‘Christ’mas (1)

Worldwide, this is a season of festivals and celebrations of historical events. Hanukkah is the celebration and remembrance of the miraculous delivery of the Israelites from destruction in about 165 BC. Christmas celebrates and remembers the birth of Jesus Christ to a virgin in Bethlehem about 165 years later, in fulfillment of several prophecies written in the Jewish scriptures, such as:

Isa 9:6 For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulder, and His name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father [of Eternity], Prince of Peace.

“Mic 5:2 But you, Bethlehem Ephratah, you are little to be among the clans of Judah; [yet] out of you shall One come forth for Me Who is to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth have been from of old, from ancient days (eternity).”

Both events are miraculous, requiring the intervention of an “external” being that Jews and Christians know as Yahweh or God. Some Christians, especially Messianic Jews believe and I do too, that Hanukkah needed to happen for Christmas to happen.

For global retail sales, this is the most important season and it is not uncommon for retailers to make more than 11 months of sale in December. Most people also reserve their gift giving till this season, partly also because it occurs at the end of the year.

I too believe that Christmas is an important season and i give gifts and send prayers and good wishes at this time but i also remember the historical event behind Christmas – the Incarnation, the birth of a Jew who not only claimed to be God, but who the Jewish scriptures referred to as “the Mighty God” centuries before he was born, the same God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob and the savior or rescuer of each and all human beings from whatever the root of their pressing problem is. Jesus Christ whose birth we celebrate, went about doing good and healing everyone that needed healing.

Even though most Jews reject him as the Messiah, his first followers were Jews, who later influenced non-Jews from every tribe and nation to believe that He is God and Savior. He fulfilled all Jewish prophecies pointing to the Messiah, he said he was God, he performed miracles like raising the dead and providing food and helping struggling businesses, he healed everyone who wanted to be healed by him, he was crucified on the cross and prayed for his crucifiers. On the third day, he rose again, according to the records passed on to us.

It was hard for his original Jewish followers to doubt his claim to divinity after he rose from the dead and appeared to them. Today, there are evidences such as the shroud of Turin and an empty tomb, which, frankly, a believer like me does not need as a prop for his/her faith since true faith in Christ rests in the present reality of a risen Christ and not necessarily in a historical fact that can be tampered with.

I think that he is either God and Christ the Messiah who came once and will come again at a time we know not or he is not. If it is true, then it is true no matter how much I don’t like its implications. I agree with C.S. Lewis that this Christ of Christmas leaves me 2 options: accept as God and saviour or treat as the devil or a lunatic. I do not think He came to start a new religion but I agree that he came as Adam[II] to satisfy the claims of divine justice on behalf of every individual on the planet, to redeem humanity and ultimately, the planet itself by death on a cross, so that the relationship between God and human beings can be restored, after Adam[I] fell from grace and corrupted all his descendants.

To be continued.

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