The Christ Candle and the Lord's Day
John 1:6-14, There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not that Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
Light always has permission to shine in darkness. And Christ, the Light of the world, entered the darkness of the world and shone brightly for all to see the truth of God as well as the truth of their own sin. As Christians, we are no longer children of the darkness, but children of light, and are to live our lives to reflect our status as children of light.
Walking as children of light includes the recognition that our primary identity as Christians is that we are a Child of Light, a Child of God. Our lives are not our own; we have been purchased with a price and are therefore to glorify God in all facets of life, including how we celebrate Christmas.
By no means am I implying that celebrating Christmas is a "must" for Christians. However, should we choose to celebrate it, we must make sure that our celebrations reflect and elevate the Light of Christ, whose incarnation we celebrate on Christmas Day.
This year, Christmas day falls on the Lord's Day, which does not happen too often. A temptation for many Christian churches and families is to do away with corporate worship on Christmas day. Churches are canceling all of their Lord's Day services entirely, or families are just planning to "skip" church in order to celebrate the day as a family at home, just like they usually do. However, I do not believe these are wise choices to make.
If Jesus Christ is the central figure of the Christian celebration of Christmas, then why not join corporately in the worship of Christ, the Light of the World? This does not imply that every church should have a service each year on Christmas day. However, this year, when those two days converge, there is no reason to discontinue Lord's Day worship.
If a Christian family skips church on Christmas day just to spend more time as a family, what does that communicate to the children about the importance and significance of Christ and the local church? Parents teach not only by what they say, or what they do, but even by what they prioritize in the home. And children will perceive what those priorities are. Let's communicate that Christ is our highest priority on Christmas day, not presents. Besides, what better "family time" could you have than time as a family in corporate worship together?
If the light of the gospel has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ (2 Corinthians 4:6), then we should allow that light to shine throughout the entirety of our Christian existence, including our worship practices.
I encourage all believers to make plans to attend corporate worship with God's people to celebrate the incarnation of Jesus Christ on the day marking his resurrection. If your church does not have any services this Sunday, then find another one close by. If you are in the Dover, NH area, our service will be at 9:45am and we would love to have you in attendance.
Jesus Christ is the Light of the World! Let's let the light of Christ shine brightly in our lives personally and in our communities, for the glory of God.
Text: John Byrom, 1749
Christians, Awake! Salute the happy morn
Whereon the Savior of the world was born;
Rise to adore the mystery of love,
Which hosts of angels chanted from above;
With them the joyful tidings first begun,
Of God incarnate and the virgin's son.
Then to the watchful shepherds it was told,
Who heard th'angelic herald's voice, "Behold,
I bring good tidings of a Savior's birth
To you and all the nations of the earth;
This day hath God fulfilled His promised word;
This day is born a Savior, Christ the Lord."
This may we hope, th'angelic hosts among,
To sing, redeemed a glad triumpal song.
He that was born upon this joyful day
Around us all His glory shall display.
Saved by His love, incessantly we sing
Eternal praise to heav'ns almighty King.