The people's voice of reason

Joy of Christmas

Did you know that 63% of Americans think that the Christmas season should include participating in a Christmas worship experience in a church? And have you heard another very interesting statistic, 7 in 10 Americans believe that Christmas would be a better experience if it had a more Christian focus?

Those stats do not surprise me at all. Why? Because deep down, I believe, that most folks know that there is something very beautiful, hopeful and mysterious about Christmas. They sense that this season is here to remind us that there is a God who loves us, that he invaded our world on that first Christmas and gave of himself to us in the person of Jesus Christ.

In John 3:16, the disciple John explains Christmas this way: "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

This is why Christmas is one of my favorite seasons of the year, and attending worship with a church full of joyful and grateful Christians is a very special part of the Christmas festivities! I want to encourage you to plan on attending worship this Christmas season including a Christmas Eve service somewhere.

The German Monk Martin Luther was the great Church reformer in the 1500's who led the way in establishing the Protestant Church. According to some legends, it is said that he cut down the first evergreen Christmas tree and added lights. Martin Luther actually used candles - that sounds really dangerous but maybe easier to me than using the strands of lights we use today. I have a confession. I love Christmas tree lights on the tree, but I really hate wrapping them around the tree. One goes out, they all go out. Right? Am I the only one that dreads this? But it's always worth it once they are shining on the tree.

Anyway, back to the point, he is said to have established the tradition of putting up a Christmas Tree with lights. And, although the practice of celebrating Christmas Eve in various ways goes back to the fourth century AD, we know that Martin Luther, as a Protestant Pastor, celebrated Christmas Eve in 1538. Historians recount that he was in a jolly mood on that Christmas Eve and was singing joyfully and talking about the incarnation. They say he then sighed and said, "Oh, we poor men, that we should be so cold and indifferent to this great joy which has been given us."

So, from the fourth century until now, the Christmas season and Christmas Eve has become a great and joyful tradition in both the Protestant and the Catholic Churches around the world as we celebrate with two billion other Christ followers the birth of our Savior and Lord.

We have much to celebrate this and every Christmas season. The Angel announced to the shepherds that they brought Good News of Great Joy to All People - Christ the Savior has come! And Jesus Christ, our Savior has revealed to us that we have a God who loves us, a God who is with us, a God who is for us!

So, once again, may I joyfully encourage you to enhance your and your families Christmas experience this year - come and celebrate this Christmas season in a church near you on these Sunday's in December. And may we All join together with great joy in our hearts for All that Christ has done for All of us!

"Good news from heaven the Angels bring, Glad tidings to the earth they sing: To us this day a child is given,

To crown us with the joy of heaven." - Martin Luther


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