Celebrating Christmas

Take a look at your church's calendar for the month of December.  It is probably exploding with Christmas.  Perhaps one day early in the month there is an afternoon set aside for decorating the church building with lights, greenery, and maybe a tree or two. There is probably a church-wide Christmas dinner.  Sunday School classes are having Christmas parties and gift exchanges.  Maybe the church will go caroling one evening, with hot chocolate and cookies to end the evening.  There is a Christmas Eve candlelight service to attend and then of course Christmas morning.  At some point, either on Christmas Day or the Sunday before, there will be an elaborate play portraying the Christmas story.  

As important as Christ's birth is, the early church did not celebrate it.  The first mention of celebrating Christ's birth wasn't until 354 AD, which mentioned a Christmas celebration in 336 AD.  You can go to this link to read more about it.  

Instead, the early church celebrated the resurrection.  As important as Jesus birth is, Jesus' death and resurrection should be celebrated more.  There may well have been another infant born in Bethlehem that night, but the birth we celebrate was a birth put into motion from the foundation of the world, with potential and plan.  Without that plan, this would have been just another birth.  No shepherds, no angels, no star, no wise men.  Herod wouldn't have taken the time and resources to try to kill the baby, and his parents wouldn't have left the country to protect Him.

And yet, look at our church calendars come spring.  Some churches may have a Good Friday service, but for the most part, the most significant weekend in history is honored by two hours on a Sunday morning.

By all means, celebrate Christmas.  But don't forget that the little baby in the manger grew up and did the unimaginable.  He offered His life as a sacrifice to rescue us and then rose from the dead so that we could live as well.

When Easter comes around, I hope you celebrate it with at least as much fervor and passion as you do Christmas.

"For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.  For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him."

John 3:16-17 (NASB)

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5 Responses to Celebrating Christmas

  1. !!!!

    You've touched my happy spot. I remember a priest saying once during Triduum (which is the 3-day commemoration at the end of Holy Week), "Folks, this is what it's all about. Lots of people have been born. Only one rose from the dead." One thing of many I love about being Catholic is the way we stretch out and linger over the changes in season, from the penitential (Advent and Lent) to the celebratory (Christmas and Easter). I get frustrated during December because everyone is all commercialized out by the time Christmas actually begins on Dec. 25th. We don't start the carols until Christmas Eve, and we keep singing them through Epiphany. And Easter lasts fifty days.

    1. I get so tired of Christmas songs before Christmas Day even arrives, so I understand that! That is a great statement. Birthdays are commonplace. Resurrections not so much! I'm not Catholic, but that is one thing I especially admire about the Catholic Church.

  2. My Anglican Pastor would rejoice over hearing any parishioners express this significant point aloud. I used to help at the church office and the amount of stress that falls onto the clergy's shoulders thanks to the ambitions and personal delights of the "Christmas makers".

    Also, what a great thought expressed by Kathleen -"Folks, this is what it's all about. Lots of people have been born. Only one rose from the dead."

    Thanks for writing this, Kirra. (What a beautiful name!)

    1. I hope more and more people will come to this realization!

  3. Oh, I meant to say "expressed by a priest heard by Kathleen" . You have my permission to change it, Kirra. Thanks.


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