By Pastor Max Solbrekken, D.D.
"Now, when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod, the King, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem saying, 'where is He that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen His star in the east, and are coming to worship Him'." (Mathew 2:1-2)
WHO is the real star of Christmas - Santa Claus or Jesus Christ? What is the real spirit of Christmas; revelry, drunkenness, commerce or love, joy and peace in the Holy Spirit?
WHAT is the real message of Christmas; a temporary cease-fire in time of war? A thaw in international tensions? Giving gifts to patch up deteriorating relationships or permanent change in individual hearts by accepting Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour?
WHO are the real wise men - the Gracchi or the Magi? Those who seek solutions to their problems by conferring with one another - on the horizontal plane - like the ancient Gracchi? Or those, who like the Magi approach God - on the vertical plane - for supernatural answers?
St. Nicholas was indeed an historical person who made an impact on society by giving unselfishly to the poor and needy. He, however, is not the star attraction of Christmas.
The real star of Christmas is Jesus Christ – Whose birth we commemorate –because of the ‘Gift of Eternal Life’ which He gives to all who make room for Him in their heart of hearts!
Guiding Star - A Supernatural Sign!
The Canadian Press (CP) carried a story - some years ago – titled: ‘Yule Star Called a Comet’, quoting astrophysicist Paul Feldman. The National Research Council scientist told the Royal Astronomical Society in Ottawa that Chinese records for March of 5 B.C. mention a “broom star” that could have been easily seen by the Magi coming from Persia.
He said that the comet travelled eastward for about 35 days, which would have given the Magi ample time to travel the 1,100 miles to Jerusalem. The comet would have been obscured by the sun and invisible to the human eye.
When they reached Jerusalem and consulted with Herod and were told of the Biblical prophecy concerning Messiah’s birth in Bethlehem, they made the 5.5 mile trip. By then, the comet would be visible from the west and seen to be pointing towards
Feldman states that Matthew was the only gospel writer to mention the star because he was a “civil servant - an educated man who had access to government records. The other gospel writers were uneducated fishermen”.
He further states, “And the Gospel according to Luke confirms that Jesus was born in the spring of the year. Luke says the shepherds were watching their flocks at night and the only time that is done is during lambing, which happens at the time of year the comet was reported.”
It is believed that Christ’s birthday, Christmas, is commemorated on December 25th because it coincides with the winter solstice, a time of rejoicing and celebration among very ancient cultures.
What is the Real Truth?
The real truth is that the guiding star was a supernatural sign from God - to the Magi testifying to the supernatural event taking place...God's Son being incarnated in human flesh!
Seven hundred years earlier, the prophet Isaiah stated that a virgin would conceive and bring forth a Son called Emmanuel - meaning ‘God with us’.
“Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: “Behold a virgin shall; conceive, and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. (Isa.7: 14)
The ‘Real Spirit of Christmas’ should be one of peace, joy, love and humility as we bow before Him in worship and adoration. We should begin our giving by submitting ourselves to His Lordship.
Christmas is not a time for revelry, drunkenness and greed, but of sobriety, generosity and kindness.
The Real Message of Christmas is the Gospel of Jesus Christ!
The Gospel of Christ’s supernatural birth, sinless humanity, vicarious death for us all on the cross and His spectacular resurrection from the dead, coupled with His offer to free humanity from Satan’s chains of bondage is the true message of Christmas!
Isaiah stated: "For unto you a child is born, unto you a Son is given: and the government shall be upon His shoulder; and His name shall be called Wonderful Counsellor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace".
The message of Christmas is one of goodwill - teaching mankind to embrace the life of God - which brings lasting peace; unlike the pseudo-peace that comes from deceptive New Age teachers with their transcendental meditation, spirit guides, yoga, channeling and spiritualism!
The real wise men are those who like the magi, seek Jesus Christ and find in Him the answers to their problems!
The Gracchi's political philosophy was in competition with the spiritually oriented beliefs of the Magi. And the danger in our society is a drift toward secular humanism! Pope John Paul wisely stated: "The trouble today is they are trying to horizontalize the world".
MALCOLM MUGGERIDGE - celebrated writer and broadcaster - wrote: “Christ is the only answer to an insane world. They will not understand that the trouble with the western world civilization is not economics, but more - good and evil!
“They are thinking they can make things work by policies, inventions, but man will never live on this planet without God!”
BLAISE PASCAL warns, “If they turn away from God, one of two things can happen. They will think they are gods and go mad or turn to carnality and become animals”.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW stated, “I am ready to admit after contemplating the world and human nature for sixty years, that I see no way out of the world’s miseries but by the way that would be found by Christ’s will”.
WILLIAM GLADSTONE, Prime Minister, statesman and one of Great Britain’s greatest legal minds during the 19th Century, said: “Talk about the questions of the day! There is but one question, and that is the Gospel. That can and will correct everything! I am glad to say that about all the men at the top in
are Christians. Great Britain
“I have been in public positions fifty-eight years, all but eleven of them in the Cabinet of the British government, and during those forty-seven years have been associated with sixty of the master - minds of the century, and all but five were Christians”!
A Blessed and Merry Christmas to each one! May the light of Jesus Christ’s love shine in all our hearts now and throughout the coming year! Amen
P.S. This message was first carried in the ‘Cry of His Coming Magazine’ and also in the ‘
Sun’ in the 1980s. Edmonton