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Summary: Christmas Season

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It All About The Love

Scripture: Mark 12:30-31; 1 Peter 4:8; 1 John 4:16-19

Introduction

There is a controversy going on right now in reference to the use of the word Christmas to describe this particular holiday season. It is politically incorrect to wish someone a Merry Christmas unless you know for sure that they are a Christian. Even though a lot of our holiday stories centers on Santa Claus, Christmas for Christians, started as a celebration of Christ’s birth. Christmas, as we know it, is a rather modern innovation. Christ’s birthday was not celebrated until more than 300 years after his death and resurrection. For the early Christians, His birth was not as important as His death and resurrection. Based on biblical account of His birth, Christ was probably born in the spring. The celebration of Christmas being on December 25 was chosen to coincide with a Roman holiday in which the sun god was worshipped. By 386 A.D. church leaders set up the celebration of “Christ Mass” so that Christians could join in the festival activities that the Romans were already participating in without bending to paganism. After the Roman empire dissolved, Christians continued the December 25 birthday custom. Through the years other customs were added to the celebration to the point that what we have today does not resemble what was originally celebrated. So we find ourselves in the midst of wondering can I wish someone on my job a “Merry Christmas?” If I know a person is a Christian, I can wish them a Merry Christmas but if I do not know, now I run the risk of offending them, especially if they are Jewish or Islamic. Retailers are also getting away from using “Christmas” in their advertising as to not be offensive. They are now wishing everyone a very “Happy Holiday Season”.

I was watching a talk show this week and the host had an atheist, a Jewish rabbi and a Catholic priest as his guest. The host was also Catholic. The focus of the conversation was on why “religious” people believe in God and why the atheist did not. They also discussed the obvious fact that there is a division among those who believed in God but reject the belief in Christ. Both the rabbi and the priest could not believe that the atheist could teach her children that all that they were existed within them now, that there was no higher power than them. Her response to them was that the so-called “religious” people cannot agree with one another. The first place she went was Christ. She said to the priest and the rabbi that one of them must be wrong since one believed in Christ and the other did not. The rabbi responded by saying that both believed in God and that was more important. He took it a step further and said that he believed that Christ was truly the Messiah for the Gentiles, but he did not think that Christ was God’s Son. I did not hear all of the conversation, but the prevailing thought of the atheist was if the religious people could not agree how could she agree with and/or believe either group. It was easy to see the difference between Christians and Jews, but it is much harder to explain the differences between Christians, which is a point that the atheist quickly pointed out.


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