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Christmas in Four Movements (Part 1)

by Thor Ramsey

Christmas Is Eternal

There is a simple reason that everyone finds Christmas season a special season, even in ways that are subconscious to many, and that reason is the nature of what the holiday itself. This story of God coming to earth is an eternal story. The gospel is eternal. Christ, as God in the flesh, is eternal by nature. Christmas is eternal. This is probably not the way most people think about Christmas, but that's why Christmas has an undefined depth to most people. The glad tiding of great joy is an eternal proclaimation. This is what the Apostle John tells us in the Revelation:

Revelation 14:6-7 

6 Then I saw another angel flying directly overhead, with an eternal gospel to proclaim to those who dwell on earth, to every nation and tribe and language and people. 7 And he said with a loud voice, “Fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come, and worship him who made heaven and earth, the sea and the springs of water.”

Because of the nature of truth (that it is true even when one is in denial of it) Christmas has a depth that cannot be squelched even by the mass commercialization of it. There remains on the outskirts of the secularization of Christmas the eternal story of the gospel, a story that began "before the foundation of the world." (Eph. 1:4) This proclaimation that God the Son would take on human flesh and give His life as "a ransom for many" (Mark 10:45) is at the very core of what it means to be human and that is -- to be loved by God, so much so that He would send His only Son to die for us. (John 3:16)

But we don't want to sentimentalize Christmas, either. The message of Christmas is glad tidings of great joy, yes and amen, but let us not forget how the shepherds responded to the angles who brought this good news -- "they were filled with great fear." (Luke 2:9) The Apostle John tells us to "fear God and give him glory, because the hour of his judgment has come." John tells us that God judges the world and that it's good news that He does. Who could worship a god who let evil go unanswered?

But evil is much nearer to us than we realize. Evil is so sublte and simple in nature that it is hardly even recognizable. It simply says, "I'm doing what I think is right," which sounds very noble. However, the question must be asked, "Who gives you the right to decide what is right?" That is the simple place all evil begins -- with someone who feels like he is doing the right thing and points to no greater authority than himself for proving as much. That's the essense of human sinfulness. That's what it means to turn from God and trust in human goodness and human wisdom.

Christmas is joyful because the great crime of the human heart turning from God has been met in Christ. All our hopes are met in thee tonight and tomorrow and the next day and eternally. Christ came to the world because the world stands condemned before God. That used to be a simple and biblical statement to make, but now it requires an indepth explanation in a culture that no longer believes in a God who judges sin.

Our culture celebrates the joy of Christmas without being able to pinpoint the reason for that joy -- God has placed His righteous judgment upon His Son. Joy to the world!

Christmas whispers that God judges sin and it's good news, because Christ has come into the world at just the right time to give His life for a wayward humanity. God so loved the world that He sent His Son into the world that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.

Christmas is eternal.

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