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Christmas or Xmas?

December 2011 | by Peter Jeffery

Xmas means unknown, for there is uncertainty in the X. It signifies the hidden and confused. But CHRISTmas means it is all about Christ. There is nothing unknown or hidden, but it is the revelation of God’s love.

There is a vast difference be­tween these two words. One talks about a person, the other is vague and uncertain; it leaves you with something entirely different.

For instance, if you take Christ out of Christmas, you are left with no manger scene and no carols. The 25 December becomes nothing more than a holiday of excess. And this is how many people celebrate it — an excess of drinking, eating and spending. This is indicative of a people who have lost their way spiritually.

Nominal

There was a time when Britain was known as a Christian country, but that has not been the case for a very long time. The reason is not because of those immigrants who have different faiths; it is because people who may outwardly call themselves Christian are in reality anything but that.

Nominal Christianity, with its vague morals and even vaguer beliefs, has for very many people emptied biblical faith of any real meaning. Hence, Xmas just about sums up their religious position. It is unreal, conventional and pa­thetic.

This may sound harsh, but is it? What has the death of a turkey got to do with the birth of the Saviour of the world? These two things are incompatible, but Xmas majors in the turkey and has no time for the Saviour.

Xmas delights in the wrapping paper and pays no attention to the gift. If it was not so serious, it would be laughable. But it is not laughable, because to reject the Saviour is to condemn ourselves to an eternity without God. It is as serious as that.

Who is Jesus Christ? The Bible makes many remarkable claims about Jesus. It says that he is the Son of God (John 3:18) and also God (John 1:1). He is without sin (Hebrews 4:15). He performed miracles (Matthew 14:13-36) and raised the dead to life (John 11). He himself rose from the dead (Matthew 28:6).

In fact, the entire Bible is about the Lord Jesus Christ, who he is, what he has done and what he is going to do.

Real

The people who lived with Jesus, and observed his life at close quar­ters, took his claims very seriously. Otherwise, they would not have recorded his teaching and miracles as sober truth as they did in the New Testament writings.

It is interesting that modern man so easily dismisses both Jesus and the New Testament as mytho­logical. Yet those who saw what Jesus did and heard what he taught were willing to die for him.

Are different religions simply different paths to the same God? The Bible’s answer is: ‘No, Jesus is unique’. He himself claimed to be the only way to God; he said, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’.

The good news (‘gospel’) is that when Jesus Christ died on the cross, ‘he bore the sin of many’ and saved them from God’s anger against sin and the judgement they deserve.

He alone was innocent of sin and could act as a substitute. He stood in our place and took the punishment his people deserved. He died, ‘the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God’.

By his death, Jesus Christ not only turns away God’s anger, but also reconciles to God all that the Father has given him. Jesus is God’s way of salvation, which is why he is the only way.

Peter Jeffery  

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Evangelistic