What will you give Jesus this Christmas?
Greetings precious people,
Today I would like to take a break from our study of "What is the World coming to?" and talk with you about Christmas. (Next week we will resume looking at what the world is coming to.) What is Christmas all about any way? If you go by what the retail stores tell you, itís all about buying presents for yourself and others. Many parents over the years have let their children know that Christmas centers around a make believe character known as Santa Clause and if they are good he will bring them some toys on Christmas morning. Most of our public and government institutions have taken Christ out of Christmas altogether. It is no longer referred to as Christmas break or Christmas vacation, rather it is now called Winter break. Christ has been booted out of just about every area of our society. Much like the time of His birth, when Mary and Joseph came to Bethlehem, they could not find any place to stay. There was no place for them and their baby. I found it interesting that after the events of Sept. 11, people were asking, "Where was God when all this took place?" The answer to that is very simple, He was right where our society asked Him to be, out of our schools, out of our colleges and universities, out of our Government, and out of our lives. We no longer had any place for Him.
Christmas is the recognized anniversary of the birth of Jesus Christ among most Christians and Roman Catholics. December 25, is the date most observe and celebrate as being His birthday. A few important facts that we should consider concerning this, first of all, this is probably not the real date of His birth. The first mention of its observance on Dec. 25 is in the time of Constantine, about AD 325. The date of the birth of Christ is not known. The word ĎChristmasí is formed of Christ and Mass, meaning a mass of religious service in commemoration of the birth of Christ. Secondly, we are never told in the Bible, Godís Word to remember Jesusí birthday. We are only told to remember His death.
Some families have a Nativity scene placed somewhere in their home this time of year. We used to have these in many public places but that has been outlawed for years. It is amazing how a little baby lying in a manger can be the cause of so much controversy. How threatening can a baby be? What makes people uncomfortable is not the baby in the manger, but what the baby would grow up to be, say, and do. You see, Jesus did not remain a baby, though this is how many like to think at Him today. He grew up, and in growing up, He began to address issues that caused many to be very uncomfortable. Issues like sinfulness of manís heart, (Matthew 15:19-20, "For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies. These are the things which defile a man.). Repentance, Luke 13:3, "I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish". The need to forgive and to be forgiven, Luke 11:4, "And forgive us our sins, For we also forgive everyone who is indebted to us." Matt 18:35, "So My heavenly Father also will do to you if each of you, from his heart, does not forgive his brother his trespasses." Matt 6:14-15, "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses." And the need to be born again, John 3:3, "Jesus answered and said to him, "Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God."
These caused many, especially the religious and the self righteous to become very upset. Once again, there was no place for Jesus in this world. So they got rid of Him; they crucified Him. But this was not the end of Jesus, on the third day He rose from the grave. Death could not hold Him in the grave. Then days later He ascended to Heaven. And one day, Jesus will come back again.
For the sake of argument, letís say that the real birthday of Jesus is on the 25th of December. What are you going to give Him for His birthday? I find it ironic that those who still call Christmas the birthday of Jesus, few give it any thought as to what we should be giving Him on His birthday. Think of going to someoneís birthday party and only bringing presents for yourself and others whoís birthday is another day, You bring nothing for the person whoís birthday it is. Doesnít that sound strange? Would you ever think of doing such a thing? Probably not, yet that is what most people do on Christmas.
Just a few nights ago, my beautiful nine-year-old daughter crawled up onto my lap and asked me a profound question. She said, "What can I give Jesus for His birthday?" I told her, "Give Him your life." She said, "I already asked Him to come into my heart." "Thatís good!" I said, "But that only means that you have Jesus, He wants you. The best present that you can give to Jesus is your life."
Listen precious people, the best gift that you can give to the God who loves you so much that He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross in your place, is your life. What will you give Jesus this Christmas?
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at:
Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine