Christmas, Keeping the Faith

Christmas is NOT just for kids

Every time I hear someone say, “Christmas is for the kids” I want to stamp my foot, fix my hands to my hips and, in my most maturest, grown-up voice respond, “It is NOT!”

I love Christmas.

I love presents, tinsel and carols.  I love the feasting, the family time and the drinks with friends.  I love decorating the tree, lovingly wrapping each gift and driving around in the nights before Christmas to look at the houses lit up like the proverbial.  The season is certainly made richer for the squeals of delight and wide-eyed wonderment of children.  That was evident at the Christmas pageant through Launceston’s streets recently.  Kids hoisted on their dads’ shoulders and jumping at the roadside brought a generous measure of joy to the atmosphere.

But let’s not relinquish Christmas to the kiddies.

Children bring the merriment, but it was one single child more than 2000 years ago that brought the reason for the celebration – for adults and children alike.  He came via an unplanned pregnancy, out of wedlock, to two fresh-faced kids with a faith bigger than their fears.

Jesus’ birth was a momentous event that split time in two.  His short life introduced revolutionary ideas of humility, unconditional love, grace and mercy.  His death allowed us direct communication with his father in heaven and freedom from the old law – the rules and stricture of the Old Testament.

While I’m a huge fan of the tizz and festivity of Christmas, I’m a much bigger fan of Jesus and the importance of respecting his birthday.

In the Biblical Christmas story, we read of a “star in the east” that appeared at the time of Jesus’ birth and led the Magi (the wise men) to his birthplace.

“When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, (the Magi) saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.” (Matthew 2:10-11)

Did I mention that I love carols?  That classic old carol ‘We Three Kings’ has a beautiful description of this light in the heavens that led the Magi to Jesus.

“O-ooo… Star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.”

We each have the opportunity to be a Christmas Star, a small light directing others to the “light of the world”.  An older Jesus, out of nappies and no longer breastfeeding, would later say, “I am the light of the world.  Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)

If Christmas is for the kids, then at the very least we are to be their Christmas Stars, directing them and others to the true import of Christmas and the source of light in this dark life.

“Arise, shine, for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord rises upon you.  See, darkness covers the earth and thick darkness is over the peoples, but the Lord rises upon you and his glory appears over you.” (Isaiah 60:1-2)

The light symbol is repeated over and over throughout the scriptures and is a powerful metaphor for the transformation God brings to our lives.  The light of His truth and love cannot be overcome by any darkness (John 1:5).

This Christmas, acknowledge the message that is for everyone, young and old, and like that bright star above Bethlehem, be led to the light.

Be the light.

First published in The Examiner Newspaper for Keeping the Faith column on Monday December 16, 2013.

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13 Comments

  1. Lionel Walters says

    Another beautifully written piece, Claire. Too often the tinsel and toys distract us from God’s precious gift of the babe in Bethlehem whose life was given for all – young and old!

  2. Thank you Claire.  This article is a very insightful and inspiring peace of writing.

    ‘He came via an unplanned pregnancy, out of wedlock’ reminded me that perhaps this was the reason why ‘there was no room for them in the inn.’ (Luke 2:7).

    Also, the star that travelled westward stopped at the zenith point above Jesus (Matthew 2:9). This is paralleled in the Old Testament when the sun and moon stopped in the sky for Joshua and signalled judgment for Joshua’s enemies (Joshua 10:13)

    Also Isaiah 60:1-2 reminded me of the beginning of creation when darkness covered the world and then the light was introduced (Genesis 1:1-3) which Isaiah confirms refers to Jesus.

    Christmas is indeed for all of us, and not just for children, but let us remember Jesus’ words ‘Truly I tell you, anyone who will not receive the kingdom of God like a little child will never enter it.’ (Mark 10:15)

    Thank you again Claire.

  3. Carol says

    Thank you, Claire, for exposing the myth that ‘Christmas is only for children” and for dong it so beautifully. One point though, Mary was not an unwed mother. She and Joseph were formally betrothed to each other and in their day in the Jewish world, that was a marriage. The time for coming to live together was entirely up to the couple, though, which is why this couple were not under the same roof from day one of the betrothal. Perhaps Joseph didn’t have his house ready? Anyway, when he learned of Mary’s pregnant state, he began to think of ‘divorcing her informally”.

  4. John Wigg says

    Lately, I’ve been thinking: We hear a lot about the Christmas Tree. What a grand opening to tell people about the Easter Tree – that barbaric Roman cross where the grown-up Christ-Child bore all our griefs, sorrows and and crimes against Heaven in His own body! Thanks be to God for His inexpressible gift!

  5. Laura Palmer says

    Have a lovely holiday celebrating the biggest and most dangerous lie ever told. What a great plan to get out of a stoning! Pregnant with the son of god! Unfortunately, people like you are still believing this young girl who got pregnant out of wedlock during a time when women were persecuted by death for such acts. Open your eyes, for the sake of humanity!

    • Hi Laura,

      The Apostle Paul said ‘If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.’ (1 Corinthians 15:19).

      But Jesus was indeed born of a virgin, as Claire has described above, and Paul tells us that Jesus ‘died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures’ (1 Corinthians 15:3-4).

      It is only his resurrection from the dead that gives us hope for the future.  Jesus says:

      ‘Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth!  For I am God, and there is no other.’ (Isaiah 45:22)

      • Laura Palmer says

        Apart from the Bible, you have no proof for you claims. Back then it would have been easy to convince people of such a lie. It’s sad that people still believe this deception, in this day and age, where the evidence of any supernatural activity anywhere is sketchy at best.

      • Thank you Laura.

        Apart from your own opinions you have no proof of your claims.

        As well as the Bible, we also have our conscience by which we intrinsically know right from wrong.  The creation around us also testifies to its maker.  However, we have a natural disposition against God and suppress what we know about him.

        The Bible is a book like no other and its words are true and life giving.  I encourage you to read it.

      • laura palmer says

        I have read it.

        “we also have our conscience by which we intrinsically know right from wrong.” that is not proof of any god. Also, some people do not know right from wrong. depends how they were raised and if they were taught empathy “The creation around us also testifies to its maker.” Ah, no. You have absolutely no proof that a god made the universe, let alone the god in the bible. There are thousands of creation stories, many a lot older than your Christian one. The creation account in the Bible does not fit with what science has discovered. The bible claims that the earth is flat. The bible claims man was made from the dirt. The earth was not made in 6 days. How can you have light in the sky without the sun or the moon? The list goes on.
        ” However, we have a natural disposition against God and suppress what we know about him.” No we have a natural disposition to question extraordinary claims that lack evidence to back them. You are supressing your natural urges and running on fear and blind faith. I urge you to open your eyes to the truth.

      • Thank you for your comments Laura.

        In regard to creation and blind faith, here’s a video that I found helpful:

      • Neil C says

        Hi Christians !!
        “The Bible is a book like no other and its words are true and life giving.”……..well then Sid, please don’t waste any time celebrating Jesus’s birthday on December 25.
        Enjoy the frivolity; YES……….. loving family/friends; YES. December 25 is not Jesus’ birthday according to the Bible…………but a rather obvious continuation of the “pagan” solstice/birth of the Sun celebration, that has since morphed into a modern, gift wrapped Santa themed orgy of over consumption.
        As with most religions throughout time, Christianity simply replaced/renamed the old, traditional holidays with their own festivities. It was (logically) easier to get folks to accept the new order if the actual dates remained the same, mainly as they still had to fit in with the omni present reality of Iron Age farm-life’s seasonal workload.

        From the Gospels we directly know that shepherds were in the fields watching their flocks at the time of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2:7-8). Shepherds were not in the fields during December.
        Luke’s account suggests that Jesus may have been born in summer or early fall. Since December is traditionally a cold and rainy time in Judea, it is highly likely the shepherds would have sought shelter (from the weather) for their flocks at night, as was common practice at the time.
        Secondly, Jesus’ parents came to Bethlehem to register in a Roman census (Luke 2:1-4).
        We have ample historical evidence from contemporary Roman sources that such censuses were not taken in winter, when temperatures often dropped below freezing and roads were in poor condition. Taking a census under such conditions would have been difficult, if not self-defeating.

        So have fun with the silly season, but do just that…..keep it silly, keep it fun, keep it loving, keep it Australia winning the cricket, cos even the Bible clearly says December 25 ain’t J-Boy’s birfdee !!

      • Thanks Neil for informing me of these details.  Although it’s not the actual day, Christians do remember Jesus’ birth at this time. Similarly, our Queen’s birthday is 21 April, but we celebrate it in June.

        I like what Claire said above:
        ‘This Christmas, acknowledge the message that is for everyone, young and old, and like that bright star above Bethlehem, be led to the light.’

  6. John Wigg says

    Aldous Huxley, was not an adherent to the Christian faith. He wrote in his Ends and Means: “All science is based upon an act of faith — faith in the validity of the mind’s logical processes, faith in the ultimate explicability of the world, faith that the laws of thought are the laws of things.”

    Even the most materialist skeptics amongst the scientific community must plead guilty to a certain kind of faith in certain propositions which are not necessarily reduceable to experiments in a laboratory.

    Are meaning and information merely the “products” or “projections” of matter and energy, or were they “there” before matter and energy existed? If faith, in general, is a dangerous attitude to have, why is semantics an essential part of human language?

    I have not heard that the human body contains chemicals which are not found in the soils of this planet… No-one alive today was present when the earth and its life forms came into being… We all know that fact is generally stranger, often more confronting, than fiction.

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