Australian apologist JOHN SMITH thinks on Christmas and suggests it's not just about Jesus.
It's Christmas time and we all know that's about peace on earth and goodwill towards all people. Now surely no one will disagree if I write about Christmas, will they? But then I think, what about my Jewish friends? Well, I don't mind saying "Happy Hannukah" to them, but for subtle reasons I wouldn't feel offended if they found it difficult to return the greeting in a Christian context.
Having just concluded academic study on religions of the world, I am well aware that every type of believer has special days to underscore their belief. We Christians love our festival celebrating the birth of Jesus and all that means to us. So I trust those who don't hold to the same belief will not be offended if I take this opportunity to mention the advent of one who has been identified by such believers as the Prince Of Peace. Christmas is worth preparing for with carefulness and time to spare. I bought a cute little book last week, The Little Book Of Christmas Joys. It promised "432 things to do for; yourself and others that just might make this the best Christmas ever." As if we didn't have enough to do already!
Seriously though, some of it was beautiful advice:
* Be first to wish everyone a blessed and happy Christmas.
* Don't count your calories from 15 December through to 2 January. Do count your blessings though.
* Take a basket of goodies to someone notoriously grumpy.
* Be nice to sales people. They are wearier than you are.
* Adopt a needy family over Christmas.
* Even if you're a bit heathen, go with the family to a Christmas church service to find what it's about.
* Let go of a problem you can't solve - and trust God.
* Adopt a lonely grandparent for Christmas.
* Take a scrummy dinner to someone who's shut themselves off from the world.
* Before going to bed on Christmas Eve, read by candlelight about Jesus' birth in the second chapter of Luke's gospel. Join hands and sing a serious carol that talks about more than snow, chestnuts, reindeer and red noses.
* Discuss what Christmas is really about.
Most of all, prepare your heart to be embraced by His love and care, for you were, and are, part of His intention to bring peace, forgiveness and goodwill to all.
Christmas isn't simply about Jesus. It's about you, your hopes, visions and aspirations, your values, morals and integrity, your commitment to stand for, and with, others and to support those in need. It's about truth, meaning, direction and finding a reason to truly celebrate life. It's about family and community, sensitivity and consideration. It's about whom you are, how you operate and who and what you live for.
It's about loving everyone regardless of colour or creed or age or gender or status. It's about dignity, love and spirituality as prior considerations to economic rationalism and pragmatism. It's about all of life.
Happy birthday, Jesus. I'm glad you came