December has arrived! Every year I try to focus my heart towards the reason for the Christmas Season; Jesus Christ. Honestly, all too often the busyness of this time gets in the way of my accomplishing my heart’s desire. “The Reason for the Season” isn’t about Santa Claus, family, the children, or the buying and giving of gifts. Believe it or not, it’s not about giving to others less fortunate, either. The “Reason for the Season”, the reason we have Christmas, is Jesus Christ.
Who is this Jesus? Why have we celebrated his birth some 2000 years and more? The Bible says that Jesus is the son of God. Down through the ages many have doubted this truth. Some believe the Bible is pure myth; nothing more than a good story written by men; a hoax perpetuated long ago. Therefore, Jesus was nothing more than a good man; a prophet. Many rank Jesus with Santa Claus – a folklore legend.
Did you know the legend of Santa Claus is based on a real man? “The true story of Santa Claus begins with Nicholas, who was born during the 3rd century in the village of Patara. At the time, the area was Greek and is now on the southern coast of Turkey. His wealthy parents, who raised him to be a devout Christian, died in an epidemic while Nicholas was still young. Obeying Jesus’ words to sell what you own and give the money to the poor,’ Nicholas used his whole inheritance to assist the needy, the sick, and the suffering. He dedicated his life to serving God and was made Bishop of Myra, while still a young man. Bishop Nicholas became known throughout the land for his generosity to those in need, his love for children, and his concern for sailors and ships.” Our folklore legend turns out not to be a folklore legend at all, but a real person who once lived and walked the earth.
Jesus too, was a real person. Unlike the Bishop, who died, and whose bones reside within his grave. Jesus remains do not lie within a grave. Jesus did something no one else has ever accomplished on earth before his time or since. 3 days after his death he walked out of the grave! He lived and ate with his disciples and friends for weeks following his death and burial. Multitudes of people saw him alive and well following his death. Eyewitness accounts have recorded many events which took place during this historical era. Jesus, then left earth via the air and resides in what we call Heaven. “Now when he had spoken these things, while they watched, he was taken up, and a cloud received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly toward heaven as he went up, behold two men stood by them in white apparel, who also said, ‘Men of Galilee, why do you stand gazing up into heaven? This same Jesus, who was taken up from you into heaven, will so come in like manner as you saw him go into heaven’ (Acts 1:9-11).
Still skeptical? Ask yourself the following, “Would you willingly die to keep a hoax or story alive?” To my knowledge no one has ever died to keep the legend of Santa Claus alive. Yet many, some known and some nameless have died for their belief in this man called Jesus. For example: in the mid-1950s, Jim Elliott and his missionary friends were massacred by spear for sharing their faith in Jesus Christ. In 1999 at Columbine high school, students Cassie Bernal and Eileen Schnurr, responded to the question, “Are you a Christian?” asked by a fellow student as he held a gun in their face. Their reply, “Yes, they were Christians who believed in Jesus Christ”. Immediately, the man shot both of the girls; Cassie Bernal died and Eileen survived. On Christmas Day, in the year 2010, eight Egyptian Christians were killed as they left their church service in Nag Hammadi, Egypt. On average 150,000 Christians die each year for the expression of their faith. Since the start of the 21st century, over 2 million Christians have been killed. On Palm Sunday 2017, twin bombings by jihadists at two Egyptian churches killed at least 45 worshippers and wounded more than 100 others.
Christianity is the most persecuted religion in the world. Statistically, every 3 minutes a Christian dies for their faith. No, no one dies for Santa Claus, yet people have died for centuries and are continuing to die for this “so called story” about a man named Jesus.
Jesus states, he is the very son of God. He was born for the single purpose of providing a way for mankind to receive an adopted inheritance from God himself. He died to keep us out of the grasp of the enemy, Satan, for all eternity. As a friend of mine always says, “It’s not rocket science” check him out for yourself; I guarantee you the truth will stand on its own merit.
I ask you, “Would you willingly endure beatings, imprisonment or death, to keep alive a fictional story you and your friends perpetuated?” “Would you willingly hang on a cross upside down, having your hands and feet securely nailed, left to die in order to keep a hoax alive?” Several of the apostles and many of the early followers of Jesus died for their belief in such a fashion; they did so willingly. God gave his all for us. God sacrificed his firstborn son, so we might have a restored relationship with him. Would you be willing to die a cruel harsh death, for someone you have never met? Jesus did.
I was once skeptical, perhaps like you. You have nothing to lose by checking out this man called Jesus. You might be pleasantly surprised by what you discover. I know I was.
Until next time,
Matthew 27:43 “.… for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’”