Yes we’re having a party and you are invited. ‘
Tis the season for celebration and of course the main event is a birthday party. We’ll discuss the purpose of this celebration now on this edition of “Becoming Today”.
Christmas is just days away and when we strip away all the other associations with this holiday at its core it is a celebration of birth. A miraculous birth. That followed a young woman being visited by an angel and telling her to not be afraid.
As we can read in The Passion Translation of the Gospel of Luke, Chapter 1, verses 30–32, “ But the angel reassured her, saying, “Do not yield to your fear, Mary, for the Lord has found delight in you and has chosen to surprise you with a wonderful gift. You will become pregnant with a baby boy, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be supreme[e] and will be known as the Son of the Highest”.
For though she had never known a man, she was pregnant. And the child l was no ordinary boy. She was being favored with giving birth under miraculous conditions to the future for all humanity.
Can you think of a more amazing thing to celebrate?
Last year as part of our celebrations, we did this literally. We hosted a birthday party for Jesus, complete with cake. The following image is a copy of our invitation and itinerary for the big event.
If you’re looking for some ideas on how to refresh your holiday gathering this year you may want to consider this for you and yours.
Also last year when I was leading a Bible Study in our pod….. Hmmm remember that word?
It seems it has disappeared from our conversation even quicker than it was being used in the first place. The pandemic pod, also referred to by some as their “bubble” or “quaranteam” were meant to maintain social connection within trusted groups, that were not just family and epidemiologists noted they served a purpose; they limited the size and spread of outbreaks.
But this year after their success was seen in the NBA for one really public example, the idea just seemed to be tossed away.
Anyway, last year in our pod I led a study that I adapted from a book written by Rick Warren.
Now let me pause and double check here, because since Rick is well known for being purpose driven, for the first half of the study, even though I had the book in my hands, I kept calling it by the wrong title.
So yes I now realize it’s not actually called a ‘Purpose Driven Christmas’, rather it is known as “The Purpose of Christmas”.
In this book, he asks:
“Why is Christmas such a big deal?”
Of course he goes on to explain:
“If you stop to think about it, it is astounding that the simple, unassuming birth of a peasant baby boy more than two thousand years ago in the Middle East can today cause traffic jams every December in places like New York City, Tokyo, and Rio de Janeiro.
The night Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem, a small group of poor shepherds were quietly tending their flocks of sheep in a nearby field, looking up at the stars. Nothing seemed any different from a thousand other nights. But what was about to happen would transform not only their lives but billions of other lives as well. The world would never be the same again.”
Plus he also notes, “Regardless of your religious background, you need to know how the three purposes of Christmas solve your three greatest needs”.
What are those needs?
I am so glad you asked because that’s what we’ll further explore today and tomorrow…
The first is that “Christmas is a time for celebration”.
Not a new idea, as it was even proclaimed to shepherds in Bethlehem more than two millennia ago.
The Passion Translation explains, “But the angel reassured them, saying, “Don’t be afraid, for I have come to bring you good news, the most joyous news the world has ever heard! And it is for everyone everywhere!”
Warren taught that in this verse alone were three reasons why Christmas was ordained to be a celebration. The first he said was a personal one, as the angels said “I bring you”.
Yes that means you. That is all who can hear the Word. It is not intended for a select mature or restricted audience. It is intended that you hear and understand this message.
Warren’s second reason is that it is positive. The angel was not foreboding, he was not prophesying gloom, rather he announced he was bringing us, “good news”.
In fact it was the best and most joyous news the world had ever heard… and I believe that statement rings true through this day.
The third reason Christmas is intended to be a celebration?
It is universal. As I alluded to, it’s not limited. The invitation does not discriminate or seek to segrate, it was and should always be extended to all.
As the King James Bible records, “I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people”. The NIV translates it as , “I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” Plus as The Passion Translation reads, “And it is for everyone everywhere!”
No doubt about it. Christmas is a time for all to celebrate.
The reason for that is the underlying message here is that God loves you. Them, Those, and yes even that one who….. God loves us all and wants us to accept his love and rejoice in it.
Now perhaps you can even see why the giving of gifts has become synonymous with this annual tradition. The very first celebration which was not called Christmas, that didn’t become the term until around 1038 A.D, was a celebration in which all on Earth and all of their generations yet to come were receiving the same gift, the greatest gift of all.
I mentioned that in his exploration of this topic Warren noted three reasons, the first that “Christmas is a time for celebration”.
The next two, well we will discuss those tomorrow when we meet again on our next edition of “Becoming Today’.