Garland - Universal Life ChurchGarland - Universal Life ChurchHark the herald angels sing

“Glory to the newborn King!

Peace on earth and mercy mild

God and sinners reconciled”

Joyful, all ye nations rise

Join the triumph of the skies

 

Christmas Map - Universal Life Church

Map of countries that celebrate Christmas

These familiar words from Hark the Herald Angels Sing, a popular Christmas carol, point us in the right direction to finding the true meaning of Christmas. The angels are heralding the birth of Jesus, who according to Christian theology is the one who would bring salvation to humankind. The last two lines of the stanza call on the nations of the world to rise in triumphant exultation. This is fitting, especially in today’s world, since Christmas is a major holiday not just in the US, but in many nations across the world.

Since Christmas is celebrated in so many different parts of the world, it has has been shaped by a variety of influences. Many of the popular customs we associate with Christmas originally came from pre-Christian festivals like Winter Solstice and Yule, which were originally celebrated by pagan populations. As it is now, Christmas is a religious and cultural holiday commemorating the birth of Jesus Christ. The exact date of Jesus’s birth is unknown, but December 25th has become the traditional day to celebrate.

Christmas Gift - Universal Life Church MonasteryChristmas is associated with gift-giving, decorations, music and carols, and other cultural traditions. Often these things take the center stage as retailers and businesses look to capitalize on the holiday spirit. This is not wrong in itself; Christmas is a peak selling season and important for the economy.  However, Christmas isn’t really about shopping for presents or surrounding ourselves with decorations and delicacies. It’s true meaning is found elsewhere.

The real Christmas story is God becoming a human in the person of Jesus Christ. Why did God do this? John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.”

The birth of Jesus (celebrated at Christmas) was necessary because we needed a Savior. A Savior was necessary because sin needed to be punished, or else God would not be a just God. He sent His son to take that punishment in our stead because He loves us (1 John 4:8). We celebrate Christmas out of gratitude for what God did for us. We remember His birth by giving gifts, worshiping him, and showing love to each other, especially to the poor and less fortunate. In this we find the true meaning of Christmas.

The true meaning of Christmas is love. God loved us and therefore provided a way for us to spend eternity with him. He gave His only Son to take the punishment for our sins. That price was paid in full, freeing us from condemnation if we accept His gift of love.

Love is the heart and center of Christianity. If one were to boil Christianity down to one word, that word would be love. Jesus told us this in Mark 12:29-31: “‘The Lord our God, the Lord is one. Love the Lord your God will all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second [commandment] is this: love your neighbor as yourself. There is no greater commandment than these.’”  This is repeated in Romans 13:8-10, and continually throughout the bible.

Nativity Scene - Universal Life Church MonasteryThe spirit and essence of Christian belief is love. God is love. Jesus is love. Christmas is about love. Christians are not always a good example of love, which makes it important that non-Christians remember there is a difference between the spirit of Christian belief, and how that belief is exemplified through men and women, who are ever and always a poor example.

If you don’t believe in God or in Jesus, this does not mean that you can’t embrace love as the true meaning of Christmas. Take this Christmas season as a time to show love to your friends, family, and to strangers you may encounter. Whether it’s a gift, a kind word, an encouraging pat on the back, or a donation to charity, do your best to be a beacon of love in this world, because the world needs it. We here at the Monastery will do the same. By doing these things, we will embody the true meaning of Christmas.

From all of us here at the ULC Monastery, we wish you a Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays.

17 comments

  1. elizanderson47 says:

    May all of you have a blessed Holiday. Thank you for your hard work and dedication.

  2. Murphy T. Jsckson says:

    THANK YOU VERY MUCH.I NEED MORE DETAILS ON THE X-MAS.I WANT TO CONDUCT MY TEACHING…

  3. Kevin DeFranco says:

    There are those who vehemently insist that having a Christmas tree is a pagan festival and should not be celebrated. The Father Himself declares in Hosea 14:8 that He is as a great Fir Tree! always green, always having healthy, protective branches to save us from harm as long as we are in His graces. As long as you don’t WORSHIP the tree and use it as a symbol only, I don’t believe it is blasphemous. As long as you know who and what you are celebrating and why.

    1. Dr. D.J.Taylor says:

      I, so agree with you. Merry Christmas and may God bless you for 2015 and life..

  4. Nick Sostaric says:

    Merry Christmas !!! And
    Happy New year to all .

  5. Rebecca Williams says:

    Throughout history December 25 has been the “birthdate” of many gods, the most prominent in my mind being Mithras, who was worshiped by the Romans, and possibly connected to Druidic practices. The date was chose by Christian leaders to draw in pagan followers, but that was not the first time it was done. I do not say that it was wrong. I say that our supreme being guides us in ways we do not understand. His teaching of love is universal and our perception of “religion” and “denomination” are flawed. There should be no divisions. We are all his creations and therefore loved by him and taught to love each other. Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and may God bless you all.

    1. Donna Guzman says:

      Lovely and Perfect. Peace and Happy Holidasy.

      1. Donna Guzman says:

        Happy Holidays!

  6. Kevin DeFranco says:

    You are correct. Jesus was actually born around sept.29th Mary went to her cousin Elizabeth to tell of her pregnancy. Elizabeth was pregnant with John the Baptist. her husband was a Levitical priest at that time was in the course of abaya John was six months in Elizabeth’s womb, so Jesus would have been conceived around the end of Dec.. Yes they did put Christian holidays around pagan ones so as not upset the people too much.

    1. Charles Stern says:

      I don`t remember exactly where it is writen, but if you dig deep into your King James, you will find that Jesus was born in the month of Abib. Also if you were to check the calendar of that time you will see that it is around April and not December.

  7. Bonnie Moen says:

    The date is not so important. Just putting aside a day to really concentrate on God and or Jesus is what is important!

    1. Kevin DeFranco says:

      That’s right Bonnie…..Merry Christmas!!!!

  8. Bonnie Moen says:

    Or whatever you worship!

  9. Rev. Elizabeth Anderson says:

    Very well put. Greetings to all and have a great 2015. Blessings.

  10. BARJONA says:

    The TRUTH is always important. When one say something is not important, they may mean they don’t care.

    August, which is named after Caesar Augustus, is the month during which all were required to be taxed.

    Jesus:
    Born Wednesday, August 21, 7B.C. Mary, age 17; Joseph, age 22.
    Returned from Egypt at 2.5 years old after Herod died 4B.C.
    Entered Manhood – Bar-mizpah 13 years old 21August,7 A.D.
    Age 14.5, Father, Joseph died from fall while building young Herod’s Capitol Building.
    Baptized at noon Monday, January 14, 26A.D.
    Official Ministry started at 33 years old middle of 26 A.D.
    Died at 36.5 years old Friday, 7April30 A.D.
    Re-appeared in Transfigured body Sunday, 9April30A.D.

    Jesus(oldest), James, Joseph, Simon, Judas(jude), Amos died at a young age.
    Sisters: Miriam, Martha, and Ruth.

    Mary’s sister Salome was mother of James and John zebedee, Jesus’ 1st cousins.

    1. Kevin DeFranco says:

      Where did you get this info?

  11. Sharon Rose says:

    Over the years I have focused on the love of family and friends and have almost eliminated gift giving that can feel obligatory and then it doesn’t feel like it comes from the heart.

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