Steve Maltz on rediscovering the reality of who Jesus is this Christmas.

Steve Maltz
Steve Maltz

I'm the Grinch. I'm not exactly stealing Christmas, but perhaps we need to revisit it a bit.

First a bit of truth. Who said Jesus was born on December 25th anyway? It was a date of convenience, manufactured by the early Roman Church to cause minimum disruption to the pagan society that had suddenly overnight become a 'Christian' one at the behest of the Emperor!

We know that it's been hijacked by the world as just another excuse for over-indulgence and merriment. We know that it has no meaning to most people celebrating it. We know that most people celebrating it know nothing about Christ or wish to do so. We know that it's a good time for supermarkets, wine producers, turkey farms and TV schedulers. We know that its' very purpose has been sucked out of it by multiculturalism and secularism. We know all these things. Yet...

We know that there is still power in the name of Jesus. The world may be swimming in a pool of confusion, not knowing what to believe in, or even if there's anything to believe in, but there's still power in the name of Jesus.

The world doesn't see this, or know this or understand these things. To most folk, Jesus is just another swear word, an off the cuff blasphemy ... if they only knew ... there's power in the name of Jesus.

Isn't it time they saw it? They would, if only we believed in it ourselves. At the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth. That's what the Bible says. Powerful words, but also true words. They speak of a person a lot more powerful and relevant than a baby in the manger, or the butt of casual blasphemy. It is time we took these words at face value or at least consider the possibility of their truth.

Perhaps this Christmas time will be the time we do this?

Christmas carols, revisited

Sometimes over-familiarity breeds contempt, or at least indifference.

Silent Night. Little Town of Bethlehem. Good King Wenceslas. To say nothing of Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. Sometimes we hear them so often - particularly if we have grown up with them as kids - that they lose their impact.

Yet some of them really pack a punch and a carol service can be a powerful gospel event, just through the words of the songs. Consider Hark the Herald Angels Sing, written over 200 years ago by Charles Wesley:

Christ by highest heaven adored; Christ, the everlasting Lord!
Late in time behold Him come, offspring of the Virgin's womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see; hail the incarnate Deity,
Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus our Emmanuel.

That's the whole purpose of Christmas in a nutshell. Sometimes we may miss this, distracted by the tune, or the moment, or over-familiarity, or the effect of too many mince pies.

Then there's what's said to be the most popular of all, Joy to the World, taken from a Psalm. Here's a couple of verses.

No more let sins and sorrows grow nor thorns infest the ground:
he comes to make his blessings flow far as the curse is found.

He rules the earth with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove
the glories of his righteousness and wonders of his love

I give you ... Christmas Carols. Not twee little ditties, but powerhouses of the gospel, by royal command, this Christmas at a church near you. CR

The opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those held by Cross Rhythms. Any expressed views were accurate at the time of publishing but may or may not reflect the views of the individuals concerned at a later date.