People love to celebrate the birth of Christ, the little baby lying in a manger. It has become such a sweet and serene picture of Christianity. When did we start celebrating Christmas? When he was born? No. When he died or when he resurrected? No. The early church did not regard Jesus’ birth as special or holy. The celebration started a few hundred years later in the year 336.
Why wasn’t the birth of Christ an enormous deal? To the Jewish people, he was to be their Messiah, the one who would rescue them from their oppressors. He was the one who would save them, but from what did they think they were being saved? From what were they being oppressed? They certainly were not thinking about the eternal salvation from their sins! They thought they needed salvation from the Romans and saving from the oppression of their enemies around them. So why do Christians celebrate Christmas putting up decorations and having parties up to eight weeks before Christmas? We dedicate the entire month of December to pictures of serenity and joy and hope and fun festivities to celebrate his birth, but they do because it’s fun and meaningful, but the significance is nowhere near that of Easter.
No, it was Christ’s death and resurrection which gave us our hope. Hope Eternal! The hope is that even after our bodies die, we would live eternally in peace with God. When did Christians begin celebrating Easter? The Christians started almost immediately after Easter. A Jew would never forego the Sabbath, where they stopped all work, housework, cooking, or any exertion from sundown Friday until sundown Saturday. It remains observed like this even now in worship to God. However, the resurrection of Christ on Sunday morning made an immense impact, causing many devout Jews to switch their worship from the Sabbath to Sunday.
Our hope eternal became alive when Christ became alive again and came up out of that grave. It is this hope that gives me hope I will see my children again! It was not the birth of Christ that gives us this hope, nor his death, but his resurrection!
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