Christmas is celebrated as the birth of Christ Jesus. The Messiah, Saviour, Redeemer and King. The fact is He was born to die for you and me, so that by His shed blood on the cross, the most precious gift known to mankind ever, could be received by just asking God for it.
So let me just break this down a little, firstly by splitting the word ‘Christmas’ in two (in fact its original form was 'Christ-Mas'). The first part is 'Christ' and without Christ there would be no celebration of Christmas. But then think for a moment, what happens on Christmas morning? Don't people give gifts to each other? So does Christ have something to do with giving a gift? YES! Absolutely, and not just any old gift, but the one gift that can never be surpassed, in fact it's the greatest and most special gift a person could ever receive, and it's also the very reason Christmas and indeed Easter are celebrated.
The gospel of John 3:16 says 'For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.' So with this in mind let us look at the word 'Mas', and then the real meaning of the word 'Christmas' or 'Christ-Mas'. I recently read an article which explained it really well, and this is a small part of what it said; The word ‘Mass’ in religious usage means a death sacrifice...... The word Christmas comes from ‘Cristes Maesse’, an early English phrase that means ‘Mass of Christ’. (or, 'the death sacrifice of Christ.') ....Here let it be noted that most people think that the word, ‘Christmas’ means ‘the birth of Christ’. In fact, by definition, it actually means ‘death of Christ’ (therefore Christmas points us to the cross).
So in essence it could be argued that Christmas, in its true meaning, and Easter should be celebrated around the same time, especially as we celebrate Christmas at the wrong time of year anyway, because Christ was actually born around our autumn season not the winter season. However, in reality, Christmas is where Christmas is, 25th December, and the reason I love celebrating the festival we call Christmas, is because I can't praise and give thanks enough to Almighty God for His act of incredible love that He showed to me by sending His Son Christ Jesus to be born of a virgin through the Holy Spirit, and to one day suffer the horrific death of crucifixion, so that through His shed blood I can have a relationship with Him now here on earth, and spend eternity with Him in Paradise. Something I do all year round, (praise Him that is), but at Christmas time people come to church who wouldn't normally come, which gives me a chance to share the truth of the gospel with them, that under normal circumstances I might not have the opportunity. In John 15:13 Jesus said ‘Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends’; and that's exactly what He was born for, and did for you and for me. What a great thing to celebrate!
So there you go, Christmas has nothing to do with some fictional fat guy in a red suit. Sorry to break your bubble if that's what you thought. Joking apart though, let me finish by asking you the question I started with: 'What does Christmas mean to you?' Your answer to this question could just change how you feel about it, and could in fact change your whole life.
May you know God's blessing this Christmas and New Year.
Author: Kevin Hunt
May God bless and enrich your life
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