Summary: A message focusing upon the simple elements of the age-old Christmas Story and their continuing relevance to every generation.

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Luke Chapter Two

"Family and friends from afar gathered at the nobleman’s home for the Christening and the traditional party. After much joy and gladness and a number of drinks and toasts, the time came for the Christening. But no one could locate the baby, the reason for the celebration. The parents and others searched high and low until one guest recalled seeing the infant sleeping upon the bed where arriving guests had deposited their wraps. Rushing frantically to the room, the mother discovered the lifeless form of the child smothered underneath a large pile or heavy coats. How ironic and tragic that the guest of honour should have been so forgotten, neglected and destroyed."

Is this old story true? Perhaps. But in any case the application of the moral to our increasingly secular celebration of Christmas is all too clear. The One who should be the guest of honour at every celebration purporting to commemorate His birthday is more often than not forgotten, neglected, and ignored. His testimony of love, light and righteousness is all too often denied and destroyed by those who gather to purportedly celebrate His birthday. Is it any wonder that the little girl who misunderstood the Lord’s Prayer was heard to pray, "Forgive us our Christmases as we forgive those who Christmas against us...." Or that another child who also misunderstood spoke of, "The only forgotten son.."

Much of our modern celebration revolves around traditions and innovations that have very little if anything to do with the reason for the season. It is sad that for too many, children in particular, a Johnny-come-lately Santa Claus has seeming supplanted our Saviour in familiarity and popularity. This seasonal charlatan is a modern version of a Roman Catholic archbishop of the city of Myra. He later became the so-called patron saint of Russia. A myth developed around his supposed generosity in giving three bags of gold to three maidens without dowries (The question comes to mind, "Just what was a lowly servant of God doing with three bags of gold anyway.) The international symbol of pawnbrokers and moneylenders, three olden bells, is based upon this fanciful myth.

The Christmas tree is also a relatively recent invention. Originating in Germany, it is said that Martin Luther decorated the first one. The English Christmas Pie is also of fairly recent vintage. The early ones would not even be recognized as pies today. A London nobleman ordered one in 1770 with the following ingredients: Two bushels of flour, twenty pounds of butter, forty fowls of all kinds, two beef tongues and two rabbits. It is nine feet across when baked. The first Christmas card of record was mailed in England in 1846.

I addressed this sad situation of symbolism over substance in a short article published in the Gold Coast Bulletin entitled, "The Meaning Of Christmas,"

"What is Christmas? Is it an endless shopping list, a depleted bank account or an overflowing credit card? Is it fir trees, candy canes, holly wreaths, bells tinsel or toys? Is it the piped music played in bustling shopping centres to se the mood for a certain seasonal commercial success? Is it Santa photos, office parties or holiday breaks? Is Christmas a family gathering around a Christmas feast? Is it a Christmas concert, carol sing or a traditional Christmas movie?

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