I do not believe I would be wrong in saying that the commercialisation of Christ's birth does not sit easy with us. Over my life time I have witnessed a 'watering down' of the naivety story. Today we count ourselves fortunate to see and witness a mural, or exhibition that depicts the birth of Jesus.
Today it is all about Santa Claus, reindeer, presents and a wonderful holiday; in my case here in New Zealand we go to the beach and light up a BBQ. But each of us will celebrate the birth of Jesus in our own way, but in doing so I believe it is time to re visit the reason why we focus on the birth as we do.
As I was recalling all of the above I was reminded of a verse that I had read decades ago that caught my attention then and it still does; 2 Corinthians 5 16 – 'So from now on we regard no one from a worldlypoint of view. Though we once regarded Christ in this way, we do so no longer.'
On reflection it has occurred to me that Paul and the other epistle writers did not place a great deal of importance on the birth of Jesus. Paul only mentions Christ from a 'worldly' view point in passing in Romans 1 3. All of Paul's letters deal with the risen Christ and his work seated at the right hand of the father.
It is the church that has canonized Christmas day and the celebration of his birth. I believe it is time with the return of the Lord' closer by the years, that perhaps our focus on Jesus needs to lift from the earthly sphere to the heavenlies. We must not forget that much, if not all of Christmas traditions have pagan origins. These traditions in themselves would be compelling enough reasons to focus more on the risen Jesus than the earthly.
We read that God raised Jesus from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms and from this position of authority we have Christ as our High Priest, Lord and King. It is in these ministries that the power of God is made available to us.
As High priest after the order of Melchizedek Christ has opened up a new and living way into the very presence of God, for our sins have been sprinkled with his blood and the power of the resurrection is made available to us. We have access to the power house of the universe without any fear for we can boldly go into the throne room of God.
As High priest after the order of Melchizedek Christ forever intercedes for us before the Father, so that every part of his body is supplied with all that it needs to function as God planned. On that glorious day his body will be presented to the Father, holy and spotless; dressed all in white.
As High priest after the order of Melchizedek we have an advocate that if we stumble he is there to present our case to the Father.
As Lord he has been placed above all things, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion,and every titlethat can be given. Therefore nothing happens to us without His approval for He is in control of our circumstances.
As King he rules over his spiritual Kingdom and soon he will return as the conquering King to rule over his Kingdom, the New Jerusalem and the new earth. At that time all enemies will be under his feet and every knee will bow and cry Jesus is King of Kings and Lord of Lords and his army clothed in white will follow him riding on their horses.
Not that I am against recalling Christ's birth, but the time has come when we need to shift our focus from the earthly Jesus to the Risen Christ. In doing so we are also to consider our selves as citizens of heaven rather than earthly creatures, for we have been seated with Christ in the heavens. As Paul teaches us in Ephesians – 'And God raised us up with Christand seated us with himin the heavenly realmsin Christ Jesus.'
This is our position today, not in the future, but now, today we dwell with Christ in Gods house. We are citizens of heaven. By confessing this truth we have immense power over the forces of evil.
The OT saints longed for the heavenly home; we who have been covered in Christ righteousness have been born into Gods heavenly kingdom. It is up to us to live as we really do value our heavenly passport, as we await/long for the realization of our heavenly calling.
All eyes to be focused on our High Priest Jesus who is coming and will soon rule as King of kings and Lord of lords. Yes, turn our attention to the heavenlies and our true home. We have been born into God's heavenly kingdom. Excellent and inspired blog. Thanks!
You know, as I read your blog I thought about the Christmas celebration in my family. Since I was a child, we would read the Christmas story but when my son was young, we began to do something different. Believing it was important that he understand why Jesus came in the first place and what happened as a result of His coming we began our reading in Genesis, read from Isaiah, read the account of the birth of Jesus, read about his death, resurrection and His second coming. This is what we do on Christmas Eve.
Is it scriptural for us to set aside a special times of remembrance? Yes it is and so I do it. In the case of Christmas, although my dad did not become a Christian until right before he passed away, we never celebrated Christmas as a secular holiday. The focus was always on Christ so that may cause me to view it a bit differently than someone who had previously always viewed it as a secular holiday.
Yes, I know what a tree, candles, etc may mean to some people but I also know what they represent for me. I remember that because of Christ, we have life even though we are surrounded by cold, silence, darkness and even pain and death. The lights and the candles remind me that though the world was enveloped by spiritual darkness, Jesus Christ is the Light of the World and in Him, there is no darkness. Indeed... it must flee!
Every year since my husband and I started dating, we have gotten (or received) an ornament. As I was decorating our tree yesterday, I looked at the ornaments one by one... remembering and marveling at God's faithfulness. The Christmas right after my cancer diagnosis (2007), I hadn't felt like getting an ornament but then decided we just had to. We bought an ornament of a little gingerbread boy and girl and had our names put on it. I held that ornament in my hand for a long time last night, remembering those uncertain and frightening days and reflecting on what God has brought us through. Tenderly I put that ornament on my tree as a reminder of God's love and care for us.
If someone believes they should not celebrate Christmas than they should not celebrate Christmas. At the same time, I don't believe they should be critical of those who desire to, during this season, celebrate and remember who Christ is and what He has done...and continues to do.
I especially appreciated that part of your blog that dealt with our status as beings who exist in the heavenly Kingdom, Now. This world is passing away and the less we act like the world and the more we act like His children the better. Thank you. A timely and needed message. Phil
My personal opinion is that the Santa Claus myth should be avoided. And his flying reindeer. Brief study I have done says it started earliest about 1087 or so. During the reformation it slowed in practice around 1500 and 1600. But became popular again starting the mid 1800s, and has grown much since. Someone painting such a figure sitting beside what was supposed to portray the Christ child is carrying the myth much much too far.
Heard different perspectives about the Christmas tree though. Scripture references will show absolutely no ties to the Jews spoken of, celebrating or decorating any Christmas tree. Tree, yes, which was a wooden idol. I suppose a parallel can be seen, in some customs. I doubt very seriously they put lights on theirs then though.
We are told not to judge one another concerning holydays, whether we did to The Lord, or, did it not unto The Lord. Personally, I think if our conscience condemns us, we should not do it. And, not offending the weak ones conscience, also comes into it. Some churches celebrate advent, and i see nothing wrong with it myself. Others have their Christmas programs yearly. I choose to involve the birth and coming of the Christ, on Dec.25th.
Another subject, we are not all gonna agree on. If it bothers our conscience, we shouldn't. But it works both ways too. No, in the Acts, and in the epistles, it is not mentioned. His death, burial, and resurrection was. And absolutely, the Jesus Christ we serve and worship now, is highly exalted. Nothing like the appearance He took on earth. And we will each individually appear before Him, and give an account. Keep that in mind, either way. God bless brother. And the others too.
I am reminded that Jesus told us to do one thing in remembrance of Him and it has to do with His sacrifice and resurrection! Thank you for your words.
The Betty Half