Message for December 21, 2014 from Pastor Jerry

And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” Luke 2:7

        We are in the Holiday season and most people in “our” society are at least having thoughts about Christmas.  There are many different opinions regarding this holiday season.  Some people are excited about giving gifts and family gatherings.  Food, fun, and fellowship are the expectations of many.  There are also many who event.  Then there is that small percentage of people who want the holiday celebration but without the mention of  the Christ.

        Take away Jesus but leave the celebration intact and let there be fun for all.  Without Jesus there is no reason to keep the holiday.  There is no meaning left in the holiday event if He is removed.  It is true that “Jesus is the reason for the season” in our modern course of thinking.

        There is no Biblical evidence regarding the exact time of Jesus’ birth.  At least three church scholars tried to calculate the exact day Jesus was born.  The exact year is still debated but it was definitely not AD 1.  The three scholars mentioned arrived at different days.  The birth dates were March 28, November 18, and September 11 and none have been proved to be correct.

        Church authorities in the fourth century knew that Jesus was not born on December 25, but it was declared to be that day in order to incorporate it in a major pagan holiday, Saturnalia.  Saturnalia is an extremely immoral celebration from December 17 thru December 25.  In order to get the attention of celebrants the church leaders proclaimed December 25 as Jesus’ birthday.  This in effect linked the pagan holiday with Christianity and enticed pagans to convert to Christianity without changing their pagan practices.

        The celebration of Christmas was so in question that it was made illegal by the Puritans from 1659 to 1681.  Most Christians then and now continued to celebrate the holiday.  The question is not so much about keeping Christ in Christmas but rather keeping Christ in our hearts.  If Christmas was outlawed, how much would things change?  The only group of people to ever outlaw Christmas was Christians recognize that this holiday is formed around the birth of Jesus, and Christmas is a celebration of that (The Puritans).  This is historical information, and we must decide where we stand.  What is important and what is not?

        I celebrate Christmas and enjoy the season but my relationship with Jesus does not rest in Christmas observance.  Christmas or no Christmas my spiritual relationship with God won’t change.  This Holiday has always combined Christian and pagan and I guess that will never change.  But I must be aware, “What motivates me and why?”

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