Pastor Mark's Newsletter (December 2016)

Getting into the Christmas spirit?  Those who work in the mental health field tell us that the Christmas season is not a happy and joyful time for many people.  For too many it is a sad time of depression, and even worse, suicides.  Perhaps the reason so many suffer is due in part because of unrealistic and overly materialistic expectations, which always leads to emptiness.  The spirit of Christmas is all about Christ, and when you leave Christ out of Christmas the season it becomes a meaningless and hopeless event that leaves those without Christ in spiritual and mental despair.

Though the origin of the Christmas holiday does not have a biblical basis and was not celebrated by the early church, it has evolved over the centuries into a commemoration of the birth of the Christ child, the Lord Jesus Christ.  Jesus did not command His disciples to remember His birth, but rather His death, burial and resurrection.  However the virgin birth of Christ is a most important doctrine of Christ and His church. For in His virgin birth a multitude of messianic prophecies concerning the details of His birth were fulfilled to the letter, thus proving His deity; He is Immanuel: God with us.  

God became a man in order to redeem mankind from the power and penalty of sin.  His birth was supernatural, His life engaged and demonstrated the supernatural, and while His death fulfilled His purposes, wicked men who denied their Creator did it in the natural realm and Christ was brutally executed.  BUT in His supernatural resurrection from the dead He demonstrated the power of His deity and brought salvation, hope, joy, love, and peace to any and all who will embrace Him by faith. 

So when you put Christ back in Christmas and focus on giving and helping and serving and loving others, it will change your whole attitude from depression to a spiritual euphoria.  Stop thinking about yourself and how you feel, and think about others and what you can do for them. The apostle Paul gave this admonition to the early church that sums it all up: “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).  Keep reading, “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross” (Philippians 2:5-8).  That is the Spirit of Christ and it is the spirit of Christmas.

Merry Christmas, and by that I mean have a great time celebrating the real reason for the season!  Happy birthday, JESUS!