You are not far;
You will soon be here;
You are moving;
Just a matter of days;
Yet, heighten your speed;
The whole world awaits you;
Who knows what
I am talking about?
Christmas, I talk about;
The day of celebration;
When all the world vibrates;
That mysterious day;
Which keeps humanity
On its toes for months;
For that day, I wait,
With keen attention.
Come ye on Christmas!
The whole world awaits you.
Christians today refuse to celebrate Christmas. I’ve heard all their rationales
and why it is wrong to observe this holiday. Here is my selection of the top
(1) “It’s not biblical, for Christ never sanctioned it.”“It is a pagan holiday”. (Based on Jeremiah 10:2-4 and Isaiah 44:14-15; 44:14-17, and Colossians 2:16-17)
“It promotes lying to children.”
“Historically, Jesus was not born on December 25.”
“Jesus never taught us to acknowledge His birth day.”
(5) “The Christmas tree represents idolatry.” (Based on Jeremiah 10:2-5, Isaiah 40:19-20, and Isaiah 44:14-17)
Are Christians wrong about Christmas based on these statements? Let’s visit each of the comments and discuss them a little more in depth.
Christmas Is A Pagan Holiday; Never Sanctioned by Christ
call Christmas a pagan holiday based on Colossians 2:16-17, which warns us not
to observe any special months, seasons, days, or religious festivals.
16 Therefore do not let anyone
judge you by what you eat or drink, or with regard to a religious festival, a
New Moon celebration or a Sabbath day. 17 These are a shadow of the things that
were to come; the reality, however, is found in Christ. Colossians 2:16-17
Old Testament passage was written before the birth of Christ, and by Paul the
Apostle, who was referring to the Old Testament festivals. It did not pertain
to today’s holidays. The issue which Paul describes is not the
observance, but the reason, attitude, and spirit in which a celebration occurs,
even the Christmas holiday.
spoken in the Old Testament, was lost centuries ago when most of Rome became
Christians before the year 391. December 25 was the date Romans celebrated the
sun god. The Roman emperor, Constantine, converted to Christianity in 312 A.D.,
and he wanted to alleviate the worship of false gods to acknowledge Christ.
Christian leaders accepted his conversion as a means to convert the pagan
world. Pagan temples changed over to churches, and persecuted Christian martyrs
replaced the idols of pagans. Christianity remained with the promise of a
Savior through a virgin birth. Rome became the hub for Christianity.
are no biblical passages that point the way to not celebrating the birth of our
Lord out of love, devotion, and joy of the season. Furthermore, the Bible
speaks of the angel who came to announce Jesus’ birth and the men who came
bearing gifts. Such an announcement was a celebration.
honor Christmas with a lack of Christian connotations, this would be sinful.
Scriptures give Christians guidelines to follow so as not to distort this
Do not attend wild parties with large alcohol consumption. Little
regard for the birth of the Lord is present in these gatherings.
Do not overspend money on gifts.
Teach children about the reason for the season – not how many gifts they will receive.
It Promotes Lying to Children
Claus originated with St. Nicholas, who was the Bishop of Myra. (See my blog, Before
There Was Santa). I believe Santa should be approached as a fairy tale and
spoken with caution. However, salvation in Christianity is based on good deeds,
and the Bible promises eternal life for obedience to the Lord.
#3: Jesus Was Not Born on December 25
of this date is not on the year of Christ’s birth, but the month. The earliest
mention of December 25 came from a fourth-century Roman almanac, which lists
the death dates of various Christian bishops and martyrs. The first date
listed, December 25, is marked: natus Christus in Betleem Judeae:
“Christ was born in Bethlehem of Judea.” Eastern churches use January 6, and it
is known as the Feast of the Epiphany – a celebration of the magi’s arrival.
In either case, both dates occur in the winter. People who dispute the month of Jesus’ birth base it on the sheep who were being herded in the fields. They claim sheep are taken into enclosures November through March. It may be true, except there is no fact to confirm pens were built for sheep in that century, and too, it could have been a mild winter. Luke’s version of the nativity night tells us the shepherds were near Bethlehem and not in the fields, which also indicates it was the winter months. Bethlehem’s winters encouraged heavy rain and thick crops of new grass, best suitable for sheep. Therefore, December or January would be the most likely months for Jesus’ birth.
We Were Never Taught to Acknowledge Jesus’ Date of Birth
want to say there are two ways of observing Christmas. We can look at it as a
commercialized party and gift-giving spree, or we can view it as a recognition
of Jesus’ birth. In the Book of Luke, appearances of angels announced the birth
of a Savior. First one, and then a multitude of angels told the shepherds of Jesus’
birth, and they asked the sheep herders to announce it to the world.
“The shepherds returned,
glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which
were just as they had been told” Luke 2:20
Should we not do this too? Praising God is glorifying His name, so why not use Christmas for this specific reason? It is the perfect opportunity to tell a non-believer of the reason God came to earth – to guide us to salvation. The promise of the angel — “for He will save His people from their sins” — are the greatest words of the entire Christmas story. Use this holiday to spread the Good News!
#5: The Christmas Tree Represents Idolatry
Christianity adopted many pagan components to Christmas such
as the lighting of candles, exchanging of gifts, the Christmas tree, holly, and
mistletoe. Some link the paganism of the Christmas tree to Jeremiah 3:6, 13,
but in fact, it denounces the use of a grove of trees as a place for idol
worship. If you read beyond these two brief Bible verses, Israel was using the
woods to hide and commit adultery. These passages are taken out of the original
context of their meaning and applied negatively to Christmas trees in homes.
Second, Jeremiah wrote this passage hundreds of years before
Christmas trees became adopted into our holiday. Yes, the Christmas tree began
with pagan roots. However, through the developing years of Christianity, the
tree obtained many connotations and symbols of the Lord. It can now show the Star
of Bethlehem, nativity scenes, red and green colors representing the blood of
Christ and green for the life given to us through the birth of Jesus.
Christmas trees, like the holiday itself, is a matter of personal conviction. Where is your heart on this tradition? Is it with pagan thoughts of adoration for the tree and parties, or will it represent Christian values? It is your choice and personal conviction.
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I am anxiously waiting; Who is waiting like me; Are you anxiously waiting? I am anxiously waiting For my Lord and king; Born 2000 years ago, plus; In Bethlehem; His birthday we celebrate Come Dec. 25, every year; We call it Christmas Day; And each time it comes, We are happy; And to one another we say “Happy Christmas!”; Hence, you see me Anxiously waiting. And excitement fills the air. All the world moved By the birth of one man, Jesus Christ. Happy Christmas to you! A very happy Christmas all! Even though still waiting.
the joy of the holidays – giving and receiving, is upon us! It was just a week
before Christmas that Charles Dickens published A Christmas Carol in the
year 1843. The many books this author wrote reveals his deep Christian faith
and the principles of a moral life. His most infamous character, Scrooge, is
the story of a heart transformed, or should we say re-born? It’s no wonder
Dickens called this work-of-art his “ghostly little book,” for Christ reflects
all over the pages.
analyze the character of Scrooge, like ours, we see the light and darkness of
life, salvation, and a second chance of God’s blessings. Three spirits visited
him: The Ghost of Christmas Past, the Ghost of Christmas Present, and the Ghost
of Christmas Yet to Come. Let’s begin with the first spirit…
Ghost of Christmas Past
Ghost of Christmas Past reflects on Scrooge’s younger years. Similar to us, there
is happiness, sorrows, and perhaps even regrets. We struggle to find the true
meaning of life. Where do we fit in, and what is our purpose? We work so hard
to achieve comfort, security, and the American dream. However, we avoid
suffering and challenges to preserve our dignity and self-worth. Soon, it
becomes clear those ghosts will eventually reappear to haunt us later in life.
Just as Scrooge learned, bad decisions leave us fearful, confused, shaken, and
empty, and we carry them into the rest of our years.
Ghost of Christmas Present
is now absorbed by the worries and burdens of wealth. Consumed in running his
business and providing for his own needs, he cared little about others. His
happiness equated to money and possessions, but ironically, he is the most
unhappy character. Our Ghost of Christmas Present opens the door to glimpse how
quickly we alienate friends and family with self-centered actions of greed. The
lack of helping others in need placed Scrooge in the category of being a
miserly, old man. How would others see us too?
characters in The Christmas Carol opened their hearts to Scrooge. His
nephew, Fred, encouraged him to be a part of his life and home, even at
Christmas. Scrooge grumbled, “Bah humbug.” His employee, Bob Cratchit, wanted him
to participate in fundraising for charity. Still Scrooge quickly snubbed such a
crazy idea. Cratchit tried to make him see that joy should come from our
treasures – family, friends, life, and love – not material goods.
characteristic of imprisoning ourselves with possessions, if we don’t share
with our neighbors, is synonymous with a lack of love and compassion for
others. Jesus warns us in the Bible we can’t take earthly things with us when
we pass from this world. So what’s the point of it all?
have a revelation to ponder… what if God only gave us our blessings to give to
others who really need them? What if they were not meant for your exclusive
joy of Christmas should reflect a smile of happiness when someone receives a
gift of love, yes? I know many say that presents are not what the reason for
the season is about, am I right? Jesus was our gift from God. He walked the
earth to teach us how to live graciously, godly, and always to serve others.
What better time than the season of giving, to follow in His footsteps?
realizes his selfishness and sins, and a change soon comes.
Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come
“conversion” points to finding his salvation based on redemption and charity.
He walked the streets with a smile, greeted everyone, helped beggars, and
glowed the love of God. Though many were apprehensive of his attitude change,
they discovered some significant event, indeed, altered his life. Isn’t this
how everyone, one day, falls into God’s grace? We realize this life is more
comfortable in a relationship with our Savior. When we break our own mortality,
our hearts soften for others.
gave Scrooge a second chance to make it right, and He does this for us too! Our
life should be a journey of service to the Lord.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
May everyone be blessed with a beautiful Christmas! Give and receive with a gracious heart to your family, workplace, and community. It is the three ghosts commandment – the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit!
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The heavenly bells Have begun To toll, Angels are flying More swiftly, And higher up the sky Than ever before; Sweet melodies! Fill the air; The birth of the Lord Is right ahead; It is Christmas time; Come, people of God, And sing glory to God; Praise His most holy name; Shout alleluia; Sing a joyous song; Join your voice, To the choir of angels; And with them, Chime a joyful noise. For, into the world, Is born on Christmas day, The Only Son Begotten Of Almighty God; So unique; So special; That was on Christmas day.
learning about holiday traditions, especially when they’re linked to our
ancestry. Last year, I did a Christmas blog on the German ritual and southwest
U.S. practice of placing a pickle on the tree. This year, on December 13, the
light of Saint Lucy shines on Scandinavia and Italy. It is Saint Lucy’s Day,
also called the Feast of Saint Lucy, signaling the arrival of Christmas. Though
her personal story is quite sordid, Saint Lucia shines the light of Christ for
all Christians. So, let’s bundle up and get ready to visit the countries of
Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland, and Italy!
Who was Saint Lucy?
coinciding with the Winter Solstice (shortest day of the year), the Feast of
Saint Lucy has become a Christian festival of light since the 4th century.
Lucy was born in the year 283 to very wealthy and noble parents. She was a
devout Christian who promised her virginity to the Lord. Her father passed away
when she was five years-old, but as she reached her teenage years, her mother
arranged an engagement with a man who was a pagan and paid him a handsome dowry.
Against her religious beliefs, Lucy was not interested in a relationship not
condoned by God. She prayed He would spare her the marriage.
This young lady worked to help Christians hiding in the catacombs during their persecutions conducted by the Roman Emperor Diocletian. She brought them as many supplies as she could handle, wearing a wreath on her head. It had candles attached so she could see in the darkness of the caves.
devastated Lucy when her mother came down with a long-term illness, shortly
before her wedding. She went to the shrine of Saint Agatha to pray for her mother’s
health and was told by the saint her mother’s illness would be cured through
faith. Lucy returned home and convinced her mother to cancel the wedding and
donate the dowry to the poor.
at the snub, Lucy’s fiancé reported her to the governor for being a Christian.
She was arrested, tortured, and threatened to be taken to a brothel if she
didn’t renounce Christianity. But, something divine occurred…
the prison guards tried to remove her, she was a dead weight. No one could
budge her away! So, they built a woodpile around her, instead, and lit it
afire. In the name of God, she kept denouncing their horrific acts. One guard
stuck a spear through her throat, but she didn’t stop speaking, and another
gouged out her eyes. Miraculously, her eyes were restored. It is said Lucy could
die only when she was given the Christian Last Rites. Saint Lucy’s death, on December
13, 304, is celebrated with a feast and different rituals by each country.
popular tradition on this day is planting wheat grains, which will be full grown
on Christmas. It symbolizes a new life born in Bethlehem. They also place a
candle next to the plant for the Light of Christ.
Though not an official holiday in Sweden, St. Lucy’s Day has been a special occasion since 1764. Formal dinner parties are the protocol. In the school system, students choose someone to be Lucy, and she dresses in a long white robe, red sash, and a wreath with candles are put on her head. Then maids are chosen who dress in white robes. They even hold regional contests for the best Lucy.
also dress up in several attires. Some wear a long white robe with a
cone-shaped hat, or a Santa elf costume with a lantern, and some don
gingerbread men outfits.
Everyone snacks on Lussekatt, a special baked bun made with saffron. Early on Lucia morning, Swedish television airs a procession and concert, which features a different choir in a different church each year.
Lucy was first celebrated in Finland in 1898, and Helsinki Cathedral crowned
her St. Lucy of Finland in 1949.
Denmark, the Day of Lucy was first celebrated on December 13, 1944. It is a
yearly event in most churches at Christmas. Candles stay lit all night,
representing the light of Saint Lucy.
modern-day celebration of Lucia in Norway was adopted after World War II but it
only remains popular in kindergarten and middle schools. They, too, dress in
the white robes with wreaths and candles on their heads.
This Caribbean island was named after Saint Lucy and is celebrated as National Day. They hold the National Festival of Lights and Renewal the night before the holiday, and the capital is covered in lights and decorated lanterns
roots of this holiday are originally traced to Sicily, Italy. Lucy was born,
lived, and died a martyr in this city, and today, it points to the arrival of
Christ, the light of the world. Italians gather on December 13 to light candles
and torches, and to eat, drink, and be merry. Many religious parades and feasts
permeate the cities.
the darkness falls upon Northern Europe on December 13, let us help our
ancestors to celebrate Saint Lucia’s Day. Though not observed in the United
States, we can pray for a message of light and the hope of Christ in our hearts.
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The most beautiful story in history is the birth of our Lord, Jesus Christ, which we celebrate every Christmas. Joseph and Mary, along with a string of other characters, remind us of how holy His birth was to all Christians. But through centuries of translations, this special event has become inundated with a lack of facts and/or misinterpretations. Let’s revisit a section of the nativity’s chain of events – that which involves the three wise men. I think it will surprise you to learn a few details never explicitly revealed in the Bible. For this blog, I will refer to the nativity story as written in the Book of Matthew 2:1-12.
Who Were the Three Wise Men?
Matthew tells us
they came from “east of Jerusalem.” If we examine the historical facts, east of
Jerusalem was the Parthian Empire (also known as Persia), which is today’s
ancient Iran. They rivaled Rome during the time of King Herod’s reign and
occupied much of Palestine.
When the Medes
(ancient Iranians) and Persians conquered Babylon, the Persians formed a priesthood
of wise men known as magicians or magi. This appears to be the point of origin for
the wise men, who held dual priestly and governmental authority. They were
called the magi of the Parthian Empire but were NOT considered kings. (So, how
did we invent the Christmas song, We Three Kings??) They were perhaps
advisers to the kings.
Most residents of the empire practiced the Zoroastrianism religion, now considered being the oldest practice in the world. They believe in one universal, supreme deity, Ahura Mazda, or the “Wise Lord.” Despite their religion, they understood a new Savior would be born through the prophet Daniel’s prophecy. (Daniel 9:24-27)
of the Three Wise Men
the format of most stories in the Bible, the three wise men were never named,
and only legend and many interpretations assigned the names Gaspar, Melchior,
and Balthasar. The Catholics kept the names and honored them as kings and
saints, but their real names were never revealed in scriptures.
The three wise men, today, are called “Magi,” “the Three Wise Men,” and “three kings.” We’ve already confirmed they were not kings. “Wise men” translated is “magos,” which means an Oriental scientist, magician, sorcerer, or wise men. They interpreted dreams, were fortunetellers and royal astronomers. The gospel writer, Matthew, referred to them as ma’goi, or magi.
Did the Wise Men Become Involved in the Birth of Jesus?
around Bethlehem had close links with King Herod, including the Parthian
Kingdom. They knew Herod as a treacherous king who committed many murders,
including his wife, her brother, and father, many friends, and military
leaders. He didn’t trust anyone.
day arrived when the wise men appeared in Jerusalem, and they began asking
questions around town. They wanted to know where they could find the new King
of the Jews. A major stir developed because people believed their earthly king
learned of the chatter, he became furious because he was the only king of the
land. He approached Jewish religious leaders who told Herod what was written in
God’s word. They told him the Messiah would be born in the town of Bethlehem:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though
you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who
will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
at the news, Herod secretly called a meeting with the wise men. They told King
Herod they witnessed a star which they believed to be the prophecy of the
Jewish King. (Many Christians conclude the wise men followed the star, but the
Book of Matthew only says they SAW a star).
Herod, the conniving leader he was, acted thrilled about the magi’s news, but
he was seething inside. He sent them to Bethlehem to find the Messiah.
“Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” Matthew 2:8
The Gospel of Matthew does not place the wise men at the birth of Jesus. It is written they arrived at a house with a young Jesus, by His mother’s side. It’s estimated He was about forty days old to two years of age, but not in a manger. They dropped to their knees and gave praise to the new Savior.
evening of the magi’s visit, David, the archangel, paid a visit to the wise
men. He warned them not to return to Herod, and he also told Joseph that night to
pack up his family and move to Egypt for safety.
The wise men “departed into their own country another way.” (Matthew 2:12) Realizing he was snubbed by the magi, King Herod madly ordered the death of every boy between the ages of birth and two years old. He thought he would find the Messiah, but not before his death.
Wise Were They?
believe they were quite wise men! The word wise means having good judgment.
They studied the word of God and obeyed His commands, even though they were of
Are the three wise men fact or legend? We can decipher the answer by reviewing the written facts above, but there is one profound message in their story… wise people acknowledge their need for a Savior.
The excitement of Christmas is right around the corner.
Shoppers fill the malls while jolly men dressed in red suits with a white beard
chuckle, “Ho Ho Ho,” to the smiling children. Oh, there’s nothing better than good
cheer this time of the year!
Santa Claus, a commercialized entity in the United States,
was a mere Coca-Cola sketch in 1931, which grew into a life of its own. But,
before there was Santa, the true patron saint of children, St. Nicholas, filled
the shoes (quite literally). Yes, this is the true story that links the
roots of Santa Claus and a man named Nicholas.
Nicholas was born about 280 A.D. in the village of Patara on
the southwest coast of Turkey. A devout Christian, he was left with a large
inheritance when his wealthy parents died in an epidemic. He gave all of his
money to the needy, sick, and those in distress. A servant of God, they blessed
him with the title of Bishop Nicholas at a young age. His heart, though, remained
One would not think such an honorable man (and the first
Santa) could be a victim of Christian persecution, but this event tells us otherwise.
In 325 A.D., Nicholas attended the Council of Nicea meeting, and the
fundamentals of Christian faith was the topic of discussion. He challenged a lecturer,
named Arius, on the beliefs of Orthodox Christianity. An argument ensued, and
Nicholas slapped Arius in front of the Roman Emperor Constantine. The Council
put Nicholas in chains, stripped him of his leadership position, and jailed him
Nicholas prayed for forgiveness and humility. He hoped God
would forgive him. A recall of the story claims the Lord visited him in prison
one night, removed his chains, and returned his garments. The next morning,
prison guards discovered him praying and dressed in his bishop attire. The
Emperor received word of the mysterious event and ordered Nicholas to be released
– it was divine intervention. Nicholas rejoined the Council of Nicea and helped
to create the Orthodox Christian religion as we know it today.
Many stories are told of Nicholas’ good deeds through the
centuries, and they portray him as a gift-giver. But how did he receive this
name? The following incident forever links him to Christmas stockings…
A poor man had three daughters whom he wanted to marry off
to prospective husbands. In those days, however, a woman’s father offered a
dowry for marriage. The larger the payment, the better the chance of finding a
husband. Having no money, he knew his daughters would soon be sold into
Nicholas learned of the family’s harrowing story. On three
different occasions, bags of gold balls were tossed through an open window of
the poor man’s house, and they landed inside the stockings and shoes, drying
near a fire. Today, three gold balls are one of the symbols for St. Nicholas. Do
you recognize the connection to Christmas stockings?
You may also ask how St. Nicholas was linked to Christmas,
so I will tell you. After his death in 343 A.D., many miracles involving
children occurred, and they were all contributed to St. Nicholas. Small gifts
and candy silently appeared for poor children on the holiday celebration, Feast
of St. Nicholas, which is celebrated on December 5 and/or 6. Are the stories
true? I’ll leave that to your imagination.
Most European countries still celebrate the Feast of St.
Nicholas today. It is a day about giving and recognizing those who contribute
to society. Good children receive treats or small gifts in their shoes. The
Europeans teach us that to celebrate Christmas, large amounts of gifts unnecessary
– keep it simple to retain the real reason for the season.
Over the centuries, St. Nicholas transformed into another similar figure called Santa Claus. Known as Sinterklaas in Holland, their customs entered the United States and the fat man in a red suit, was soon born. But, let us not forget the roots of St. Nicholas, who came before there was Santa. Compassion, charity, and giving the greatest gift of all – himself – took center stage. This should be the image of Christmas!
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Last Christmas, my wife and I attended the largest private
showing of manger scenes in the world. Made of every substance possible, I was
in awe of their delicate beauty. I immediately knew we would have to collect
nativity sets – I was hooked! The inspiring creches represented almost every
country in the world, and every cost range too.
So, this year, as we began gathering topics for the Christmas blogs, I remembered the local church’s display of nativities. Detoured from my train of thought, I began searching the internet for sets made in Bethlehem. I couldn’t believe the splendor of these handmade creches of biblical olive trees. With my mind really ambling now, I wondered how long ago people made the sets, which signifies Jesus’ birth, thus today’s Christmas blog.
It surprised me to learn Saint Francis of Assisi, in 1223,
created the first nativity scene in the town of Greccio, Italy. He wanted to make an extraordinary experience
for people who attended Mass at Christmas, and others who visited the area.
But, his scene differed from those we purchase on the internet because he
brought it to life!
Inspired by a recent trip to the Holy Land, he set up the
Christmas scene in a cave just outside of town. It featured a wax figure of the
baby Jesus, costumed people playing Mary and Joseph, a live donkey and ox,
which a friend loaned St. Francis.
During the Mass, Francis told the Christmas story, then
delivered a sermon. Afterward, many people strolled to the cave to watch a live
enactment of the sacred event. He told the story of Mary and Joseph with tears
and piety, and people responded with joy. His first manger scene became so
popular that others soon followed his lead.
With time nativity sets evolved into an artisan craft. Today,
the oldest set remains in Italy. Constructed in 1289, out of marble, it is
attributed to Arnolfo di Cambio. He was an Italian architect and sculptor whose
most famous work was the bronze statue of St. Peter now placed at St. Peters
Creche sets of the 1300s were made of marble, wood, or
terracotta. They placed most of them in chapels and churches for year-round
displays. The most famous of these was a set carved in wood, in 1330, for the
Poor Clare Sisters at the Convent of Saint Clare in Naples, Italy.
As Christianity progressed, Martin Luther used these holy
scenes to counteract the pagan beliefs of Christmas trees. The creches became
front and center of holiday celebrations for Christians.
Today, the tiny town of Bethlehem, in Connecticut, boasts
a restored 300-year-old handcrafted nativity scene displayed in a barn on the
grounds of a monastery. Thousands of people stream through the doors to view
one of the country’s most exquisite artworks, dubbed the Rembrandt of creches.
A coronation gift to the King of Sardinia in 1720, this masterpiece sits in a
15 by 10-foot area. The sixty-eight terracotta figures adorn colorful silks
with gold embroidery. The creche is a lasting impression, for all walks of life
are represented throughout the artwork. This must go on my bucket list!
Creating creches, whether in a live show or by the loving
hands of true workmanship, will always remain the resounding reason for the
season. They are a simple reminder of the humble King who would grow up to
sacrifice His life on a cross for sinners. Let us never forget the gift of
Jesus coming to earth to offer salvation to all people.
Three weeks before Christmas, I can remember the annual
ritual of watching my mother write her holiday cards to friends and family
members. She’d sign our name and below that she wrote, “Merry Xmas.” One
year, I asked her what “Xmas” was, and she told me it was short for Christmas.
She used to mail about 60 cards, so I could understand why she shortened it – I’d
have writer’s cramp too!
I grew up seeing both written versions of this holiday name
and never thought twice of any Christian implications; after all, my mother was
a devout worshipper of God. But, this Christogram (an abbreviation for Jesus
Christ) became a secular upheaval called the “War on Christmas.”
Many Christians take great offense to the use of the Greek
word “Xmas” instead of Christmas, for they feel it takes Christ out of
Christmas. Some call it blasphemous and disrespectful to the Lord, making Him
anonymous. Modern etiquette discourages using the word as an abbreviation in formal
writing. Style guides for some publications such as The New York Times,
discourage using Xmas unless writing space is limited.
Well, a surprise to all Christians – “Xmas” has impeccable
credentials! The “X” in this Christogram
represents the Greek letter ‘Chi’ which is the first letter of the Greek
word for Christ, Christos. The English translation for Chi is “X,” and
it represents the Messiah. Xmas’s second half, “mas,” means mass; thus,
the whole word means Christ’s Mass. In Hebrew, Jehovah also has an
The Christogram, Xmas, has been abbreviated for at least 1,000 years. The Anglo-Saxon Chronicle reveals “Christ” written as “Xp” or “Xt” as far back as 1021. So, how did this word become so prevalent in today’s times? I think we have the world of advertising to thank for this transition as Xmas fits perfectly in the narrowest of leaflets or shop windows. And it’s no coincidence the “X” looks similar to the cross. I think it is acceptable for Christians to write “Xmas” on their Christmas cards or social media sites. If faced with objections, explain why their criticism is unfounded, according to Christianity. Blaming the secularization of a religious holiday on the misconception of “Xmas,” reflects a misunderstanding of our history and language, don’t you agree?
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