Wow! So Christmas is coming again? Really? Oh No! Not again. Well, at least it is our hope as Christians that the Christ would be celebrated not just for a day but everyday.
Christmas – the Good
On Christmas not only would we learn about the birth of Jesus Christ, we also are reminded of the role played by the Virgin Mary. This is the only moment where both Catholics and non-Catholics seem to agree to a degree on Our Lady. At least, the Ave Maria, Hail Mary is implied partially which is a good start for a fruitful dialogue.
In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Hail, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and considered in her mind what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there will be no end.”
Christmas – the Pretence
At Christmas most of our beloved brothers and sisters in Christ Jesus outside the Catholic Church also have the nativity scene depicted at both home and church. It is only during Christmas that in practice, they suspend their Catholic idolatry allegations since they also entertain graven images of Jesus, Mary and Joseph for their nativity scenes. Catholic apologist Dave Armstrong said it best in a recent post:
“Christmas: that wonderful time of year when Protestants by the millions have statues (aka, “idols”) of the Blessed Virgin Mary (not to mention, St. Joseph) displayed prominently in their living rooms or lawns, and gaze at and meditate on them reverently, in a manner hardly distinguishable from Catholic veneration.
Does anyone else find that highly odd and not a little humorous, or is just me, with my overactive sense of the ironic?
For example, a totally consistent Calvinist (who follows the example of Calvin and the early purists / Puritans) could have, at best, only the baby Jesus in a manger scene. But even that is questionable, since some Calvinists to this day (following Calvin himself) hold that even an image of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is essentially idolatrous in nature.
But of course, it’s fine to have the famous statues of Calvin and three other “Reformers” at the “Reformation Wall” in Geneva . . .”
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we have seen his star in the East, and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea; for so it is written by the prophet: ‘And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for from you shall come a ruler who will govern my people Israel.'” Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star appeared; and he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” When they had heard the king they went their way; and lo, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy; and going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh.
Christmas – the Hypocrisy
It is only at Christmas when you see the pews of most churches full and overflowing. This is even more than that crowd that Easter attracts. Well, it is time for many of the once-in-a-year Churchgoers to show up. Whether on 25th of December, Christmas Day or 31st of December. After that they wait for another Christmas to come back home.
So Barnabas went to Tarsus to look for Saul; and when he had found him, he brought him to Antioch. For a whole year they met with the church, and taught a large company of people; and in Antioch the disciples were for the first time called Christians.
Lord Jesus Christ make us to be worthy of the name Christians just as those in the early days of the Early Church. Amen.