“Christmas” or “The Advent”? In Light of the Cross

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Christmas   The Advent in Light of the Cross, Day 18.

During this time of year the world turns their attention to the Bible account of the first Advent of Christ. You can read about it in Matthew 1-2 and Luke 1-2.  As Jesus’ disciples, fulfilling the gospel commission in Matthew 28:19-20, We must take advantage of every opportunity just as Jesus did.

Jesus saw in every soul one to whom must be given the call to His kingdom. He reached the hearts of the people by going among them as one who desired their good. He sought them in the public streets, in private houses, on the boats, in the synagogue, by the shores of the lake, and at the marriage feast. He met them at their daily vocations, and manifested an interest in their secular affairs. He carried His instruction into the household, bringing families in their own homes under the influence of His divine presence. His strong personal sympathy helped to win hearts.–Ellen White, The Desire of Ages, p. 151.

I have been confused by some of the feedback I have received from professed Christians, saying we should not celebrate the birth of Jesus since He was not born on December 25. They turn around and say we should celebrate Jesus everyday. My question is, “Isn’t December 25 a day. Why stop sharing Jesus on December 25 just because He was not born on that day? ” I share Jesus everyday including December 25.

I understand now, why many Christian Protestant writers are now referring to the “Advent” instead of “Christmas.” Christmas has pagan connotations, while “Advent” sounds more Biblical. That is all well and good. I am not promoting anything pagan. I am only trying to share Jesus with my friends around the world. Still I get feedback from vigil ante Christians telling me Christmas is pagan and not Biblical. I do not publish these comments on my blog posts, because, while I am trying to share Jesus with those who may not know Him, they would find these comments very confusing. While I understand what these commenters are talking about, those who don’t know Jesus yet would not. They would only take the comments to mean that Jesus is pagan, since they do not have the same viewpoint as we do.

Jesus used terms and parables that the people could associate with and understand. The un-churched understand the word “Christmas” and can relate to it. As far as pagan or Biblical they have no opinion or notions. The word “Christmas” is nothing more than an open door for me to share Jesus. I can use the word “Advent” instead and that may be more appealing to people who are already Biblical, but that word is not going to mean anything to a world dying in sin, desperate for the good news of a Savior. “Advent” is a foreign term to them, and Jesus uses terms people can relate to in their daily lives.

The parables, by means of which He loved to teach lessons of truth, show how open His spirit was to the influences of nature, and how He delighted to gather the spiritual teaching from the surroundings of daily life.

 He drew illustrations also from the events of life, facts of experience familiar to the hearers–the leaven, the hid treasure, the pearl, the fishing net, the lost coin, the prodigal son, the houses on the rock and the sand. In His lessons there was something to interest every mind, to appeal to every heart.  –Ellen White, Child Guidance, Pages 51-52 

In order to reach the world we must overcome our narrow-minded thinking, and tunnel vision. Jesus was always right. He was always theologically correct, but He was also open minded, and was often grieved by the narrow-minded and bigoted self-righteous pharisees. December 25 is not the mark of the beast. December 25 does not oppose the seal of God in any way. December 25 is a day like any other day that the psalmist said we should rejoice in.

My posts do not promote anything pagan. They do not promote Christmas parties with drinking. They do not promote Santa Clause or any kind of mythology.

My  posts only promote Jesus and the Biblical accounts of His life, sacrifice and resurrection. Comments concerning what my posts are actually about are most welcome! Comments that would lead those seeking a Savior, even closer to God are most welcome. Thank you!

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 12 (Gift Giving)

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

Every year I hear someone ask,

“Why do we give each other gifts at Christmas when it is Jesus’ birthday?”

Of course we understand it is not really Jesus’ birthday. As Christians, we are just celebrating the life of Jesus, and taking advantage of the opportunity to share the Savior with the world, like we do every day when given the opportunity.

Still, why do we give gifts to each other when it is not our birthday either? I believe a very simple verse answers this simple question. When Jesus was talking about the sheep being separated from the goats, He said,

“‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters,  you were doing it to me!’” Matthew 25:40 NLT

We all represent Jesus to each other. Paul tells us in 2 Corinthians 5:20, NLT

So we are Christ’s ambassadors,

When a nation gives a gift to an ambassador of another country they are really giving that gift to the country that the ambassador represents. Likewise, the way we treat each other represents the way that we are treating Jesus.  That is why John wrote in 1 John 4:7-8,

Dear friends, let us continue to love one another, for love comes from God. Anyone who loves is a child of God and knows God.  But anyone who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

I will never forget a true story my grandmother shared with me one cold Christmas season. She was outside her house, looking up a small hill, when she saw a little neighbor girl walking down the hill with her doll towards her house. It was freezing and starting to sleet, when the little girl stopped, took off her coat and wrapped the coat around her doll! The little girl then shivered the rest of the way towards her house, holding her doll close to her heart to keep her warm.

My grandmother, and the rest of us were perplexed at the rationale of the girl. It was only a doll and could not feel anything. Maybe the little girl did not know the difference between pretend and reality. Even though it was apparently a foolish deed, I am sure Jesus perceived what was in the little girl’s heart, and the way Jesus looked at it, He was the little doll the girl was taking off her own coat for to keep warm!

Of course I realize it was just a doll, but how much more it must warm the heart of Jesus when He sees us doing kind loving deeds for each other out of love all year long!

As Jesus says,

“Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” John 13:35 NLT

 

Christmas in Light of the Cross, Day 8

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

I am writing today from the beautiful Tampa Bay area.

 

When the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth His Son, . . . to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.” Galatians 4:4, 5.
“The Saviour’s coming was foretold in Eden. When Adam and Eve first heard the promise, they looked for its speedy fulfillment. They joyfully welcomed their first-born son, hoping that he might be the Deliverer. But the fulfillment of the promise tarried. Those who first received it died without the sight. From the days of Enoch the promise was repeated through patriarchs and prophets, keeping alive the hope of His appearing, and yet He came not. The prophecy of Daniel revealed the time of His advent, but not all rightly interpreted the message. Century after century passed away; the voices of the prophets ceased. The hand of the oppressor was heavy upon Israel, and many were ready to exclaim, “The days are prolonged, and every vision faileth.” Ezekiel 12:22.
But like the stars in the vast circuit of their appointed path, God’s purposes know no haste and no delay. Through the symbols of the great darkness and the smoking furnace, God had revealed to Abraham the bondage of Israel in Egypt, and had declared that the time of their sojourning should be four hundred years. “Afterward,” He said, “shall they come out with great substance.” Genesis 15:14. Against that word, all the power of Pharaoh’s proud empire battled in vain. On “the self-same day” appointed in the divine promise, “it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out from the land of Egypt.” Exodus 12:41. So in heaven’s council the hour for the coming of Christ had been determined. When the great clock of time pointed to that hour, Jesus was born in Bethlehem.”  -Desire of Ages, Pages 31-32