WHAT IF CHRISTMAS NEVER CAME?
What If Christmas Never Came?
What would the world be like?
Pastor Michael Lantz
A thought provoking question - isn't it?
Many people in our society today may have never even thought of such a notion. But it is surely one that provokes some deep feelings.
C.S. Lewis, in his brilliant masterpiece story, The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe (part of the Chronicles of Narnia series), painted a compelling picture of such a place - the enchanted land of Narnia. The situation is that this land and all that are in it are under the powerful curse of the white witch. What is the curse? Sadly, for the creatures in Narnia, it is always winter, but never Christmas.
If you think about today's world the idea doesn't seem so far fetched! It is interesting to consider that there is a push among some "loud voices" in our society to get rid of Christmas all together! The content of many traditional Christmas carols is objectionable to them - They even believe the phrase "Merry Christmas" should be stricken from our vocabulary!
All this is happening in the United States where some 96% of the country celebrates Christmas! Reading this may make you shake your head in disbelief, you may say "how absurd!", but those who aggressively oppose Christmas are out there. And unfortunately too many people say nothing. For the sake of "political correctness" they silently - "go with the flow."
Of course these "Christmas objectors" don't seem to be upset about Santa Claus, lights or gift-giving. They don't take issue with trees (except perhaps what name we give them!), parties or even parades. Furthermore, other religions and their religious holidays can be learned about, embraced and even observed in the public square, but apparently not Christianity's Christmas. You see, for them the number one issue is not the celebration of a holiday per se, it's a Person. His name is Jesus Christ.
You see, if you take the Christ out of Christmas, there is no Christmas! Many people in our culture might object at this point and say that Christmas is more about the giving spirit,
"peace and good will toward men." While we as Christians applaud these holiday expressions of love and kindness one to another, that is not the intent of the Bible verse. When the angels sang "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men" (Luke 2:14 KJV) they praised God for the gift of His Son. (Note: Christmas is from the Latin meaning "Christ (was) sent").
The peace and good will was from God to man (not man to man). If you look at this section of Scripture you will find that just before this an angel proclaimed "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11 KJV).
But what if there were no Christ to believe in? No Jesus to live for or even die for? Let's consider together what would happen if that were true.
What if Christmas were cancelled?
Apart from all the crass commercialism of Christmastime there is an inescapable deep meaning to this holiday (or holy day). This meaning permeates many of the traditional symbols of the season. For example, the song The Twelve Days of Christmas was created as a musical allegory. It was a teaching tool used in England to instruct young people in the truths of the Christian faith. The meanings were hidden in the lyrics to avoid severe persecution and almost certain death.
Faith and new life in Christ have inspired countless songs, books and expressions of love and gratitude - but what if there were . . .
No Christmas Songs or Carols
Silent Night, Joy to the World, O Holy Night, Away in a Manger, Hark the Herald Angels Sing - never inspired, never written, never sung. With no Christmas, the choirs are silenced, the carolers hushed, they are no more. More than that, they never were.
No Christmas Trees or Lights
Christmas Tree symbols like evergreen (eternal life in Jesus Christ), lights or candles (Jesus is the light of the world), boughs of holly with red berries and green leaves (Christ's shed blood at the cross and eternal life) and even the candy cane (the shepherd's crook speaks of Jesus as our Good Shepherd) all have a symbolism directly representing the Christian faith. The Christmas Tree actually originated in Christian Germany. It came from two Christian symbols found in homes at Christmastime. The first was a "paradise tree", an evergreen that was hung with apples which represented the tree of life in the Garden of Eden. The second symbol was a "Christmas pyramid." This was a triangular shelf holding Christmas figurines and decorated with a star. By about the 16th century these two symbols had been combined into the Christmas Tree.
As you can see, these things point to the miracle of the birth of Jesus Christ. They also represent the truth that He came into the world to reverse the curse of sin & death (Rom. 5:12-21). Oh, but before I get carried away, forget about the trees and lights, blow out the candles, shut down the lights, because in our scenario the light of the world (John 1:4-5, 8:12) never came (Matt. 4:14-17), they didn't want Him! Men will never see the true light (Matt. 4:14-17), never have His message of hope and light preached (Acts 26:18), I guess they can have what they want, they can stay in darkness (John 3:16-21).
Ah, but I can hear them say, "that's okay, preacher, we got ya now, we don't have Jesus Christ, but we still have Santa Claus". . . or do they??
No Santa Claus
Actually St. Nicholas was the fourth century bishop of Myra, a Christian, who was a giving soul, but whose story was embellished by years of telling. By the way, history tells us that he was so committed to Jesus that he was persecuted and martyred for Christ. So you see, if you don't have Jesus Christ, then you don't have Old Saint Nick or his German / English equivalent, Santa Claus. I can hear someone saying "Now you're getting personal buddy! Next thing you know, you'll want to take away all the gifts too!" Well, now that you mention it, not all of them . . . just One, but I have to tell you - it's a BIGGIE!
No Gift of Salvation
This gift (John 3:16, Eph. 2:8-9) has been the biggest inspiration for all others, it is the gift of Jesus. The Bible says in James 1:17..."every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of Lights..." But wait a minute, if there is no Christmas, then there is no Jesus, if there is no Jesus, than there is no God The Father, if they (The Father & The Son) are missing then there is no God. I guess we ended up precisely where some people want this discussion to end. No God. No one to answer to. (Psalm 14:1-3; Isa. 29:15-16, 45:5-9; Romans 1:18-25).
Isaiah the prophet wrote over 700 years before Jesus was born: "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel, which translated means, "God with us" (Isa. 7:14; Matt. 1:23). It is incredible to think about the fact that the very One who causes all this controversy is none other than God in human flesh! (John 1:1,14). The Bible makes it crystal clear that in the person of Jesus Christ "all the fulness of Deity dwells in bodily form" (Col. 2:9). Jesus, who is God, became a man. He "emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant and being made in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross" (Phil. 2:7-8). Miraculously, His true identity reveals that He is God with us, who died for us! But in our "make-believe" story Jesus wasn't here. He never came, never touched the sick, comforted the brokenhearted, never healed the blind, deaf and lame, never calmed the sea or called to the other side of the grave. Never preached, cried or died for our sins and never conquered the grave and rose again from the dead (see 1 Cor. 15:12-22). There is no adoption into God's family, no heaven, no chance of a joyful reunion. No hope of being in the wonderful presence of God forever, no life! (see John 10:10; Rev. 21:1-6; Psalm 23:6).
I feel cold. Is it still winter?
It goes from bad to worse . . .
No Forgiveness of Sins
"And she will bear a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for it is He who will save His people from their sins" (Matt. 1:21). In this sad scenario - He never did save us. That wonderful baby was never born, Mary never sang her song of rejoicing, that baby never became that man (all the while being God) and never died a horribly excruciating death on the cross for our sins.
Aren't You Glad That Christmas Has Come!?
But Jesus was born into this world. He was rejected, humiliated, mocked, scourged, spit upon and crucified and yet was completely innocent (2 Cor. 5:21). God treated Jesus on the cross like He had committed every one of our sins (Isa. 53:4-6), He suffered not only for our sins, "but also for those of the whole world" (1 John 2:2), though He had committed none of them (1 Pet. 2:22-24). He died for you and for me! (Gal. 2:20)
Why did God do this? Because He loves us (John 3:16; Rom. 5:8) and because He wants to save us (1 Tim. 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9). If you don't know Jesus Christ, then you are lost and on your way to hell (Rom. 3:23, 6:23; 2 Thess. 1:9-10) - that's the bad news. But the good news is that Jesus came into this world and lived the perfect life that you could never live, He died on the cross and rose again from the dead to save you (1 Peter 3:18; Rom. 4:25). If you will turn from your sins, trust in Jesus and receive Him into your life as your personal Lord and Savior (John 1:12), you will be forgiven (Eph. 1:7), saved (Rom. 10:9) and righteous before God! (2 Cor. 5:17-21). The biggest question you will ever answer in your entire life is this - Is there "room" in your heart for Him?