By Marc Nuttle
In 336 AD, the first Christian Roman Emperor, Constantine the Great, declared December 25th as the day to celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ. There is no reference in the Bible of the exact date Jesus was born. Constantine chose the date because it aligned with a popular pagan secular holiday of the Empire supported by the citizens of Rome. Pope JuliusI designated it as the official Catholic celebration of Jesus’ birth a few years later. The word Christmas comes from the phrase “Mass for Christ.” One could argue that the controversy today about “Happy Holidays” denigrating the greeting of “Merry Christmas” is an effort by the secular world just reclaiming their original celebration.
What then does one mean when one says “Merry Christmas?"
The true meaning of the term Merry Christmas to a Christian embraces the spiritual hope that the essence of the peace of Christ enriches your life. To receive this gift of grace, one must believe that God is in control of the universe, all circumstances, and the purpose of life. Christ, as the Father’s son, came to die for the sins of the world.
If God the Father is in control of all things, seen and unseen, why would he create a world for which His Son had to be sacrificed? Because we are in this system of things to learn the lessons of righteousness and the consequences of evil so that we may live in harmony with God in His Kingdom eternally. The solutions of societal problems will never be achieved in this system of things because the undeniable, self-serving lessons of the instincts of mankind will dominate. The grace of God is necessary for righteousness to rule.
Secularists or atheists believe that life has no original purpose. We simply exist by the random acts of nature which were generated by a cold, dark universe. The earth is a speck in the cosmos. We are no more relevant as a life-giving system than an interesting happenstance of cosmic forces. Therefore, any holiday is just that, a day off from morerandom activity. To some, not all but some the term "Happy Holidays" becomes a statement and world view. Certainly, other religions like Judaism celebrate their traditions during the holidays. However, many Intellectuals like to elevate themselves by stating that any appreciation for the life of Christ should be held strictly in the context of a human being who stood for philosophical enlightenment. In other words, one of their own. A mortal man who professed an opinion. Recognizing the possibility of God incarnate challenges their intellectual superiority.
It is interesting that even the great Stephen Hawking had no explanation or theory of how the universe began in the first place. We exist today. And, to exist, something always had to exist before us. Therefore, something always had to exist as “the great uncaused cause.” This reality is beyond the grasp of human intellect. Yes, astrophysicists now believe that there are as many as thirteen dimensions. This still does not explain how something always was.
A Christian’s faith in an all-knowing purposeful God is no greater a penumbra than the atheist’s faith that someday science and the ultimate intellect of man will determine all truth.
In this week before Christmas, if one looks only at the current events of the world, there is little anticipation of joy. In Yemen, babies are starving because of the actions of governments geopolitically fighting over the Muslim definition of religious dictum. A seven-year-old girl died of dehydration last week as part of a migrant caravan seeking asylum in the United States. No child should ever suffer, let alone face death, as a result of unnatural circumstances. All children and their safety are the obligations of all of us. The United States did not know of the child’s condition on the border. A church or the Mexican government should have ensured the basic needs of the refugees. It is their responsibility once the migrants breached the border of Mexico in the first place. Once there, they cannot ignore them.
Yemen is a different case. Starving babies is a humanitarian crisis. The world led by the United States should demand a ceasefire until necessary relief supplies can be provided to hospitals and isolated towns in Yemen. The rules of war can be somewhat dictated by outside world powers. Power should be used for benevolent purposes.
This past week, President Trump, to the glee of the national press, appears to have been involved in campaign law violations. The Mueller investigation trudges on. Bitter partisanship in Congress deepens. If the secular intellects are so sure that life, beginning in randomness, can achieve righteousness in this system of things from within the origins of a cold, dark universe that they cannot define, what then is their evidence?
The question becomes, what can one do about the state of the world? First, decide what you believe. Express it to those you love. Stand on your belief, whatever you commit the basis of your existence to be. Just making a decision will impact more lives than you will ever know.
This week of Christmas, it is not just that I wish you material blessings. I do. It is not that I just wish you good health. I do. It is not that I believe for one to be happy the world has to be a perfect place, I do not.
It is that I wish for your relationships with each other as meant by the purity of the Love of God. In this Christmas season, I wish for you the grace and the peace manifested and realized by the presence of Jesus Christ.
I wish you a Merry Christmas.
My name is Marc Nuttle and this is what I believe.
What do you believe?
P.S.This is the last Nuttle Report of the year given that Christmas and New Year’s fall on a Tuesday. The next report will be published on January 8, 2019.