By Dr. Stan Cook
To many people, Christmas is only a story about the birth of the baby Jesus in the town of Bethlehem, Israel. Their celebrations are focused on that birth and parties are given in honor of it. Department stores use it as an excuse for a “Christmas Sale” with the hope of playing on the religious nature of people just to make a dollar.
In reality, Christmas is not about the infancy of Jesus; it is about His deity – the birth of the Messiah, Jesus Christ the Lord. The humble birth of Jesus Christ was never intended to conceal the reality that God was being born into the world. But the world’s version of Christmas does just that. And sadly for the greater part of humanity, Christmas has no valid meaning at all.
What is the meaning and purpose for God to be born in a manger? How can a person explain the Almighty God stooping down to become a tiny infant? Can our minds begin to understand what was involved in God becoming man? Nor can anyone explain how God could become a baby. Yet He did. Without forsaking His divine nature or diminishing His deity, He was born into our world as a tiny infant. He was fully human and He was also fully God.
For 2,000 years, the debate has raged about who Jesus Christ really is. The cults and skeptics have offered various explanations. They will claim that He is one of many gods, a created being, a good teacher, or a prophet. The common thread of all such theories is that they make Jesus less than God. But the biblical evidence is overwhelming that this child in the manger was the incarnation of God.
Recently, the small children of our church were watching the cartoon, A Charlie Brown Christmas – the story that points out the over-commercialization and secularism of Christmas, and reminds the viewers of the true meaning of Christmas (the birth of Jesus Christ the Lord. A question is asked by Charlie Brown to Linus – What is Christmas all about? The answer that Linus gave to Charlie Brown was powerful and it is an answer that Alabama and America needs to discover again.
Linus answered Charlie Brown (and the world) by quoting the Gospel of Luke Chapter 2:
“And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not; for, behold, I bring you tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you: Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace and goodwill towards men.’” “…That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”
The Founding Fathers understood that the birth of our Nation was connected to the birth and ministry of the Savior, Jesus the Christ. The Founding Fathers also understood that it was within the message of Christ birth that the nation would find true meaning and purpose.
Thomas Jefferson would state “The Bible is the cornerstone of liberty” while James Madison would write “We’ve staked our future on our ability to follow the Ten Commandments with all our heart.”
The Pastor Patrick Henry would proclaim from his pulpit “It cannot be emphasized too strongly or too often that this great nation was founded, not by religionists, but Christians; not on religions, but on the Gospel of Jesus Christ!”
Benjamin Franklin declared the following, “God governs the affairs of man. And if a sparrow cannot fall to the ground without His notice is it probable that an empire can rise without His aid? We have been assured in the Sacred Writings that except the Lord build the house, they labor in vain that build it.”
It would be John Quincy Adams, the sixth President of the United States, that would make the connection of the birth of the United States to the birth of Jesus Christ and Christmas when he wrote, “Why is it that, next to the birthday of the Savior of the world, your most joyous and most venerated festival returns on this day (the 4th of July)? Is it not that, in the chain of human events, the birthday of the nation is indissolubly linked with the birthday of the Savior?”
Let me encourage you during this Christmas season to remember the real meaning and purpose of Christmas – and to remember the real meaning and purpose of the founding of the United States of American. That meaning and purpose can be found within the fifth verse of the Battle Hymn of the Republic – “In the beauty of the lilies Christ was born across the sea, With a glory in His bosom that transfigures you and me: As He died to make men holy, let us live to make men free…” Let His Truth march on!
Dr. Stan Cooke, is a Republican Candidate for Lt. Governor of Alabama