Front Page
Series Contents
Series Theme: Seasonal Materials











































1. What is Christmas

2. Negatives of Christmas

3. The Real Meaning

4. The Possibilities





































































1. What is Christmas

2. Negatives of Christmas

3. The Real Meaning

4. The Possibilities

Title:   1. Christmas

  A series that considers some of the basic things that the Bible
says about God's love for us.


1. What is Christmas?

If you've come to this page, we assume that, like the Wise Men of old, you want to investigate the true meaning of Christmas.

In the words of a dictionary, Christmas is: "the annual festival observed by Christians on 25th December, commemorating the birth of Christ "

In a nutshell that's it! It's Christians remembering and celebrating, on the 25th of December every year, the birth of Jesus Christ.


2. The Negatives of what Christmas has become

So why is everybody else jumping up and down?

The reality today, in the West, is that politicians, economists, producers and retailers use Christmas to stimulate the economy.

The result is that with advertising and shop displays, very large numbers of us, who owe no genuine allegiance to Jesus Christ, feel pressurised to buy more food and drink and presents than are good for us. In the weeks leading up to Christmas considerable numbers of people feel under great pressure. Christmas has become a burden! Over Christmas we eat and drink more than is healthy, and after Christmas many of us have massive debts.

Pause up for a moment and just take in those negatives about this so-called season of joy. Come on, dare to be honest.

The Negatives of Christmas

This is not being a killjoy, this is just facing the truth about what is now happening every year.

a) Before Christmas

- weeks, if not months, before Christmas day, many of us start compiling lists of presents that we feel we 'ought' to give.

- if we are parents, we may be suffering from the fairly modern phenomena of "pester-power", the power of children nagging and wearing down their parents to buy particular presents as a result of TV advertising.

- if we are not very well off we start worrying where the money is going to come from - some of us will try to work longer hours to pay for the 'celebration'.

- if we are single and alone we may dread the awful day coming when 'everyone' else is celebrating and we're all alone.

- if we're a teacher, we know we've got weeks of hectic preparation for the school nativity play, the carol service, or whatever other production is going to be put on.

- if we're an employer we often feel we've got to provide an 'office party' to convince the staff how much we appreciate them.

- if we're an employee then many of us dread the ordeal of being required to be jolly with people who, for the rest of the year, we just about tolerate.

- if we're police, doctors, nurses or ambulance workers, we know that our working lives are going to get very busy and often very unpleasant.

b) Christmas Day

- this is the day that we have been made to feel has GOT to be special, and for many of us, the only way we know of doing that is by preparing and eating large amounts of food, and drinking large amounts of alcohol - preferably in the company of other people who also feel they have to make it special.

- the afternoon varies according to age - asleep in front of the TV, or playing with the toys, or even for some, walking off the weight of too much Christmas dinner.

- by the evening we're straining to get second wind - either enough stamina to keep playing the games that may not see another outing until next Christmas, or to stay awake to see the Christmas TV programme replays, or to have "a party".

c) After the Event

- once Christmas has gone there is frequently a sense of anticlimax after all the weeks of preparation, or a time of passing the days until the demands of work claim us back to normality again.

- when the credit card bill comes in you realise that the time of accounting has come, and we try to justify it by the "great time" we had.

Is it that Bad?

Some reading the above descriptions may deride them as the ramblings of a religious killjoy. If you do, that may either be a defensive reaction or you don't understand where this might lead.

For many of us, the truth is that our daily lives are so shallow or empty of real meaning, that the temporary boost of false happiness is better than what we had before.

Is this an unjust condemnation? Not if the comments of so many people in recent years, and so many newspaper articles, are to be believed.

For many of us, if we had the courage, we'd like to ban Christmas from the calendar. For many, it's not that the things above are an overstatement, but are in fact an understatement of the anguish so many go through, and the worry they are left with afterwards.


3. The Real Meaning of Christmas

At the top of the page we defined Christmas as a time of remembrance and celebration by Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Because we are no longer a "Christian country" (if we ever were one), many of us have little knowledge of exactly what happened some two thousand years ago, and the meaning of Christmas is conveyed through sentimental films, or through the annual school nativity play, which leaves us with an unreal, folksy feel.

For many, therefore, their knowledge of Christmas is probably on a par with their knowledge of the origins and meaning of Morris Dancing! If that is you, then this page is for you.

Put Christ back into Christmas!

That is a pretty good campaign slogan! At the heart of Christmas is Christ - Jesus Christ, the historical figure who lived and died on this planet some two thousand years ago.

Two thousand years! That sounds a long time? Not really, many other aspects of our lives have their origins centuries and centuries ago. The historical records show that Jesus Christ was an historical figure who lived two thousand years ago. (You can see more about this on other pages of the Site.)

But that most reliable of documents, the Bible, (and see elsewhere on the Site to see why we CAN say that) tells us not only about the three years of his amazing ministry in the land we now call Israel, not only about his death and resurrection, but also about the amazing events surrounding his birth.

A Divine Starting Point

You are going to struggle with what follows if you can't grasp one staggering truth that the Bible declares loud and clear: this baby was God expressing Himself in human form!

Now even to cope with that description we have to pause and think. Whatever your view of God might be, the Bible (and philosophers, for that matter) agree on one thing: if there is a God He has to be THE Supreme Being, all-mighty, all-powerful, all-knowing, who exists everywhere but who is yet distinct from matter, who is spirit.

Now the Bible declares that this Almighty God came to earth in human form. If that is so, then all that follows is not only understandable, but to be expected. If Almighty God comes onto the earth, then we would expect unusual things to be happening.

The Supernatural Events of "Christmas"

1. The affair of John the Baptist.

The first thing to happen (read Luke 1:5-25) was God sending an angel to speak to a priest named Zechariah, on old man with a childless wife, to tell him that she would conceive and have a son who they were to call John. This John would become a forerunner of the Christ. This all happened.

2. Mary's Pregnancy

Mary, who became the mother of Jesus, was probably still a teenager, and was betrothed to Joseph (rather like our engagement). Again an angel comes to her and tells her that without any human intervention she is going to conceive and the son she will bear will be the Son of God (read Luke 1:26-38). This happens.

Joseph is a good young man who, when he hears she is pregnant, decides to quietly separate off from her, for he knows he's not the father! However, before he has a chance to do that an angel appears to him in a dream, explaining what has happened. So real is this dream that he is convinced and so marries Mary. (See Matthew 1:18-25)

3. Bethlehem

About that time, an edict from Rome (which ruled that whole area at that time) required a census to be carried out and everyone had to go to his home town to be registered. This required Joseph to go from Nazareth where he was living, to Bethlehem with Mary, for that was his home town.

By the time they arrive there the time for the delivery of Mary's baby has come. When they arrive at Bethlehem the town is full with others coming to be registered and the couple find shelter in a stable attached to an inn, and it is there that Jesus is born. (see Luke 2:1-7)

4. The Shepherds

While they are still in Bethlehem, angels appear to shepherds guarding their flocks on the nearby hillsides and tell them of the arrival of the baby. They go down to the inn and and see him there. (see Luke 2:8-20)

5. Temple Announcement

As was the custom they take the child to the Temple in Jerusalem to give thanks to God for his safe arrival, but when they arrive they are greeted by an old man, Simeon, who says that God has told him to be there that day to greet his Messiah. He takes the child in his arms and prophesies that this is God's saviour. (see Luke 2:21-35)

6. Wise Men

After this they return to Bethlehem and some 'astrologers' or 'wisdom seekers' from the East arrive, saying how they have sensed the arrival of a great king, and have been guided by a new star (?meteor) in the sky. They arrive and leave the family presents. (see Matthew 2:1-12)

7. Flight and Return

Shortly after this an angel appears to Joseph in a dream warning him that the local king, Herod, who has heard through the Wise Men about Jesus, is planning to kill Jesus. He is told to flee to Egypt, which they do. Some time later after Herod dies, the angel appears in another dream to Joseph and tells him it is safe to return home. The young family then return to Nazareth where they live. (see Matthew 2:13-23).

The Supernatural Dimension

Consider again the supernatural things that have occurred in the outline account above:

a) Angels:

Angels, divine messengers, keep turning up: twice to individuals, five times in dreams and once to a group.

b) Supernatural power:

An old lady, Zechariah's wife Elizabeth, is enabled to suddenly have a child by him. A young girl, Mary, is enabled to have a child without the help of a man.

c) Divine guidance:

Guidance is given to Joseph a number of times, to the Wise Men, and to Simeon.

Where this leaves you.

Now if you start off from a presupposition that there is no God and therefore the 'supernatural' cannot happen, then understandably you will have switched off - indeed why are you still reading???

But if you concede there could be a God, then the above should not be too surprising, at least in the possibility of it being able to to happen.

If God IS all-powerful etc. then He is quite able to do all these things. What is so amazing is that He should WANT to do them. That is the question with which Seekers of truth now find themselves.

So why?

Why should God act in this way? The answer is staggering in its simplicity: simply because He can, and it's the most natural thing for Him to do!

If in heaven there are angelic messengers, then the obvious thing is to use them to convey information. If God has the power to enable women to conceive, then why shouldn't He use it to bless them? If God can communicate with us, why shouldn't He do it to bring guidance and help?

But under girding all this is the staggering truth that God wants to communicate with His creation and has done so in the most natural of ways. It's been said that if you wanted to communicate with ants, the best way would be to become an ant.

So here is the most staggering of truths, that God stepped down into the human arena, in human form, to communicate with us. That is why Christmas is so important, it reminds us of the bridge that God created from heaven to earth - His 'Son', Jesus Christ, who the apostle Paul was later to describe as the "image of the invisible God" (Col 1:15).



4. The Possibilities of Christmas

In our considerations above we observed the possibilities that God could
communicate with us
     - bring His power to our lives
     - guide us and help us

Rather than keep on repeating the annual materialistic orgy in December for no reason other than to jump to the whims of big business, perhaps an alternative approach could include the following:

a) Acknowledgement of God

If real Christmas is all about God coming to us to communicate, empower, guide and help us, then a good response would simply be to pause up in it all and thank Him for the wonder of all that!

b) Consideration of Others

At the heart of Christmas is God coming to us to help us (through the salvation He brought through Jesus). In this He sets us an example so, instead of Christmas being a self-centred thing, why not think how you could bless some else's life, whether it be inviting them to come and eat with you, or going out and helping at a soup kitchen for the poor, or whatever other creative idea comes to your mind.

In fact, instead of us suggesting lots of things, if you have lots of other ideas of how to transform Christmas, why not e-mail them to us and we might add them to this page.

Is it possible we could transform December into something wonderful?