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NICHOLS: a Christmas feeling

“Watch for the signs I have told you to expect. You’ll be able to recognize them and when you see them, lift up your heads, fear not, your redemption, your great and eternal Christmas gift is on the way.”
Look up.

It’s getting to feel a little bit like Christmas.

But what does Christmas actually feel like? How should I feel as Christmas approaches? Happy? Sad? Excited? Exuberant? Muted? Bubbling over?

As society morphs into a less Christian and a more secular, post-Christian approach to living in this world, we have lost much of the earlier meaning of Christmas. In the process of morphing, it is well to remember our roots and perhaps learn from our roots.

Let’s take a longer look at this celebrated season, not just behind the glitter, gloss, and loss of gold, but before, long before, the beginning of the traditions that we may have celebrated for generations.

Maybe we will find an answer for the question somewhere under the boxes, torn wrapping, ribbons and bows, assembly instructions, excitement, and disappointment. Maybe, if we have the will to accept it!

The birth of Baby Jesus in a manger with the cows and the donkeys watching used to be the focus of Christmas, at least for the Nativity plays that we performed amateurishly in grade school to the proud smiles of our adoring parents. That was a long time ago, before the memory of many. Not so much now.

Now it is becoming increasingly difficult to even mention a Nativity scene in the sophisticated atmospheres of our public systems. The focus is more on Santa, Rudolph’s red nose, elves, the cost of wine, and other trivia. I want to take you on a longer look, a journey, back to the beginning of the human race when all was paradise and peace, and the real meaning of Christmas walked and talked with our first ancestors. (You might have to set aside your conceptions of the human race slithering out of the swamp, standing wobbly on its hind legs and belching some sort of satisfactory grunt at its new posture. For the time being.)

You see, I follow the evidence; I am a Creationist and for Christmas to have any sort of meaning other than a glitzy and expensive time off from the regular grind, I have to believe in beginnings and the story of beginnings as recorded in Scripture.

Created with free will, our first parents used this gift, that basic element of humanity, to order their lives independently of their Creator. Sad, but true, having pulled the plug on life, they now rapidly were accelerating down the slippery slope to oblivion, to death in all its ugly forms and wretched feelings.

Unwilling to leave the unhappy pair to the final consequence of their free choice, the Creator came to visit them with a promise of redemption, a way out of their self-imposed, terminal mess. And that is the origin of Christmas!

Four thousand years down the road of time, plus or minus, one of the angels the Shepherds, heard on high some nine months later,  visited Mary and Joseph, not  yet wed, to announce the birth of the Christ Child, with Mary’s consent, of course.

To Joseph he said, complying with the social norms of the time, “You will call His name Jesus because He will save His people from their sins.” The operative word here describing this gift of Jesus is “from,” not in. Jesus, the first gift of Christmas, brought His own gift: the freedom for every person on this wide world who would accept His gift of freedom for all time from destroying sin.

That’s the essence of Christmas! But it’s not the all of Christmas!

Jesus told us, “I came to give life abundantly – free to everyone who will accept it!” “And not only that, I am going back to My Father in heaven to prepare a place for  you. Not to worry! I will come again and take you to be with me forever – everyone who will accept My invitation.”

“Watch for the signs I have told you to expect. You’ll be able to recognize them and when you see them, lift up your heads, fear not, your redemption, your great and eternal Christmas gift is on the way.”

Whether you know it or not, whether you believe it or not, we are experiencing two of the signs of that great and eternal Christmas gift this Christmas season of 2021 years since the angels sang to welcome the Baby in Bethlehem.

Imagine that! This Christmas season when some will not get together with family and friends for fear of a pestilence we are living two of the signs Jesus gave to warn us that His return is approaching quickly: rampant, world-wide fear and pandemic.

Jesus came once as a Baby in a manger. He promised to come again as a cosmic Ruler on the throne of the universe and He is bringing His reward for each person on earth – according to what he or she has done.

The Baby of Bethlehem, the ruler of the Universe, is the Promise Keeper! Trust Him and have a happy, excited, exuberant, bubbling-over Christmas without fear.