Christmas or Easter?

Non-Christians probably prefer Christmas to Easter. After all, don’t most people like to give and receive gifts? Gifts that often have more value–probably even more lasting value–than chocolate (or real) bunnies and various other candies.

Too many people–through no fault of their own–lack an adequate and correct understanding of the significance of both of those holidays.

Yes, Christmas is a time of giving. No wonder. The Christmas story in the Bible mentions the gifts brought by the so-called wise men: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. Very precious and expensive gifts. But those gifts were brought to the Christ child, not to Mary and Joseph, and gifts were not given to the wise men in return.

No matter how valuable the wise men’s gifts were, they pale in comparison to God’s giving up part of Himself by uniting with a human woman to create a baby who was both human and divine.

His was a gift of the greatest love imaginable.

God had had established a system of sacrifices based for the atonement of sins–that is, to provide forgiveness and to make things right between the ancient Jews and God. The sacrificial system involved the killing of a Passover lamb.

That lamb had to be perfect. Spotless. No blemishes. As perfect as it could possibly be. If an imperfection was discovered at the last minute, that lamb couldn’t be used. It wouldn’t be acceptable.

That sacrificial system didn’t really accomplish everything God had wanted it to do. So, in giving part of Himself through the birth of Jesus, God Himself became the most perfect sacrificial lamb possible. Perfect because Jesus never committed even the least sin.

If He had sinned, even once, He wouldn’t have been good enough to be sacrificed for the sake of mankind.

Yet if He hadn’t been part human, He wouldn’t have been subject to the temptations that plague each of us daily. If He hadn’t been tempted and had to rely on His Heavenly Father for the strength to resist each and every temptation, His sacrifice would’ve been meaningless. Because God is fully righteous, the only acceptable sacrifice had to be sin-free.

The sacrifice of the Passover lamb necessitated that it be killed. Without the spilling of blood, its death would’ve been worthless.

And so it was with Jesus. If He hadn’t been killed on a Roman cross–His blood was spilled in the process–His sacrifice wouldn’t have been acceptable to God the Father.

But Jesus was the perfect sacrificial lamb, and His death paid the price for the sins each of us is born with simply because we’re descendants of Adam and Eve–not only the first human beings, but the first sinners.

The fact that God brought Jesus back to life and then, after a period of days, brought Him back to Heaven gives Easter a whole new perspective. God forgives our sinful natures because of Jesus’s death, but–without a relationship with God through faith in Jesus–God would not consider any of us righteous or worthy of both eternal life in Heaven and a more meaningful life here on earth.

Christmas or Easter? What do you think?

If Jesus hadn’t been born a true miracle baby, Easter would have no significance. So Christmas is definitely something to celebrate.

But Christmas was just the necessary beginning of the story. Easter is the rest of the story.

Your comments are welcome.

I’ll be back again next Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger

P.S. Pictured below is my latest novel. The Kindle version is free today only at Amazon. Go here to get your copy.

Roger's newest novel

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Spoken Moments

I’m currently reading a little book called Spoken Moments. Compiled and edited by popular Christian romance novelist and writing conference director extraordinaire Yvonne Leyman, it contains fifty-two inspirational stories about the power of words. Spoken Moments is just one in an ongoing series of Moments books. I have a story in the newest one, Stupid Moments, in which I tell about my wife and me being assigned to what turned out to be Yvonne’s suite at one conference.

I still jokingly address Yvonne as “Roomy.”

As I read Spoken Moments, I keep thinking about how I wish I’d submitted a story to that collection. But since I didn’t, I’ll share it here.

I wasn’t a very happy teen. I didn’t have that many friends in high school, although I probably had a fair number of acquaintances.

I started learning to play guitar during the early-to-mid sixties, when the so-called “folk fad” was getting popular. (I still enjoy listening to the Kingston Trio, the Brothers Four, and the Chad Mitchell Trio, among others, even though their music wasn’t “real folk.”) When I discovered that two of the fellows in my Sunday School class wanted to form a group and were interested in my playing, I started feeling better about myself.

We enjoyed some local success. I couldn’t tell you how many free meals we earned, although we probably never received any actual pay.

I really liked my two fellow-musicians. I still do.

But one of them looked at my profile one day and very innocently–and I’m sure non-maliciously– called me “Roger the Rat.” I can’t prove that he wrote it in my high school yearbook, but I think he did.

I checked out my profile using two mirrors. Oh, great! He was right! Not only did I have a weak chin, I also had an overly large and pointy nose. Very rodent-looking. His assessment was spot on.

I tried to laugh it off, but the memory of that has stuck with me through the years. I’ve had a beard or goatee ever since 1976–maybe sooner than that–and the main reason was to make me look like I had more of a chin. Not much I could do about the nose, though. It wasn’t worth the pain and cost of surgery, and even if nose hair grew on the outside, it would’ve made my nose look bigger, not smaller.

No longer do my friend’s words bother me. At seventy, I’m too well adjusted to continue to worry about my looks or to fret about what someone once said. Someone who would probably be horrified to be reminded of what he’d said and to learn I still remember it. I sincerely hope he doesn’t read this blog post. I wouldn’t want to hurt him the way he temporarily hurt me.

That’s it. That’s the “spoken moment” I would’ve submitted to Yvonne’s book if I’d thought about it then. Maybe the fact that I didn’t is a sign of the healing that’s taken place over the years.

What about you? Has anyone ever said something you’ve forgiven but not forgotten? Would you share something about it in a comment?

NOTE: Various people have complained about not being able to find or leave comments. Go all the way to the bottom of this post, beneath my “Best regards, Roger.” On the very bottom line of that last section just above the previous post you’ll see “Leave a Comment” if yours will be the first or “X Comments,” where  X denotes the number of existing comments.

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I’ll be back again on Sunday. If you’d like to receive my posts by email, go to “Follow Blog via Email” at the upper right.

Best regards,
Roger