Pastor Ron E. Thompson: Five Thoughts About Christmas
Christmas is a unique time of the year. For one thing, it is a busy season with all the shopping, decorating, entertaining, traveling, and planning going on. And despite the ageless controversy, December 25 is still celebrated as the birthday of Jesus Christ. Commercialization has affected Christmas, everything from non-offensive greeting cards to being politically correct when speaking to people. And yet, I see an interesting connection between several common elements associated with Christmas and their connection to truths found in the Bible. I think you will agree with such things as:
- Singing and Joy. Christmas carols fill the air everywhere from churches to shopping malls. Nativity scenes with live people and animals are seen everywhere. Luke 1:47 records Mary’s Magnificat, her song of joy in God her Savior. Luke 2:13-14 reveals the heavenly host of angels praising God and possibly singing! They still rejoice every time a sinner comes to the Lord. Luke 2:20 adds the joyful praise of the shepherds in the fields after visiting the Christ child. The Gospel message is truly glad tidings of great joy to all people (Luke 2:10). Has God put a new song in your heart this Christmas?
- Lights and Stars. A favorite family pastime is driving through neighborhoods and viewing all the bright colorful lights on display. Star gazing is also a popular pastime all year round, especially for those people who think stars predict the future. There was a star in Bethlehem that led the Magi to see Jesus, the Light of the world. The Old Testament prophecy predicted that a Star would come out of Jacob who would be King of Israel (Numbers 24:17). The prophet Daniel wrote that people who influence others for Christ will shine like the stars in the heavens (Daniel 12:3). Is your light shining for Jesus or hiding under a bushel?
- Cards and Gifts. What would Christmas be like without cards and presents given and received? God’s Word is His Christmas card telling everyone of His love. Isaiah the prophet predicted, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given” (Isaiah 9:6). The wise men gave gifts. Mary gave her life, her body, soul, and spirit – her complete self to the Lord. The shepherds visited Bethlehem and had a wonderful story to share with others. What present do you plan to give to God this Christmas?
- Christmas Trees. Adam and Eve disobeyed God and ate from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They tried to hide from God among the trees in the garden. Since then, humankind hides behind the trees of religion, high morals, good works, baptism, church membership, and human wisdom. Other people try to escape from God through alcohol, drugs, and crime, but these things are mere fig leaves that cannot cover our spiritual nakedness. Peter and the rest of the apostles were imprisoned by the Sadducees for preaching the Gospel, but an angel of the Lord freed them. Peter rebuked these enemies saying: “We ought to obey God rather than men.” Then he reminded them that God raised up Jesus whom they murdered by hanging on a tree (Acts 5:30). The Apostle Paul wrote the Galatians that Christ became a curse for us by hanging on a tree (Galatians 3:13 Deuteronomy 21:23). Truly Calvary was God’s Christmas tree.
- Home. Fond and precious are the memories many of us have of our homes. A home is more than just a building with four walls, rooms, furniture, and utilities. It is where we spend much of our time. It is where we raise our families. It is where we eat, sleep, play, and live our lives. It is a place of happiness, security, and love. Jesus’ earthly home was in Nazareth, but He was born in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:23). Wise men from the East journeyed one to two years from their homes to see Jesus. Shepherds on the hillside were far from home when Jesus was born (Luke 2:8-12). The prophet Isaiah cited God as saying: “Heaven is my throne. The earth is my footstool. Where can you build a house or resting place for me?” (Isaiah 66:1 GW). Jesus said He did not come down from Heaven to do His will but the Father’s will (John 6:3). The Bible plainly says that our citizenship, our homeland, is also in Heaven (Philippian 3:20). John 14:1-4 explains it further. Will your home this Christmas season be a spiritual testimony to others?
You may own a fine home on earth filled with all the latest conveniences. You may belong to a beautiful church home with many friends. But do you have a home in Heaven? May God give each of us the grace to let our homes and our lives face toward the Father’s House!