Wednesday, December 23, 2009

OPINION: Why Are The Christians Celebrating?

The Right Emphasis
By Doug May

Christmas time is the most profitable business season of the year. Many stores will gross more than 25 percent of their yearly business in less than 5 weeks. How did the business world establish such a profitable bonanza?
It started many years ago with Christians celebrating in their churches and in their homes with worship, much singing, festive meals and gift giving. It was a ready made, natural situation for the businesses that gladly joined the merry making with enthusiasm. Today this commercial Christmas is understood by everyone, but few really know why the Christians are celebrating.
The celebration centers around the birth of a boy named Jesus. This boy was a descendent of an ancient king of Israel named David who reigned 1,000 years earlier. David was the greatest king of Israel, a godly man, but not without sin. Israel prospered mightily under his leadership. In the generations following his reign the nation was split by rebellion, declined and eventually was completely destroyed by foreign powers and the people taken into captivity. But God in His mercy promised to send a descendent of David whose kingdom would never end. There were numerous promises from God about the coming Messiah or Christ. From the time of Jesus’ birth until now people have celebrated the coming of Jesus as the promised Christ. The night that Jesus was born God’s message was “Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” God demonstrated that He has not forgotten His people. Christians cherish God’s faithfulness and take His promises seriously.
God had told Joseph, Mary’s husband, that her son should be called Jesus because he will save his people from their sins. Sin is an offense against God and something that incurs God’s anger. To be delivered from the wrath of God is no small thing. Christians rejoice in the forgiveness Jesus earned for all people and they celebrate His coming.
Sin is more than disobedience, sin is the corruption of man’s human nature. All mankind is self-centered and desires things that are evil. Our evil desires are partially controlled by civil laws, public opinion and the Holy Spirit. Jesus gives the Holy Spirit to free us from the complete control of the devil and our sinful nature. Through Christ’s forgiveness and the gift of the Holy Spirit Christ defeats the forces that would destroy us. Although we will always struggle against temptations and evil desires Christ has insured our final victory. The gift of the Holy Spirit that Jesus brings makes a person a child of God and an heir of eternal life. Physical death is not the end, but the doorway to heaven. Christians rejoice in the hope of eternal life and celebrate Jesus’ birth.
All these blessings that Jesus accomplishes for sinners are possible because Jesus is true man and true God. He had no earthly father, but Mary conceived by the Holy Spirit. He has a human nature and a divine nature. Christians celebrate the incarnation of the Son of God. There is no greater event in the history of God’s creation. Jesus’ coming is a gift from God the Father and a demonstration of His love for His creation. Jesus is also called Immanuel, which means God with us.
Christians are happy to see others being kind toward one another and giving gifts, especially to those in need. But their real joy comes as they celebrate God’s mercy and love toward all mankind demonstrated by the incarnation of the Son of God.

Doug May is a retired Lutheran pastor and his views do not necessarily represent the Mountain Mail.

No comments:

Post a Comment