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The Greatest Christmas Gift
It Keeps on Giving
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Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Every year as the Christmas season approaches we try to assimilate ourselves into the 'Christmas spirit', falling back into nostalgia and recalling the good times we use to have when we were kids.

We try to keep up with all our family traditions followed through generations. No matter what, Christmas is not Christmas if there are no gifts, no celebrations, no wine and no Christmas dinner.

Are we getting so carried away with traditions and celebrations, that we are losing the true meaning of Christmas?

Our malls and stores are beautifully decorated but none of those decorations point towards the events surrounding Christ's birth. Radio stations do play Christmas songs, but none of them that you would call traditional carols, edifying God's name.

It was twice as difficult for me to get a decent Christmas card with a right message, the only place I could get one was a Christian bookstore. Stores were flooded with greeting cards, but couldn't find one that would appeal to me as a Christian.

I don't stand here to oppose the commercial and materialistic aspect of Christmas, but object to the variants that steal the essence from the reality of this festival.

I clearly recall a Christmas day sermon in the mid 1980s, when my pastor late Rev. W.S. Marks opened his Christmas message stating that, 'today, is a day of great grief and sorrow for all of us. . .'

There was an instant stir within the congregation perhaps thinking that their pastor in a fit of making merry the night before, had mixed up the Christmas message with the 'Good Friday' sermon.

However, this was not the case, as Rev. Marks clarified his statement and went on to state, '. . .that God, the creator of heaven and earth, had to become a "man" to redeem you and me from our sins'.

The congregation covered in the thick blanket of traditionalism assumed that the pastor will start his sermon by greeting everyone, 'Happy Christmas'.

We assume and take things for granted and forget that the joy of Christmas is not in celebrations and the new clothes we wear, but in God's love, a love that says that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

Over the years Christmas has evolved to become a festival where people who have nothing to do with Christ as a Savior, are religiously celebrating and making merry.

For them, Christ is a man whose 'birthday' is an excuse for a holiday.

Ask an average person the question, 'why do you celebrate Christmas?', you can expect to get an average answer: 'Everyone celebrates, and so do I!'

But to the Christian, it is a time for reflection on the love of God and contemplating how a limitless God became a limited Man to come and dwell among us, born in a manger, but destined to die for you and me.

Because man's limited mental ability and worldly wisdom refuses to acknowledge God, Romans 1:22 tells us, 'professing themselves to be wise, they became fools'.

Since is impossible for unregenerate man to reach and understand an unlimited God, therefore man, ".. changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things" Romans 1:22.

God took on the form of a Man, manifesting His divinity and power in Jesus, "for what the law could not do, in that it was weak through the flesh, God sending his own Son in the likeness of sinful flesh, and for sin, condemned sin in the flesh" Romans 8:3.

Jesus came into this world to prove God's love, He was crucified and His precious Blood was shed to cover our sins.

All the religions of the world have traditions to the effect that 'God is Love', but have no physical evidence to prove God's love.

They prefer a 'god of their own understanding' without ever realizing that god is also a god of their own creation which cannot save.

"Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16

Jesus is no more an infant baby in a manger. Instead, He sits at the 'right hand' of His Father.

Our blessed hope is in the soon return of our Lord Jesus 'the mighty counsellor,' 'the prince of peace', 'the wonderful savior', 'the lion of the tribe of Judah' of whose kingdom there shall be no end.

Let us share the good news of the Greatest Christmas 'Gift' offered us 2000 years ago.

Let us rejoice and exalt God's precious name for His grace and mercy as He entered time and space for the express purpose of shedding His blood for you and for me.

May you all have a blessed and merry Christmas!

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