Volume. XX, No. 26
Sunday, 25 December 2005

From the Pastors Heart: Thoughts on Christmas Day

To say that this is another Christmas Day sounds very hackneyed and tedious. There is no excitement or joyfulness in it. For some people, the Christmas celebration is a mile wide and an inch deep. It only means a string of trivial pursuits to them. However, to the family of God, redeemed and saved by the blood of Jesus, it is a memorable day of the birth of Jesus, which is one of the foundations of Christian faith. The significance of the birth of Jesus into flesh is well reflected in the teachings in the Bible. For example, 1 John 4:2-3 say, “Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: 3 And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” Whoever is of God must believe in the doctrine that Jesus Christ came in the flesh. His birth is the touchstone to define the orthodox of our faith. Then, it must be cherished and observed in our hearts and thoughts. Christmas day is not to be celebrated by gifts piled up under pine trees and cards placed on our tables. Instead, there has to be jovial and joyous spirit as we ponder on the birth of Jesus Christ. There are a few things we ought to think of as we celebrate this Christmas day.

Dates of Christmas celebration
You will be surprised to know that there are different dates for Christmas celebrations. Examples are plenteous. Protestants, Catholics, and most Orthodox churches celebrate on December 25, while the Coptic, Jerusalem, Russian, Serbian, Macedonian and Georgian Orthodox churches celebrate Christmas on January 7. This difference comes from non-acceptance of the reforms of the Gregorian calendar nor the Revised Julian calendar. As a result, their Christmas day falls on January 7 from 1900 to 2099. Some people have argued that Emperor Constantine chose December 25 out of his pagan influence. They say that December 25 in the Roman world was the Natalis Solis Invicti, the Birthday of the Unconquerable Sun: Therefore, celebrating Christmas is very pagan and against the purity of Christ’s birth. However, we have historical records such as St. Hippolytus’, who was already knowledgably defending the faith in writing at the turn of the century, entering the third century A.D., said that Christ was born Wednesday, December 25, in the 42nd year of Augustus' reign (see his Commentary on Daniel, circa A.D. 204, Bk. 4, Ch. 23). The reason that I bring this record into potential “Jesus birthday controversy” is not to defend December 25 as the birthday of Jesus, but to show that celebrating Christmas on December 25 was even far before the emperor Constantine’s time. Most probably, the actual birth of Jesus was a few months before December. It indicates that we are not glamorizing December 25 as a mystical day when we celebrate Christmas, but the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, was born into the flesh to be our redeemer. It is the true meaning of our celebration on this day.

For the sake of your curiosity, I would say that countries vary on the naming of December 26. In the Netherlands, Germany, Scandinavia, and Poland, Christmas Day and the following day are called First and Second Christmas Day. In many European and Commonwealth countries, December 26 is referred to as Boxing Day, while in Ireland, Romania and Catalonia it is known as St. Stephen's Day.

Supernatural Birth of Jesus Christ
The sceptics of the Bible have been attacking the doctrine of virgin birth of Jesus Christ. One of them is John Dominic Crossan, a professor at DePaul University and co-chair of the infamous “Jesus Seminar.” He said in Bible Review, “I consider him the normally born child of Mary and Joseph” (February, 2001, p. 45). However, without the virgin birth of Jesus, there is no Saviour for us. Dr. De Haan of the Radio Bible Class, in his great message "The Chemistry of the Blood" commenting on the Virgin Birth of Jesus Christ by way of talking about His blood, states:“Not only is this a scientific fact, but it is plainly taught in Scripture that Jesus partook of human flesh without Adam's blood. In Hebrews 2:14 we read: “Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same.” You will notice that the 'children', that is, the human children, are said to be partakers of flesh and blood, and then, speaking of Jesus, this verse says that He Himself likewise “took part of the same.” The word “took part” as applying to Christ is an entirely different word from “partakers” as applied to the children. In the margin of my Bible, I read that the word translated “took part” implies “taking part in something outside one's self.” The Greek word for partakers in “koynoncho” and means “to share fully,” so that all of Adam's children share fully in Adam's flesh and blood. When we read that Jesus “took part of the same” the word is “metecho” which means “to take part but not all.” The children take both flesh and blood of Adam but Christ took only part, that is, the flesh part, whereas the blood was the result of supernatural conception.”

Jesus was born through a virgin, which proves His supernatural birth. The Bible testifies it. First, He was conceived by the Holy Ghost. Matthew 1:18, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise... she was found with Child of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:20, “The angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Luke 1:35, “And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the Power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that Holy Thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.” Second, His mother, Mary, was a virgin. Matthew 1:18, “When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together...” Matthew 1:20, “Fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.” Matthew 1:23, “Behold, a virgin shall be with Child, and shall bring forth a Son, and they shall call His Name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.” Luke 1:27, “To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary.” Luke 1:34, “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?”

The virgin birth of Jesus lays one of the bricks for the foundation of Christian faith. J. Gresham Machen said in The Virgin Birth of Christ, “[I]f the Bible is regarded as being wrong in what it says about the birth of Christ, then obviously the authority of the Bible in any high sense is gone.” It is worth noting that all major heresies deny this Biblical doctrine, which ironically gives us another sign that this teaching must come from God. We thank the Lord on this Christmas day that we can praise Him for His infinite wisdom and power revealed in the birth of Jesus Christ, who is God-man and our redeemer.

Lovingly, Your Pastor

More Lively Hope



Shorter Catechism Question No. 25: How doth Christ execute the office of a priest? Christ executeth the office of a priest, in his once offering up of himself a sacrifice to satisfy divine justice, and reconcile us to God; and in making continual intercession for us.

Please pray for health & God’s healing: Rev George & Sis Nan van Buuren, Rev Peter Clements, Rev Edward Paauwe, Rev Timothy Tow, Dr S H Tow, Dn Edwin D’Mello’s mother, Dn Yaw Chiew Tan; Bros Tae-Yul Lee’s father, Winston Selvanayagam, Thomas Tan, John Tann, Kevin Tye; Sisters Kimmy Chong, Myung Ki, Alice Lee’s father, Gillian Ong’s grandfather, Aranka Rejtoe, Susan Veradi, Giok Yeo’s sister-in-law, Auntie Oei, & Auntie Sheila George, and others afflicted with illness. "For the LORD is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations” (Psalm 100:5).

Please pray for – a) Cambodia Missions: Rev & Mrs Stephen Choi & ministry (Phnom Penh & Kandal Province), Rev & Mrs Moses Hahn, Rev & Mrs David Koo, & Preacher Chang & their ministries (Sihanoukville), Rev & Mrs Luke Kim (Veal Renh); Khmer pastors & their families serving in the remote villages; b) Laos Missions - Bro Surish Dharmalingam - for health & God’s provision; c) Journey mercies - the Budiman Family (Syd); Bro Simon Yeo (Melb); Sis Wai Ching (Echo) Ha (HK) & others who are travelling; d) Sketch N’ Tell ministry of Bro Hai Seng Lim; e) PR Visa applications: the George family; f) Comfort, strength & encouragement - Sis Lydia Tan, her sons, Joseph and Johnny; g) Hopefuls away in India, Malaysia, S’pore, & interstate.

Praise and Thank God for – a) Wed Bible Study & Prayer & YAF meetings; b) Journey mercies - Dn Edwin D’Mello (Mumbai), Dn Tony & Sis Sally Law (Adl); Bros Lincoln Law (Adl), Raphael Ng’s family (S’pore), Johnny Tan (Kalgoorlie), John Wong & family (Brisb); Sisters Wendy Gong (Adl), Clara Sim (S’pore), Su Sim Toh (S’pore), Angie Yuen (Melb) & others who travelled recently; c) Blessed & heart-warming performance by our Sunday School Children to Kirkholme Eldercare residents last Lord’s Day (Kirkholme has invited the children to return in the new year for further performances); d) All participants in the Carolling Night; e) Working Bees yesterday.

Special Item of Prayer: For the LORD to provide $20,000 for Pastor’s car by 31 Mar 06.
Warmest regards and Christmas greetings from Rev. & Mrs. Edward Paauwe (Perth), Elder & Mrs. Peng Kiat Khoo (Rio de Janeiro), & Bro David Chua (KL).

Congratulations & God’s blessings to Bros Jonathon Liao, Raphael Ng, and John Wong; & Sis Wai Ching Ha on their completion of their university courses and their graduations.

Special Thank You to all brothers and sisters in Christ who have contributed to Hope Church in 2005. May the LORD bless and guide each one of you.

RPGs for Jan-Mar 2006 QTR available now. Donation: $1.00 per copy.

Christmas Concert CDs available at $4.00 per CD. Please see Dn David Yeo for details.



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14 Bedford Square, Colonel Light Gardens, South Australia 5041