Making of a Truly Merry Christmas
By: Deji Yesufu
Every Christmas the debate resumes regarding the biblical veracity of the holidays. Those who point to Christmas being a pagan celebrations have a solid argument. I however think that those who celebrate the holidays as the date of the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ have stronger arguments. Thus you can guess where I belong to in the debate: I am a “Merry Christmaser” – if there is any such thing. Lol. This essay will not concern itself with the details of the debate. I think Romans 14 sorts it out: those who regard December 25 as the day the Lord was born do well; those who do not, but think each day of the year is equally special – do well also (Romans 14:5). The important thing is charity towards our neighbors and in the process each side may gain more adherents to their position.
Having a distinct day representing the day Christ was born is beneficial in many ways but one way is that it points at a historical fact regarding the birth of God’s only Son Jesus Christ. In a post Christian world, the mere fact that a holiday like this is practised is a pointer to the godless that once, in ancient Palestine, God came into the world in human flesh. It does not matter what myth the world has turned Christmas into, historical evidences abound around the birth of Christ and those evidences continue to stand as a testimony in the conscience of the godless that there is a God, who is good to humanity and who will judge all men by the truth of his Holy Son, Christ, as written in scripture – the Bible. While much of Europe is given over to a “happy holidays”, the Donald Trump government in the US that restored Christmas to the White House is seeing it’s final days – a pointer to the godlessness that the new administration will bring to America. I digress.
So it is not too early to wish you Merry Christmas. In this essay I want to suggest a few ways for you to truly have a joyous Christmas. If we wish ourselves merriment, we can at the least take some practical steps at achieving it or else wishes will remain horses that even beggars can ride. Kindly follow me as I suggest some ways you and I can truly make our Christmas Merry.
First, Christmas, as we all know, is a distinct holiday. It is the day the Son of God, Jesus Christ, was born. While the New Testament gives us a record of the birth of Christ, the Old Testament tells us that a Son will be born to the earth and he will be called the Mighty God (Isaiah 9:6). What will occasion the mighty God put on flesh and come and live among lowly human beings he himself created? This is the million dollar question and an answer to this question is one that could lead one to an eternity with God or to one without him.
Redemption of humanity is not an after thought. God did not just wake up one morning and say “aha, I know what I will do to help humanity know me…”; no. Redemption has been part and parcel of God’s plan for humanity from the beginning of the world. In God’s design and wisdom, he foreknew the fall of humanity. He knew that following creation there will be the coming of sin to the world. God, from the foundation of the earth, had ordained that his Son, the second person of the Trinity, will come to the earth. And the date of his birth was carefully chosen to be December 25 in the first century. God’s plans were realized. Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and lived on this very earth that you and I live. We celebrate Christmas because we understand that God the Son took on flesh on this day and one plan of redemption was realized that day. Our Christmas take up merriment when we understand December 25 as a unique date in the plan of God to save sinful humanity.
Second, since Jesus Christ took up flesh and lived on earth, we also must consider other accounts of his stay on earth. The Old Testament told us that Christ would be killed and by his suffering on the cross, many will find justification with a holy God (Isaiah 53). The New Testament, on the other, gives us copious account of Christ’s death and resurrection. You see: the matter of redemption involves the paying of a penalty. Humanity has sinned and a holy God must punish sin. To do this, he sent his own Son to bear his own wrath on sin. You ask: why? Because this very picture of the innocent bearing the sin of the guilty has been clearly painted in God’s dealing with his covenant people – Israel. If therefore the blood of bulls and goats could sanctify men, how much more the blood of the holy sinless Son of God?
We celebrate Christmas because this date reminds us that God came into the world in the person of his Son, died and obtained eternal redemption for sinners. Whoever believes in what Christ did will not perish but have eternal life. True merriment in this season is knowing the reason for the season. If by God’s grace you can understand that God does not want you feasting alone at Christmas but that you should have a healthy examination of your soul. Do you believe in Christ as your Lord and Savior? Do you understand that there is an eternity you must spend with or without God? Do you realize that you are a sinner in need of a Savior? Do you understand that only Jesus can be your mediator before a holy God? Do you realize that your best deeds are worthless before God? If you do, you have taken a vital step to an eternity with God. I trust God to help you lay hold on his Son. As you do, your Christmas will come alive and you will indeed have a reason to rejoice.
Third, the Bible does not give us too many accounts of merriment in heaven. The throne of God appears to be a place of judgement most times in the Holy Writ. But there is this one account where scripture says that all the inhabitants of heaven rejoice: it is the occasion of the conversion of a sinner (Luke 15:7,10). I have often wondered: what’s the purpose of men making merry on earth while heaven mourns of hundreds of souls perishing each moment in eternity? Heaven will however join the earth to celebrate if one person will come to Christ? Will you be this person? I am positive that if Christmas offers occasion for sinners to be saved, then heaven can join the earth to rejoice.
Men will become born again when they hear the gospel, believe it, repent, and lay hold on Christ. Rather than bother over the veracity of the date of the birth of the Son of God, Christians can use this occasion to witness to the world of the coming of Christ. Perhaps some will believe and this way cause joy to come heaven and an extension of that joy reaches earth. Then, and then alone, can we say we are truly making merry on earth. You want to know true merriment, make heaven joyful and it will extend to you in various facets.
We are grateful to God for another season of joy and merry making. It is within God’s wisdom that December 25 is widely accepted as the date Christ was born and I believe it is God that permitted the merry making on that day. As we however rejoice, let us keep in mind the things that make for true joy on this day: First, God came to us in the flesh on this day; Second, Christ’s coming occasioned the birthing of the gospel – a message that saves sinners; Third, when sinners are saved, heaven rejoices. And whatever will cause heaven to rejoice will cause for greater merriment on earth.
Let us purpose to make this Christmas truly joyous beyond food and drink. Let us comprehend the truth of Christ coming and thus allow for his gospel to save sinners. Only this will occasion true merriment on earth and even in heaven.
Have a Merry Christmas.