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Caesar, Jesus Christ and Christmas

Tuesday, 21 December 2004 12:00 AM

With so many people focusing most of their attention on buying and selling, and the giving and receiving of gifts, materialism seemed destined to displace the original Christian “reason for the season.”

But in recent years, those misfits among us who are most hostile to the things of God have moved from merely ignoring the biblical basis for our mid-winter holiday celebration to actively opposing its spiritual roots.

We now confront, therefore, not only the aforementioned commercialization of Christmas, but also the secularization and politicization of the sacred holiday as well.

Every winter, all across America, we have another big fight right around Christmas time. That’s when the liberal, atheistic ACLU types always launch their annual campaign to expel God from the public schools and banish Jesus Christ from the public square.

Santa Claus and his flying reindeer may be OK, but the God-sent, Virgin-born Babe in the Manger is clearly unacceptable to these self-proclaimed “free-thinking” guardians of humanistic heathenism.

It never ceases to amaze me how some of these folks manage to twist the Constitution continually to mean something it plainly doesn’t say. They grossly misinterpret the First Amendment into a pagan prohibition of any public display of religious faith — rather than a blessed guarantee of the right to freely exercise that faith, both in public and in private.

The very idea of an alleged right to “freedom from religion” is antithetical to everything the Founding Fathers fought for and believed in. Even an unregenerate old Deist like the worldly Benjamin Franklin supported the public exercise of Christianity as being beneficial to the general morality and common good of the populace.

These seeming contradictions in modern life served to set me thinking — improbable as this may sound — about the inherent interrelationship between Christmas and ... politics, of all things.

That is a very odd combination. There is absolutely no way the two have anything to do with each other. One is about the birth of Jesus Christ, and the other is about human government and public policy.

When you look at the facts, though, you will see something different.

Why were Mary and Joseph in Bethlehem when Jesus was born? They had to pay taxes to Caesar. There were no rooms in the inn because so many people came to pay taxes. This meant that the Lamb of God came into the world in a lowly manger, among the farm animals that were used as sacrificial offerings in the Jewish religion.

Government is about human institutions taking care of the people who live in this world. The legitimate goal of government is to set up an ordered society that is free and safe, where one and all can live and prosper in peace.

God established human government through the Noahic Covenant that protected the sanctity of all human life created in the image of God. God then established through the Ten Commandments the basic moral parameters that have bounded Western Civilization for more than three millennia.

The birth of Jesus Christ, which is what Christmas (or Christ’s Mass) really commemorates, is about our Christ coming from Heaven to Earth to die on the Cross of Calvary. Why? So that redeemed men can live for all eternity with Him.

Isaiah the prophet describes Jesus as our Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace ... “and the government shall be upon his shoulders.”

Human government is about providing physical services for mankind’s temporal needs.

Jesus Christ is about providing spiritual blessings for mankind’s eternal needs.

Christmas today is STILL about remembering God’s inexpressibly generous gift to us through the birth of Jesus. It is also about being generous to others — a time to give clothing to the poor, a time to share food with a needy neighbor, a time to help out a friend who has fallen on hard times and is struggling to get by.

Most importantly, Christmas should be a time of blessed family fellowship and worship toward God, with prayerful meditation and joyful thanksgiving.

Jesus gave to all of us needy humans the greatest gift of all: Himself.

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With so many people focusing most of their attention on buying and selling, and the giving and receiving of gifts, materialism seemed destined to displace the original Christian "reason for the season." But in recent years, those misfits among us who are most hostile...
Tuesday, 21 December 2004 12:00 AM
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