Christmas 2014 saw the usual stark contrast between the crass commercialism that typifies the season for the majority, and the piety and awe of those who understand the true meaning of Christmas – exemplified, for instance, by those who carefully tend to the cleaning and beautifying of church altars. As is apparent from the word, ‘Christmas’, it is essentially about Jesus Christ! But you would not know that from media coverage, or in offices and businesses, which generally leave the Infant Jesus, once again, completely out in the cold. The situation is not helped by the likes of an elderly Marist priest, who, speaking about the apparent historical inaccuracy of the census ordered by the emperor Augustus in Luke 2:1, claimed something along the lines that that the Evangelist had deliberately allowed the historical inaccuracy because ‘Jesus was more important than Augustus’???
Dr. Richard Bucher, for one, has commented on this sort of assumed pious trickery (http://www.historian.net/NTHX.html):
As a layman, I am forced to go back to Luke and ask why he would record an event that never took place. Luke was well educated with diversified talents. He seems careful in his historicity and, although very young at the time, may very well have met Jesus. He knew and interviewed those who were closest to Jesus. Some scholars think that the story of the first census and the birth in Bethlehem is theologoumenon. This is a term scholars use for that which expresses an event or notion in language [that] may not be factual but supports, enhances, or is related to a matter of faith. In other words, a “white lie.” I don’t buy it in this case. There is no advantage to matters of faith in the invention of a census of 6 BCE.
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For the real story of the biblical census, actually occurring in 8 BC (conventional dating), we refer the reader to the ground-breaking article by Daryn Graham, “Ancient History, Archaeology and the Birth of Jesus Christ”, (http://thebirthofjesuschrist.blogspot.com.au/). So, why are Jesus, his Mother Mary, and Saint Joseph, so vehemently rejected – totally ignored by the majority – every Christmas? Baptist pastor, David Brown, has asked, and answered, this question (http://www.firstbaptistchurchoc.org/Sermons_05/christmas3.htm):
- Why Is Christ Being Left Out of Christmas?The Hebrew word translated despised means to hold in contempt. Noah Webster defines contempt this way – “The act of viewing or considering and treating as mean, vile and worthless. This word is one of the strongest expressions of a mean opinion which the language affords.” Our Savior was the object of contempt and scorn alike by the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Romans. In his life on earth it was so; in his death it was still so; and since then, His name and person have been extensively the object of contempt. Since our nation is losing its Biblical moorings, God and His Christ are increasingly being held in contempt! That’s why Christ is being left out of Christmas.
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- More than nineteen hundred years ago, there was a man who lived in poverty and was reared in obscurity. He possessed neither wealth nor influence. In infancy He startled a king; in childhood He puzzled doctors; in manhood He ruled the course of nature, walked upon the waves as if they were pavements, and hushed the sea to sleep. He used no medicines and yet he healed multitudes. He never wrote a book, and yet all the libraries of the country could not hold the books that have been written about Him. He never wrote a song, and yet He has furnished the theme for more songs than all the songwriters combined. He never marshaled an army, or drafted a soldier, nor fired a gun; yet no leader ever had more volunteers who have, under his orders, persuaded more rebels to stack arms and surrender without a shot fired. Every Sunday the wheels of commerce cease their turning, and multitudes wind their way to worshipping assemblies to pay homage and respect to Him. The names of the past scientists, philosophers, and theologians have come and gone; but the Name of this Man abounds more and more. Though time has spread more than nineteen hundred years between the people of this generation and the scene of His Crucifixion, He still lives. Herod could not destroy Him, and the grave could not hold Him. He stands forth upon the highest pinnacle of glory, proclaimed of God, acknowledged by the angels, adored by saints, and feared by devils, as the living Personal Christ, our Lord and Savior.
- To believers, Jesus Christ is precious. We esteem Him above all others. But, to [those] … who are disobedient to His Word, Jesus is “a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence”. Remember, Jesus is the light of the world and sinners love darkness rather than light because their deeds are evil. Sinners don’t want to be reminded of their sins. That’s why they would rather focus on ANYTHING but Christ…Santa, the Grinch, the reindeer, pagan customs, anything but Christ. Using the name of Christ makes them feel guilty. Christ explains this quite clearly in John 15:18-25 “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you. 19 If ye were of the world, the world would love his own: but because ye are not of the world, but I have chosen you out of the world, therefore the world hateth you. …. 25 But this cometh to pass, that the word might be fulfilled that is written in their law, They hated me without a cause.” (Psalm 35:19). That’s why they want Christ out of Christmas. They hate Christ and they hate God for exposing their sins, yet Christ has paid for their sins and wants them to be saved. The most important thing about Christmas are the first six letters – Christ. I will close by reading you The Incomparable Christ written by an unknown author.
- There is another reason that Christ is being left out of Christmas. Turn in your Bibles to 1 Peter 2:7-8 “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, 8 And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offence, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.”
- Things are going back to like they were in Bible times. Isaiah the prophet saw how the lost would respond to Christ. Turn in you Bibles to Isaiah 53:3 “He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not.”