Over the years, Christmas has grown into a huge festive celebration.
Some companies can make up to 25% or even more of their annual sales at Christmas.
It didn't begin like that, and it may not be that way this year, due to the pandemic.
This virus has changed much of what we do, probably including Christmas.
Actually, Christmas is supposed to be a commemoration of the birth, 2,000 years ago, of Jesus Christ. For centuries Jewish prophets foretold the coming of a Saviour King. Why a Saviour King?
It's not hard to see that there is something radically wrong with the world. War, crime, corruption, disease, poverty, strife, hatred, family break-up, even this dreadful pandemic. The Bible teaches that it wasn't this way in the beginning, but human beings chose to disobey God and plunged the world and all of us into the sin and misery and death that we have now.
But, the Bible makes clear that the problem is not just in the world in which we live, it is in each one of us. The Bible says, All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned everyone to his own way. All have sinned. The reason why people have failed to solve the problems of the world, is that we are the problem. It is not so much the problems that need to be fixed, as it is we who need to be fixed.
That's why that Saviour King came, to save sinners, which is who and what we all are. His message for us all was simple, Repent and believe the Gospel. In other words turn from all that the Bible calls sin, and trust in the Saviour King that God has sent. In the Bible, God commands all people everywhere to repent. But, most people, sadly, have ignored God's command.
So He does two things to get our attention and to bring us back to Himself. He does good things for us. He has given us life. He gives us families. He provides all the things necessary for life and sometimes much, much more than we need. The Bible says every good thing we have has come from Him. Most of all He sent that Saviour, Jesus, who, by His death, would take the punishment we deserve. And if we trust Him, we are forgiven of all our sins, and go to heaven when we die.
The other thing God does, to get our attention, is to send, or allow us to experience troubles, to humble us and to make us feel our need of the Saviour and the forgiveness that He offers. Sometimes those troubles are ordinary; sometimes they are extraordinary, like the pandemic or other catastrophes.
These things are very, very hard, but actually they come motivated by love, to warn us. There is a day of final judgement coming. God says in the Bible that He takes no pleasure in people having to suffer that judgement. So He warns us so that we can escape.
One day people asked Jesus about a terrible accident. A tower fell and killed some people. Jesus answered them, "Do you think that [the ones who died] were worse sinners than all other men who dwelt in Jerusalem? I tell you, no, but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." He didn't say that because He wanted people to perish. He said it so we wouldn't. In fact, Jesus wept over those who turned away from the mercy God offered them.
He said that there is only one way to escape the just judgement that is coming and that is to repent and trust Him, the Saviour, Jesus. The Bible urges us to be reconciled to God. He pleads with us in His word, Come, let us reason together. Come to Me and I will give you rest (peace). So, please read the Bible. This deeply troubled time could be for you the time that everything changes for good.
If you would like to find out more about these things please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
You can also email us to join a course on how to become a Christian (also free on Zoom)
or for a free booklet about the Christian faith.
We hope to hear from you. God bless you.
We wish you a truly Happy Christmas and New Year