Archive for Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Pastor’s Corner

The seasons don’t need to be ‘greeted’

December 19, 2007

Christmas is a word with Jesus Christ at its very origin. Many accept Christmas as the recognition of the birthday of Jesus Christ.

Still, some have done everything possible to remove the central idea from the very purpose of the holiday. Look how we have summarily surgically sterilized Christ out of Christmas.

Let me give you an example....how many times have we been greeted with "Seasons Greetings!"

What does that mean? I greet you with a season? "Hello, winter to you!"

Here's another phrase we hear this time of year, "Happy holidays!"

As if the day had emotions. I received a Christmas card this week that read, "Hope your holidays are happy!" Well, I didn't know my holidays needed cheering up!

I find it interesting, this idea that there is so much controversy about a baby.

People can't even agree on his birth date.

There are those who trace the celebration of Christmas back through the pages of history and come up with different dates. Some say it was first celebrated in 98 A.D. But it was 40 years later before it was officially adopted as a Christian Festival, and the date traveled from April to May and then from January to October but it was not until the fifth century that it landed on Dec. 25 when Clovis, the first Christian king of France, was baptized on Christmas Day!

Years ago, Harry Reasoner wrote a piece about Christmas for the CBS show "60 Minutes." In it, he said:

"The basis for this tremendous burst of buying things and gift giving and parties and near hysteria is a quiet event that happened a long time ago. You can say that in all societies there has always been a midwinter festival, and that many of the trappings of our Christmas are almost violently pagan, but you come back to the central fact of the day: the birth of God on Earth.

It leaves you only three ways of accepting Christmas. One is cynically, as a time to make money or endorse the making of it.

Another is graciously, the appropriate attitude for non-Christians, who wish their fellow citizens all the joys their beliefs entitle them.

And the third, of course, is reverently. If this is the anniversary of the appearance of the Lord of the Universe as a helpless babe - it is a very important day. It's a startling idea that a virgin was selected by God to bear His son as a way of showing His love and concern.

This story has a magnificent appeal. Almost nobody has seen God, and almost nobody has any real idea of what He is like.

But everyone has seen babies, and most people like them. If God wanted to be loved: if God wanted to be intimately a part of our life, he has moved correctly, for the experience of birth and family is our most intimate and precious experience.

So if a Christian is touched only once a year, the touching is still worth it. Maybe on some given Christmas, some final quiet morning, the touch will take."

- Harry Reasoner. 60 Minutes, "What Christ Looked Like Christmas Eve. 1968"

For me, accepting Christmas simply means accepting Christ. I admit it's still is hard for me to fathom the thought of the Divine in human form, Deity in skin, God in the flesh. I find that simply holding a newborn baby helps me understand this whole incarnation idea.

Certainly, there are those who find the thought of God on a throne a bit scary:but an infant in a manger touches even the toughest soul.

"Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.

This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:11-12 (NIV)

Accepting Christmas:it really is as uncomplicated as that, like it or not, it's really hard to argue with a baby!

- Dirk Scates is Senior Minister at Tonganoxie Christian Church

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