In seven days’ time, the world celebrates Christmas. For most people this is a time of holiday, parties, presents, good food, visiting people, going on holiday … and there is nothing really wrong with all these things.
In some parts of the world, Christmas is unknown or rejected because other religions celebrate their religious days in other ways. The concept of all the decorations, trinkets, trees and lights emanates from some pagan religion in the past.
Many Christians therefore reject the idea of all the glamor and celebration … yet I feel that, although one could go over overboard with presents, food, holidays, parties and decorations, these are means to attract people to consider that maybe there is something real about what is celebrated. I recall before I was a Christian, all the Christmas Carols made me emotional … but the words stuck in my mind. Maybe these words helped when reading the Book of Colossians which led to my salvation.
Throughout my ministry, I found that people would come to Church on Christmas Day as family or friends of Church Members. We always used this service as an evangelistic opportunity because this was the only day in the year, apart from a funeral or wedding, that some people set their feet in Church. But here is the question that must be asked … “Where did the real Christmas start?” My intention is to spend this week and Christmas Day trying to answer that question. This first Daily Note in this short series I shall call “Tragedy!”
1) Christmas Day is related to the human race. In Genesis chapter one we find that God created everything that exists and part of this creation included man. God said He created man for a specific purpose
Ge 1:26 Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, in our likeness, and let them rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air, over the livestock, over all the earth, and over all the creatures that move along the ground.” 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. 28 God blessed them and said to them, “Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish of the sea and the birds of the air and over every living creature that moves on the ground.”
Part of God creating man included giving man a soul to make him different from all the other creatures.
Gen 2:7 the LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being.
Although man has a physical body of flesh, he now has a spiritual dimension called the soul. Now man is a moral being with an ethical understanding of life, marriage, God and behavior amongst other things. He is holy, righteous and images God in morals and ethics. Although God was pleased with man He gave man a probationary command:
Gen 2:16 And the LORD God commanded the man, “You are free to eat from any tree in the garden; 17 but you must not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat of it you will surely die.”
We could call this man’s test. Would he obey God? He could because he was sinless resembling the likeness of God in holiness … but would he?
2) Christmas Day is related to human sin! (Should you have time, please read all of Genesis chapter 3.) In the Garden Eve was tempted and through the cunningness of the serpent (devil). She fell to the enemy. However, it was not to her God gave the probationary command, it was to the man, Adam. She offered him of the fruit (we don’t know what it was) and he ate. At that moment he sinned and at that moment they became sinners and when they parented children, those children would be sinners too. You see, the probationary command given to Adam saw him as the representative “man”. Therefore, when he sinned he sinned for the race. Every human being born of Adam (which is the whole race) was and is and will be born with a sinful nature. A nature that is depraved … having a natural bent towards sin. In that Garden, when Adam sinned, he lost perfection, holiness and blamelessness. Now he was a sinner. That “living” part of his being (Genesis 2:7) was corrupted and the relationship with God was lost.
3) Christmas Day is related to man being banished from the Garden. This means being banished from the presence of God. How could God keep Adam in the beauty of the Garden and meet him there for fellowship, when man was now sinful, not having a relationship with God?
4) Christmas Day is related to God’s first Messianic Promise.
Ge 3:15 “And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
God did not create man purposelessly! Even though Adam sinned and sinned as the substitute for mankind, God still had a plan for mankind. In this verse, God promises to send a Messiah who would come and redeem lost man, bringing them back to Him, should they follow His salvific requirements. (John 3:16). Because we live 2000 years after Calvary, we have hindsight … but Adam and Noah, then Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, coupled to kings David and Solomon did not have the Biblical insight we have. Slowly over hundreds of years God revealed more and more of His plan, fleshing out Genesis 3:15.
5) Christmas is related to the first blood sacrifice. Some will disagree with me, but I strongly hold to the fact that when God replaced Adam and Eve’s fig leaf garments with animal skin garment, He sacrificed either one or more animals.
Ge 3:21 The LORD God made garments of skin for Adam and his wife and clothed them.
This sacrifice not only gives us a clue as to the outworking of Genesis 3:15 … it reminds us that:
Heb 9:22 without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.
Although Adam sinned, he and his wife were saved through a blood sacrifice. The picture is one of gloom and tragedy. A good God created man sinless. Man chose to fall into sin and break God’s probationary command … but there is light in God’s Messianic Promise.
Help us Lord as we spend time over this coming week considering where Christmas came from. Thank You thank that in the greatest tragedy, You promise grace. Amen.