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Keep Christ

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#1 Rick Reed

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Posted 20 December 2010 - 06:51 AM

The Christmas season perplexes me. On one hand, I do love this time of year. I love the tree and the gifts, both giving and receiving. I love the family time. And I love many of the songs.
But I think as a religious holiday, it misses the boat. We see and hear, “Keep Christ in Christmas.” But I ask, was He ever in it?
And yet, Christmas is turned into the most “significant” religious holiday of the year in terms of efforts, time and energy.
Ironically, the Christmas season is the only time of the year that our local Christian radio station, Z-88.3 plays non-Christian music. Can you believe that? Have people even noticed? I turn on my car radio hoping to have a devotional mindset and I hear songs about Frosty the Snowman, Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer and Jolly Old St. Nick. There are plenty of other stations playing those selections. I might suggest the station changes its name to X-88.3 because they have effectually taken Christ out of Christian radio this season.
Children grow up with the belief of Santa Claus. Years ago, we decided we couldn’t perpetuate that lie. You can call it a myth if that makes you feel better, but really it’s lying to our children. And for what purpose?
Knowing the truth didn’t diminish the day for our children. They still loved it.
I did a brief search into the history of Christmas but after reading some of it I decided I really wasn’t interested in learning what it started out like before it morphed into what it has become.
If Christmas was important to the early Church, don’t you think they could have asked James, the brother of Jesus, when Jesus was born? And don’t you think the Bible would have noted it they celebrated it?
I looked at what the Bible says about Christmas. Christ’s birth is mentioned. But not His birthday. Of the four Gospels, Matthews tells us how it came to pass and about the wise men. But only Luke goes into any detail about the birth, and certainly in no way for us to ascertain what day it was.
Really, only four words were necessary.
John wrote, “The Word became flesh.”
That’s the true miracle of Christmas. The Incarnation, where God became man. That’s the oft neglected miracle of Christmas.
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth,” wrote John in the 14th verse of chapter 1.
My Study Bible describes it as, “The most amazing event in all of history: the eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, infinitely holy Son of God took on a human nature and lived among humanity as one who was both God and man at the same time, in one person.”
It’s too big, too lofty, too wonderful for me to wrap my feeble mind around it. But I must try. This is the miracle, not of Christmas, but all time.
I’m not sure if Christmas is worth saving. I don’t know if we even need to keep Christ in Christmas. Maybe we should just let it be the holiday season.
Christians have something so much better.
Let’s just simplify things.
Keep Christ.

#2 Marvin Harrell

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Posted 22 December 2010 - 04:38 PM

Good words Rick.

I, too, have struggled with the concept of Christmas and how it fits into the life of following Jesus. The tradition is wonderful, but often devoid of any true sense of the Christ Child in my day to day. I really like the topic title and final thought you have posted.

Let's just simplify things. Keep Christ.

How do we go "counter-culture" on this one? I find myself saying Merry Christmas at every chance, but it sometimes feels so impotent that I wonder why I try. Happy Holidays? Well, maybe you have a point, friend. Let's "keep the Christ" in and flowing from us, not in some consumer-driven shadow of what the celebration once was.
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#3 Rick Reed

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Posted 23 December 2010 - 04:00 AM

Thanks for the encouraging words and sharing my problem. I know we are not alone. It's kind of funny but I've also made point of saying Merry Christmas and not seasons greetings. It's kind of like saying, "Have a good day." There's no real meaning. I guess the best is saying it with our life, and that's the hard part for me.

#4 Diana Poling

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Posted 03 January 2011 - 08:42 AM

I agree with your sentiments. As I am packing away the decorations I have asked myself several times what they accomplished versus the time and money they've cost me. I recently did some research into what Tozer had to say on the subject of Christmas. Chapter 14 of The Warfare of the Spirit is titled "Christmas Reformation Long Overdue" and Chapter 22 of the same book is called "The Meaning of Christmas". They speak about many of the issues mentioned in your posts. Here is an excerpt from Ch. 14.

"In our mad materialism we have turned beauty into ashes, prostituted every normal emotion and made merchandise of the holiest gift the world ever knew. Christ came to bring peace and we celebrate His coming by making peace impossible for six weeks of each year. Not peace but tension, fatigue and irritation rule the Christmas season. He came to free us of debt and many respond by going deep into debt each year to buy enervating luxuries for people who do not appreciate them. He came to help the poor and we heap gifts upon those who do not need them. The simple token given out of love has been displaced by expensive presents given because we have been caught in a squeeze and don't know how to back out of it. Not the beauty of the Lord our God is found in such a situation, but the ugliness and deformity of human sin."

But I also enjoyed what he says in Chapter 22: "The Beauty of Christmas" in the book We Travel an Appointed Way. I shortened this, but found it encouraging.

"Though we are keenly aware of the abuses that have grown up around the holiday season, we are still not willing to surrender this ancient and loved Christmas Day to the enemy. Though those purer emotions which everyone feels at Christmas are in most hearts all too fleeting, yet it is something that a lost and fallen race should pay tribute, if only for a day, to those higher qualities of the mind—love and mercy and sacrifice and a life laid down for its enemies. While men are able to rise even temporarily to such heights, there is hope that they have not yet sinned away their day of grace. A heart capable of admiring and being touched by the story of the manger birth is not yet abandoned, however sinful it may be. There is yet hope in repentance...(paragraph omitted).......And all this is not mere theory. Thousands each year find their desire for salvation and holiness becoming too acute to bear, and turn to the One who was born in a manger to die on a cross. Then the fleeting beauty that is Christmas enters their hearts to dwell there forever. For who is it that imparts such beauty to the Christmas story? it is none other than Jesus, the Altogether Lovely."

Each year we're trying to make our Christmas much more Biblically centered, and I don't mean just the story of Jesus's birth, but how He taught us to live and what He wants us to be busy doing (serving, telling others about Him, etc.). I doubt we'll change how the world celebrates Christmas, but hopefully when our 3 kids are grown, at least we'll have multiplied it by that much.

I just saw where I could attach a document. (I'm new here.) I'll attach the chapters I mentioned.

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