones” to separate and cease to even speak to each other. Some don’t even know why they are upset and yet they refuse to forgive. They remind me of my Sicilian Uncle Giuseppe; every time someone would mention my Uncle Dominic Uncle Giuseppe would holler, “Hesa bum a no good bum I’ma nota gonna forget what hesa done and I’ma gonna get him back if it is the lasta thing I ever do!” I asked my father one time what Uncle Dominic had done to Uncle Giuseppe and all he would say was “Go ask your Uncle Giuseppe.” So I asked him what Uncle Dominic did to him and this is what he said, “Hesa bum a no good bum I’ma don’ta remember whata he done but I’ma never gonna forget and I’ma gonna get him back if it is the lasta thing I ever do!”
Truth be known; many of us are like my Uncle Giuseppe we are mad at someone and don’t even remember the
circumstances or the nature of our complaint. Today may be your day to forgive; after all God was willing to show mercy to you and me and forgive us. So today let us all have a “grudge sale”. Let us dump all that unforgiveness in the trash compactor and start living the life that God has called us to live! Let us be renewed in compassion, forgiveness, and love for others as we serve the risen Savior.
4. It means that Christmas is a time of change. The Christ of Christmas changes us if we submit to Him and the Father. Because of Christ we can become new. Those who have become new through the water and the Spirit have new aspirations and goals that set us off in a new direction with an upward look and a positive outlook on our life in the here and now and in the future as we walk by faith toward our eternal home with the Lord in heaven. The truth is; the Christ of Christmas changes people for the better. And because of that change we rejoice in His unmerited grace, mercy and forgiveness.
So today my friend show the true Christmas spirit and make a difference in someone else’s life; pay it forward and your reward will be the words uttered by the King of kings and the Lord of lords at the end of time when He says, “Well done thou good and faithful servant: thou hast been faithful over a few things, I will make thee ruler over many things: enter thou into the joy of thy lord.”
So to all that read my column today; I will not wish you Happy Holidays, but I will wish you a very Merry Christmas!