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 ）。
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!
Nativity scene made by hand from corn shucks and wood.
Photo taken at The Upper Room in Nashville, TN.
作者：謝德花 By Edward Short