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  • July 11, 2014 - Reflections

    By Jean S. Horner
    The other day while walking down a corridor in a public building, I saw what appeared to be someone walking toward me. On coming closer, I found it was my own reflection in a huge mirror. For a moment it frightened me. Somehow a full-length reflection of one’s self is a startling thing. ...


 

Daily Boost

Dec. 24, 2010 - Double Christmas

By Ken Horn

“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NIV).

I once had two Christmases a couple of weeks apart.

Early one January, I flew to Belgrade, Yugoslavia, to report on missionary efforts in a number of countries. I was in the cold, crisp air of Tetovo, Macedonia, on Jan. 6 when they were celebrating their Christmas Eve.

Christians in the Macedonia of today (part of the former Yugoslavia and much smaller than the ancient Macedonia) are mostly Eastern Orthodox, and thus have different dates for certain religious celebrations.

It seemed unusual to be in the midst of another Christmas celebration, not yet two weeks after ours in the U.S. But this one was much different.

As we carefully walked the icy streets, we passed scenes more reminiscent of Halloween than Christmas Eve.

Adults wearing tall party hats and children adorned in masks or full costumes — mostly of cartoon characters — crowded the streets. And, believe it or not, the kids were going door to door for treats.

There were large central areas with bonfires, branches and logs afire in the streets. “We are going to drink some Rakia,” one man told us, referring to an alcoholic drink common in Macedonia and Bulgaria. And there seemed to be a lot of it on tap, which might explain some erratic patterns we observed in the cultural dancing in open squares. The missionaries told us there would be partying all night.

Christmas celebrations may vary from culture to culture, but the meaning of the holiday remains the same — God became a baby in a miraculous way to initiate the plan of salvation. He came as “a Savior ... Christ the Lord.” Some use the occasion as an excuse for self-indulgence; others honor this true meaning.

Whether our cultures include wild displays or intricate traditions, whether traditions even have a link to the original celebration and biblical meaning, is not what is most significant. What matters is — is this really about Jesus, God who became man so that we might have eternal life?

Many in Macedonia that January Christmas Eve missed this core meaning amid both customs and ritual. But so too do people in the United States (and other nations) where “Merry Christmas” is so freely replaced with “Happy holidays” and the name of Jesus often given little respect.

But tomorrow is His day. And a great one it is. Let’s keep Christ at the center of it and make sure that, in the midst of all our traditions, He is the focus. Let the cry of our hearts and our lips be, “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14).

— Ken Horn is editor of the Pentecostal Evangel and blogs at Snapshots (khorn.agblogger.org).

 

 

 

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