Paul's Epistle...

Today I'd like to share a guest column, courtesy of ASSIST News Service, with some practical suggestions for making this Christmas season even more meaningful for you.

- Paul

"The Season for the Reason"
By Bill Ellis

In the midst of all that is associated with the Christmas Season, we often hear "Jesus is the reason for the season." I accept that without any hesitancy at all. He is the reason. Without Him there would be no such thing as Christmas. The very word tells us it is the Christ mass — the celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.

Without question, Christ is the reason. The month of December is the season we, and millions throughout the world, celebrate the reason. It is a time for Him. He is center stage. Those of us who embrace Him know that without Him there would be no reason or season called Christmas. It is all about Him.

John, the beloved disciple and follower of Jesus, sets the record straight with these words in his introduction to the birth and life of Christ. "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made" (John 1:1-3).

It is important that we understand that Jesus existed before the world was created. The Living Bible, a paraphrase of the Holy Scripture, renders verse three and Jesus' part in creation this way: "He created everything there is — nothing exists that he didn't make" (John 1:3). William Barclay, the great New Testament expositor of Scotland, renders this verse, "He was the agent through whom all things were made; and there is not a single thing which exists in this world which came into being without Him."

He is the season. He is the reason. We moderns have tacked so much nonsense onto the Christmas story that the meaning of the day and the season has all but been buried under the debris of time.

What can be done that might clarify the meaning of Christmas? I suggest a few simple things that might help bring some additional degree of meaning to his magnificent event.

1. Join with me in adopting the greeting "Merry Christmas" rather than the "Happy Holidays." The real meaning is high above a mere holiday. It is "Merry Christmas," "Happy Christmas," "Blessed Christmas" or some other version, but without Christ in it, the meaning is lost.

2. All Christmas cards, letters, signs, billboards and whatever, without Christ as the prominent one misses the point. Spread the name of Jesus Christ in every communication.

3. Decorations may be colorful and bright, but they too should be about Christ. We do not have an actual photograph of Jesus. Warner Sallman did the most famous artistic portrayal of Jesus.

4. I enjoy the songs about Christmas, especially the standard classics, but I like best the great hymns and gospel songs that have stood the tests of time.

5. When we give gifts to family and friends, we do so in following the example of the Wise Men who brought gifts to the Christ child. Such organizations as Samaritan's Purse, World Vision, Prison Fellowship and other Christian service organizations have gift catalogs through which you may give to the neediest in the world. The Union Mission, City Mission and The Salvation Army distribute our gifts — money and material to those in need.

The reason for the season is to exalt Jesus Christ and all that is done in His name. Reach out to others in every way you can and bless their lives through Christ and the gift of eternal life. Give a generous "Christ Birthday Offering" to help reach a lost world.

Bill Ellis is a syndicated columnist, and convention and conference speaker on every continent. He is also a widely known motivational speaker and pulpit guest.

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