Remember the redemption, too
Published 1:17 pm Thursday, December 24, 2015
Across the Pastor’s Desk by Don Rose
Today marks the beginning of the western Christian Church’s tradition of celebrating the Twelve Days of Christmas. Though the culture would suggest that Christmas ends on the 25th of December, for people of the faith in its western expression the season of Christmas is just begun and is much too important to be celebrated for only one day. The celebration of these 12 days takes the believer to Jan. 6 and the celebration of the Epiphany of Our Lord.
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The season of Christmas shares the message that the one so humbly born did not come into the world for only a certain group of people in a certain time or place, whether ancient or modern. Rather, Christmas celebrates the coming of the promised or anointed one for the sake of the redemption of the whole world and all who are in it.
The festival of Christmas first began to be celebrated in the early fourth century of the Common Era. It is ironic that a celebration considered by some to have been developed to counter a Roman celebration of the sun has begun to be celebrated in much the same way as the celebration it was meant to replace. Excesses of one sort or another seem to abound in the modern culture’s celebration of Christmas, none of which have anything to do with celebrating not the sun but rather the son of righteousness. It can be difficult for many to maintain any spirit of Christmas even as long as it takes from them to get through the lines for making exchanges in the stores.
It has been suggested that it is important not only for believers to keep Christ in Christmas but also to keep the cross in Christmas as well. Thus, remembering that this one whose humble birth is celebrated is the same one who humbly dies on a cross for the sake of God’s redemption is crucial to the appropriate celebration, not only of Christmas but of Christ’s whole life and ministry. By extension, this understanding also applies to the whole of the Christian life. The cross is central, not only to Easter or even to Christmas as well. It is central to every day of life lived in the path of the Savior.
Hopefully with a more complete sense of the day and the season, I close with the words with which I began.
Don Rose is the pastor of Mansfield Lutheran Church in Alden and United Lutheran Church in Walters.