THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12, 2013
“The Savior–yes, the Messiah, the Lord–has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”—Luke 2:11
Christmas has been hijacked. I am not just talking about the secularists who want to remove the phrase Merry Christmas and replace it with Happy Holidays. Christmas has been taken and effectively gutted. It’s as though our culture has taken the word Christmas, emptied it of its meaning, dragged it through the gutter, and handed it back, minus its power. The problem is not just with the secularizing of Christmas. Even well-meaning Christians have either romanticized it or made it so sentimental that perhaps they are missing the real story.
As we think about Christmas, we have a sentimental picture in our minds of the manger scene. There is the baby Jesus. There is Joseph. There is Mary. They all, of course, have their own halos. Then there are the shepherds looking on. The wise men are there too, usually in color-coordinated outfits.
The reality is that no one had halos. The wise men didn’t visit Jesus while He was lying in the manger. Matthew’s Gospel says they did not arrive until sometime later (as many as two years later). And the Bible doesn’t say there were three wise men; it says they brought three gifts.
Then there is the way we have romanticized Christmas with images of snowy countrysides and horse-drawn sleighs and frosty windows and red candles. Maybe we are missing its true message and its real beauty.
So let’s peel away the tradition. Let’s peel away the things that cause us not to see the birth of Jesus for what it really was. Learning this does not diminish its impact; it actually enhances its power. After all, this was the night that forever divided time, the night when God Himself came to this earth. It was the night when God stepped out of heaven and entered history.
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TODAY’S READING: Hebrews 5-8
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Used by permission from Harvest Ministries with Greg Laurie, PO Box 4000, Riverside, CA 92514.