Nativitatis Sola Christos

Tim Challies recently posted an excerpt from Sinclair Ferguson’s book In Christ Alone on the Ligonier Ministries blog. It is rather awesome and I highly recommend that you read it.

I identified with the story he told of taking his son shopping and disturbing all the patrons when his young son pointed and asked, “Daddy, who is thatĀ funny-looking man?” I wonder if my dad has similar stories to tell.

Ferguson’s article illustrates that people have taken the attributes of Santa Claus and tried to apply them to Christ:

…we may denigrate our Lord with a Santa Claus Christology. How sadly common it is for the church to manufacture a Jesus who is a mirror refection of Santa Claus. He becomes Santa Christ.

Santa Christ is sometimes a Pelagian Jesus. Like Santa, he simply asks us whether we have been good. More exactly, since the assumption is that we are all naturally good, Santa Christ asks us whether we have been “good enough.” So just as Christmas dinner is simply the better dinner we really deserve, Jesus becomes a kind of added bonus who makes a good life even better. He is not seen as the Savior of helpless sinners…

Then again, Santa Christ may be a mystical Jesus, who, like Santa Claus, is important because of the good experiences we have when we think about him, irrespective of his historical reality. It doesn’t really matter whether the story is true or not; the important thing is the spirit of Santa Christ. For that matter, while it would spoil things to tell the children this, everyone can make up his or her own Santa Christ. As long as we have the right spirit of Santa Christ, all is well.

One thing that particularly struck me was the fact that early Christians were actually killed for their radically counter-culture commemoration of Christ’s birth.

In fact, such was the malice evoked by their other-worldly devotion to Christ that during the persecutions under the Emperor Diocletian, some believers were murdered as they gathered to celebrate Christmas. What was their gross offense? Worship of the true Christ — incarnate, crucified, risen, glorified, and returning. They celebrated Him that day for giving His all for them, and as they did so, they gave their all for Him.

Is your celebration of Christmas counter-cultural? What steps do you take to make sure that Christmas is Christ-centered in your family?


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