In the USA, as well as in some other countries around the world, we have the freedom to celebrate Christmas and other holidays in our homes pretty much as we choose to… But, because I’ve been hearing quite a bit of rhetoric lately about “the real meaning of Christmas”…I thought it good to share both some thoughts – and some facts on that subject…
First of all… In a standard dictionary, “Christmas” is composed of two words – “Christ” and “mas”… “Christ” being defined as “the anointed Messiah”… and “mas” refers to “a specified festival or celebration.” The two words together – “Christmas”- obviously means “a CELEBRATION of Christ, the anointed Messiah.”… It has meant that since the first time Christmas was celebrated… And it still means that today.
So, why would people who do not even believe the gospel of Jesus Christ enjoy celebrating Christmas?… It’s really not that hard to understand… Most people like to give…because giving feels good! It is good! And who among us does not like to be on the receiving end of that giving?… We all do! Giving is good and receiving is fun!… Maybe that is why in Luke chapter 2, the angelic host proclaimed “Tidings of great joy to all people”.. Peace on earth and good will toward men”- as they announced the birth of the Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”
God gave us this Savior for a reason…. He loved..so He gave.. He gave His only begotten Son – Jesus Christ- to be the “mediator between God and men” (I Timothy 2:5). God so loved that He made a way for man to be reconciled to right relationship with Him. God gave this gift of love to all men.. but to those who receive this gift of God – Jesus Christ the Anointed One/Savior/Messiah, there is a very special joy as we celebrate Christmas! For truly knowing Jesus has never been a disappointment to anyone… He is the ultimate gift – the one that truly “keeps on giving”….
He came to give you a new birth in Him (John 3:1-8) – and life eternal!.. And God made it simple… You look to Jesus and ask for this new life in Him… It is the gift of God to you.”
The “bottom line” is this: We can all celebrate Christmas the way that we choose to – but, NOTHING.. can change the true meaning of “Christmas.”
“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble” (Psalm 46:1)
God IS the Great I Am…. the ever present, eternal, self existing God.
And He’s “God right now!
He’s not going to be God.. He IS God – right now!!
We often remember the good things He’s done in the past – how He helped us and delivered us in some difficult situation… And indeed, we should remember!… For that’s our experience with Him… And “experience gives HOPE” – hope for the areas of life where we need His help TODAY!
As believers – when we accepted Jesus as our personal Savior – God accepted us into His Kingdom as members of His family. So now, more than ever, God IS our refuge and our hope…and He IS a very present help in time of trouble! (FYI.. “Present” in that verse in the original Hebrew text means: “to come forth to”.. + “be enough”…. He is there and He IS ENOUGH!! )
God wants us to learn to trust Him.. and out of that trust..to call upon Him for the help we need – for our own life or to secure help for someone else… We can call on God our Heavenly Father.. with confidence..knowing that He hears and He cares! And the great thing is that.. He does not wait for you and me to be perfect before He will answer our prayers and our call for help…It’s enough that we recognize our need.. and WANT His help….
And even when the need that’s pressing heavily upon our heart..involves a problem area in our personal life – an area where we need to make a change in our behavior or in a habit pattern.. He is so ready to listen… and forgive… Ready to extend His grace to us to help us start making the adjustments we need to make…
Whatever the problem.. when you and I call on Him in our time of need – be it urgent or otherwise – He WILL come forth to help us! Our part is to “call on Him” ..ASK!.. Because He’s God right now.. and He wants to be there for you in your time of trouble.
(How many times have I called on Him for help in some serious situation that comes up – or just to help me turn things around when I’ve done something “dumb”?… how many times? More than I would like to admit to you – but how glad I am that I did turn to Him.. Jesus… He is my help, my hope and my God… totally able and reliable.. and for me, completely unforgettable… He’s God right now… and He loves and wants to be there just as much for you.)
It’s about turning loose of the past …. and the hurt…. for that is the thing that imprisons you…… SO.. TURN LOOSE!! ….. and let those things that happened in the past – be “history”- history of the kind that does not bind you….. but rather builds strength – as you learn to lay things down – and leave them behind you!…..
Giving many thanks to God for His love and mercy…… remembering that He is – and has always been – so kind…. And He is no respecter of persons …. for it matters not if you made the mistake or someone else has wronged you – the invitation is the same….. “Come to Me with your cares and I will help you – I will give you rest.” I will give you strength and instruction – to make things right again.….
For hurts and offenses and unforgiveness – make up the three layers of the chains that bind you…..
Those things bind – and hold our heart at a distance – from the blessings of sweet fellowship with Jesus and God the Father …..Such rich blessings that cannot be bought or bartered….. (Check out Psalm 103 ….. and you will see! … You will understand! .. that to live life without these benefits and blessings – would be like living life unchartered – just going wherever the waves and billows take you!)
But God offers too much – both to the offender and the offended – to let life slip by – whilst you and I hold on to hurts and offenses……
SO…. TURN LOOSE….. Let those things go… And let God help you; let His mercy and grace flow – for those are some of the things He sends to heal you!
My God – how good You are! ….. You have shown me such love and mercy ! I can now lay down all the burdens and pain of these offenses – and let Your love and fellowship be the balm that brings healing …..
And heal it will ….. for anything that man can do to hurt you ……. God can do something better! …. He gives grace … And He’ll show you HOW to overcome those things…….while you get to taste His great love and mercy!
That was “just a poem” – while hurts and offences can grow into something very serious…… But the reality is that those things are “too expensive” to let them grow unchecked in our lives while God wants to displace them with something greater ……. Because when we focus too much attention on things like hurt and offenses – it tends to swallow up our time and energy (and clear thinking) so that other things – even much more important things – are often pushed into the background…and even forgotten.
I’m writing now as someone who has tasted – at least my share of all these things – and so I tell you – It really doesn’t matter who was right and who was wrong – these things affect our lives just the same! ….. UNTIL… we decide that the cost and pain – of holding on to them – is robbing us of too many good things ……
And we turn to God… Who is able to do for us exceedingly abundantly more than we can ask or think……. SO, ASK!…. and taste of His great love and mercy!