It’s nearly Christmas
It is nearly Christmas, and as the late John Lennon said. And what have we done, another day older and a New Year nearly begun. Will we take the opportunity to think about the past year and what we shall do differently in the New Year?
It is nearly Christmas, or should that be Mid-winter Holiday, or Wintervel, Winter Festival? Or indeed many of the other names other then Christmas. I know most of the Islamic religion, and other religious faiths could not care less about Christmas, or whatever we want to call it. It is just the PC brigade who in their stupid idea of bringing no offence to??? Are made to look stupid themselves and in some ways offend Christians and try to water down the meaning of Christmas. Still as Christians we are taught to turn the other cheek and accept all this bull.
Still I shall move on, Christianity as been on the verge of extinction at many times and in many places in the course of it’s history, but we are still here. We have been both hated and ridiculed. The destruction of South American natives. The killing of dissidents in the Spanish Inquisition. The Religious wars between Catholics and Protestants, etc. We are praised for our charity work for others, Christian Aid, Oxfam, not to mention the Red Cross, and copied by the Red Crescent, when we try to help humanities suffering [even if it had nothing to do with Christians] Yes many things have been done in the name of Christianity, some extremely bad and some extremely good.
As Christmas is now upon us, people have almost maxed out their credit cards, presents bought, excessive amounts of food bought [not to mention drink] all in the name of a man who lived and died many years ago. Who if many were to be asked, in the so-called Christian west, would be hard pressed to describe his life, or indeed his teachings?
Some might have distant childhood memories of the school nativity plays, carol singing etc. Some might say the western values, of kindness, understanding, charity, fairness and tolerance of others all stem from Christianity? Possibly true, but I have met similar values in people of other religions, or no religion at all. Some would say that the above are just human nature, but what about human nature when people do the exact opposite of the above? I don’t have the answer, God only knows.
Back to my thoughts on Christmas, at every church service, we say what as become known as the Apostles Creed;
I believe in God, the Father Almighty, creator of heaven and earth. I believe in Jesus Christ, his only Son, our Lord, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary, suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried; he descended to the dead. On the third day he rose again; he ascended into heaven, he is seated at the right hand of the Father, and he will come to judge the living and the dead. I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church, the communion of saints, the forgiveness of sins, the resurrection of the body, and the life everlasting.
I understand and accept that it is against the teaching of Islam, but to Christianity it is one of the foundations [pillars] of our faith. People have been martyred for refusing to deny it.
But at Christ [mas] Mass or Eucharist is were we celebrate the life, death and resurrection of Jesus. It is one of the few things that Jesus asked us to do in remembrance of him.
The Lord's Supper Instituted Luke chapter 22 v 14-23
14 And when the hour was come, he sat down, and the twelve apostles with him. 15 And he said unto them, I have desired to eat this Passover with you before I suffer: 16 For I say unto you, I will not any more eat thereof, until it be fulfilled in the kingdom of God. 17 And he took the cup, and gave thanks, and said, Take this, and divide it among yourselves: 18 For I say unto you, I will not drink of the fruit of the vine, until the kingdom of God shall come. 19 And he took bread, and gave thanks, and broke it, and gave unto them, saying, This is my body which is given for you: this do in remembrance of me. 20 Likewise also the cup after supper, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood, which is shed for you. 21 But, behold, the hand of him that betrays me, is with me on the table. 22 And truly the Son of man goes, as it was determined: but woe unto that man by whom he is betrayed! 23 And they began to inquire among themselves, which of them it was that should do this thing.
But every Christmas, we have a special evening service [sometimes called Midnight mass] were at the start of the service part of the Gospel of John is read out.
Gospel of John Chapter 1 verse 1-20 The Word Became Flesh
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life, and the life was the light of men. 5 The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
6 There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.
9 The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. 11 He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. 12 But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, 13 who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.
14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. 15 (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) 16 For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. 17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. 18 No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
19 And this is the record of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, Who art thou? 20 And he confessed, and denied not; but confessed, I am not the Christ.
The above to Christians is clear and is the one thing that all practicing Christians believe. On this there can be movement. I understand that to Islam it may be blasphemous [and as been used as such to punish Christians for their beliefs] But the facts remain it is one of our pillars of Christianity.
I shall continue in the New Year to present the life and teachings of Jesus, and my understanding of what they mean. [Unless I am forbidden]
To start this in the New Year is apt, the cold dark winter leading to the spring and the start of new life [with all it’s mythical meanings from Norse God’s hijacked by Christianity to gain converts] Or indeed the cold damp three months leading up to Jesus’s Trial, Death and Resurrection, gives us Christians [those of us who want to] a chance to reflect again on his life. Knowing that he left his Disciples and followers to pass on his message to others. Which brings me to the thought. Jesus’s Teaching was only three years [three months to Easter, then nine month left in the year before Christmas and then we start again]