Summary: Many people want to argue about facts and details around Christmas, but Jesus came into the world to bring Joy into the lives of those around him. We experience joy when we take our relationship with Jesus to a higher level.
What Child Is This-A Child Of Joy
We are in part 3 of our series, What Child Is This: We have looked at the Child of promise, the Child of pain, and today we look at a Child of Joy. Christmas is to be about joy, but some see it as a time to argue over Christmas itself. There are the debaters over when Christmas occurred.
The chances are greatly that Jesus was not born on Christmas Day. The Roman pagans use to have a big celebration on December 25th to celebrate the return of the days becoming longer after the start of winter. They worshipped the Sun and now the Sun was gaining the upper hand over the darkness.
By the year 300 when many Romans were becoming Christians, they took that same day but instead of worshipping the Sun in the sky, they celebrated it as the birth of the Son of God. They would have a big worship service called a Mass like the Catholics still do today. This mass was about Christ so it became “Christ Mass and was later shortened to Christmas.
The other argument will be over what does Santa Claus have to do with Christmas. Does anybody know what Santa Claus’ name really was. St. Nick. St. Nicholas was a priest who would collect coins and one night a year would go and drop coins in the windows of the poor to show them God’s love for them.
What he did became so popular that churches would Celebrate St. Nicholas Day on Dec. 6th each year. Children would put out boots by the doors and stockings in the window or by the fire place with hopes that St. Nicholas would visit them. Nicholas gave gifts to show the love of Jesus. He wanted to give back to others, because of what Jesus had done for him.
When the Dutch moved from Europe and established New York City, they brought the tradition of St. Nicholas with them, but in Dutch he was called Cinta Claus. The practice of giving out gifts was popular, but people who didn’t speak Dutch changed the word Cinta for Saint to Santa and hence we get Santa Claus. The two holidays of St. Nicholas Day and The Christ Mass were combined into one and that’s how we got the giving of gifts on Christmas Day.
So you don’t have to argue over what day Jesus was born, or what does Santa Claus have to do with Christmas, or why we give presents on Christmas Day to each other rather than to Jesus since its his birthday?
What makes Christmas Day important is that God intended for it to be a day of joy for people. It’s not the date Jesus came, but the reality of his coming that is significant. You will not understand the joy of Christmas without understanding the love of God for his creation including you. When God created this world, God made everything good. There was no sickness, no death, no pain, no suffering or anything like it. You could hear God coming through the garden and have a conversation with God, and talk directly to God just as you were talking to another person.
When God created the first two people, “Adam and Eve”, he told them, you can have it like this forever, just as long as you choose to obey me by trusting me to know what’s best for you. Things were great until Adam and Eve decided for themselves, they wanted to choose what was best for them. They disobeyed the one commandment that God asked them to keep, and they discovered they had given birth to an evil nature inside of them.
They could not get rid of that nature. They quickly turned against God-by hiding from Him, against each other—by blaming the other person for the problem, and against themselves by feeling ashamed of the way they looked. All of creation was thrown out of whack. There was nothing they could do to get back the perfect world that they had before.
But God gives them a promise, that God would restore the joy that they had lost. He let them know, that one day a woman would bear a child that was going to crush the head of Satan who had robbed them of all that they had lost. Satan has been robbing us with the same tricks as He did Adam and Eve. He’s still telling, us, “if you do this, you will know what real joy is.” There is always pain behind his offer of joy.
But God loved us enough to send Jesus Christ into the world to let us know what Joy is. Although it took centuries for it to happen, God waited until the time was right, and God took on flesh in order to intersect the life of a poor young girl by the name of Mary.