【聖誕節】:聖誕節是怎麼一回事?

JesusBirthCarvings (1)亞洲,歐洲,美洲,大多數的人都知道“聖誕節”一詞,但是不一定明白聖誕節是怎麼一回事。聖誕節是慶祝誰的誕生呢?怎麼會有“聖”這個字在裡頭呢?

聖誕節期間,街道上的店鋪,處處都洋溢着聖誕節的氣氛。聖誕老人,聖誕樹等,到處可見。店鋪裝飾紅紅綠綠。禮品都包裝得漂漂亮亮的。成千上萬的人上街購買衣服、電器、玩具、書籍等。從此可見,聖誕節真是賺錢的好商機。

其實,聖誕節的意義不在這些。聖誕老人,聖誕樹,購買百貨,交換禮物,都是多餘的。聖誕節的意義來自一個人,就是耶穌基督。因為耶穌從天上降世,因為他是上帝成為肉身,所以耶穌是至聖的。因此,這個節日才被稱為“聖誕”節。(聖誕節一詞不在《聖經》里。)

耶穌在世的時候,並沒有要求任何人要把他的生日當作節日。雖然《聖經》記載耶穌的誕生,但是在《聖經》里,第一世紀的基督徒從來沒有紀念過耶穌的生日。事實上,《聖經》也沒有告訴我們耶穌在哪年,哪一日出生的。

聖誕節的意義來自“道成肉身”的嬰孩耶穌,但是那位嬰孩長大了。今天的基督徒不只懷念馬槽里的嬰孩,我們更崇拜釘於十字架的受難者。我們更加敬拜從墳墓里出來,勝過死亡復活了的救世主。

聖誕節的意義來自耶穌所作的事情。上帝與耶穌同在,使得耶穌行許多神跡奇事。耶穌讓瘸腿的走路,瞎眼的看見,耳聾的聽見。耶穌在世時,甚至叫一位名叫拉撒路的復活。

聖誕節的意義來自耶穌所說的話。耶穌講道,說,“你們是世上的光。城造在山上、是不能隱藏的。…你們的光也當這樣照在人前、叫他們看見你們的好行為、便將榮耀歸給你們在天上的父”(馬太福音5:14, 16 )。“…野地里的草、今天還在、明天就丟在爐里、神還給他這樣的妝飾、何況你們呢?…所以不要憂慮、說、吃甚麼,喝甚麼、穿甚麼。這都是外邦人所求的。你們需用的這一切東西,你們的天父是知道的。你們要先求他的國、和他的義,這些東西都要加給你們了”(馬太福音6:30-33 )。

“所以無論何事,你們願意人怎樣待你們,你們也要怎樣待人。因為這就是律法和先知的道理。你們要進窄門。因為引到滅亡,那門是寬的,路是大的,進去的人也多。引到永生,那門是窄的,路是小的,找着的人也少”(馬太福音7:12-14)。“我就是道路、真理、生命.若不藉著我、沒有人能到父那裡去”(約翰福音14:6)。

聖誕節的意義來自耶穌所帶給我們的信息和應許。耶穌要賜我們新的生命,最高的生活目標。耶穌告訴我們天上的神愛我們,認識我們。連我們的頭髮都細數過。樹上的麻雀落地,神曉得;那麼,我們心裡的深處,他怎麼不知道呢?耶穌願意成為我們的朋友,幫助我們修身,改變我們的生活。

耶穌說,如果我們轉向神,悔改我們的過犯和罪孽,信仰他,順服他,他要赦免我們的罪。這個過程非常難。什麼事比改惡從善難呢?但是,耶穌答應賜給我們力量,內在的能力,讓我們成為一個新造的人。江山易改,本性難移。在內心深處,如果您我承認我們需要改變,耶穌就出現告訴我們,他願意協助我們。

我們為什麼要罵人,打人,毀謗人?我們為什麼在酒瓶里尋找快樂?我們為什麼淫慾他人的妻子,但漠視自己的配偶?我們為什麼認為,有錢萬事興?我們為什麼過一個自私自利的生活,而不多多的為別人設想?耶穌的信息就是他能夠改變我們這些,同時讓我們在改變的過程當中,尋找耶穌所說的“豐盛的生命” (約翰福音10:10)。

除掉耶穌,“聖誕節”就失去了意義。接受耶穌為“道路、真理、生命”,每天就變成聖誕節!

如果您要“過”聖誕節,我建議您閱讀《聖經》,從中認識那位誕生的耶穌基督。從中看見那位行善者,欣賞那位受難者,仰望那位救世者。同時就明白為什麼耶穌基督的誕生能夠讓普世歡騰,普天同慶。

祝福您聖誕節快樂


What Is Christmas All About?

In Asia, Europe and the Americas, most people know about Christmas, but they don’t necessarily understand what Christmas is all about.

Whose birthday does Christmas celebrate? Why is it called a “holy” birth?

During the Christmas season, the stores are all decorated in special ways. Everywhere you look, you see Santa Clause, elves, reindeer and Christmas trees. Throughout the stores are red and green, ribbons and bows, lights and ornaments. Displayed presents are beautifully wrapped, as thousands of shoppers purchase clothes, electronics, toys and books. It’s easy to see that Christmas is Big Business!

The real meaning of Christmas, however, is not in these things. Santa Clause, Christmas trees, buying and exchanging of gifts are all extras. The real meaning of Christmas comes from a man, and the man is Jesus Christ. Because Jesus came from heaven as God in the flesh, he is holy; hence his birth is termed a “holy birth.” (The English term Christmas literally means the “mass of Christ,” which is not in the Bible; indeed the term Christmas is not in the Bible.)

When Jesus was on the earth, he didn’t ask anyone to turn his birthday into a festival or celebration. Although the Bible records the birth of Jesus, no where in the Bible is there any mention that the first century Christians celebrated his birth. In fact, the Bible does not tell us on what day or even in which year Jesus was born.

The meaning of Christmas comes from the infant Jesus who was “the Word made flesh.” Remember, however, that the infant grew up! Christians today not only remember the infant in the manger, we venerate the adult who suffered on the cross, and we worship the Savior who overcame death and exited the tomb.

The meaning of Christmas comes from what Jesus did. God was with Jesus and empowered Jesus to perform miracles and signs. Jesus enabled the lame to walk, the blind to see, the deaf to hear. While on earth, Jesus even raised from death a man named Lazarus. The meaning of Christmas comes from what Jesus said. Here are some statements Jesus made, “You are the light of the world. A city built on a hill cannot be hid…in the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven” (Matthew 5:14, 16 NRSV). “But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which is alive today and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? Therefore do not worry, saying, “What will we eat?” or “What will we drink?” or “What will we wear?” For it is the Gentiles who strive for all these things; and indeed your heavenly Father knows that you need all these things. But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well (Matthew 6:30-33 NRSV).”

“In everything do to others as you would have them do to you; for this is the law and the prophets. Enter through the narrow gate; for the gate is wide and the road is easy that leads to destruction, and there are many who take it. For the gate is narrow and the road is hard that leads to life, and there are few who find it” (Matthew 7:12-14 NRSV). “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (John 14:6 NRSV).

The meaning of Christmas comes from the message and promises of Jesus. Jesus wants to give us new life and the highest possible objective for life. Jesus tells us that the God of heaven loves us and knows us. God even knows how many strands of hair are on our heads! When a sparrow falls to the ground, God knows it, so how can God not know the innermost recesses of our hearts? Jesus wants to become our friend, to help us cultivate our moral behavior and change our lives.

Jesus said that if we’ll turn to God and repent of our sins, put our faith in him and obey him, then he stands ready to forgive our sins. This is a difficult process however. What can be more difficult than leaving evil and doing good? But Jesus wants to empower us on the inside to become a new creation, a new person. A Chinese proverb says, “Moving a mountain is easy compared to changing a person’s nature.” Deep inside our hearts, however, if we will admit that we need to change, Jesus appears and says that he is willing and ready to help us change.

Why do we say unkind things? Why do we hit, slander and malign? Why do we try to find happiness in a bottle of alcohol? Why lust for the wife of another while ignoring our own spouse? Why do we think that money is the answer to all problems? Why do we live a self-centered life, rather than thinking of others more? The message of Jesus is that he can change all of these aspects of our lives, and, in the process, enable us to find what he calls “the abundant life” (John 10:10). Remove Christ from Christmas and it looses its meaning. Receive Jesus as “the way, the truth and the life,” and everyday becomes Christmas!

If you want to celebrate Christmas, I suggest that you do so by reading the Bible. Meet this Jesus Christ who was born in a manger, watch him perform miracles, appreciate his suffering on the cross, and put your faith in him as the Savior of the world. At the same time, you’ll understand why the birth of Jesus Christ causes the whole world to rejoice and all mankind to celebrate!

Merry Christmas!


Nativity scene made by hand from corn shucks and wood.
Photo taken at The Upper Room in Nashville, TN.

【聖誕節】一:聖誕節是怎麼一回事?
作者:謝德花 By Edward Short

 

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