Local ministers share thoughts on meaning of Christmas

Published 12:00 am Thursday, December 25, 2014

In the hustle and bustle that surrounds the Christmas holiday, it is easy to forget the reason for the season.

Local ministers shared some thoughts about the meaning of Christmas.

“Christmas means many things,” said Dr. Fred Karthaus, pastor of First Baptist Church. “Christmas is God keeping His promise that He made through the Old Testament Prophets to send us a Savior.

“Christmas is about a baby born to be king. And a king (Herod) who acted like a baby.

“Christmas is about family – God’s family and His desire for us to be a part of His family,” he wrote.

It also juxtaposes the ordinary and the extraordinary.

“Christmas is an example of God using ordinary events and people (taxes, census, Mary and Joseph) to accomplish His extraordinary purpose of Salvation,” he said. “Christmas is an example of God using extraordinary events to reveal His sovereignty (the virgin birth, a star, angels).”

And his personal favorite, “ Christmas is God demonstrating His love toward us by sending His Son Jesus. (John 3:16) Christmas is God saying to us, ‘This is how much I love you!’ ”

The Rev. Bob Madsden, pastor of First Presbyterian Church, turned to the Gospel of John.

“Curiously, the Gospel according to John, which includes no birth narrative, has become the most helpful gospel for me in wrestling with the meaning of Christmas for the church in this age,” he said. “John does not describe the birth of Jesus, but ponders the mystery of God’s eternal Word – who was with God and was God and through whom all things were made – coming to us in flesh and ‘abiding’ with us.

“John’s language intentionally directs our attention to the opening verse of Genesis and thereby helps us see how we come face to face with the creative power of God in the person, life, and ministry of Jesus,” Madsden said. “If we are to be his followers, then we must strive to live in that creative power for the sake of the world that God so dearly loves. So, while Christmas tells the story of the birth of Jesus it also describes the task of the church: to embody the good news of God’s grace for all.”