What potential this day has and this whole time of year, when people celebrate Christmas or Hanukkah or Kwanza or the beginning of winter or whatever! As 2011 comes to an end, another influential day comes when the New Year of 2012 begins. This entire season and particularly this day that is called Christmas has more power of influence over all the people in the world than any other day! What is so special about December 25th and this whole month and holiday season? Amid the hustle and bustle of this time of year, as shoppers look for gifts for family and friends, and amid the additionally sad news of crime and more legal problems for Virginia Tech in the athletic program, I want to take this opportunity to focus attention on something far sweeter than a Sugar Bowl 😉. Consider CHRISTmas Potential!
Do you know of any other typical time of year where there is more happiness and joy and dedication to decorate and spend time and money to give gifts to others and be around family and friends? Of course, today, there is more of an emphasis on celebrating the birth of each individual, than there is any other day of life in their year. That is not a bad thing, if the focus is more on life itself and not simply the status or deeds of the individual. Birthdays are important for people and there is no greater birthday than that of The ONE WHO was previously only Spirit becoming flesh (see John 1:14). This Eternal Life should be celebrated more than any other life! The greatest thing about this Eternal Life is that it was given to be sacrificed to bring Eternal Life to all who will believe! Death reigns triumphantly over life, except for that Eternal Life, which personally defeated death and will one day defeat death forever! Consider the testimony of the beloved Apostle John: “the life was manifested, and we have seen, and bear witness, and declare to you that eternal life which was with the Father and was manifested to us” (1 John 1:2). Do you see this Eternal CHRISTmas Potential? Why wouldn’t you celebrate this Life?
Now, it is true that there has long been a pagan celebration of this time of year, due to the change in seasons and the winter solstice (even akin to certain modern Christmas traditions). Early Christians focused more on what this Eternal Life did than on the Life coming into this world. As time went on, and society developed, more emphasis was also put on the birth. Many traditions, such as cutting down and decorating trees or roasting chestnuts are natural things that have no intrinsic meaning. Natural things are often used as symbols for greater, spiritual things. It is also true that many in America buy into materialism and commercialism to the extent that they lose the significance of what this time of year represents. Still, there are the decorations and gifts given (even as often symbolized in the man Saint Nicholas, who has come to be seen by children and others as a supernatural figure—Santa Claus). There is no greater time of service and giving toward others than at this time of year! Giving is not a bad thing, in itself, and it should be a normal thing (especially for those who consider themselves Christians) and not only at Christmas. Regardless of viewpoint, there is great CHRISTmas Potential!
December 25th may not be the actual time of the birth of Jesus Christ. Some religious leaders theorize that CHRIST was conceived on the same day HE died, thus His birth would have been at this time of year, likely on December 25th. Others note details in the biblical Christmas story that indicate it is unlikely December 25th was His birthday. It is quite possible that the actual date of The Incarnation (GOD taking on flesh) is indeed December 25th, with the birth taking place around 9 months later. Regardless, we know that a new thing happened when the Creator’s foretold plan of reconciliation and redemption was put in place in what the Bible calls the “fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4). December 25th is the day the world has set aside to remember this birth (and moreso, this Spirit and LIFE). We should take this time to celebrate “the true meaning” of what HE came to do for us, even more than what others do for us or give to us. Corruption and commercialism comes from man, but our Creator—Jesus CHRIST—brought His Eternal Life into time and space, humbling HIMSELF to this fragile human state. Because of His conception, His birth, and His Perfect Life and substitutionary death, along with His defeat of death in Resurrection, there is great CHRISTmas Potential, if we only partake!