The prophecy of the Messiah is not important to us unless we wish to take it up as a study. There is a great deal to it. It is sufficient for us to know that the coming of Christ fulfilled a long period of promise, and that He did not fulfill it in the way that Israel’s secular imperialism had dreamed that He would.
Out of the two thoughts that ran through the Old Testament concerning the Messiah, we have the one thought out of each that is common… the thought that the Messiah is to be a King. Jesus was a King because He introduced the Kingdom of God as a rule by which society might rule itself by inward influences.
For something like 2700 years, then, the worshippers of the true God have either been waiting for the fulfillment of the prophecy or have been celebrating the fulfillment of it. We can certainly say that the event is of great importance and should be observed in a fitting manner. Please not that was said the event should be observed instead of celebrated. There is a subtle difference in the meaning.
We said a while ago that Christmas simply is the day on which the nativity of Christ is observed. An event of this magnitude is deserving of being observed in a proper manner. There are two phases of an observance of this type. The first phase is the observance proper where the event is properly noticed. In Christmas, this should include the proper reverence and thought-provoking activities around the home. Exchanging of gifts is not excluded since we have the example of the Wise Men, but the reason should be understood. The prime intent of the observance should be kept in the foreground so that the observance should not degenerate into a mere celebration. Christmas should include certain church functions, which might include Sunday School parties with skits to properly impress and educate the youngsters, but at least a service where worship is the chief function. The objective of these functions would be to get in the proper frame of mind for a rededication of ourselves to those principles set out by the One whose nativity we are observing.
The second phase of the observance is the effort to live up to the rededication throughout the year. Too often our religion is a Sunday religion or our Christmas spirit lasts only until New Year’s.
If you will agree that the proper observance of Christmas is worshipful rededication of ourselves to the principles we set out by Jesus, then we have only to see what those principles were. The New Testament contains page after page of writing whose aim is to enable us to understand Jesus’s teaching. It is said that once an unbeliever said to the Rabbi Hillel, that if he could teach him the law while he was standing on one leg, he would be converted. It is said that Rabbi Hillel said, “Love thy neighbor.”
There are really only two commandments. The greatest being that we shall have no other gods but God, and the second is that we should love our brother.
Do we love our brother during the Christmas season and forget him the rest of the year? Do we even think about our brother during that time while we are enjoying our full stomachs, our warm homes and clothes and our wonderful gifts?