Christmas is really for the little ones and there is no harm in giving gifts during this season because it's a tradition. There is no problem in gift giving but only if it is done with the right intent, framework, and understanding. As a kid it was not unusually for my parents to give me more than one present, sometimes receiving up to six or more. Which kid wouldn't want this? For my parents, that was the reason for the season and celebration of Christmas Day. They did this even through songs played about Jesus' birth and the reasons for His birth. They just didn't get it and only saw it as an annual tradition to do such things. As a parent, I continued that multi-gift giving and somehow incorporated the Spiritual reasons for the season. This only because I broke tradition. My life incorporated the Christian values more than my parents, so it became natural for my family to put a Christ-like perspective on everything including Christmas. Today, my daughter talks about gift giving but not in the way my parents use to and as parents, we no longer encouraged. The perspective of secular Christmas is changing right before my eyes because of the proper perspective of the season. Somewhere and sometime; as Christians, we must put the proper Righteous perspective on Christmas. Now, I am sure many of the body do put this season in the proper perspective. But as with all things in this world, we have to constantly be vigilant in our Christian walk with everything that we have to deal with.
It's that time a year again when people around the world look to their relatives and friends for gifts to celebrate and in spite of the reason for the season. Let's face it; Christmas is now viewed as a time when the sharing of gifts is nothing more than a quid pro quo ritual. Most people are making a list and checking it twice and texting it to each other as to what they want on Christmas day, making sure to keep the receipts just in case they want to exchange it for something else. It should no longer be called Christmas day, but rather gifting day. The Christmas observance, of course, comes from a Christian value of celebrating the birth of Jesus and gifts received from eastern men who studied and followed with the expectation the birth of a child who would save the world. Yet, the gifts brought were to honor and reverence this child for who He would represent and ultimately die for. The gifts had more Spiritual value regardless of their high commercial cost. This started the exchanging of gifts with the best gift being Jesus from God who became our sacrifice for sin.
Christmas Day is more than just the manger, cute animals, shepherds, magi, and gifts. It is embodied in the notion that by one life; death entered and so by another's birth; life would be restored. It is the balance to darkness by light that brings back the harmony that was lost. Without "Christ", "mas" there would be no "Anointed Celebration" meaning a celebration that is blessed, consecrated and hallow (Holy). All of which has very little to do with the exchanging of gifts, and frivolity. Christmas was meant to be a time to recognize and honor with respect, God's sacred promise to man to redeem him from the curse and to bring Spiritual enlightenment by His sacrifice for man's fall from Grace. It is the reoccurrence of the Genesis reflective of God's desire to be our Father and we; His children, by the giving of His only Son to be our example of a Son and Daughter of His Kingdom starting with Jesus' birth; Christmas Day.
Flush it Out! - Jesus is the gift to be shared and cherished.
Jesus; seated at the right of God is the very best present we can receive and give for celebrating Christmas. Sure, having the latest trend in gifts is always exciting, but eventually, it fades as quickly as the next trend emerges to distract us from the reason for celebrating Christmas. Gift exchanging has become more prominent even in churches as the excitement of all the caroling, lights, and multi-color adornments take over homes and churches. All of this supposedly to remind us of Jesus' birth and God's gift but has become more of a distraction to this very thing. Some churches even holding a contest for the ugliest sweater of the season with the promise of a prize. Some say it's all in good fun and one ought to stop being an "old grinch" and just go with the flow of the festive celebrations. Yes, to some degree one has no choice to agree with this practice and yet deep down there is a lack of Spirit in the whole sense of it.
Do we suppose God held a party with Angels flying around His Throne and Heaven shouting with glee, "Jesus is born and will suffer for mankind; Rejoice! Rejoice!" God gave His only begotten Son for one reason and that is because the man failed Him. Sure, the Angels did tell the shepherds to have joy at the birth of Christ, but it was not for fun or to jest about it. Just the thought of knowingly sending your child into the fray of hate, animosity and mortal death would make any father cringe at a decision like that. It would be like knowing your son after being born would live and die before you. No parent can ever come to terms with a future like that for their child. It is only because of God's love and Righteousness did He commit this part of Himself for us. Is the Christmas celebration correct and does it really demonstrates how Thankful we are to God for His sacrifice? I remember at another time of my life, when it was mandatory to celebrate the midnight mass for this birth and sacrifice and to be honest it was religious and downright boring and yet with maturity there seem to be something right about it now. The birth of Jesus signified a change in the season from one of darkness to light and with His life, this light only became brighter, clearer and purer from the enlightenment of it all. This is the cause for celebration. Unfortunately, this aspect of the birth is not definitive during the Christmas season but only the festivities of music, presents, and excitement. It is more secular rather than Spiritual. Somewhere along the line, we made Jesus be no more than nostalgic than real and empowered.
Well, as Christians we ought to be knowledgeable about events being established and without getting into another topic, Christmas or Christ's mass was originally associated with a pagan holiday referred to as Saturnalia of Roman origin; just like many other traditional church holidays throughout the year. Yes, we can argue the pros and cons of adopting and converting pagan and secular acts for the propagation of the faith, but is it biblical and did our God ordain and endorse it. God does not copy or imitate satan and his works, so why should Christians. Gifting in itself has no merit until we assign the reason behind it, just like money. Gifts were brought to Jesus at His birth by eastern men studying prophecies to honor and show respect for Him because of His Divinity and also for His preordained life. They were not given just because of His birth, but more because of His purpose as the Savior of the world. Just think, if you knew the baby you had was born for the 'sole' purpose to invent a cure for a fatal disease, saving thousands of lives, wouldn't you be more reverent of your baby for the great work that they would be doing and look to make a significant act to honor your baby rather than giving gifts for giving sake for a single day. The wise men gave gifts to do just that. Gifts considered priceless, uncommon and worthy of Jesus' life's work on Earth.
Today, Jesus' work of Salvation continues because of why He was sent not because of who He is and what day He was born on. God could have used many different ways to save man but chose His "closest Blood" to represent, be the example and become the eternal sacrifice. These details matter little if all we do is treat Christmas Day like another day off, a reason to get things and to self-indulge ourselves. This ironically was the purpose of the Saturnalia observance which cumulated on the 25th with several days of indulgences. The most current example of what occurred during this period would be the movie, "The Purge", where anything goes for an allotted period. As Christians, we should put the proper perspective on Christmas Day by separating ourselves from what the world does and look up to the right hand of God, to Jesus; knowing the true reasons Christ had to be born of a woman, give His life and empower us to continue His work until He returns. There is nothing wrong with merriment as long as it is under the auspices of Righteousness and does not replace or overshadow God's reasons for implementing such important and critical events, like the Exodus.
As we are empowered by the Word and our Faith in living as Christians, is it not more uplifting to have and see our Lord and Savior as the Victorious Messiah rather than keeping him in a manger with no crib for a bed. Don't get me wrong, I love the season but more than that I want to honor the Lord as He truly is; Son of God, the Word made flesh, the King of Kings, the Lion of Judah ready and waiting at the Father's command to take His bride, and to conquer and dispatch the enemy (satan) and his forces, and retake the land. Let's be clear, God is not impressed by all these lights, killing of trees and stuffing ourselves while there is work to be done for Salvation. If anything those who use this opportunity to have people saved are certainly on His list of those deserving of His gifts. God's reason for the birth has no indication that it is to be a secular celebration in remembering Christ's birth, but God's purpose is a continuation of His redemptive plan since Adam gave away his birthright to satan. But, you say baby Jesus got gifts from the wise men, so it must be okay to give gifts to each other on Christmas Day.
The right reasons for Christmas are lost to many simply because the church has more embraced the sharing of gifts rather than the honoring of it. Sure, this honoring does take place either with a Christmas Eve or Day sermon or service and nothing is wrong with that except it is quickly overshadowed by the festivities of exchanging, opening and sharing gifts including rushing to get home and prepare for the family dinner and celebrations. Once this starts there is little or no reference as to the reason this celebration was first established. The Christmas Day is not even a full day of reflection or of Thanksgiving and Praises to our God who gave the greatest gift of all. Now at times, as a family, we have given in kind to those who weren't able to provide for themselves, but even this seems so insignificant and has very little value compared to the whole birth of Christ. This is because giving has very little Spiritual value to our spirit unless there is a huge sacrifice associated with it. When we give from our excess or because we have no need for that or those items; there is no loss and sacrifice and it does bring little or no appreciation of it. This is why the Christmas giving may bring excitement for a moment but soon fades as time passes on and our focus changes to the next celebration day. Yet, the birth of Christ should not be limited to a single day or in many cases a few hours but a continuous appreciated of that birth and sacrifice. Our entire present and future depended on Christ's birth and just like any key event; without it, we would not have hope, Faith, and anticipation of a more Divine future. Christ has been boxed, wrapped up and trivialized with colorful decorations.
Dec. 15, 2016.
Christmas, A Season of Rejoicing or receiving Gifts!
The Bible gives a vivid picture of Jesus' birth and the events that lead up to being born. Most of it to demonstrate the fulfillment of prophecies and the significance of certain attributes associated with the birth and eventually Jesus' life. Jesus was probably not born in December as tradition has stated because the Bible states shepherds were watching their flock, abiding (living) in the fields and the birth was in a manger. Both of these scenarios would have been difficult if it was the winter and rainy season, which occurs for Bethlehem from late November to early April. It is more likely Jesus would have been born early Spring as this season would allow for living and feeding in the fields; staying in a manger with animals and for the wise men to travel. Also, the symbolism of Spring is more in keeping with Jesus' birth for renewed beginnings and new life. It really does not matter that history is inconclusive about the exact time of birth, but by Faith and other factual documents do we recognize the birth of the Messiah.
To think Joseph and Mary were poor would be wrong and this was not the reason they had to give birth in a manger. For Joseph was a carpenter and was a highly prized trade in those days and it is why the Bible clearly states that there was to room at the inn because that's where Joseph and Mary first tried to stay and which would require a person of reasonable means to afford to stay there. The manger is important in that His birth would represent insignificance from a world's perspective and that God usually takes from the least born of a kingdom for His purposes. The wise men offering gifts is also significant in that they represented the best of the world being highly educated, philosophers, astronomers and wealthy having to recognize and give homage to the child whose name would be above all that is named. Tradition keeps these wise men to three although there is no reference to that in the Bible and it probably wasn't three individual gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh but more than likely an abundance of these items. Gold being recognized for its high value and strength as well as frankincense and myrrh which would not be available or given to the common man but only to those of royalty and stature. There are many Spiritual and practical reasons for how, where and when Jesus was born. For He would need to be both man and Spirit to accomplish what God set before Him.
ChristnMe @ 2013