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Redeeming Christmas - Shepherd of Hope

But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. – Galatians 4:4-5

 

The way we celebrate Christmas today is much different than the way it was celebrated the first Christmas, or at the birth of Jesus Christ. Christmas today has been sold. In fact there is very little of the scriptural substance of the incarnation of God in Christ. Jesus is our greatest gift, and the salvation from sin and eternal life offered in His name through the gospel. But Christmas today has been sold; it’s all about buying and selling; about getting and giving gifts. This year we’re going to try and redeem Christmas.

The Worldly and Religious Cover-Up of Christmas

So different are our accumulated Christmas traditions that they threaten to coverup the true Christmas and its meaning.

The world wraps Christmas in stuff. The world literally wraps up Christmas. In an article How much waste does the festive season create? It states:

227,000 miles of wrapping paper is thrown away each year. Instead of being recycled, 1 billion Christmas cards are also put in the bin. 300,000 tons of card packaging is said to be used during the festive season, which is enough to cover London’s Big Ben almost 260,000 times. Americans spend more than $7 billion on wrapping paper each year, according to Sundale Research.[1]

That’s a lot of waste and it tends to box up and cover up a lot of what Christmas really means.

Religion wraps Christmas in traditions. Our traditions can cover up the true meaning of Christmas. What do I mean? Well, here are a few traditions, (many of which aren’t practiced any more for various reasons) but that covered up the true meaning of Christmas [2]:

  • Putting fruitcake under your pillow – “Fruitcake has gotten a bad rap as of late. But placing fruitcake under your pillow actually has some pretty sweet origins. “If you ate a piece of fruitcake—especially if it was from a wedding—and put [the remainder] under your pillow at night, legend said you’d dream of the person you will marry,” . . ..

And this isn’t the only antiquated Christmas tradition involving love. Christmas revelers in the 17th century would also do things like throw food at the wall to see if what stuck spelled the name of a lover. They’d also toss shoes into a tree—and if they hung there, the thrower would be married within the year.”

  • Celebrating the “Feast of the Donkey” – “In 12th-century France, a donkey would be led in a procession through the center of town to the local church, where a service was in session. The donkey would remain next to the church’s altar for the duration of the service, and congregants would mimic its bray in a call-and-response with the priest. This tradition, known as the Feast of the Donkey, was accompanied by “raucous parties that usually got out of hand,” says Earl. The celebration became such a problem that many towns eventually banned it.”

 

  • Electing a Child to Run the Church – “Derived from the influence of Roman Saturnalia celebrations, social inversion was a popular Christmastime practice centuries ago, . . . This would typically involve the election of a “boy bishop,” or child, to run the church in lieu of a minister during the Feast of Saint Nicholas on Dec. 6. In the most extreme examples, you’d wind up “with some three-year-old running around leading the whole thing,”

 

Yes, the world wraps up Christmas in stuff. Religion wraps Christmas in traditions. In this series we are going to unwrap Christmas so we can see its full meaning and purpose. In this series we are going to redeem Christmas and take it back from those who would abuse and misuse it for their own selfish and deceptive ends.

“Christmas”

The word “Christmas” is not found in the Bible. The birth of Jesus began to be celebrated in the church around the 4th century. But where does the word “Christmas” come from? The word “Christmas” traces its origin to the 12th century. In the article Why Is It Called Christmas? The Origin and Meaning of the Name Explained by Jenni Fink (Newsweek 12/25/2019), states:

Church officials started celebrating Jesus’ birth in the fourth century, according to History.com, and Pope Julius I chose December 25. The Bible doesn’t mention the date of Jesus’ birth and there’s debate as to when it actually took place. Some point to the shepherds’ presence to argue that it was likely spring since that’s when they herd, and others claim the stars depicted in the sky indicate it was a summer birth.

By the time the church decided to celebrate Jesus’ birth, there were already a number of festivities that marked the winter solstice, including the pagan Saturnalia festival. It’s possible Pope Julius I chose December 25 because if it was surrounded by other holidays, it was more likely to be embraced.

Initially, Jesus’ birth celebration was called the Feast of the Nativity and was celebrated in England by the end of the sixth century, according to History.com. The first known use of Christmas, according to Merriam-Webster, was before the 12th century and originates from Middle English’s Christemass meaning “Christ’s mass.” Mass in Old English, according to Dictionary.com, references a church service.

Encyclopedia Britannica explained that the term “Christmas” is of “fairly recent origin,” and Dictionary.com reported the Christ part of the word Christmas derived from the Greek word Chrīstos, spelled Χριστός in Greek. This explains why people abbreviate Christmas to Xmas.[3]

The “mass” of Christmas. The association of Christ with the Roman Catholic mass is significant. The Catholic “mass” includes the belief and doctrinal teaching of the transubstantiating of the communion (or Eucharist) elements into the actual body and blood of Jesus therefore bringing the actual presence of Jesus into the ritual as a re-sacrificing or continuing of the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross. This is significant because the Bible states clearly that the atoning sacrifice of Jesus on the cross was offered “once for all” not perpetually. Jesus’ atoning sacrifice on the cross was so magnificent and powerful, sufficient and satisfactory that He needed to only die once and for all, not perpetually or continually beyond that.

Jesus said:

  • John 19:30 (NKJV) – 30 So when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And bowing His head, He gave up His spirit.

The words of Jesus “it is finished” are a translation of a single Greek term tetelestai and the grammatical form (Perfect/Middle/Indicative) of the word conveys the idea of a completed act that has lasting effects. The atoning work of Jesus was completed on the cross and it has continued powerful affects for all who trust Him as Savior by faith.

The New Testament teaches in numerous places that the atoning death of Jesus was a “once for all” act:

  • Romans 6:10 (NKJV) – 10 For the death that He died, He died to sin once for all; but the life that He lives, He lives to God.
  •  Hebrews 7:25–27 (NKJV) – 25 Therefore He is also able to save to the uttermost those who come to God through Him, since He always lives to make intercession for them. 26 For such a High Priest was fitting for us, who is holy, harmless, undefiled, separate from sinners, and has become higher than the heavens; 27 who does not need daily, as those high priests, to offer up sacrifices, first for His own sins and then for the people’s, for this He did once for all when He offered up Himself.
  •  Hebrews 9:12 (NKJV) – 12 Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.
  •  Hebrews 10:10 (NKJV) – 10 By that will we have been sanctified through the offering of the body of Jesus Christ once for all.

Considering the testimony of Jesus Himself and scripture, we must redeem Christmas and the cross of Christ from any notion that His sacrifice was not sufficient and that it needs to be perpetuated or repeated over and over again in some way.

But when interpreting the word “Christmas,” this argument, though significant and essential, might not be an argument at all. What do I mean?

Jakub Marion in his online article Origin of the Words Christmas and Xmas states:

The word Christmas comes from Middle English Cristemasse, which in turn comes from Old English Cristes-messe, literally meaning Christ’s Mass.

Of course, we are not talking about the physical mass of Christ’s body. The origin of mass, in the Christian sense of the word, is not entirely clear. We know it comes from Latin missa, but there are several competing theories as to what missa is supposed to mean. Some scholars say it is a form of the Latin verb mittere, in which case it would mean “something that has been sent” (but it cannot refer to Christ himself because “missa” is grammatically feminine).

Others say that it is a late form of Latin missio, meaning “dismissal”. This is supported by the fact that Catholic masses are traditionally concluded with the words:

Ite, missa est.

which would mean, “Go, the dismissal is made”, provided this interpretation is correct.

Yet another explanation is that it is, in fact, the Hebrew word missah, “unleavened bread”, which God commanded to be offered with the Passover sacrifice in the Exodus.

If this is the case, then the word “Christmas” does not necessarily involve the aberrant doctrine of transubstantiation associated with the Catholic mass. If that is the case, the name “Christmas” would be redeemable!

The article goes on to address another confused understanding of how we write Christmas as “X-Mas”:

The name “Christ” – The origin of the designation Christ is also not without interest. It comes from Greek Χριστός (Christós), meaning “anointed”, which is a translation of Hebrew מָשִׁיחַ māšîaḥ (“anointed”) that has been incorporated into the English language as “messiah”. Hence, “Christ” and “Messiah” mean essentially the same, the former originating in Ancient Greek and the latter in Classical Hebrew.

Xmas – Finally, we get to the word Xmas (usually pronounced the same as Christmas, but some pronounce it, rather incorrectly, as /ˈɛksməs/). Many people believe that writing “Xmas” instead of Christmas is an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas and may even consider it blasphemous.

However, “X” in “Xmas” is, in fact, not the English letter “ex”. It is an abbreviation of the Greek name of “Christ”, Χριστός (Christos), which starts with the Greek letter Chi. Abbreviating “Christ” as “X” can be traced many centuries back, with some written documents dated as early as 1100 AD.[4]

In light of this explanation, the word “Christmas” is redeemable, we can use it to refer to the birth of Jesus, the incarnation of God.

Redeemable and Unredeemable Aspects of Christmas Traditions

How will we redeem Christmas from all the false airs and notions about it? That we need to do so should be obvious to any student of the Bible, or anyone interested in getting to the historical truth. So, as we proceed, we will expose unredeemable human promotions and religious traditions that have attached themselves to Christmas and undermined its truth. And we will assert the redeeming scriptural truth Christmas that has literally changed the world.

Why is This Important?

Because we are called to be sanctified by God’s truth. Jesus described Satan as a deceiver and father of lies (John 8:44). Much of the Bible is a warning against lies falsehoods and half-truths. Deception keeps us from God’s truth. No one should want to be deceived. Jesus said we should be sanctified or set apart unto God and His truth according to His scriptural truth (John 17:17). We are told to have nothing to do with the unfruitful works of darkness, but to expose them (Ephesians 5:11).  This is part of the Christians calling in life. So if there are lies and deceiving falsehoods about Christmas, we should not only be aware of them, but we should expose them.

Because of the times in which we live. The Bible clearly states that as we draw to the end of the age, the Last Days, deception and falsehoods will be rampant. Such deceptions and falsehoods attempt to keep people from God’s saving truths. Such lies hinder and keep people from understanding and responding to the gospel.

The Bible states:

  • 1 Timothy 4:1-2 (NKJV) – Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons, 2 speaking lies in hypocrisy, having their own conscience seared with a hot iron,

In Jesus’ teaching on the End Times He emphasized guarding against deception saying:

  • Matthew 24:4 (NKJV) – And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you.
  • Matthew 24:11 (NKJV) – Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many.

Because the path to our eternal destiny is affected by the truth. Jesus said:

  • Matthew 7:13-14 (NKJV) – “Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. 14 Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it.

The truth of God leads us to and keeps us on the narrow way spoken of by Jesus that leads to eternal life. Lies and falsehoods lure us to depart from the narrow way onto the Broadway that leads to destruction. Knowing the truth is eternally significant.

Therefore, in light of all this, it’s important to know and grasp the redeeming truth of Christmas as well recognize the falsehoods connected to Christmas so we can discard them.

Redeeming the Christmas Message

Today’s images of Christmas include Santa (Satan) Claus and his elves working hard all year to then distribute toys to every child on the planet in the course of one night. Christmas has been reduced to one big business marketed bonanza. There are literally tons of giving, but very little discussion of the True Giver and His greatest Gift Jesus. Just what is the true Christmas message?

The central message of Christmas of Christmas can be seen in two verses:

  • Galatians 4:4-5 (NKJV) – 4 But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, 5 to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons.

By taking these two verses piece by piece we can clearly capture the redeeming substance of what Christmas is all about.

But when the fullness of the time had come,

Jesus came according to God’s redemptive plan. God predicted Jesus coming (Isaiah 7:14; Micah 5:2). Jesus is the incarnation of God, Emanuel – “God with us” (Matthew 1:22-23). And This incarnation to place at just the right time according to God’s plan (Luke 1:26-38; 2:1-20).

 God sent forth His Son,

Jesus is God’s Son, the Second Person of the Triune Godhead. Jesus is not an angel (Hebrews 1-2). Jesus is God in the flesh!

born of a woman,

 God’s chosen method of the incarnation was the virgin birth (Matthew 1:18-21; Luke 1:26-38, 46-56; Isaiah 7:14). This was a supernatural birth and unlike any other birth in history. The account states:

  • Luke 1:26–38 (NKJV) – 26 Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, 27 to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. 28 And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” 34 Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?” 35 And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. 36 Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. 37 For with God nothing will be impossible.” 38 Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.

 

 born under the law,

 Jesus was born under the Law on that He fulfilled all genealogical requirements of the law (Matthew 1:1-18; Luke 3:23-38). Jesus fulfilled all prophecies pertaining to Messiah.

5 to redeem those who were under the law,

Christmas really is about buying and selling. The word “redeem” is at the heart of the meaning of Christmas. “Redeem” (Greek exagorase – Aorist/Active/Subjunctive of exagorazo) means redeem deliver, buy back, rescue. It is a compound word made of the prefix ek which means out of, out from, and the word agorazo (from the agora or marketplace) which means to buy, to ransom, redeem.

A redemption claimed by faith. The grammatical for of this verb (i.e. subjunctive) conveys the idea that our redemption is a possibility contingent on our decision to accept the atoning work that Jesus has done on our behalf. We must receive what Jesus has done for us by faith. If we do not receive Jesus as our Redeemer by faith, then what He has done for us remains unclaimed.

Sold under sin. In light of this word, Christmas really is about buying and selling. We are sold under sin. The Bible states:

  • Romans 7:14 (NKJV) – 14 For we know that the law is spiritual, but I am carnal, sold under sin.

We are “sold under sin,” in the sense that we are indebted and guilty before God and His just laws which we have broken. There is a debt that must be paid to the just requirement of God’s law. Since only a sinless One can pay that debt, Jesus is the one who had to pay that debt of sin for us.

Redeemed by Jesus from a slavery to sin. The word “sold” (Greek pepramenos – Perfect/Middle/Participle of piprasko) is an interesting one. It means having been sold into slavery, having been sold to a master. This is a term that conveys human trafficking only we sell ourselves to the master of sin. And there is a willfulness to this transaction in that the word is a metaphor for being entirely under the control of the love of sinning or addicted to sinning. Once we start sinning, we won’t and indeed can’t stop. We will need help to stop. We will need someone to open our eyes to our predicament. We will need someone to und hackle our heart. We need a new Master. We need someone to redeem us from this slavery. That Redeemer and new Master is Jesus. We were hopelessly enslaved to sin, and Jesus holds the keys that can unlock us. The Bible speaks unmistakably about this saying:

  • Romans 7:24–25a (NKJV) – 24 O wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death? 25 I thank God—through Jesus Christ our Lord!

That is a glorious message of Christmas isn’t it? It certainly is.

In 1738, in response to his trusting Jesus as Savior and being born again, (and no doubt also in response to his brother John Wesley’s heart being “strangely warmed”), Charles Wesley wrote one of his best-known hymns, And Can it Be.

John and Charles Wesley (along with George Whitefield) went on to be instruments of God in a national revival in England that’s credited with saving that country and having international influence all the way to Europe and America. The lyrics to that hymn speak of the joy over the unshackling from sin that the redemption of Jesus Christ provides. The lyrics are:

And Can it Be

 And can it be that I should gain

  1. An int’rest in the Savior’s blood?
    Died He for me, who caused His pain—
    For me, who Him to death pursued?
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
  • Refrain:
    Amazing love! How can it be,
    That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
  1. ’Tis myst’ry all: th’ Immortal dies:
    Who can explore His strange design?
    In vain the firstborn seraph tries
    To sound the depths of love divine.
    ’Tis mercy all! Let earth adore,
    Let angel minds inquire no more.
  2. He left His Father’s throne above—
    So free, so infinite His grace—
    Emptied Himself of all but love,
    And bled for Adam’s helpless race:
    ’Tis mercy all, immense and free,
    For, O my God, it found out me!
  3. Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
    Fast bound in sin and nature’s night;
    Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
    I woke, the dungeon flamed with light;
    My chains fell off, my heart was free,
    I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.
  4. No condemnation now I dread;
    Jesus, and all in Him, is mine;
    Alive in Him, my living Head,
    And clothed in righteousness divine,
    Bold I approach th’ eternal throne,
    And claim the crown, through Christ my own.

Unfortunately, there aren’t many songs or hymns of such rich glorious substance in our day. But we can still sing timeless hymns such as this. If you know Jesus as your Savior and Redeemer, rejoice this Christmas over the unshackling from sin that Jesus has gifted to you.

Not a ransom paid to the devil. It should be mentioned that this debt paying or ransoming or redeeming that Christ does is in no way a payment to Satan to gain our release. Jesus’ death on the cross was not a ransom paid to the devil for our release. Jesus made a public spectacle of Satan on the cross (Colossians 2:15). Jesus in no way negotiated with Satan for our release. Jesus stepped in and paid our death penalty to God who is Just Judge.

But there’s more. God has a way of always doing “exceedingly abundantly” beyond what we ask or even expect. And that’s scriptural:

  • Ephesians 3:20-21 (NKJV) – Now to Him who is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us, 21 to Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.

Yes and amen!

Jesus redeemed us from the curse of the law. Because we have sinned we are under a curse. Jesus came to be a curse for us, that we could be freed from the curse of sin. This is the message of Galatians:

  • Galatians 3:10–13 (NKJV) – 10 For as many as are of the works of the law are under the curse; for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who does not continue in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them.” 11 But that no one is justified by the law in the sight of God is evident, for “the just shall live by faith.” 12 Yet the law is not of faith, but “the man who does them shall live by them.”13 Christ has redeemed us from the curse of the law, having become a curse for us (for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who hangs on a tree”),

Jesus became a curse for us. He took and paid our penalty for us.

Redeemed out from under the curse of the penalty of God’s just law. Wonderful Redeemer and His redemption. But there’s still even more!

 that we might receive the adoption as sons.

 Because of Jesus we can be adopted into the family of God and spend eternity with God and all those who trust in Jesus as Savior:

  • Romans 8:14–17 (NKJV) – 14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out, “Abba, Father.” 16 The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together.

As God’s adoptive children we have a wonderful eternal inheritance in heaven (e.g. Acts 26:18). And we will go a little deeper later in our study about the unity and family of God that we have been blessed with in God’s redemptive plan.

This is the redeeming message of God in Christmas. And what a gloriously wonderful message it is. Can you see why it’s so important to redeem Christmas? If we don’t redeem Christmas, we will miss an opportunity to rejoice and worship God for His gracious glorious gift of redemption.

Unwrapping Jesus our Redeemer. Christmas first and foremost, is all about Jesus. You wouldn’t know it by looking at what Christmas has become. But when we go to God’s word and unwrap the Christmas account, we see very clearly it is all about Jesus, Immanuel, God with us:

  • Matthew 1:18–21 (NKJV) – 18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”

That last phrase, “and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins,” speaks to us about the redemptive mission Jesus came to fulfill. The name “Jesus” (Greek Iesous) itself means The LORD is salvation. (Its Old Testament equivalent is Joshua.)

The passage continues by emphasizing the incarnational birth of Jesus as a fulfillment of God’s prophetic word in the Old Testament through Isaiah:

  • Matthew 1:22-23 (NKJV) – 22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

The birth of Jesus is a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies many of which were given by God eight centuries (800 years!) in advance (Isaiah 7:14; 9:6; Micah 5:2).

Just think, “God with us.” That really is incredible. Every religion claims a god. But what God actually came to dwell among us? (e.g. John 1;14). And what God actually incarnated in human history? Truly history became “His Story” when Jesus was born.”

And the prophets of Jesus’ day were given a confirming word from the LORD about Who Jesus was. The historical account of the gospels record:

  • Luke 2:25–38 (NKJV) – 25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said: 29       “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace, According to Your word; 30For my eyes have seen Your salvation                    31Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples, 32A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles, And the glory of Your people Israel.”33 And Joseph and His mother marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”36 Now there was one, Anna, a prophetess, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was of a great age, and had lived with a husband seven years from her virginity; 37 and this woman was a widow of about eighty-four years, who did not depart from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. 38 And coming in that instant she gave thanks to the Lord, and spoke of Him to all those who looked for redemption in Jerusalem.

Jesus is our Redeemer, and we need to redeem that incredibly blessed truth from all those who would steal it away through alternative storylines and emphases.

Everything we are as “Christians” is bound up in the coming of Jesus and His redemption. Every blessing of God is connected to Jesus. And all God offers, He offers as a free gift of his grace. The Bible states:

  • Ephesians 1:1–14 (NKJV) – Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and faithful in Christ Jesus: Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places in Christ, just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love, having predestined us to adoption as sons by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will, to the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved.In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His grace which He made to abound toward us in all wisdom and prudence, having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. 11 In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestined according to the purpose of Him who works all things according to the counsel of His will, 12 that we who first trusted in Christ should be to the praise of His glory.13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

What incredible riches we unwrap when we unravel all the stuff and tradition that clutters the gifts of God in Christ!

It’s interesting that there are two things that the devil and an unbelieving world seek to attack and tear down when it comes to Christianity. Those two things are the nature of Jesus and authority of God’s Word. That is because if Jesus and God’s Word are diminished in any way, the household of God is weakened. Christian equip yourself to defend the nature of Jesus; Jesus is God! And equip yourself to defend the Bible; it is the Word of God! Don’t shrink back or neglect these two things. These are two things we cannot compromise on.

Someone has described God’s Holy Book the Bible in the following way:

THE BIBLE – GOD’S HOLY BOOK

 

This Book contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners, and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe, and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you, and comfort to cheer you.  It is the traveler’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword, and the Christian’s charter. Christ is it’s subject, our good it’s design, and the glory of God it’s end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently and prayerfully. It is given to you in life, will be open in the judgment, and be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, rewards the greatest labor, and condemns all who trifle with its holy precepts.”

What does the Bible say about Jesus? The Bible points to Jesus as the Savior of the World, our Redeemer. This year lets redeem Christmas, let’s take it back from those who would try and rob us of the true treasure and eternal giftings Jesus brought for us to receive.

 

[1] How much wrapping paper is used each year? (askinglot.com)

[2] https://bestlifeonline.com/forgotten-christmas-traditions/

[3] https://www.newsweek.com/why-it-called-christmas-origin-meaning-name-explained-1478918

[4] https://jakubmarian.com/etymology-of-the-words-christmas-and-xmas/

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