The Good Things about Christmas

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http://www.antiochian.org/node/16840

Christmas is a topic that is hotly contested among the believers. Some are convinced it is not for the True Church to join in the celebration of the world’s most popular holiday that is pagan in origin while others believe that celebrating the holiday with the right focus and right attitude is good and acceptable. I, personally, do not promote the commercialism of Christmas nor the greediness and selfishness and worldliness that come with it, but I do believe that the holiday has some good things about it. And this article is not intended to argue who is right or wrong but merely to share what I have seen as the good things that we can thank and praise God for because of the holiday. I also believe that God in His sovereignty can always do something good out of the bad things we humans do if we are sensitive to His leading and not put Him in a box to fit our very limited views. Another important thing I want to point out is that while the date and the world’s manner of celebrating the occasion are of pagan origin, let it be emphasized that the birth of the Saviour which became the popular story called Christmas is not pagan. It is heavenly and Biblical.

Christmas to me has always been a happy time of the year because it is the most intimate occasion for me and my family since childhood. It continues to be so though my siblings and I are all grown up and have our own families as well. This season has become more meaningful and significant because this is the only time of the year when we can gather around our parents and bring our own children to bond with the bigger family; thus, I am forever grateful to the Father for this opportunity that the season brings.

While I do not anymore bother with the stresses of Christmas, my family still do; about that, I cannot do anything but just pray and let the Holy Spirit do the convicting. But as we have all been taught, we also teach our children what the true reason for the season is. Regardless of the date of the Saviour’s birth, we know that once upon a time the Lord Jesus Christ was born in a manger and grew up and ministered to men and went on to die on the cross for the sins of men and rose again and ascended up to heaven and is coming back very soon. We know that this boy in the manger as we see in the “Nativity Scene” is God and man who came for the lost and without Him is death.

This truth was made clearer to my children and nephews when in Church, the speaker preached the message of the Gospel in light of the occasion, fit for the young minds and the Holy Spirit touched the kids that deeper understanding came upon them. The youngest ones described the tears they could not control as they prayed the prayer of repentance and acceptance of the Lord Jesus into their lives. The teens also described their experiences. My son who received Jesus while he was around 7 years old described an unusual burning sensation that started from his feet up to his head that he didn’t want to end and begged of the Lord for more of Him. My oldest nephew went on his knees when he could not resist the heavy anointing of the Holy Spirit for the first time in his young Christian life. This anointing was also felt by the younger nephew that he just put his hand on his eyes to hide the tears and steadied himself as he was trembling in the manifest presence of God. All these happened on Christmas Eve.

After the service they went caroling in the neighborhood, singing songs only that speak the Truth and distributing food and gifts to the less fortunate. This is unusual to them because the Filipino practice, even of the many Christian churches here in the country,  caroling is a means for fund-raising; this practice often burdens the people and cause them to turn their lights off to avoid the carolers. So, this different way of caroling made the children’s Christmas and even the grown ups with them, a most unforgettable one as they felt the joy of giving instead of receiving; and at the crucial time of having just received from the Father what they call  the most wonderful experience with Him. To those who received from the carolers, the love of God which is the reason for His coming into this world and dwelling among men became real in a most unexpected way. The message of Christmas was delivered with such power and reality.

So, while we shun the pagan practices of the many churches, let us rejoice with those who, by the leading of the Holy Spirit, celebrate the season as an opportunity to bring glory to His name and reach out to the world with His love instead of scorn. And yes, the Church had Christmas party and the children got goodies and played games to enjoy.

Happy holidays to all in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ!

In His love,

Cynthia

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