CELEBRATE THE INCARNATION 2020

Jesus changed history forever:

Let’s remember. Let’s celebrate. Let’s worship. Jesus REIGNS!

Whilst our spiritual enemy has used Santa Claus to hijack Christmas from Jesus Christ there is a reality behind the story and history of Santa Claus that is worth knowing and using with children. There actually was a man known as Nicholas who was born in AD 280 in Asia Minor, which is modern-day Turkey. He was bishop of the church in Myra, participated in the First Council of Nicaea, and helped the church find the best language to describe the Incarnation of Jesus. Saint

St. Nicholas – the original Santa Claus

Nicholas was beloved because he spent his life helping the poor and underprivileged. He was the first to initiate programs for mentally challenged children. His love for children led him to visit their homes at night disguised in a red-and-white hooded robe to leave gifts of money, clothing, and food in their windows or around their fireplaces. Nicholas was one of history’s most venerated saints, with more than 500 songs and hymns written in his honor. By the year 1500, more than 700 churches in Britain were dedicated to him. The Dutch especially appreciated his life. They spelled his name Sint Nikolass, which, in America, became Sinterklass, or Santa Claus.

Other Christmas traditions have spiritual significance:

• Lighting a Christmas candle symbolizes the coming of the Light of God. When Jesus first visited our planet, He fulfilled the promise made seven centuries earlier: “The people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them, a light has dawned” (Matthew 4:16; Isaiah 9:2).

• The poinsettia reminds us of the blood of Jesus, shed on the cross or us all. When you set out these plants this year, pause to remember the fact that Jesus was born to die. We could not climb up to God, so he climbed down to us. He is the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world (Revelation 13:8).

• ·When you see a wreath this Christmas season, pause to give thanks for the victory won for you by Jesus. In Roman times, and in Greek culture before them, a wreath signified victory in an athletic competition. Much like Olympic gold medals, wreaths woven of leaves or made of gold were given to the winners of significant races and contests. In the same way, you and I wear the wreath of eternal victory in Jesus. He has won the battle against sin and Satan. If He is your Lord, eternal security is yours. You are in His hand, and no one can take you from his protection and care (John 10:28).

PRAY ALL MY FOLLOWERS HAVE A JOYOUS CHRISTMAS

Madonna of the Health, San Camillo Church, Milan, Italy. Picture: iStock

Christmas remains the most universal, powerful symbol of both humanity and divinity, not only in the West but in the entire world. I have listened, transfixed with delight, to Christmas carols sung in hotel lobbies all around the world, even China.

Christmas has always had its enemies. The chief project of modernity over the past 200 years has been to try to kill God. Even where this dismal endeavour progresses culturally, the God that cannot be killed at all is the infant at Christmas.

Still, as Dickens suggested in A Christmas Carol, you can tell something about a person, and a culture, by their attitude to Christmas.

In truth, Christmas is a universal symbol that spreads nothing but goodwill and hope to everyone. At every Christmas table surely every neighbour is welcome. It is also true that Christianity is true. And that it is completely distinctive.

Christianity stakes its claims to truth on specific historical events in a well-documented time. No other religion has its supreme god seemingly defeated on Earth, arrested, tortured, humiliated and killed in the most gruesome fashion.

One of our best-credentialed and most prolific historians of biblical times, John Dickson, who teaches at Oxford and Sydney universities, has written a marvellous new book, Is Jesus History?

You could make no greater contribution to cultural literacy and possibly the Kingdom of God than encouraging everybody, certainly every high school and university student, to read it. Give it as a gift especially to unbelieving family and friends.

For your own use at least get the free ebook on Amazon