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Christmas? I’m interested.

By: Admin on December 3, 2013

I had the chance to speak at a banquet for university students from other countries studying here in Canadian universities. They are in English classes and conversation groups throughout the city, including some who are part of Waverley Church's program.

The organizer of this event and I talked about my audience for that evening. For many of them, this would be their first experience of Christmas. Almost all came from countries with little to no Christian influence in the culture at all. In fact, in some of the nations represented there anything Christian is officially banned and repressed by the government.

I took a step back and used my imagination to attempt to see through our guests' eyes this phenomenon that we call "Christmas". On the surface Christmas is all about lights, presents, music, shopping and eating. That is what they see from us in our city and society. They soon come to know that there is a "Christian religious" element to Christmas, but very few Canadians ever really explain what it means or really even believe it. Nevertheless, I can feel our guests' confusion over why no one can adequately explain what Christmas is really about when Christmas so dominates everything in the month of December. To add to the mess: people who claim they don't believe in the religious background to Christmas pour themselves into the celebrations.

I'll speak now as a Christian, not just as a pastor of a Christian church. Christmas has its basis in the person of Jesus Christ. Christmas is supposed to be the time when we celebrate the coming of the person Jesus. When Jesus came, he came with a mission, "To save his people from their sins." (Matthew 1:21) Jesus was the only one capable of saving us from our sins and from the consequences of our sins because he was never tainted or corrupted by sin. Being "saved from sin" means to have our wrongs forgiven by God, not having to pay for our sins and now being able to be in a permanent and perfect relationship with God. This is why we celebrate Christmas.

This should cause us to change our way of celebrating Christmas completely. When Christians chase after all the stuff, running around, one-upmanship parties and gifts and the like, along with the stress, grouching, misery and complaining, they should be careful to let everyone know they're not behaving like Christians, rather like people who celebrate an artificial cultural celebration of a holiday called "Christmas." When Christians celebrate the fact of Jesus coming to earth to save people from their sins by giving gifts, singing, being together with others, sharing with those in need and being joyful about it all, then we're actually celebrating Jesus' birthday. When we think about it, this should be a year-round proposition for every believer in Jesus.

The skeptics and visitors to Canada are confused by our Christmas celebrations, with good reason. They are also very interested in knowing what it really is about. Are you willing and able to live it and explain it?

Luke 2:11 & 12: the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.

Topics: christmas, jesus, outreach

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