QUESTIONS PROJECT: CHRISTMAS HATERS

QP_Christmas_picTHE QUESTIONS PROJECT: Q & A WITH CHRISTMAS-HATERS.

WAS JESUS BORN ON DECEMBER 25?

No.  If we put together all the sleuth work of Biblical scholars, Jesus was probably born in the spring, closer to the time of Easter.  I have to admit, the possibility that Immanuel was born around Easter, which is also Passover, adds some beautiful symmetry to Scripture!  December 25th is simply a time to celebrate this miraculous event.

 

ISN’T CELEBRATING CHRISTMAS NOTHING MORE THAN A CHURCH TRADITION?

There’s no question that churches (and cultures) certainly hold their Christmas traditions dear.  We certainly won’t find Christmas trees, gift-giving, cards, plays, or cantatas in the Bible.  It is human nature to connect tangible icons to our celebrations.  It is really, only wrong when it detracts from the true reason, which is the only real and true fact of Christmas; God came among us to save us.  Just as promised.

 

WHAT IS CHRISTMAS…REALLY?

Christmas is the observation and celebration of a very old promise.  The concept of an anointed One coming to redeem humanity goes back as far as King David. (Psalms 2 and 110)  So that would make the promise 1000 years old by the time of Jesus the Christ.  Christmas revolves around the singular idea that God would be born as one of us.  What makes it really unique is that, rather than the usual religious focus of our sacrifice to a god; God sacrificed Himself for us.

 

WHY IS THERE CHRISTMAS?

In the economy of God’s justice, there must be perfect sacrifice for the imperfect nature of sin.  -Or righteousness to cover unrighteousness.  Since God alone is perfect, God had to be the once-and-for-all sacrifice.  Since humanity is guilty of sin, the sacrifice also had to be human.  The sacrifice would be fully man and fully God.  Some 4 centuries before Christ, we find prophecies pointing to this:

Isaiah 7:14
the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.

Immanuel means “God with us”, or “God among us.”

 

ISN’T CHRISTMAS A PAGAN HOLIDAY?

Yes and no.  The time of Christmas revolves around the winter solstice.  (One of two points at which the sun is highest or lowest on the horizon, depending which hemisphere you’re in.)  This celestial event has been an important observation in many ancient religions.  In short, the ancient Roman Catholic Church latched on to it as a great time to remember the birth of Christ and push aside some heathen thinking in the process.  But like every other day, it is what you make it.  God gives us that freedom of will.  One thing this day affords, is an opportunity to speak Christ into our culture in a way Christians rarely get the chance.

 

By the way did you know “Christian” means “little Christ”?  Christmas will happen regardless of the haters.  And we certainly have enough Grinches (religious & nonreligious) so why not make it meaningful and be a “little Christ” this year?  Anyway, it’s certainly food for thought.

 

This article was inspired by a great little piece by Jesse Johnson, teaching pastor at Immanuel bible Church, VA.  You can read his responses at: https://thecripplegate.com/7-questions-from-christmas-haters/

THE QUESTIONS PROJECT: God, are you out there??

 

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For all the questions we could explore, none of them mean a thing until we come to an honest answer to this one.  Does God exist- true or untrue?

The ironic thing about this question is, it is often approached as a preference and not truth.  People would prefer there was no God, or, they’d prefer God was “not like this” or He was “like that.”  The thing is; perception can be mere preference, but truth cannot.  Truth is what is real, like it or not.

A foundational qualification for God to be God is that He is the designer and sustainer of creation.  That being said, here are some realities to consider:

  • The complexity and uniformity of the cosmos.

We have developed theories of what holds the universe together, and how and why it is expanding.  But what’s behind our theories?  The ageless predictability of basic physics.  Science claims that our solar system is 4.6 billion years old.  And since its formation, our planet has been following the same orbit around the sun.  As far as consistent laws, that’s a pretty solid track record.

The universe is said to be 13.7 billion solar years, and it too, has followed the same laws of physics.  Even as we look into theoretical physics, and alternate laws, we can only consider the alternate because the consistent has remained so consistent.  If we ever discover an alternate reality where 1+1 doesn’t equal 2, it’s only because we have known that in our physical experience, 1+1 has always equaled 2.

Speaking of the universe, with the growing convictions on dark matter and dark energy, we are beginning to understand how the universe as a whole, is connected.  The fact that our planet is at just the right, miniscule distance from the sun, isn’t just a consequence of our solar system.  It is an effect of the entire galaxy, which in turn is the consequence of all the galaxies neighboring our galaxy.  How humbling to think that a thousand, thousand stars are just where they need to be so we can be here!

  • The phenomenon of life.

And life itself consists of thousands of lines of genetic code that work by producing their own energy source as they produce bio-code and pump out the right sequencing over and over.  Not only that, they have a built-in time clock dictating when it is time for life to stop.  The chance of that happening randomly, is about the same as the computer code of your device just falling into place to produce the software you are now using.  As we so painfully know; get a few lines of code wrong and nothing works!    …The cosmos operates in systems.  Systems point to a design.  Design points to a designer.

  • God Himself, we ourselves!

But perhaps the greatest evidence of God, is ourselves.  From the dawn of humanity we haven’t been able to abandon the idea of God.  The atheist turned God-seeker, Marilyn Adamson puts her personal experience like this:

“I didn’t realize that the reason the topic of God weighed so heavily on my mind, was because God was pressing the issue. I have come to find out that God wants to be known. He created us with the intention that we would know him. He has surrounded us with evidence of himself and he keeps the question of his existence squarely before us. It was as if I couldn’t escape thinking about the possibility of God. In fact, the day I chose to acknowledge God’s existence, my prayer began with, ‘Ok, you win…’ It might be that the underlying reason atheists are bothered by people believing in God is because God is actively pursuing them.”

It makes sense that if an entity so far beyond us remains a constant question, it’s not because we have reached up and formed the question; it’s that He has reached down and placed the question in us.  Of course, that’s no new revelation.  Some 5,000 years ago, a very wise king wrote, “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.”  Eccl. 3:11.

~Anyway, it is certainly food for thought to a very important question.