In a few days, both Christians and non-Christians will celebrate Christmas 2018. It’s amazing how one of the most celebrated times of the year means different things to so many people.
Prior to writing this article, I gave a very simple an unofficial Christmas survey to four servers at a local restaurant. I told them I was writing an article for the local church I attend and needed their help. I asked them one question, “How do you feel about Christmas?” As I said, very simple – unofficial. The answers were:
1) It’s too commercialized.
2) It’s the time to be with family.
3) That’s the time families come together.
4) More money would make it a happier time.
I was not shocked by the answers, but I was a bit surprised that Jesus was not included in the conversation. I didn’t probe them about their response because I wanted the conversation to go wherever their thoughts led them. But can it be the birth of Jesus is no longer the focus of Christmas? And is failing to recognize His birth that big of a deal? Well, I think it’s a very big deal and it didn’t just start in 2018.
Some sixty years after Christ was resurrected from the dead, John, the last living apostle – then in his nineties – warned the early church about those who deny the incarnate Christ.
“Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: And that is the spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4:2-3 kjv.
John pinned those words during a time when the church was flooded with false teachers. When the enemies of the church realized persecution would not stamp out Christianity, they changed their strategy and turned to spreading false doctrine. Their plan was to deny that baby Jesus was God wrapped in flesh – incarnate. Beloved, if the Jesus we celebrate on Christmas morning was not God, then the Jesus we magnify on Easter morning is not God either. If that is true – and isn’t – our worship is in vain. If the baby Jesus was not born of the Holy Spirit to the Virgin Mary, Christianity is a fairytale and you and I are still held captive by sin.
If you read 1 John 1:1-4 and listen intently, you will hear the passion in the elder John’s voice as he addresses an audience of believers, many of whom were born after the Resurrection of Christ. The old apostle declared unto them that he was a living witness to the earthly existence of the Word of life. He revealed that his eyes look upon, his hands handled and his ears heard the Word of life. He realized the world had changed, but not the truth of His Savior’s Devine birth and resurrection. History would not be distorted or rewritten on John’s watch.
In 2018, we are the caretakers of this Devine truth. Our eyes have not beheld him nor have our hands handled him. But we hear His voice and have fellowship with Him and the Father. John is now with the Lord, so we who remain have an obligation to tell the story of a savior born in Bethlehem.
Thinking of Christmas without including the birth of Jesus is a big deal. Tell the story!
For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. Luke 2:11 kjv
Written by Henry Hopson