Summary: Many are debating over Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas, or X-Mas vs Christmas. To keep Christ in Christmas we have to be Christ to the World
Keeping Christ in Christmas
One night a woman dreamed that she was having a conversation with God. She was angry about all the suffering and evil she saw around her, so she complained to the Lord. “God, why don’t You do something about all this?”
God gently replied: “I did. I created you.”
There is a lot of furor over Christmas. We have debates over the use of Happy Holidays vs. Merry Christmas, or X-Mas over Christmas, and so on. Lets us cut to the chase.
First; the issue of Santa Claus. T’was the night before Christmas poem was written by Clement Clarke Moore. The poem depicts a right jolly ole elf in a red suit with a snowy white beard who visited every home on Christmas Eve delivering gifts. Well, the poem is about a real person. St. Nicholas or Sinter Klaus as he is known as in Scandinavian countries. The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the third century in the village of Patara. At the time the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus' words to "sell what you own and give the money to the poor," Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.
Under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, who ruthlessly persecuted Christians, Bishop Nicholas suffered for his faith, was exiled and imprisoned. The prisons were so full of bishops, priests, and deacons, there was no room for the real criminals—murderers, thieves and robbers. After his release, Nicholas attended the Council of Nicaea in AD 325. He died December 6, AD 343 in Myra and was buried in his cathedral church, where a unique relic, called manna, formed in his grave. This liquid substance, said to have healing powers, fostered the growth of devotion to Nicholas. The anniversary of his death became a day of celebration, St. Nicholas Day, December 6th (December 19 on the Julian Calendar).
Through the centuries many stories and legends have been told of St. Nicholas' life and deeds. These accounts help us understand his extraordinary character and why he is so beloved and revered as protector and helper of those in need.
His devotion is what Jesus was talking about in Matt 25. The original Santa Claus kept Christ in Christmas by doing what Jesus said.
31 “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his glorious throne. 32 All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. 33 He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.
34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’
37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’
40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’
Today we will talk about a few of these and how we can keep Christ in Christmas all year long.
1. When I was hungry you gave me to eat. V.35
a. The World is eating a feast of pig slop. We have a problem with starvation and we have a problem with obesity. But we also have the populace feasting on pig slop.
b. Provide good nutritious food for the hungry
1. Food for the homeless
2. Prepare a meal for a shut in.
c. There is a Spiritual hunger that only the Word of God can satisfy.
1. Share the Word