As it approaches the Christmas season, we’ll hear more and more about how “Christ is the Reason for the Season”, the “War on Christmas” and all that. Whether the so-called “War on Christmas is simply the inevitable result of living in a post-Christian society, or a coordinated effort to “take Christ out of Christmas” is singularly irrelevant, if you ask me. Instead of worrying about whether other people take Christ out of Christmas, shouldn’t we be worrying about putting Him at the center of our remembrance of His advent? We need to be able to clearly elucidate this centrality as well as the theological underpinnings for His centrality if we are to be faithful witnesses, do we not? In my estimation, there is a tendency to spend far too much time worrying about the world doing what the world is prone to do than in worrying about whether we ourselves are doing as we are called to do – proclaim the Christ. Since this is so, I’ll leave you with some ancient words which place Christ at the center, as He ought – and are a powerful reminder and example for us all.
“And so he was lifted up upon a tree and an inscription was attached indicating who was being killed. Who was it? It is a grievous thing to tell, but a most fearful thing to refrain from telling. But listen, as you tremble before him on whose account the earth trembled!
He who hung the earth in place is hanged.
He who fixed the heavens in place is fixed in place.
He who made all things fast is made fast on a tree.
The Sovereign is insulted.
God is murdered.
The King of Israel is destroyed by an Israelite hand.
This is the One who made the heavens and the earth,
and formed mankind in the beginning,
The One proclaimed by the Law and the Prophets,
The One enfleshed in a virgin,
The One hanged on a tree,
The One buried in the earth,
The One raised from the dead
and who went up into the heights of heaven,
The One sitting at the right hand of the Father,
The One having all authority to judge and save,
Through Whom the Father made the things which exist from the beginning of time.
This One is “the Alpha and the Omega,”
This One is “the beginning and the end”
—the beginning indescribable and the end incomprehensible.
This One is the Christ.
This One is the King.
This One is Jesus.
This One is the Leader.
This One is the Lord.
This One is the One who rose from the dead.
This One is the One sitting on the right hand of the Father.
He bears the Father and is borne by the Father.
‘To him be the glory and the power forever. Amen.’” – Melito of Sardis, d. 180 AD
We cannot forget that there was a specific reason Christ came into this world.
“I came forth from the Father and have come into the world; I am leaving the world again and going to the Father.” – John 16:28
“It is a trustworthy statement, deserving full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, among whom I am foremost of all. Yet for this reason I found mercy, so that in me as the foremost, Jesus Christ might demonstrate His perfect patience as an example for those who would believe in Him for eternal life. Now to the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only God, be honor and glory forever and ever. Amen.” – I Tim 1:15-17
- Peri Pascha (On the Passover), Sermon, tr. by Dr. James White↩