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Saturday, December 22, 2018


Christmas, with all the falderal, brings with it everything one would expect for a celebration of the season. Cards and carols, dinners and decorations, gifts and greenery, meals and music -- everything contributes to the gaiety.

The old, old story told anew is recited in music by Isaac Watts and George F. Handel (“Joy to the World”) and by Charles Wesley and Felix Mendelssohn (“Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”). Lesser luminaries offer their own songs and carols in celebration of the season.

Many attempts to explain the continuity of the phenomenon of Christmas fill pages. In spite of the efforts and regardless of divergence of opinion, one thing remains constant. Generations over the millennia cannot let go of Jesus.

Catholic, Protestant, Orthodox, even secular adherents to a social gospel, fall under the spell of the momentous event – the birth of Jesus Christ.

Whether a person is a believer or not, for the sake of cultural literacy everyone should read the Bible at least once during their lifetime. I’ve read the Bible cover to cover many times and find new meaning each time I do so. As the saying goes, “In the Old, the New lies concealed. In the New, the Old lies revealed. ”

If reading the Bible completely through is too much of a task, then, as a minimum, the four gospels should be read. In these pages lies the root of Christianity and the basis of the Christmas story. If reading the Gospels is too great a task, then reading Luke’s Gospel Chapter 2 (virgin birth) as well as Chapters 23 and 24 (death and resurrection) must suffice.

The very earliest Christian monks and anchorites set in place an unadulterated religion that might have otherwise degenerated into just another common political or social grouping. Over and over again, however, new generations read the Gospels and the letters of Paul as if for the first time and rediscovered the eternal blueprint of Christianity.

Throughout the history of the West, from the time of Jesus onward, enough substance from the Gospels remained discernible to be passed down through the ages.

Jesus Christ is central to western culture. That doesn’t mean everyone will embrace Him for who He says He is. It does mean that His influence is such that no other individual has shaped lives and behavior worldwide and over time in a manner as has Jesus.

He preached a message of love, peace, life in the Spirit, and life everlasting. We even count our days by His appearance on earth. And, for His efforts, He was killed.

Around the world and across the centuries, from the Orient to the Occident, from the Roman Era to the 21st Century, men still seek Him.

Over the centuries many have come to realize that questions of good and evil, life and death, time and eternity are bound up with a living relationship in this Person called Jesus.

It is said that the definition of a Christian is one who has come into a living relationship with Jesus Christ. Enough have done so through the ages and down to the present day that the vibrant celebration of His birth, if only for the sake of the season, should come as no surprise.

A temporal season of fun and joviality is what celebration is all about. To the Christian, however, eternity as yesterday, now and forever is bound up in the indwelling Person of Jesus Christ. And that is worth celebrating.

Merry Christmas!


Dennis M. Patrick can be contacted at (JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).


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