Richard Ames on Missing Message of Christmas


Evangelist Richard Ames of the Living Church of God reported the following in the current edition of the Tomorrow’s World magazine:

Christmas: The Missing Message

What does Christmas mean to you? Does observing Christmas bring you closer to God? Or are “Christmas” traditions obscuring the wonderful truth of Jesus Christ’s real message?

What does Christmas mean to you? For many people, it is the most festive time of the year. Families come together to exchange gifts under a Christmas tree, perhaps near a fireplace where a Yule log is burning. Children beg Santa Claus to bring them their most desired presents. All around are traditional decorations—holly wreaths, mistletoe, bright lights and tinsel. From time to time, one may even find a “nativity” scene and a sincere desire to mark the birth of Jesus Christ.

For most retailers in professing Christian nations, the Christmas season is the most profitable time of the year, accounting for up to 40 percent—sometimes more—of annual sales. Christmas-related promotions may begin weeks—even months—before December 25. Santa Claus and his reindeer have been used to sell products ranging from soda to electric razors!…

So, is Jesus’ message about consumerism? Is it a message of stress for those who rush about trying to stretch tight finances to purchase coveted consumer goods for friends and loved ones? Is it a message of guilt for those who do not spend enough, and a message of greed for those who are eager to receive the generous gifts of those around them?

Many of the millions who exchange gifts this year will assume they are following a tradition established by the Magi—the “wise men” from the East who came to pay their respects to Jesus. But is there more to that story than the common traditions assume?…

Just how old was Jesus when the Magi came to visit? From Scripture we know an upper limit. An angel warned Joseph and Mary to flee to Egypt to protect Jesus (Matthew 2:13). King Herod was not looking for an infant to kill—he ordered the murder of all male children two years old and younger in the Bethlehem area (v. 16). Jesus had to have been at least several months old when the Magi came to worship Him!

Birth of a King

As you can see, the true biblical account is quite different from the traditions that inventive men have created around it. The birth of Jesus was the birth of a king. What purpose was revealed to Mary, Jesus’ mother, regarding His birth? “Then the angel said to her, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end'” (Luke 1:30–33).

About 30 years later, Jesus began His full-time ministry. And what was His message? It was a message of a coming Kingdom—a Kingdom of which there will be no end! “Now after John was put in prison, Jesus came to Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God, and saying, ‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand. Repent, and believe in the gospel'” (Mark 1:14–15).

The angel Gabriel announced that Jesus was to rule a Kingdom that would never end. Jesus Himself preached the gospel, the good news, of the coming Kingdom of God! One popular Christmas-time tradition today involves Messiah, the famous oratorio written in 1741 by English composer George Frideric Handel. Many of us have heard, set to Handel’s music, the stirring words from the prophet Isaiah, announcing the revelation of the Messiah: “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6).

Yes, Jesus Christ—the Messiah—is now preparing to return to this earth and to establish world peace. He is the Prince of Peace. But, how will He establish world peace? Notice the next verse: “Of the increase of His government and peace there willbe no end, upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, to order it and establish it with judgment and justice from that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will perform this” (Isaiah 9:7).

Can you imagine total world peace? Can you imagine peace and prosperity among all nations? This is what will happen when Christ establishes His Kingdom on earth!

We in the Living Church of God believe that Jesus’ message is more than the fact that He was born and died for us.  It includes the Gospel of the Kingdom and is not about modern commercialism.

What many are shopping today for, and that they will observe a month from today, was not celebrated by Jesus, His apostles, or any of His early followers.  And it is not observed by His faithful followers in the 21st century.

Some articles of possibly related interest may include:

What Does the Catholic Church Teach About Christmas and the Holy Days? Do you know what the Catholic Church says were the original Christian holy days? Was Christmas among them? Is December 25th Jesus’ birthday or that of the sun god?
Did Early Christians Celebrate Birthdays? Did biblical era Jews celebrate birthdays? Who originally celebrated birthdays? When did many that profess Christ begin birthday celebrations?
Do You Practice Mithraism? Many practices and doctrines that mainstream so-called Christian groups have are the same or similar to those of the sun-god Mithras. December 25th was the time pagan’s celebrated Mithras’ birthday. Do you follow Mithraism combined with the Bible or original Christianity?
The Gospel of the Kingdom of God was the Emphasis of Jesus and the Early Church Did you know that? Do you even know what the gospel of the kingdom is all about? True religion should be based upon the true gospel.
Are You Saved? Do You Love Jesus? What is a True Christian? What is the Gospel? Evangelist Richard Ames answers those important questions.
Did The Early Church Teach Millenarianism? Was the millennium (sometimes called chiliasm) taught by early Christians? Who condemned it. Will Jesus literally reign for 1000 years on the earth? Is this time near?

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