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08 December, 2012

Christmas Time One More Time Is Upon Us

Every year during Christmas time I always feel like a Scrooge in some ways.  While I enjoy all the festivities, time with families and friends and all the trimmings that comes from the seasons, but deep in my heart I always feel the emptiness of it all.

Merry Christmas & Happy Holidays!
Underneath all of our gifts giving, excessive eating, drinking and lavish extravagances, nothing ever changed. While no one can agree on the specific day Christ was born, this tradition started with the pagans long before Christianity was ever an issue.  December 25 has been already a major celebration festival time for the pagans where they celebrated the goddess of nature. If you dig deep enough you will find every little detail pertaining to today’s traditions besides our gift exchange, excessive eating and drinking, even mistletoes and the carols that serenades us, all are tied to the pagans of that time and their god worshiping traditions, (sun, trees, moon etc.) Pope Julius I who served as Pope from 337 to 352, with his own agenda to get more Romans to convert to Christianity, set Jesus birthday on December 25. So, as they embraced the new Christian religion, they did not have to lose their pagan traditions. (What a nice guy and what a joke for Christianity?)

Over the centuries, we have refined the practices and tried very hard to metamorphose them into the true observance of Christian celebration. As for me I stopped enjoying Christmas since I was in my teen years. Not because I understood the fact that we are totally missing Christ in Christ-mas but simply I do not like meaningless rituals that lead nowhere. As I became a Christian and got to know Him so intimately, my shame for feeling like a Scrooge during the Christmas season disappeared. While most Pastors are trying their best to remind us Christians that Christmas is about Him and I appreciate it. But, I have learned a few things on my own along my walk with Him:  first, the birth of Jesus Christ  whatever day it was, is so precious to my heart every single day of the year because it is God’s plan unfolding. It was a great time of humility, submission, dependence and surrender for Christ. It was the birth of my redeemer, the God of my Salvation. His birth was simply amazing grace.

Second, I go through the motion every Christmas knowing full well that most of those who claim to be Christians are not affected by Christmas and all of it is sentimentality. After all the festivities, they go back to being who they are: backstabbing, backsliders, careless, cold hearted, lukewarm, spiritually blind, depraved, lustful, idolaters, compromisers, and so on, with no intention of having their hearts changed by Him.  They are no better than the pagan who celebrated their gods on December 25 before we even heard of Christ. The only thing that is different is their vocabularies. How else would you explain someone living a comatose Christian life year after year and not being wiser?

Third, I know first hand that my God is not a God of religion. He did not care for those religions that existed before or after Abraham times; He went ahead and formed His own with His own people. Nor, that He cares for those religions before and after Jesus-Christ. He cares less about our man made traditions and empty rituals. Does it matter we truly celebrate His birth? No. Because when it truly matters, at the right time, every knee will bow and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. Oh! What a day that will be?  All explanations, performances, data, excuses, preferences, all will be done away with and all that will be left is us bowing to His Majesty. He is Lord! He reigns! Happy Holidays!