Tone down Christmas celebrations to focus on Christ
by Billy Graham
Columnist
December 15, 2012 12:11 AM | 765 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
In this Dec. 20, 2010 file photo, evangelist Billy Graham speaks to the media at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. A spokesman for Graham says the 93-year-old evangelist has been admitted to a North Carolina hospital for an infection in his lungs. A joint statement Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, from Graham's spokesman and Mission Hospital says Graham was admitted overnight for evaluation and treatment of an infection thought to be bronchitis. The hospital is in Asheville, near his home in Montreat. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)
In this Dec. 20, 2010 file photo, evangelist Billy Graham speaks to the media at the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association headquarters in Charlotte, N.C. A spokesman for Graham says the 93-year-old evangelist has been admitted to a North Carolina hospital for an infection in his lungs. A joint statement Sunday, Aug. 12, 2012, from Graham's spokesman and Mission Hospital says Graham was admitted overnight for evaluation and treatment of an infection thought to be bronchitis. The hospital is in Asheville, near his home in Montreat. (AP Photo/Nell Redmond, File)
slideshow
Q: Which is more important in your view, Christmas or Easter? I admit that Christmas always wears me out, and I find myself wishing some of the celebrating could be transferred to Easter. — Mrs. H.G.

A: This is almost like asking which wing of an airplane is more important! Both Christmas and Easter are equally important, for both were part of God’s plan to save us and open heaven’s door for us.

As Christmas approaches this year, take time to reflect again on what actually happened in that humble stable over 2,000 years ago. You know the story: Mary and Joseph had been summoned to their ancestral town of Bethlehem to take part in a census ordered by the Roman government — and while they were there, Mary delivered her first-born child and laid Him in a manger (or feeding trough).

But who was that child? He wasn’t just another baby; He was God in human form, sent from Heaven to save us from our sins. And one day He would give His life for us, and then be raised from the dead on that first Easter. Because He came into the world at Christmas... and died and rose again at Easter... we can have hope — both for this life and the life to come.

Recently I heard someone talk about “de-cluttering”, or cleaning up, their home. Perhaps you need to “de-clutter” your Christmas this year, by getting rid of some of the things that cause you stress, and focusing instead on Jesus. Like the shepherds on that first Christmas night, may you hear the angels’ song of joy — and then may you say with them, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about” (Luke 2:15).

Q: I believe (like you) that God judges people who do evil things. But I believe He does it in this life, not at some great big judgment scene after the world has come to an end. In my view, when we do wrong, sooner or later we’ll pay for it in this life. — Z.M.

A: It’s true that God often exposes evil and brings His judgment to bear on it in this life. A person who repeatedly abuses their body with drugs or alcohol, for example, will eventually pay a tragic price for their neglect of God’s Law. One of the Bible’s most solemn warnings is this: “You may be sure that your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23).

But your claim that God’s judgment is limited only to this life overlooks two important truths. The first is that sometimes evil isn’t judged in this life — at least not as it deserves to be. A corrupt person may cheat and lie all their life, and seemingly get by with it. A tyrannical dictator may oppress his people, only to die peacefully in his sleep. Centuries ago, the prophet Habakkuk cried, “Why do you make me look at injustice?” (Habakkuk 1:3).

But the other truth is that every one of us has done wrong in God’s eyes, and we all deserve only His judgment. And some day we each must stand before Him to give an account of our lives. As the Bible says, “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

Send your queries to “My Answer,” c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit www.billygraham.org.
Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, spam, and links to outside websites will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides