What is the true meaning of Christmas?
Published 6:39 pm Sunday, December 17, 2017
Years ago the famous atheist Madalyn Murray O’Hair said that her greatest goal in life would be to do away with Christmas. Well, Mrs. O’Hair is dead and Christmas is alive and well.
What is the meaning of Christmas? Is it Santa Claus, mistletoe, Rudolph, parties, egg nog, Christmas trees and shopping? Or, does Christmas have a deeper meaning? One meaning is that God has entered human history. John tells us in his Gospel that in the beginning was the word (Jesus), and the word (Jesus) was with God, and the word (Jesus) was God. John also tells us that all things were made by Jesus.
My doctoral thesis was about the high christology in John’s Gospel. Anyone who seriously studies that book knows that Jesus was God in the flesh. Those who deny this are not orthodox Christians.
If you study church history you know that the church throughout its existence has claimed that Jesus Christ is God. The most important creed comes from the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. That particular council was called by Constantine the Great, emperor of the Roman Empire. A pastor of Alexandria, Egypt, named Arius preached that Jesus was not fully God. Arius acknowledged that Jesus was a very moral man. However, he was according to Arius, less than God. He wasn’t equal with God,
The council overwhelmingly said that Arius was a heretic. If you study Roman Catholicism, Eastern Orthodoxy, and Protestantism, they all affirm the divinity of Jesus Christ. This is what separates true Christianity from the cults. Without Christ there is no Christianity. Yes, Jesus is the reason for the season. Those of us who accept Jesus Christ as our personal Lord and Savior truly experience what Christmas is all about.
I am convinced unequivocally that Jesus is the only perfect person to have ever lived in this world. People like Alexander the Great, Constantine, Charlemagne, Caesar Augustus, and other political greats can’t compare with Jesus. Why? Because they are not God. Many Christians are celebrating the Advent season of the Christian year. The Latin word “Adventus” refers to the coming of the Lord. Many like me are preparing our hearts for the first coming of Jesus Christ. However, we are also looking forward to his second coming, when all will have to recognize his divinity.
Larry Summerour of Troup County is a retired pastor who enjoys political commentary.