Those of you old enough will remember the school Christmas programs that we, and our children put on for our parents. In those, there was always a scene of the Birth of Christ, being acted out by the students. Everyone had a favorite part they wanted to play…one was the Angel who declared the Glad Tidings….”Glory to God in the Highest, and upon earth peace among men of good will”…….This is the literal translation of that verse in
Luke 2:14. It meant that God will give peace WITH HIM to men of “good will” which means people who He declares righteous, those who please Him.
Through the years, however, that was changed in many instances to ‘Glory to God in the Highest, and upon earth, peace, good will among men.” So, the true Christmas message began to be eroded. The message changed from comparing ourselves to God, and being concerned about our relationship to Him, to comparing ourselves to other people, and striving to be tolerant, loving, and charitable to others. Story after story is on TV, touching our hearts with the message of love for others and unity in believing in the “magic of Christmas”.
While these qualities are certainly desirable, they are not what the original Birth message meant.
Jesus was born as a baby for one reason……to die. It is simple as that. Why is it that our society celebrates Christmas with such enthusiasm, (as we should) but Good Friday is hardly acknowledged?? If it wasn’t for Good Friday and Resurrection Day, Christmas would be just another birthday for just another child.
The late Dr. D. James Kennedy, a devoted man of God, told a story that illustrates this.
Some of you will remember the weekly show on TV from 1955 through 1960, called “The Millionaire”. It is the story of a multi-millionaire named John Beresford Tipton, who, out of the goodness of his heart, gave away one million dollars to someone every day. The show depicted the story of that person and how the generosity of this wealthy man changed their lives.
In Dr. Kennedy’s analogy, one day, two of the beneficiaries of the great sum of money met each other, and they instantly became friends because of their mutual experience. Soon, they met another, and the group decided to seek out other recipients and have an annual celebration to honor the generosity of this great man, Mr. Tipton. They decided to celebrate his birthday. So, year after year, they met, and exchanged experiences, and voiced their gratitude and admiration for the love of their benefactor.
Word got around about this celebration, and soon people began coming, who had not received the million dollars from Mr. Tipton. They couldn’t fully join the conversations, because they couldn’t feel the same emotions as the original celebrators, so soon the celebrations began to change. The “false” members wanted to celebrate with loudness, even lewdness, and the businesses saw it as a way to promote their products for the gift giving that followed the changes.
The “real’ members could see these changes were not good, and the original meaning of the celebrations was being lost. In fact, most of the people who attended had no idea of the meaning of the Holiday.
Dr. Kennedy shows us that this is what has happened to Christmas. It was originally a celebration by Born Again Christians of the tremendous gift we’ve been given through
Christ Jesus. We could fellowship about how that gift has changed our lives and given us a future of eternity with our Lord.
But, sadly, we don’t see that happening very much anymore. Even among Christians, many have lost the original intention, and the REAL reason that Jesus became Man. Everyone speaks of Peace among men, but that is not the message Jesus came for.
Jesus said He didn’t come to bring peace, but division.(Luke 12:51).
Just because of the “magic of Christmas”, men will not be saved….they will not even be peaceable among themselves. It is because of what Christ did on the cross that will bring peace….and not between ourselves, but peace with God. Peace through the forgiveness of our sins as we accept Him as our Personal Lord and Saviour.
If a person is not a true Christian, and has not devoted his or her life to Christ, submitting every aspect of it to His will, he will never understand the beauty of the birth of Christ.
He is a counterfeit when he celebrates Christmas, because he has not had the experiences of receiving the “million dollar Gift”……
Isaiah 64:6 tells us that our good works and our good attitude….our “good will among men” is just ‘filthy rags’ to Him. It is ONLY our righteousness through and of our Lord Jesus Christ that will benefit us before our God.
So, where is the ‘Magic of Christmas”……It is on the cross, as we see Christ on our knees. It is not the Christmas
tree, but the Tree Our Lord hung on, that will give us our peace with God. …… And, that will only be ours as we give up our will to His…just like Our Lord did when He died in our place.