Phil Us Up!
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December 15, 2015, 2:55 PM

He is the reason.


     The center of the civilized world in the first century was Rome. During those days, the Romans mistakenly believed “their world” was the center of the universe. They began a mid-winter celebration called Saturnalia, which meant the return of the invincible sun. We call it the winter solstice, when the days begin to get longer. I think their celebration traditions will sound familiar. Wreaths, to praise the sun for its trip around the earth, trees were brought inside and decorated with small candles to represent the light given by the sun. Gifts were exchanged and the Romans made the mistake many have made, and continue to make, worshiping the created rather than the Creator.

     In the first century a few Christians tried desperately to move the focus from the sun, to the Son. They spent the festival telling their children and others about the arrival of the Invincible Son of God. They placed wreathes in their home, not to celebrate the suns trip around the earth, but to contemplate the promise the Son made to return to earth someday. When those first century Christians placed trees in their home, they used it to tell about the Son’s willingness to die on a tree for our sins, and the lights? Well He was and is the “Light of the World”. The greatest gift of the gift giving was the door it opened, the telling of the greatest Gift ever given. It was a great time to honor God’s Son, rather than the sun.

     By 325 A.D. something slowly had happened. In the Roman world, and soon, across the whole world, what was started by a few Christians had changed the holiday season. It was even made official, no longer a festival called Saturnalia, but one called Christmas. 

     In the 19th century a few Christians stood and opposed Christmas. The argument; no one knows the exact date of His birth. Now in the first century those Christians didn’t set the day on December 25th because they thought that was the day He was born. They understood the DATE DOESN"T MATTER. I for one am thankful for those first century believers and their thoughtful, tactful and very effective way of being light in their culture.

     It will be a sad day if in our lifetime; we unwittingly became instrumental in removing the focus on the birth of the Christ, giving the greatest holiday in our culture and world back to the pagans. Can you imagine a place where laws forbidding nativity scenes being placed in public places are enacted? Can you imagine a place where schools don’t allow our children to sing songs that tell of the birth of the Son? Can you imagine a place where the entire emphasis is placed on only the secular side of Christmas? It’s not a question of can I imagine it; I think I am seeing it. Sometimes we really don’t think about what we are doing. It is sad to me; what began as a movement to be right on something that doesn’t matter will undo everything a few Christians started some 1700 years ago, that really, really does matter, the birth of the Son.

     Tonight, when I plug in the lights on our tree, I will only think of the gift of the Son, He is the light of the world, and He died on the tree……for me.

“Light of the world, You stepped down into darkness, open my eyes let me see” Join me when I sing it on Sunday. Do you see….He is the reason for the season?

Merry Christmas.                                                                                                        Philip

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