Saturday, December 22, 2012

Christmas Day Is Almost Here, Isn’t It?

Many sources can be found on line for countdown clocks until Christmas Day, such as this one found at Countdown Widget.

A couple of other such clocks can be viewed at Christmas Countdown 2012 and Countdown to Christmas.

Throughout most communities, especially in America, Christmas lights are a very common sight.  Christmas music is played on the radio and in almost every place of retail business.  Most advertizing includes references to the Day of Christmas and the number of days remaining to purchase Christmas gifts.

Amazingly, no one seems to object to this until the connection of the birth of the Christ is considered.  Then, suddenly, debate ensues both over whether it is proper to have this holiday celebrated and whether this date is actually the date of the birth of Jesus.  Many have set forth laboriously to “prove” that this date was actually borrowed from pagan celebrations.

Why?  What do such self-acclaimed scholars have to gain from this?  What is the objective?

There have been some very well written articles sharing information on this, especially from the perspective of the selection of the date for celebrating Christmas Day being entirely of churchly origin.

Redeeming Holy Days from Pagan Lies — Christmas

Why Christmas is on December 25

How December 25 Became Christmas

Christmas is NOT based on the feast of Sol Invictus

The date of Christ’s “genesis”

After all is said and done however, the question remains: “Does it really matter?”

For those who do not believe in Jesus, the Christ, and the salvation that He brings to the world and is received by all who through faith trust in this great miracle, why do they care?  Most of these objectors don’t object to Santa Claus and the reindeer nonsense.  Most of these objectors do not complain about the marketing exploitation of this seasonal celebration.  Most of these objectors do not complain about the date of Christmas for any of the reasons that people observe it apart from the birth of Jesus, the heralded Savior of mankind.  But from this perspective they do object and argue and debate, often vehemently and even voraciously.  Do they even know why they react this way?

As for those who profess to be Christians, there is some cause for searching for the truth on this matter.  Knowing the why behind the selection of this date has at least some value, especially concerning what is revealed in this matter.

Those whom the Holy Spirit inspired and moved to write the Scriptures did not give detailed explanation of the date of Christ’s birth, except, to say that it was fully in accord with God’s promises and in complete fulfillment of His plan of salvation.

The actual day and hour really was not all that important for anyone to know.  The only ones to whom this day was truly important were Mary, the theotokos, and Joseph, her husband and legal father to Jesus.  Both were chosen and appointed by God for these very special vocations.  They were called and set apart for this special day and the following days and years of the nurturing and growth and maturation of this special child.

It was a very special day.  All the hosts of heaven rejoiced to see it.  They had eagerly awaited the celebration of this day.  These events are recorded for us in the Gospel accounts.  But the specific calendrical accounting is not recorded.  This is because the birth of Jesus is meaningless apart from the fulfillment of the great work that He was born to accomplish.  Thus the exact dates of His institution of the New Testament, His betrayal and hypocritical trial, His torture and crucifixion, His death and burial, His resurrection, and His ascension are recorded with great accuracy and precision.  These are the dates that most matter to those who celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Yet in terms of when any of these are celebrated, this is not really an important issue.  These celebrations are set in a calendrical order simply to assist in proclaiming the fullness of the Gospel within the gathering of the saints to the means of grace.  These dates and even these specific celebratory designated observances serve the greater continual observances that the historic liturgy includes in every divine service.  For the order of service that is used every Lord’s day carries those gathered through the entire Church year each and every service.

For example, the Creed alone carries us through each of these important seasons of the salvific plan that the Lord Jesus was born to fulfill for us.  Every time that the Creed is recited, including all three of the Ecumenical Creeds, Christmas is confessed.

However, the true celebration of Christmas is the pinnacle of the divine service, the administration of the Holy Communion in Christ’s body and blood.  This is, after all the very meaning of Christ-mas, that is, the Christ Mass, the order of service in which the Holy Supper is distributed and received.

Yet December 25 remains a significant part of the Church Year, counting backward from Good Friday nine months to the day of celebrating His birth into the world for this great day of the redemption of sinful mankind.  For the true Christian, the ChristMass Day is a day for great celebration and Eucharisting (Thanksgiving).

It is sad to realize that most of the world is willing to settle for something that has no real value beyond sentiment and tradition and giving and receiving of material things.  Even among most who call themselves Christians, the true Christ of Christ-mass is not even confessed, let alone received and adored.  But for all who do, the comfort and joy is immeasurable.

May such a Christmas Day be yours!

+ + +

No comments: