THE 'X' FACTOR IN CHRISTMAS
FATHER CHRISTMAS! THIS is who the world conjures up at this time of the year. THIS is Christmas personified in joviality, and universal merriment, laughter, revelry of all kinds, and goodwill to all men in the midst of drunkenness, over-eating, and limited generosity within ones circle of friends and human interest.
IN THIS PICTURE above we see a Father figure Blessing the World in a kindly, paternal way. The most accepted origin of Father Christmas seems to come from Bishop Nicholas of Myra in Asia Minor. It is said that he was a very clever child, already reading and studying the Bible when he was only five years of age. He grew up with a desire to serve God and became a priest - and later a Bishop. He was a very REAL person in history. Nicholas was especially concerned for the poor, and was known for acts of charity. Especially at Christmas Time he would visit the poorest families to leave gifts on their door step. He went at night time in order not to be noticed or recognised, warmly clothed in a heavy dark red coat and hood. He did it in the spirit of Jesus.......he was a Christian, and his life and testimony is still honoured in many parts of the Christian World. BUT he did not stand for the image of the picture above. He was not some 'fairy' figure; some rumbustious spirit spreading licentious joy in a kind of 'holiday' and ribald manner - like the minor god the world has turned him into.
INDEED IT IS 'Father Christmas' that has taken over Christmas, and become, in a way, the 'God' of X-mas, almost eclipsing and obliterating the REASON for Christmas, Dressed in his red coat, and swirling about in his reindeer drawn sleigh weighed down with presents and good cheer, Father Christmas FILLS the world of commerce and human gaiety, song and dance - his charity turned into a money making enterprise that noisily and colourfully overlays Christ and the True Giver of real JOY and RELIEF to our world. In fact 'Santa Claus', as he is also called, is the centre of X-mas, and as such has replaced the remembrance of Christ's Birthday, and the need for our Salvation. As such he has become yet another 'good thing' that the devil has twisted and used to divert us away from the Truth. How truly sad the real St. Nicholas must be. He looks rather sad already in that image to the left.
The Bible calls God, in Heaven, the Father of Lights. It is worth reading some verse that appear in the Letter of James found in the New Testament of the Bible, and in the Amplified Translation of the same -
Do not be misled, my beloved brethren.
Every good gift and every perfect (free, large, full) gift, is from above;
it comes down from the Father of all (that gives) light,
in (the shining of) Whom there can be no variation (rising or setting)
or shadow cast by His turning, as in an eclipsee.
IT IS NOT FATHER CHRISTMAS BENIGNLY BESTOWING UPON THE WORLD HIS BLESSING AND GOOD WILL - this is a monstrous error. NO! It is only GOD HIMSELF that is able to provide and endow any part of His Creation with blessing and JOY,
AND God has not provided 'gifts' to the GOOD only, but has bestowed an abundance of 'gifts' all in ONE, that is given to ALL, both to the good and the unworthy. A gift so precious, and so valuable that it cannot in any way be described in either words or figures. The GIFT of His Son, Jesus, who was born into this world as one of us, to lead us out of our sins into the Family and Blessing of God in Heaven, our true FATHER. Yes! Listen to St. Paul in 2.Corinthians 9v15 -
NOW, Thanks be to GOD for His GIFT
(His indescribable, inexpressible, FREE GIFT!
FORGET the GLITTER, the Christmas tree, the partying and raucous frolics, and the COMMERCE of the World around you and SEE your Father in Heaven handing YOU a Gift beyond Price, and run to HIM in Thanksgiving, and give to JESUS your life in return for HIS. Give HIM your ALL, and follow Him, remembering the chorus -
Turn your eyes towards Jesus,
Look full in His Wonderful Face,
and the things of the Earth, will grown dim,
in the light of His Glory and Grace.
IN SEEING YOUR SALVATION in the Baby born in the Manger in Bethlehem, IS Salvation in every way. The Worth and Eternal Value, and Implication of this makes every other thing PALE and lose its brightness. HEAR in our memory and appreciation of the Babe in the Manger is the greatest of all JOYS - it is JOY TO THE WORLD, and it is at Christmas that we should rise up and SHOUT it out -
JOY TO THE WORLD, THE LORD IS COME!
LET EARTH RECEIVE HER KING!
LET EVERY HEART PREPARE HIM ROOM,
AND HEAVEN AND NATURE SING. - Isaac Watts.
The world waits to receive JOY, presents, and a day or two respite of from the labour of living...The shops will do good trade, pockets will be emptied, gifts will be given to one another...........We have been duped! The ONE and ONLY REAL GIFT has been given. Given to YOU! Have you received it, unwrapped it, and made it yours, with thrilled Thanksgiving? Will you receive it NOW?
AND LET ME NOT WRITE Christmas completely off,as many have been brought up to see it. There is good in the memory of St. Nicholas. Maybe he will not come down the chimney or leave a sack of hoped for presents at your door on Christmas Eve. Maybe he will not ride through the night skies on his Sleigh, yelling "Ho, Ho, Ho and a MERRY CHRISTMAS'. That is Fairy story, but one I enjoyed and profited from. I knew it was fairy story, but even so I was comforted by it., I was not spoilt or contaminated by it I did not lose my way to the Cattle Shed were my Saviour lay. His Angels led me safely there. The Christmas Tree, the tinsel decorations and the sense of 'Rejoicing' did not turn me into a worldly, selfish, debauched person either, but by the grace of God enhanced my sense of heartfelt love for God AND for family and my fellow men. Let us not judge one another in these things for we are all impaired in our understanding and perceptions. Let us be GLAD that we have, all of us, a Father in Heaven, Who loves us, and who had given us SUCH A GIFT, new every day in fact, but especially noticed at Christmas.