North Santa Rosa

Living With Purpose

    What is the meaning of Christmas? It’s a time of happiness and family fun. It’s a time for Christmas trees, the wide-eyed looks of children as they contemplate the visit of Santa Claus, the pleasant aroma of home-baked cookies from Grandmaw’s kitchen, the towering stack of glittering Christmas cards that fill our mailboxes, the beautiful sounds of Christmas carols—it’s all this. However, Christmas is so much more than this.    There was once a great debate over who holds the greatest claim to Christmas—Santa Claus or Jesus? Santa lives at the North Pole. JESUS is everywhere. Santa rides in a sleigh. JESUS rides on the wind and walks on the water. Santa comes but once a year. JESUS is an ever present help. Santa fills your stockings with goodies. JESUS supplies all your needs. Santa comes down your chimney uninvited. JESUS stands at your door and knocks and then enters your heart. You have to stand in line to see Santa. JESUS is as close as the mention of his name. Santa lets you sit on his lap. JESUS lets you rest in his arms. Santa doesn’t know your name, all he can say is, “Hi little boy or girl, what’s your name?” JESUS knew our name before we did. Not only does he know our name. He knows our address too. He knows our history and future and he knows how many hairs are on our heads. Santa has a belly like a bowl full of jelly. Jesus has a heart full of love. All Santa can offer is Ho Ho Ho. JESUS offers health, help, and hope. Santa says, “You better not cry!” JESUS says, “Cast all your anxieties on me for I care for you.” Santa’s little helpers make toys. JESUS makes new life, mends wounded hearts, repairs broken homes, and builds mansions. Santa may make you chuckle, but JESUS gives you joy that is your strength. While Santa puts gifts under the tree, JESUS became our gift and died on a tree. Santa gets older with each passing year, but JESUS rose from the grave and will live in eternity where no one grows old.

    There’s a great need for each one of us to pause and reflect on the significance of this great festival we call Christmas. Jesus truly is the reason for the season. Consider the impact of the light of Christ.

    An artist once drew a picture of a winter twilight—the evergreen trees were heavy-laden with snow, and a dreary, dark house sets there; lonely and desolate in the midst of a storm. It was a sad picture. Then, with a quick stroke of a brush and some yellow paint, he put a light in one window. The effect seemed to be magical! The entire scene was transformed into a vision of comfort and cheer. The birth of Christ was such a light in the dark world.

    There are many things we could say about Christmas. But I’ll say only three: First, Christmas is the expression of God’s love. “For God so loved the world that He gave”. There is an emphasis on “gave”. God set the example of giving for those who did not deserve His gift nor had the ability to match it. Christmas is the expression of God’s love. Secondly, Christmas is the celebration of what God did. “He gave His only begotten Son”—to come down to earth to reveal that He is a God of love and not simply a God of “do’s and don’ts”. Christmas is the expression of God’s love. Christmas is the celebration of what God did. And thirdly, Christmas is God’s purpose in redemption. “That whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life”. Through the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem’s stable, God set into motion His plan for saving sinful people who were totally unable to save themselves. That’s the meaning of Christmas—God sending us the Messiah, a Savior, and our Lord.

    So, if Christmas is so wonderful, how can we keep the Spirit of Christmas throughout the year? Christ was born in a stable. But to keep the Spirit of Christmas alive throughout the year He must be born in your heart. He must be received. The Spirit of Christmas must also be expressed by your life. For the Spirit of Christmas to remain active throughout the ear—you must let the truth of Christmas change your way of life. By self-admission, Jesus says, “I am the way, the TRUTH, and the life” (John 14:6).

    Once, during the Christmas season, there was a lovely couple who were separated suddenly by death. On the night following his death, the new widow gathered her children together around the table at the evening meal and led them in singing the Doxology, which begins, “Praise God from whom all blessings flow,” by doing so she let her faith shine through. Are you revealing that the truth of Bethlehem’s stable resides in your heart by giving to others? That’s what God did—He gave us Jesus! The Spirit of Christmas is about giving. Helping others by sharing a little of what you have. That’s the way to celebrate Christmas throughout the year. You see, God gave the example, by giving His Son. We are never more like God, than when we give our life to Him and give of ourselves to others.

• This bi-weekly column is written by Matthew Dobson. He’s a Public Health Services Manager for the State of Florida, former U.S. Army Reserve Chaplain, and the Pastor of New Bethel Baptist Church in the New York, Florida community. His “Living With Purpose” Book series can be found and purchased on www. Amazon.com. You can contact him by email: rmdobson@liberty.edu.

Posted by on Dec 6 2020. Filed under Church News, Churches, Living With Purpose, Local, News, Top News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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