America Still Asks - What Child is This?
by Rev Michael Bresciani
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Rather than dispute with the Christmas naysayers or recklessly jumping onboard the excessive behavior train that passes through every year it does well to simply return to the simple. It is in the simplicity that the profound is rediscovered.
No, the term “Christmas” is not found in the Bible and Christ’s birth was certainly nowhere near December 25. As for celebrating his birthday at anytime, Christ never asked or even remotely intimated that we should. In fact birthdays were almost never celebrated in Jewish households at the time Christ. Our own early settlers disallowed the celebration of Christmas in the early colonies.
Perhaps the only justification for making Christmas a Christian day of celebration could be based on the meaning of a verse that has nothing to do with Christmas at all. In fact this verse covers all the reasonable and useful church polity ever produced. In Matthew 18:18 Jesus said,” Verily I say unto you, whatsoever ye shall bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever ye shall loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” It seems if we want to recognize this as a special day then God will recognize our willingness to do so.
What God is reticent to recognize is our lack of recognition of what it really means. We are quick to see a babe in a manger but slow to see that it is really about God in a baby.
Over 100 years ago hymn writer William C. Dix was inspired to ask the question, “What Child is This” sung to the melody of the old English tune “Greensleeves” the question is as pertinent today as it was back in 1865. The answer to the question spells the difference between truth and error, life and death and real Christmas or no Christmas. This Child is God.
That God was in Christ is something we call the incarnation; that he was there from birth is something that can only be called amazing. The mechanics or the actual physical placement of God in Jesus is clearly defined by the Apostle Paul who said “To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself…” (2 Cor 5:19) That placement was accomplished by the Holy Spirit.
The Bible speaks of men being filled with the same Holy Spirit so they were empowered to write scripture, preach the gospel and perform miracles. The single difference between them and Christ is that the Holy Spirit was not given in measure to Christ but the entire Spirit of God always rested in and upon the Lord Jesus Christ from his birth to his death and resurrection. This fact is established in John’s gospel. “For he whom God hath sent speaketh the words of God: for God giveth not the Spirit by measure unto him.” (John 3:34)
In our clamoring to find the “perfect” gift for someone at Christmas time have we overlooked the fact that the most perfect gift has already been given? That gift is and has always been God in a baby. And yet as wonderful as this is it is only half the story. God in a baby is only the “how” of the matter but the best part is the “why.” When truly comprehended the “why” of it explains not only why it is the greatest gift but it is the only gift that can be said to “keep on giving”…forever!
The caricature of God we derive from our own misinformation depicts God as a hard taskmaster holding us up to endless scrutiny for every infraction and requiring severe retribution if we fail in the slightest. The true picture of God starts with a precious baby who came from heaven where he had no mother, to the earth to rest in the arms of his mother with no earthly father.
Knowing our proclivity toward sin he decided to deal with it himself. He started by taking on the same form as us so he could undergo the same temptations and difficulties and overcome all sin for us. Speaking precious words of life and doing miracles to substantiate his Divinity might have been enough if he were only going to be the leader of a new and great religion. But he is much more than that; He is the Savior of mankind.
The same one who implored that we should be wise as serpents but harmless as doves (Mt10:16) kept his dove like status from birth to death. Even the prophet Isaiah when describing Christ’s final act of compassion and sacrifice of the cross called him “the Lamb of God,” (Isa 53:7) not the sheep or the he goat. From human baby to a baby lamb he was always harmless.
The gift then is that the innocent willfully and willingly died for the guilty. No wonder angels made such a fuss over it on that first Christmas night. God forbid that we should ever cease to make a fuss over it until this world ends.
In America where the giving and receiving of gifts has overtaken every aspect of the Christmas season should we not pause and consider that the greatest gift has already been given. Wouldn’t it be good to show God the expression of our thanks this year just like a child opening a gift by the tree on Christmas morning, I for one believe it would. Merry Christmas America
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. Isaiah 9:6
Rev Michael Bresciani is the author of two books and is a columnist for several online and print publications. Visit The Website for Insight for articles, news movie reviews and much more from the USA and around the globe. http://www.americanprophet.org
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