Christmas or Jesus?

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Debate around Christmas always rages on, and is especially more pronounced this season. Different dates are given. Some believe Christmas is a pagan holiday whereas others hold it as a Christian event. As expected, Christianity and religion hold varying views. Religions differ on their take among themselves. As a reader of this column, you know that Christianity is not a religion. It’s a relationship of the Father God and His children. Different religious groups offer conflicting opinions as expected because they’re outsiders. Various cults differ as well.

Within the Christian community itself, there’re schisms. Allow me to talk about Jesus, who is at the centre of the debate. You will appreciate that space will not allow me to present a full theological argument. However, I will do better by presenting Christ in you, the hope of glory; the mystery which has been hid for ages.

Scripture had prophesied the coming of Jesus. This coming was through the womb of Mary. It’s called incarnation. It means God came in flesh or human form in the person of Jesus. The conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb was by the Holy Spirit and not human means. Jesus came to deal with sin. Matthew 1:21 records: “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.” You know that before this, people had farms, ran businesses, vaults of gold and silver, houses and they also got married. Since the fall of mankind, humanity was separated from God through sin. Jesus came to solve this by carrying the sin of mankind and die as a sacrifice. He came to save us from sin. Jesus, the Saviour, is our salvation.

To enjoy salvation, you have to believe in the humanity of Christ and the deity of Jesus. Christ Jesus is fully God and fully man. 1 John 4:3 warns: “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” At the time John wrote this, the spirit of antichrist was already in the world, even as it is today. Jesus came in the flesh, suffered, died and rose, and is seated on the right hand of God. To be saved, you have to accept this truth. Romans 10:9 points: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” Jesus Christ tested death and triumphed. He’s alive.

The Christ in you as a believer is not at the material stage of incarnation. Jesus Himself says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” In this manner, that is, incarnation, He’s the only begotten of God. The one we received as our Saviour is first begotten. Revelation 1:5 clarifies: “And from Jesus Christ, who is the faithful witness, and the first begotten of the dead, and the prince of the kings of the earth. Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood,” The incarnate one died as man and rose again to give effect to us.

He’s the first to bring forth many. Romans 8:29 stresses: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.” We’re family with Jesus as the prototype. Jesus speaking in John 20:17c confirms: “I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God.”

Christian victory goes beyond knowing Jesus of Nazareth in the flesh. Apostle Paul stresses in 2 Corinthians 5:16, “Wherefore henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yea, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yet now henceforth know we him no more.” Christ is now living in you and human sense knowledge cannot appreciate this. Revelation is needed to decode Christian reality. Peter got the revelation when Jesus checked with the disciples their knowledge of Him. Matthew 16:16-17 reads: [16] And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God. [17] And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but my Father which is in heaven.” We have to have the knowledge of Christ beyond human perception. Grace and peace be multiplied to you through knowledge.

.Feedback: pastor@newgatechapel.org Fellowship with Pastor Makarimayi on Facebook and on www.twitter.com/PEMAKARIMAYI. Telephone +263 712 332 632

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3 COMMENTS

  1. Is Christmas for Christians?

    Millions of people around the world believe that the Christmas tradition is the birthday celebration of Jesus Christ. However, have you ever considered whether first-century Christians, those closest to Jesus, celebrated Christmas? And are you aware of what the Bible has to say about birthdays? Finding answers to these questions can help us determine if Christmas is for Christians.
    First, the Bible does not mention birthday celebrations for Jesus or any other faithful worshipper of God. The Scriptures refer to only two individuals who celebrated their birthday. Neither of them was a worshipper of Jehovah, the God of the Bible, and their birthday celebrations were cast in a negative light. (Genesis 40:20; Mark 6:21) According to the Encyclopædia Britannica, the early Christians opposed the “pagan custom of celebrating birthdays.”
    On what date was Jesus born?
    The Bible does not say exactly when Jesus was born. “The day of Christ’s birth cannot be ascertained from the N[ew] T[estament] or, indeed, from any other source,” states McClintock and Strong’s Cyclopedia. Surely, if Jesus wanted his followers to celebrate his birthday, he would have made certain that they knew the date of his birth.
    Second, the Bible does not record that Jesus or any one of his disciples celebrated Christmas. According to the New Catholic Encyclopedia, celebrating Christmas was first mentioned “in the Chronograph of Philocalus, a Roman almanac whose source material can be dated to 336 [C.E.].” Clearly, that was well after the completion of the Bible and centuries after Jesus was on earth. Thus, McClintock and Strong note that “the observance of Christmas is not of divine appointment, nor is it of N[ew] T[estament] origin.”

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    What event did Jesus instruct his disciples to commemorate?
    As the Great Teacher, Jesus gave clear instructions on what he wanted his followers to do, and these are recorded in the Bible. Celebrating Christmas, however, is not one of them. Just as a schoolteacher does not want his students to go beyond the instructions given them, Jesus does not want his followers to “go beyond the things that are written” in the Holy Scriptures.​—1 Corinthians 4:6.
    On the other hand, there is one important event the early Christians were very familiar with​—the commemoration, or Memorial, of Jesus’ death. Jesus personally told his disciples when to observe this occasion and showed them how to do it. These specific instructions, as well as the calendar day of his death, are recorded in the Bible.​—Luke 22:19; 1 Corinthians 11:25.
    As we have seen, Christmas is a birthday celebration, and early Christians did not follow that pagan custom. Furthermore, the Bible does not mention that Jesus or anyone else celebrated Christmas. In light of these facts, millions of Christians the world over have concluded that Christmas is not for them.

  2. What Are the Facts About Christmas?

    Some enjoy festive times with friends and family. Others think about God or devote time to helping the poor or needy. By themselves, these are undoubtedly worthy deeds. However, they are clouded by the dark side of this holiday.
    First, many celebrants believe that Christmas is a birthday celebration for Jesus. However, historians widely concur that the date of his birth is unknown. The Christian Book of Why notes that “the early Christians refused to set aside a date marking Jesus’ birth” because they wanted “to divorce themselves from all pagan practices.” Interestingly, the Bible gives no indication that Jesus ever celebrated his own birthday or anyone else’s. In contrast, he did command his followers to commemorate his death.—Luke 22:19.
    Second, many scholars agree that most Christmas traditions have their roots in non-Christian and pagan customs. These include Santa Claus, as well as using mistletoe and the Christmas tree, exchanging gifts, burning candles and Yule logs, hanging decorative wreaths, and caroling. Regarding some of these customs, the book The Externals of the Catholic Church observed: “When we give or receive Christmas gifts, and hang green wreaths in our homes and churches, how many of us know that we are probably observing pagan customs?”
    “When we give or receive Christmas gifts, and hang green wreaths in our homes and churches, how many of us know that we are probably observing pagan customs?”—The Externals of the Catholic Church
    You, though, may wonder what is wrong with following these seemingly innocent customs. Consider this third point as an answer. God does not approve of the blending of pagan customs with pure worship. Through His prophet Amos, Jehovah God said to His wayward worshippers in ancient Israel: “I hate, I despise your festivals . . . Spare me the din of your songs.”—Amos 5:21, 23.
    Why such strong words? Consider what the people of the northern kingdom of ancient Israel were doing. Their first king, Jeroboam, placed golden calves in the cities of Dan and Bethel and induced the people to worship these rather than to worship Jehovah God properly at the temple in Jerusalem. The king also instituted festivals and appointed priests to help the people celebrate them.—1 Kings 12:26-33.
    What those Israelites did was seemingly for a good cause. After all, were they not doing all these things in the name of worshipping God and pleasing him? God’s strong words through Amos and other prophets indicate clearly just how God felt about such practices. Through the prophet Malachi, God said: “I am Jehovah; I do not change.” (Malachi 3:6) Does that not tell us how God feels about the many Christmas celebrations today?
    After considering the above facts, millions of people have decided to abstain from celebrating Christmas. Instead, they find joy and true satisfaction in spending time with their friends and family and in helping the poor and needy whenever they wish throughout the year.

  3. Dont people Jesus was a good guy a little feasting wont do, anyone harm and the business community make a pile of cash.But dont forget the world has 5000 ~religions and its surprising Africans dont have own panAfrican religion except glorifying other peoples religions or literary works like the bible and Koran/Quoran.If the Arabs had had influence in this part of the world southern African we would be Moslems today like people in west African so the issue is how meaningful are these religions to us as a people,do we give ourselves to scrutise them even after their part in our enslavement and colonisation and the attendant murders ,rape and unimaginable torture and horrific cruelty brought upon Africans.Is Christianity our or their religion.And to stir a little hornets nest,where is heaven that jesus ascended to,is it even rational in today world to talk of heaven is it a planet,what exactly is it even the preacherman is not talking much about it but more about money in prosperity gospel.Even in the Vatican they will stummer to point in a heavenly direction but all said and done i respect one right to their Beliefs.Merry Christmas people enjoy your middle eastern holiday in Zim.

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