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25th December, 2006

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Red noses, red faces

About seven hundred years before it happened, the prophet Isaiah foretold a unique miracle — the birth of a child to a virgin:

Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel (7:14).

Read that again, please! Did you catch it? A virgin would give birth to baby “Immanuel” — “God with us”. No, no, no; how could that be? Children had never been born to virgins! Much, much, more significantly, God had never so humbled Himself as to enter flesh before. Many times He had stooped down to walk and talk with men, but never had God interwoven Himself so inextricably with flesh and blood that we can now truthfully confess that He has lived as one of us and, in the process, has given us the perfect Mediator between us and Him.

Not that heaven became vacant in the process, mind you. God was still there, but then He was also here. Who can utter His mighty acts, who can show forth all His praise? Who can begin to grasp the depth, the height, the breadth of such a marvel? No miracle could be harder to understand or more remarkable in degree of mysteriousness. Did baby God-in-the-flesh think like a baby? Did he cry? When did he become aware of his true identity? What a cause for puzzlement. But also, what a cause for rejoicing! No wonder that shortly after His birth,

… suddenly there was… a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, and on

earth peace, goodwill toward men!" (Luke 2:13-14).

Surely every believing heart burns within upon reading these words or hearing “Silent Night”. Why, then, do we insist on treating this staggering, universe-shaking, salvation-bringing no-no-no event as a ho-ho-ho event, a marvelous opportunity to either rake in or throw away money? Why do we trivialize God's personal entry into human history with our patently silly embroidery of the truth? The birth of Jesus ushered in a unique phenomenon, never to be repeated but also never to cease. Of course believers should rejoice over the miracle of the Incarnation just as the angels did. But fat men in red tumbling down chimneys, and red-nosed flying reindeer? Can we not put ourselves in our Father's shoes and see just how insulted the Lord of Truth must surely feel when we commemorate His mighty, saving works with lie-ridden follies?

Besides, Jesus set no precedent and left no instructions with His disciples to turn His birth into a new holy day. The entire rigmarole associated with Christmas celebrations is of human origin and has no biblical approval. God sent Jesus to earth to give His life as our atoning lamb and to rise from the dead as the captain of our salvation. Scripture does reveal special days to be observed in honor of these events. Doesn't it make much more sense for believers to meekly and joyfully embrace the celebratory events commanded in Scripture than to make up their own days and customs? I for one have no desire to appear red-faced before the Judge and try to explain why I celebrated the birth of Immanuel with songs about red noses.

Read the Dawn to Dusk book, "Shadow and Reality" for further information on the realities portrayed by the biblically-revealed holy days.

I recommend also "How Important is Christmas?"


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