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Gottesblog

A blog of the Evangelical Lutheran Liturgy

Guest Post: "What Makes Christmas?"

Chapter and Verse   Hutch News   Dec. 15, 2012
by Pastor Michael Brockman - Christ Lutheran Church
 
What if, by next Christmas, our government forbids all crosses on governmental buildings, stationery and logos? What if, by next Christmas, our government forbids all creches on courthouse lawns or on the desks of those employed by local, state or federal authority? What if, by next Christmas, our government forbids the use of the word “God” on all currency--paper and coin? What if, by next Christmas, our government forbids anyone receiving a salary via taxes (policemen, firemen, school teachers, Senators, County Extension Agents, etc.) to say the words “Merry Christmas?”
 
Would the faithful of the Holy, Catholic Church still be able to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ if our government did any or all of the above? Of course the faithful would. 
 
The Holy, Catholic Church does not celebrate Christmas because the in-power government is favorable to her any more than the Church celebrates Christmas because Jesus was born on December 25. Neither the day nor the government make Christmas, Christmas. History makes Christmas, Christmas,  that is, the Mass to Christ, the birth of Jesus. The fact that there was a birth in Bethlehem because a Roman general named Pompey had conquered Palestine 60 years previous, helped make Christmas, Christmas. The fact that Caesar Augustus, living in Rome, 1500 miles away from Bethlehem, ordered a census of all his subjects, helped make Christmas, Christmas. The fact that a man named Joseph, newly married to a girl named Mary, had to travel the 80 miles to Bethlehem for the census, helped make Christmas, Christmas.
 
Jesus’ birth is not fantasy like Harry Potter or Hercules or Hamlet. Jesus’ birth is rooted in the history of this world. It will always be celebrated by the faithful, and, it will always be connected to another historical event, of even greater importance--His death by crucifixion on the cross. Jesus was not conceived in the womb of the Virgin Mary and born in Bethlehem in order to be forever “oohed and aahed” as a baby in a manger. He was sent to grow to adulthood. He was sent to set His eyes on Jerusalem. He was sent to die outside the city gates of Jerusalem. He was sent to give His life as a ransom for sinners. He was sent to be the one-time payment to free men from sin and death.
 
Still, though, that is not the end of the history. The death of Jesus was so pleasing to God, that Jesus was raised, bodily, from the dead! And yet, that is not the end of the history. Jesus will return. Not in a manger. Not as a baby. As a man. Every eye will see Him. Don’t ask how. I will be as amazed as you.
It is when that historical day comes, that there will be no more celebration of Christmas. Until then, Merry Christmas.
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