Summary: Christmas Realities - Part 3. Is our world any different because of Christmas?
WHAT IF THERE WERE NO CHRISTMAS?
Is Our World Any Different?
Christmas Realities – Part 3
Isaiah 61:1-4, 8-11
December 11, 2005
Have you ever wondered what the world would be like if there were no Christmas? How has our world been changed because of Christmas? Think about that. If there were no Christmas all of your favorite Christmas traditions would be gone. There would be no family gatherings for Christmas dinner and no gifts beneath the tree – in fact, there would be no Christmas tree to start with. There would be no Christmas programs, no Christmas vacations, no Christmas movies or music. There would be no Christmas decorations, no Santa, no Christmas caroling. Without a doubt December 25th would be much less enjoyable if there were no Christmas. It would be just another cold day in winter passing by much like all the rest.
However, as disappointing as all of that may be there are some far more serious deficiencies that would emerge in a world with no Christmas. Remember that Christmas isn’t just another holiday. It marks the birth of Jesus Christ so when we ask what the world would be like without Christmas we are really asking what the world would be like without Jesus. How would our world be different today if Jesus had never been born? Is our world any different because of the birth of Christ – aside from the previously mentioned lack of a holiday and its traditions?
If Christ had never been born, there would be no Christians for one thing and no churches for another. Some people – many people – in our country today would say, “Good riddance. We are better off without you.” But have they really stopped to think through what they are saying? I think not. For along with the Christians and their churches would go all of the colleges and all of the hospitals and all of the shelters and all of the charities and all of the missions that have been founded by Christians in the name of Jesus.
Think about what our war torn, natural disaster ridden world would be like without the Salvation Army, World Relief, World Vision, World Hope, Samaritan’s Purse, and Compassion International just to name a few – those are just the tip of the iceberg.
Think about what our world would be like without Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard and Yale? Did you know that those and almost all of the first 123 colleges and universities started in America were founded by Christians?
I would submit to you that if, over night, all of that educational history and charitable spirit were to be removed from the world, it would be enough to plunge our planet back into the dark ages. The world as we know it today literally could not continue to exist without Christ’s people, Christ’s church and the organizations and institutions founded by them.
If that were to happen the world would be much like the fantasy world of Narnia envisioned by an Oxford University professor named C.S. Lewis. Lewis was one of the greatest Christian authors of modern times as he found creative ways of communicating God’s truth. The land of Narnia is found in Lewis’ classic work The Chronicles of Narnia. The first book in that series is called The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe, which has recently been made into a major motion picture by Disney and was released nationwide last Friday.
The land of Narnia experiences perpetual winter, but never Christmas. The land is oppressed by the evil White Queen – a witch – and, therefore, is a cold, hopeless land filled only with despair. However there was an ancient prophecy of four human children who would one day come and bring freedom to their land. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe is the beginning of their story as four children accidentally enter the land of Narnia through a magical wardrobe. Without giving too much away let me say that this story is Christian allegory. The children with the help of the lion named Aslan will bring deliverance. The lion Aslan represents Christ, who was the lion of the tribe of Judah. And so what Jesus did in actual history Aslan does in fantasy complete with his sacrificial death and resurrection.
This prophecy of deliverance for Narnia reminds me of another ancient prophecy of deliverance – one rooted in the real world – one that never would have been fulfilled if there were no Christmas. This ancient prophecy is found in our text for today – Isaiah 61. Listen to the words of this ancient prophecy written around 2,686 years ago:
1The Spirit of the Sovereign LORD is on me,
because the LORD has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.