Merry Christmas!

Luke 2:4-14

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem…(because he was of the house and lineage of David:)  To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.  And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.  And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the LORD shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.   And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the LORD.  And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Every year, there is a debate amongst Christians and non-Christians alike over the greetings “Merry Christmas” versus “Happy Holidays”.  I remember that once upon a time, I used to get all worked up over it.  I used to become offended because people did not want to acknowledge my favorite holiday.  I would deliberately respond to someone who wished me a “Happy Holiday” by saying “Merry Christmas”.

As the years have gone by, that has not changed.  I still don’t understand why people have such a difficult time saying “Merry Christmas”, but I don’t get quite as worked up about it.  I still respond to anyone who wishes me a “Happy Holiday” with a deliberate “Merry Christmas”.  Now, however, I respond with a kind heart, and not out of frustration.

The thing that I have come to understand is the fact that Jesus has already warned His followers that the attitudes that we experience at Christmas time would come.  He said in John 7:7, “The world cannot hate you; but Me it hateth, because I testify of it, that the works thereof are evil.” Those persons who do not want to wish me a “Merry Christmas” also do not want to publicly acknowledge that Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Christ.  They want to pretend that this time of year is all about children getting gifts from a man who emerges from his cottage in the North Pole to exhibit his omnipresence in the world in the middle of the night between Christmas Eve and Christmas morning.  Most parents teach their children about this fictitious person, leaving their child to learn the truth from an outside source.  (I purposely told my nephew, whom I babysitting a few weeks ago, that there is no such person as Santa Claus, and he looked at me like I had two heads!  He is seven years old.)  The truth is that the world hates Jesus so much that they will fight against Him using any tactic that they can think of, including not acknowledging the holiday reserved for celebrating His birth.

The bottom line is the world has to kick up its heels as much as possible in the time it has left, because the soon-coming King will put an end to all of their nonsense upon His return to the earth.  1 Thessalonians 4:16-17 says For the LORD Himself shall descend from heaven with a shout, with the voice of the archangel, and with the trump of God: and the dead in Christ shall rise first:  Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds, to meet the LORD in the air: and so shall we ever be with the LORD.”  Once He returns, His people will be out of here, the world will not know what to do or think, and He will reign on His throne forever and ever.

I anxiously await His coming.  Then every day will be like Christmas!

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