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Finding Faith: Is Christ truly in your Christmas?

“It’s the most wonderful time of the year!” Right now it might seem the worst type of year. How can this be most wonderful? Many, myself included, have experienced various losses, changes we did not ask for, cancelations of things hoped for… wonderful? The answer is still yes! If we truly know why we celebrate Christmas.

Christmas started with Jesus and is about Jesus. As you read, please understand my thoughts are not to be judgmental or negative. I love Christmas! I, and you might too, have many treasured Christmas traditions.

I love the special church services, singing carols, decorating, the lights, the tree, favorite Christmas movies… All the bling!

But in love and truth, if Christ is not in your Christmas, it is not truly Christmas. Even the word “Christmas” speaks of Jesus. The Greek word “Christos” is the Hebrew term for “Messiah,” “the anointed one.”

“Christ” is not Jesus’ last name as some may think. It is a title, “Jesus Messiah.” The prefix “mas” means “mass, a central act of worship.” Christmas literally is “Messiah’s Mass,” humbly remembering Jesus, the Messiah, His birth with worship and thanksgiving.

As a side note, “Merry” means “be joyful” and “Messiah” means “expected deliverer.” Essentially, when we say Merry Christmas, we are saying “Be joyful by honoring the birth of the Messiah, Jesus in worship.”

This may seem little detailed but take some time to absorb these words and please keep reading. I love the song, “Where Are You Christmas?”.

Here is a challenge to read/sing the words of this song keeping in mind the actual meanings of the words, “Christmas?” (If you do not know the words, google the lyrics.)

This all leads to the question, is Christ — the Messiah Jesus — truly in your Christmas? Unfortunately, we have accepted Christmas for many to become a holiday without Jesus.

I read an article about a famous TV actor who called himself “Mr. Christmas” but his faith was a world religion that does not believe in Jesus. Say what? Now even an atheist can celebrate Christmas because they do not have to acknowledge Jesus. However, the scripture says, “Whoever acknowledges me before others, I will acknowledge before my Father in heaven.” Matthew 10:32.

Many, many TV stations run Christmas movies 24/7. They are positive, uplifting, demonstrative love, some get engaged, about family and being together. These are all great things. But where is Jesus? I read as many Christmas store flyers as I can, looking to see what’s for sale. So far in our area, I have only found one store that advertised on its front page a Nativity set for sale.

I shopped one year in New Jersey and went to a store dedicated to Christmas. It was beautiful. So many choices and things to buy. I finally found one Nativity set with the baby Jesus, Mary, Joseph, shepherds and the stable way in the back of the store against the wall on the bottom shelf. Wow, why isn’t the Nativity more visible?

We can learn from “Whoville.” After the Grinch stole all their decorations, gifts, traditions, they were still happy and gathered to sing and celebrate. A good example for believers is if all our Christmas things were removed like Whoville, we will always have Christmas because we have Jesus Christ.

Even though our world, our lives, may seem unstable right now we can be reassured that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, and today and forever.”

Hebrews 13:8. Jesus promised “…surely I am with you always to the very end of the age.” Matthew 28:20b. And if you have never acknowledged Jesus as your Savior or maybe need to recommit, now would be a great time.

Believe John 3:16 “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.”

And “If you declare with your mouth, ‘Jesus is Lord,’ and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.” Romans 10:9-10

This 2020 Christmas may be like no other Christmas with lockdowns, financial issues, worshipping on Zoom or online. But we can still say “Merry Christmas!” The greatest gift that we can give someone is the Good News of Jesus Christ. Listen to the Holy Spirit and read the Bible., the answers you are looking for will come.

The best way to end this article is to remember a scene in my favorite Christmas movie, “Charlie Brown Christmas.” Linus has it right in his part in the Christmas play: “And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.’

“I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths lying in a manger.’ Suddenly, great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-14

God bless you and I wish you all to have a Merry Christmas with Christ.

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Finding Faith is written by area pastors. This week’s column comes from Pastor Janis Heiser of River of Life Fellowship Church, Lock Haven.

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