XMAS: Removing the Reason for the
by Henry Morris III, D.Min.
The difference between the almost right word and the right word is really a large matter—’tis the difference between the lightning-bug and the lightning. — Mark Twain
Sometime during the last century (it is difficult to find an actual beginning), the word “Xmas” began creeping into public correspondence and advertisements. It was a little thing, hardly noticed by anyone, but it set the stage for a profound movement away from “Christ” in any public discourse. X is, of course, the universal symbol for the unknown.
Quietly and unobtrusively at first, but rising to a crescendo of legal and governmental attacks against Christianity, the words and the symbols of the gospel message are being purged from open expression.
A steady drumbeat of lawsuits, threatening letters, and joint amicus briefs have been generated by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU), the Americans United for Separation of Church and State (AU), and other national organizations such as the Freedom From Religion Foundation, pounding away at any semblance of the Christian message. The ACLU even has a separate unit dedicated to the fight for the “equal treatment” of all religions, euphemistically titled the ACLU Program on Freedom of Religion and Belief.
President Barack Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton have started using the term “freedom of worship” instead of “freedom of religion.” That small change has vast implications should those words signal a change in official policy. Freedom of religion implies your freedom to assemble, proselytize, and conduct your personal life in a manner reflective of your religious beliefs. Freedom of worship is and can be limited to mere personal and private expressions of religious beliefs, negating all public demonstrations of what one believes. Worship can be confined to a designated place—or restricted to one’s private thoughts.
“Holiday” is the Anglicized form of “Holy Day.” The original meaning has been totally lost. “Holy” has nothing to do with our holidays. The term has come to mean “no work.”
Christmas, even for many Christian families, has become more about the giving of gifts than the Giver of Gifts (James 1:17). Churches all across the country will host organ recitals and promote cantatas, dramatic extravaganzas, and musical productions that stress entertainment more than the eternal message of forgiveness, salvation, and the coming King.
May I humbly suggest that more of us need to spend time with our families teaching them the wonder and majesty of
God’s incarnation. The first 14 verses of John’s Gospel need to be read to our children along with the section in Philippians 2:5-11, in addition to the first three chapters of the Gospel of
Those of us who have positions of leadership in our churches or at our places of ministry should try to encourage our pastors and other leaders to keep a strong emphasis on the reason for Christ’s birth. All too often the baby Jesus is left cute and cuddly among the barn animals, smiling benignly up at the poor shepherds. Oh yes, we repeat the song of the angel chorus and tell of the wise men who came from afar to give the gifts of honor to the newborn king.
Please understand. The actual birth of Jesus was absolutely ordinary in every human way, even if the story is gripping in its emotion and wonder. The miracle was the conception. The good tidings were that God had become man to “save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
Please take the “X” out of Christmas. “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to order it, and to establish it with judgment and with justice from henceforth even for ever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
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Revelation 11:17 "Saying, We give thee thanks, O Lord God Almighty, which art, and wast, and art to come; because thou hast taken to thee thy great power, and hast reigned."
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