About Jesus - Steve Sweetman
Magic Of Christmas
the way author and Bible teacher Joel Rosenberg said it in a recent
radio interview. "Christmas
isn't a Biblical holiday. It's
a cultural holiday." I'd
add that it is, and maybe always has been, a confusing concoction of
Christianity, paganism, and a heavy dose of commercialized secularism.
as the second century Christians celebrated the resurrection of Jesus in
various ways. It wasn't
until after Emperor Constantine declared the Roman Empire
to be Christian in the fourth century that Christmas began to be
celebrated. Prior to then,
Christians didn't celebrate birthdays, including Jesus' birthday.
Origen, of Alexandria, Egypt, an influential early church father and apologist, summed it up this
way. In 245 A D while
commenting on Leviticus 12 he said that only sinners are found
celebrating birthdays in the Bible.
Prior to the fourth century, Christians associated birthdays with
emperor worship because many emperors demanded worship on their
birthdays. What Christians
did celebrate were death days, which were the dates when Christians were
executed by the emperor's regime.
church evolved after 312 A D is well documented.
I won't go into that. I'll
just point out one thing. By
the mid fourth century the term "sun of righteousness" as seen
in Malachi 4:2 became associated with the pagan sun god. This
bit of linguistic license helped to appease the pagans and make them
feel comfortable in that which was called church.
As some ill-advised Muslims and Christians join in worship today
as an expression of unity, so pagans and Christians joined in worship on
a day called Christmas, during a season that was traditionally dedicated
to the worship of the sun god, not to the Son of God.
Such accommodation by the church has been seen throughout
history. It has been
doctrinalized into what has been called "the doctrine of
fourth century Christmas in the western world has been romanticized by
many magical and mystical traditions that have little to no relevance to
the human birth of our Lord Jesus Christ.
This came to my attention again when I pulled a Christmas C D
entitled "The Magic Of Christmas" from my C D shelf. My
Biblical orientated brain immediately asked, "What does magic have
to do with Christmas?"
magic of Christmas" is just part of the language of the season, but
it's not the language of the Bible. I
know; they're just words. We're
not really talking about black or white magic, or so they say.
I suggest that the words we speak have significance.
That's why I believe Jesus told us that what is in our hearts our
mouths speak (Luke 6:45). Unless
Jesus was wrong, if our mouths speak words of magic, that tells me
something about what's in our hearts.
So, I borrow a phrase from the Beatles when I say that Christmas
for most is a "magical mystery tour" through a world of fairy
tales and fantasies. Along
with the magic of Santa and the elves is the apparent magic of the
know if Emperor Constantine and his cohorts understood the meaning of
John 1:1, but if they did, I doubt if they would have joined forces with
the pagan community to create Christmas. John
1:1 states that in the beginning the Word was with God and the Word was
God. There's no debate.
The Word is Jesus, but, if you think about it, John's statement
makes no human sense. That's
one reason why church leaders throughout the centuries have argued,
debated, fought, and even killed each other, over who God is.
One point of contention that was allowed to separate the church
into east and west was whether the Holy Spirit emanated from the Father
alone or from Jesus as well. Even
after all of the historic creeds, councils, and reform movements,
Christians still differ over the essence of God.
My feeble attempt to explain this as seen in John 1:1 certainly
won't do this Scripture justice, but I'll attempt to explain it anyway.
that the Word; that's Jesus, was both with God and was God.
In human terms, that's just not possible.
Someone can't both be with somebody and also be that somebody.
Is this some kind of magic trick on the part of God?
Is John being overly mystical here?
Is the birth of Jesus really magical?
word "logos" is translated as "Word" in this verse.
The first known usage of "logos" seems to go back as
far as 600 B C when a Greek philosopher named Heraclitus used it in
reference to the "divine process of reasoning".
This appears to be how John understood logos.
In short, logos is a thought that is transmitted into something
tangible, and in this case the tangible is Jesus.
In my simplicity I believe that Jesus is the mind of God in human
flesh, who now exists in some kind of divine human form.
In theological terms this is called the "Deity of
Christ"; the fundamental Biblical truth that leads one to God and
religious and secular culture mixes the birth of Jesus into the same
magical concoction with Santa Clause, elves, and the sun god.
It's called "the magic of Christmas".
Let's be Biblical accurate, this mixture is blasphemous.
There is nothing magical nor mystical about the birth of God's
mind into humanity. The
human birth of God is a divine miracle, directly from the thoughts of
think I'm putting a damper on Christmas, and maybe I am.
What I'm really doing is attempting to elevate the Holy and
Majestic name of our Lord Jesus Christ out of an unholy mixture with
Santa Clause, the elves, the sun god, and all of what our culture calls