Coming to the Monday of the last full week of the “Year of our Lord” 2015 (according to the Gregorian Calendar), it seems appropriate that one slow down and reflect on the many blessings that the whole human race (Homo sapiens) can enjoy. Of course, it is also a blessing that we have been given, by our Creator, the freedom to accept or reject the benefits of these myriad blessings. It is up to us to use our hearts and minds to arrive at the decision that will have a major effect on our well being from this point on, forever.
From my perspective, the celebration known as Christmas has been somewhat subverted by those more interested in commercial profit, an anti-Christian purpose, or a tendency toward personal pleasure and satisfaction. We have seen stores setting up their decorations and displays even before we have stopped to render our thanks at the USA Thanksgiving. The major light displays have been turned on ahead of that holiday, (my minimal ones have not). Those who find even the words “Merry Christmas” offensive seem to have taken offense over even hearing them spoken or seeing them printed to the extent of protesting or, in some cases, going to the extent of filing lawsuits.
In my whole life, I have not witnessed a believing Christian raise an objection over the observances of such holidays of those of the Jewish faith. Nor have practicing Christians to my knowledge ever raised objections to any of the holy time observances of Islam, Hindu or any other of the religions of the world. Yet we see these almost on a daily basis, not only in the United States but in other mainly Christian nations as well as in the relics of ancient religions of other continents. Thus as is, and has been the practice for centuries, of Islam followers carrying out the destruction of all religious signs and structures following their taking control of the area involved.
The observance of Christmas is, or should be, a time for we who follow Jesus of Nazareth, who we believe is the Jewish long-awaited Messiah or Christ to slow down our daily pursuits and reflect on what a gift His birth and life has been to us. He has been, as prophesied in scripture over 150 times, a great light to the world. Under the original law, as laid down in the Torah (to us the Old Testament), sin must be offset by death, in their case the deaths of substitute animals. However, when God, in Jesus, comes down to live amongst those of the time and willingly give up his life, by torture, as the substitute, then all of our sins past, present or future have been forgiven. But only for those who accept this gift.
Most of the religions of the world have historically adopted the policy of offering their beliefs to those in ignorance of them for acceptance if desired. The option is on the recipient. However, we have been witnessing, in recent decades, a resurgence of aggressive Islam followers, as was done following this belief from the writings of their prophet Mohammed, who lived about 600 years after Jesus was put to death by the rulers of the Jewish faith. Islam is the only major religion to my knowledge that demands acceptance and obedience under penalty of death or slavery.
My wish at this time is for everyone to slow down and enjoy the wonder of the season. If a person has not discovered the benefits we enjoy in our faith, please feel free to inquire and learn. No one will pressure you, especially with threats, to accept the gifts offered by our Savior that can be freely accepted, or rejected, by the recipient. May the God I worship richly bless and protect you and yours now and through the coming year.