I was talking with a friend who was incredulous at the idea that we should celebrate Christ being born on December 25th and that I was enjoying what was obviously nothing but a tradition.
He went on to explain that the reason the birth of Jesus is remembered on the 25th of December was a pragmatic desire to replace a totally pagan holiday with a “Christian” theme and had nothing to do with the actual birth of Christ.
He was furious and proudly vowed not to join in this “replacement” holiday.
But, I’ve been thinking… Isn’t that exactly what Christ was born to do? Take what was pagan in all of us (Sin) and change it to what is holy and acceptable in God’s eyes (Grace). On Christmas and every other day of the year, Jesus Christ replaces our “lost” status with a completely new position of completely “forgiven”. That’s a replacement worth celebrating with the joy of Christmas.
2 Corinthians 5:21 says, “He made Him who knew no sin to be sin on our behalf, so that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.” This is what the Angel was proclaiming with the glorious statement, “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” [Matthew 1:21]
It seems to me that “Replacement” is exactly what God is doing at Christmas. He’s replacing our sin with the grace of a completely “New” life through the free “Christmas” gift of His Son, Jesus. Through Jesus, everything can become new in our lives. “Therefore if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creature; the old things passed away; behold, new things have come.” [2 Corinthians 5:17]
For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the CHRISTMAS GIFT of God; [Ephesians 2:8 – Liberties taken for emphasis]
Isn’t that replacement worth celebrating, no matter what date?
Think about it… AND Merry Christmas!