Monthly Archives: December 2015

The Real Meaning Of Christmas?

“The real meaning of Christmas” is a phrase often used. Christians regret the fact that society seems to have forgotten it. Others use it to refer to something they think is core to Christmas (but they might not be right.) What is it?

I was shocked to hear a commentator on the radio recently saying that the real meaning of Christmas is commercialism. She stated explicitly that Christmas is really about shopping. She didn’t want anyone interfering with that. Maybe she was joking. Please tell me that she was joking.

Wikipedia says that “the true meaning of Christmas” is often given “vague religious overtones” but in pop culture it means “a sort of introspective and benevolent attitude”.

See this TV3 News item. When it concludes by saying “It is all about celebrating the real meaning of Christmas” what do they believe it is? Giving? Caring? It is interesting that the item starts by saying Christmas is meant to be about “food, family and festivities”. Really?

Here is a great story about a mother who wanted to change the perspective of her children. She really is onto something. Their generosity and love for others reflects God’s generosity in giving His Son because He loved the world so much. They are onto something important and lots of families could benefit by following suit. But there is also something missing. The headline says that the real meaning of Christmas is giving. Candace is quoted as saying, “In my eyes Christmas is about spending time with family, making memories and having lots of good food…”

What is missing is Jesus. Any explanation you hear cannot possibly be the real meaning of Christmas if it doesn’t refer to Jesus. The TV3 item claimed to be about the real meaning of Christmas but didn’t mention Jesus. In fact, it said that Santa’s workshop had come to Auckland!

And it is more than simply living in the way that Jesus taught and modelled. It is more than pulling our moral socks up. It is about the salvation that comes through faith in Jesus and repentance. Not to put too fine  a point on it, it is actually about our sin and the need for salvation.

Here are some links to Christian pages explaining it.

Do you own investigation. To discover the real meaning we need to go not to Wikipedia or to the media. We need to know what the Bible says. Why don’t you list some passages that explain the meaning of Christmas? There are many passages, for example, that say why Jesus came into the world. List as many as you can and then summarise what you see.

For a start, watch Charlie Brown’s Christmas

But does even that focus on Jesus and then confuse the message somewhat? Is it really about appreciating the less spectacular tree?

Here are some passages that explicitly state why Jesus came.

How Christmas Can Conquer Fears

Jeff Lyle comments on the prevalence, in the Christmas story, of the phrase “Do not be afraid”. It appears that fear was a large part of life at the time as it is for many in the world today. That includes many Christians who live under the threat of persecution, as well as Christians unsettled by the greater secularism in society.

As an antidote, he draws our attention to Jesus’ second coming. In that there is hope and confidence for the Christian.

Read his reflections here.

May your Christmas be one that removes any fear.

God bless,

Peter

How Did John The Baptist Prepare For Christmas?

Today I read this article entitled “How Did John The Baptist Prepare For Christmas?” and it got me thinking.

Here’s my adaption of the main points. I thought there was at least one thing that could be added. Look at your programme for the next two weeks. Have you planned time for the following?

Repentance

  • John’s primary message was repentance.
  • What should change in your life because of the Kingdom of God?

Simplicity

  • John wore rough clothes and ate locusts and honey.
  • How should you reduce what you have, and do, so as to live a simpler, more Christ-pleasing life?

Evangelism

  • John whole purpose was to point people to Jesus.
  • Who will you tell about Jesus this Christmas?

Worship

  • John humbled himself and glorified Jesus. He baptised.
  • Will you take time to thank and praise Jesus, and listen to Him?

May this Christmas season be a particularly meaningful one for you,

Peter

Phil Clark

Some of you met Phil Clark when he was here with Tim Scheuer. Phil is the Captain of the Church Army, the evangelistic arm of the Anglican Church.

Since being here, Phil has been extremely sick with oesophageal cancer and given limited time to live. That’s one side of the story. he other is that he has recently walked a half-marathon. Read his story here.