Friday, December 23, 2011

Merry Christmas 2011

As I sat down to write this, I realized that what I was about to put into words was probably quite similar to what I wrote last year at this time. I checked, and sure enough, the main point is the same, only some details were different.

Christmas is perhaps the one time of year when nearly everyone gets a little sentimental, gets a little "merrier" than usual, maybe even an little more religious. For some, it may even be the only time during the year that their shadow will darken the doorway of a Church.

But what's it all about? To the sentimental it may be a time to get warm fuzzy feelings as they recall or re-live Christmases past. To the "merry" it may be the one time of year when they can count on most others to be in a good mood, when everybody is a little more friendly. To the religious though, its more obvious. Christmas is a celebration of the birth of Jesus.

I don't know about other cultures, but here in America we seem to be big on honoring important people by celebrating their birthday. A quick look at our calender shows George Washington's birthday, Abraham Lincoln's birthday, Martin Luther King's birthday ...and of course Christmas. No one would suggest that we honor George, Abe, or Martin just because they were born. We honor them because of what they did during their lifetime. The same is true with Jesus. The only reason to celebrate his birth is because of what he did during his life. And what he did was the most monumental, loving act of all time. He died as the acceptable sacrifice for our sins. The prophet Isaiah tells us the story better than I could:

For he shall grow up before him as a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: he hath no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see him, there is no beauty that we should desire him. He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all. He was oppressed, and he was afflicted, yet he opened not his mouth: he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth. He was taken from prison and from judgment: and who shall declare his generation? for he was cut off out of the land of the living: for the transgression of my people was he stricken. And he made his grave with the wicked, and with the rich in his death; because he had done no violence, neither was any deceit in his mouth. Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise him; he hath put him to grief: when thou shalt make his soul an offering for sin, he shall see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in his hand. He shall see of the travail of his soul, and shall be satisfied: by his knowledge shall my righteous servant justify many; for he shall bear their iniquities. Therefore will I divide him a portion with the great, and he shall divide the spoil with the strong; because he hath poured out his soul unto death: and he was numbered with the transgressors; and he bare the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors. (Isaiah 53:2-12)

So have a wonderful Christmas; get sentimental, be merry, but don't forget the reason why we honor the one whose birth we celebrate!

1 comment:

Dennis said...

Amen! Thanks, Lee. Merry Christmas!