"They have taken away my lord" "And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my Lord, and I know not where they have laid him." (John 20:13)
"Christmas comes but once a year." So goes a line from a secular poem about CHRISTMAS. But, in all of the Christmasing, how often do I ask myself the question, "Where is the Lord Jesus Christ in Christmas today?" Mary Magdalene, when seeking the Lord Jesus Christís body at the tomb, was asked why she wept. She said, "BECAUSE THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY MY LORD, AND I KNOW NOT WHERE THEY HAVE LAID HIM" (John 20:13). Inwardly I weep also, for in the season known as "Christmas time," even born again, fundamental- ist Bible-believing Christians seem to "TAKE AWAY MY LORD." Truthfully and honestly, I "KNOW NOT WHERE THEY HAVE LAID HIM."
THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY MY LORD WITH SANTA CLAUS.
With his "bowl-full-of-jelly" stomach, his red costume, his white beard, his "Ho! Ho! Hoís!" his magical and phony flying reindeer, his false promises to little children who sit upon his knee, his pretended omnipresence, his part in getting moms, dads, and children into the stores to spend their money, his disguise which often hides his own personal wickedness or wayward- ness--old "Saint Nick" has "TAKEN AWAY MY LORD." The men who play the part of Santa Claus are often called "Saint Nicolas," and frequently are far from deserving the right to have innocent, believing, precious little children sit on their laps, confiding to them their inner- most, secret, and fondest wishes and dreams. Santa Claus makes us forget the Saviour! Yes, with Mary of old, I cry out, "THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY MY LORD, AND I KNOW NOT WHERE THEY HAVE LAID HIM."
Some buy tall trees, some short, some real, and others artificial. But, be it green, red, white, or silver, most of us--even born again Christians-- have their Christmas trees. Decorations include expensive lights, bulbs, balls, tinsel, popcorn, stars, sparklers, and so on. But, we say we must have a tree! Somehow, we think a tree is necessary for the "spirit of Christmas," whatever that is. Despite the fire hazards involved, the expense, the shedding on the carpet, and all the rest of the bother involved, we must have a tree-- a Christmas tree. Christmas TREES make us forget the Saviour! I say with Mary of old, "THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY MY LORD, AND I KNOW NOT WHERE THEY HAVE LAID HIM."
THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY MY LORD WITH GIFT-GIVING.
Depending upon the financial resources available in the families involved, gift-giving is stressed, pushed, and exalted beyond all possible measure. The ones that push the hardest for such gift-giving are the stores who have a vested interest in the profits which accrue most certainly in such booming sales. Before Thanksgiving Day has even come, there often begins the incessant, inescapable bombardment of sensa- tional appeals to encourage people to buy, buy, BUY! Even though people donít really need anything, a present is a must. Even though the family may be deeply in debt, owing many stores in the city, still a present is a must. Even though the recipients may rather choose their own, a present is a must. Even though it may mean going to the bank and borrowing money and paying it back with interest, yet gift-givers must keep up with the Joneses and give, give, GIVE! The pressures are all around to do so. Often this buying and giving does not make this time of year the MERRIEST, but the SADDEST ! Your gift had better be the most expensive, the most novel, or the prettiest, or you havenít "made it" in the race for gift-giving excellence. Such gift-giving makes us forget the Saviour! I say with Mary of old, "THEY HAVE TAKEN AWAY MY LORD, AND I KNOW NOT WHERE THEY HAVE LAID HIM."
THE WORLD NEEDS MY LORD INSTEAD OF SANTA CLAUS.
Santa Claus, the reindeers and his helpers are cheap substitutes for genuine charity, good will, and ability to give what is best suited for the people involved. The Lord Jesus Christ is genuine. My Lord and Saviour is no jolly red philanthropist saying "Ho! Ho! Ho!" The Son of God is sinless. No one could rightly accuse Him of sinning, or being an evil Person. He has genuine love for all the little children and their moms and dads. He pleads with them:
so that they might become saved and possess eternal life. This is what people need the most, even though many of them do not realize it. He is a merciful and faithful High Priest and can keep in confidence any secrets that the little children or even older people would want to whisper in His ear in prayer. He is worthy of our trust and worth coming unto Him. He also supplies our needs. As the Wise Men of old, we all should say of Him, "let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass" (Luke 2:15). The Lord Jesus Christ truly is better than any SANTA CLAUS, and we sincerely need HIM!
Instead of the Christmas tree, which has pagan origins, people need to look to another "TREE," the cruel CROSS on which "the Prince of Glory died." There, God the Father showed His love to a whole world which was lost in the depths and degradation of sin. That cross was not decorated with twinkling lights of various colors--yellow, red, green, blue, and white. On that day, God the Father blew out all the fuses in the world. There was nothing but gross darkness. At noon on that day of days when Jesus Christ was hanging on the cross between heaven and earth, bearing the sins of the world in His own sinless body, He had no personal appeal to the human eye, nor was there any "form or comeliness that we should desire Him" (Isaiah 53:2). Yet, by looking, in simple child-like faith, to the Saviour Who suffered there for our sins, we can have redemption and forgiveness from all our guilt. When we depart this life, we can be assured of heaven and ETERNAL LIFE the minute we receive Him (John 1:12). As the Apostle Paul, we, too, should not be "ASHAMED OF THE GOSPEL OF CHRIST" (Romans 1:16), but we should sing with the hymn writer, "In the cross of Christ I glory" because that blessed cross is much better than any Christmas tree we could possibly have on Christmas!
In the midst of all our gift-giving, the most important GIFT of all--"ETERNAL LIFE through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23)--is often neglected or overlooked! The gifts of cars, computers, CDís, televisions, camcorders, radios, shoes, clothes, toys, games, gadgets, refriger- ators, diamond rings, houses, and other things cannot compare with the Lord Jesus Christís GIFT of eternal life which He provided on His cross. This GIFT of eternal life is available to any person who believes on and receives Christ as Saviour (John 1:12; 3:16). DO YOU HAVE THAT GIFT? If not, why not? Just say to the Lord God of heaven and earth:
"I am a sinner. I know I cannot save myself. I know I need the Lord Jesus Christ as my Saviour, because I agree that I am a sinner before Thee. I believe Thy Son died on the Cross and shed His blood as a sacrifice for my sins. I accept and receive Thy Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, as my Saviour from sin right now. I believe John 3:16 which says:
According to Thy promise in John 3:16, I claim by faith the EVERLASTING LIFE Thou hast promised me in that verse."
[If you prayed sincerely that simple prayer of FAITH and genuinely accepted Christ as your Saviour please fill out the above information. Then thank the Lord for His salvation and redemption, and please drop us a line telling us of your personal trust in your Saviour.
Pastor D. A. Waite, Th.D., Ph.D., Director
The Bible For Today
For whosoever shall call upon the name
of the Lord shall be saved.
From the Authorized King James Bible