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1977197819791980198119821983198419851986198719881989

REJOICE IN THE WONDER OF OUR SAVIOR'S BIRTH
December 22, 1983


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PIX #1 - #444 While Shepherds Watched Their Flocks--verses of hymn.

CHRISTMAS! What does it mean? How did it get started? What should we do about it? What shouldn't we do about it?

The first six letters of Christmas..CHRIST...spell the real meaning of the day and the season which we are in.

On the 25th of December we will be celebrating the most important day in world history. Nearly 2,000 years ago a baby boy was born to a Jewish man and woman, Joseph and Mary, and he was named Jesus.

Isaiah, the prophet, foretold 700 years earlier of that important event, and what it meant to the world.

ISAIAH FORETOLD JESUS' BIRTH

"Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; behold a virgin shall con- ceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel." (Isaiah 8-14) And in Isaiah 9:6,7: "For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called wonderful, counseller, the mighty God, the everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end upon the throne of David and upon his Kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgement and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this."

MATTHEW TELLS ABOUT GOD'S PLAN

Then much later, St. Matthew and St. Luke tell about that blessed birth. Starting in chapter 1 of Matthew, verse 18: "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was of this wise: when as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

"Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make of her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream say- ing, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary they wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost, and she shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God is with us.

"Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: and knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus."

LUKE'S BEAUTIFUL CHRISTMAS STORY

St. Luke tells in chapter 2 of his gospel, the beautiful story of that first Christmas eve when Jesus was born: "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all of the world should be taxed (enrolled). And all went to be taxed (enroll themselves) everyone unto his own city.

"And Joseph also went up from Gallilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem: (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.

"And she brought forth her first son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. And there was in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.

"And the angel said unto them, fear not; for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace good will toward men."

There it is, right from God's word, what Christmas really means and how Christmas day came to be.

NO SANTA CLAUS IN BIBLE STORY

What should we do about it and what shouldn't we do about it?

The Bible doesn't say a word about Santa Claus and some of the customs which have been adopted in the years since the first Christmas.

The Bible tells how the wise men followed the star and brought precious gifts to the young Jesus and fell down and worshipped him.

There is nothing wrong in giving gifts at Christmas in a spirit of love and appreciation to those we love and to those in need.

Christmas is a time to reflect on God's great gift to the world which he loved so much that he unveiled his plan for man's salvation through the birth of Jesus.

WHAT WILL YOU DO WITH CHRISTMAS?

Yes, I know many readers will say, "You mean we should give up the Santa Claus myth which brings joy to so many children?" Well, each individual will have to answer that question to satisfy their own beliefs and wishes.

Which is worse...which is best...to bring up children believing in Santa and later exploding the myth and shattering their confidence in you as a parent... or instructing them of the true story about Christmas and what it should mean to them all their lives...and hereafter.

What about the poor kiddies who write letters to Santa but do not get what they ask for simply because there is no money for gifts? Raised on the truth about Christmas, the poor kiddies will be richer with the truth than the absence of gifts.

This Christmas read the whole story as told in Matthew 2 and Luke 2. Ponder God's love for mankind...let it fill your heart and mind; then pass that love along to others who need it in any way you are able to do so.

You'll have a joyous holiday season.

The author wishes everyone a most joyous holiday season, and wishes to thank readers for their faithfulness and contributions to the column.