Dr. Bill Atwood

Merry Christmas

This coming Monday Christians around the world will be celebrating the birth of one little baby in Bethlehem that occurred 2,000 years ago. That little baby grew into a man who changed the world in more ways than any other human being who ever lived. The greatest kings, presidents, generals, and titans of industry combined haven’t affected us as much as that man. His birth and death are the focal point of the calendars for most around the world as B.C. and A.D.

Every year as my family decorates our Christmas tree we go through a few rituals of tradition that make it special for us. At the top of our tree hangs an ornament that resembles an Easter egg. As that egg is hung the children are reminded that we celebrate Easter because it was Jesus Christ who; having been crucified on Good Friday rose again on Easter morning. The Tomb was empty. We remind the children and ourselves that without Easter there would not be a single solitary reason to celebrate the birth of Jesus. The two holidays are entwined. Without Christmas there would be no Easter and without Easter there would be no Christmas.

The birth of Christ is a well documented event as the Romans had an efficient record keeping system in place. The census records were being checked and families were directed by the government to return to the cities of their births to be counted. Joseph and his pregnant wife headed to Bethlehem in obedience with the governmental dictate. The census was important to Rome because of taxes ergo the documentation was accurate.

Some in the world scoff about Jesus and mock those of us who are believers. Many of those who wrote about the works and words of Christ were men who walked with him and some died because of Him. If Jesus had been a con-man as some claim it would have unraveled quickly after his death. Scams are not enough of a reason for followers to suffer imprisonment or death.

So we celebrate the glorious birth of the King of Kings. There will be gatherings in churches around the world. Choirs are busy preparing for the masses, religious leaders are writing sermons, church guilds are decorating the buildings, and Christmas Pageants are being conducted everywhere.

If you are affiliated with a church you know where you are heading for services. If you have fallen away from your church and are looking to reconnect, they will be happy to see you again. If you are seeking to find a church or just want to celebrate the birth of Christ, there is a seat ready for you. There are no reservations required.

As we go about with our last minute holiday shopping and visitations this weekend and we get caught up in all the hoopla and work, wrapping, cooking, card sending, shopping, and travelling let’s slow down, catch our breath and remember just what the holiday is all about.

A couple of weeks ago I saw on the television listings a movie entitled, The Best Christmas Present, I decided to watch it to help me celebrate my Christmas. It became quite evident that the story wasn’t set 2,000 years ago in the Middle East. I turned it off. We all have favorite gifts and stories from Christmas’ past. We all simply need to look no further than the birth of a boy, born of a virgin, announced by Archangels, heralded by Magi, and wrapped in swaddling clothes under a star to enjoy receiving the greatest gift ever.

Merry Christmas to all.