After leaving a wonderful church service recently, I saw a man holding a Bible and an anti-Santa Claus-judgment type sign standing on a corner downtown.
I decided to pull over to ask him how much fruit has come from his efforts and how many people he has won to the Lord. He refused to answer my questions but rather started to respond with what was clearly going to be "religious" rhetoric. So I politely ended the conversation, told him Jesus loves him and left to have lunch.
I am pleased to be able to boast in my 30 years of being a Christian, through preaching and one-on-one evangelism, I estimate thousands have come to Christ.
My dear, precious brothers and sisters in the faith, I do not believe we are a witness for Christ nor able to win souls by telling people what's wrong with their Christmas. But rather by demonstrating what is right with ours! This is wrought through acts of love, acts of wisdom and acts of power, all done for the sake of Jesus Christ and His Glorious Kingdom.
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Let's keep the "Christ" in Christmas by allowing the world to hear the sound of heaven flowing through us, not the clanging gongs and clashing symbols of a religious spirit, which causes us to think we are serving God by correcting the cashier for saying "Happy Holidays," who most likely is required to say that by their employer.
Let's keep the "Christ" in Christmas by allowing the world see us as a light that shines through the good we do rather than a light that blinds through fault finding.
"Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven." Matthew 5:16 (NKJV)
That said, I feel compelled this year to campaign against those who are campaigning against Christmas -- specifically some of my beloved brothers and sisters in Christ who may not know the true meaning behind some of the concepts they believe take the "Christ" out of Christmas.
My purposes are threefold: to educate, to perpetuate our witness and to motivate us to demonstrate the "Christ" in Christmas.
So I thought I would start with everyone's favorite, "Merry Xmas!"
Xmas is a common abbreviation of the word Christmas. It is sometimes pronounced / ksm s/, but it, and variants such as Xtemass, originated as handwriting abbreviations for the typical pronunciation /kr sm s/. The "-mas" part is from the Latin-derived Old English word for Mass, while the "X" comes from the Greek letter Chi, which is the first letter of the Greek word, which comes into English as "Christ." There is a common misconception the word "Xmas" stems from a secular attempt to remove the religious tradition from Christmas by taking the "Christ" out of "Christmas," but its use dates back to the 16th century.
To quote a dear friend, brother and fellow minister in the Lord: "Put that in your Gospel pipe and smoke it!"
Where is witness in only saying "Merry" Christmas, then treating a waitress, cashier etc. with rudeness? Simply acting like Jesus is the best way to keep the "Christ" in Christmas? Here are a few ways you can do that.
Buy an enemy a nice gift this year.
Bless someone who may not be able to bless you back.
Forgive, reconcile with family members and estranged friends, remembering reconciliation is more important the being right.
Keep your witness when shopping.
Invite someone to Christmas dinner who may be alone.
Share your faith. Invite the lost to your church to help lead them to The King of Christmas.
As believers we must stand fast that Jesus is the reason for the season, but also become conscious the Heavenly Father's reason for the season is mankind and His love for those who have yet to kneel at the manger.
Merry Christmas everyone.
Don Sturiano is pastor of Kingdom Life Christian Church, which meets at 10:30 a.m. Sunday at 825 Ninth St. W., just across from Turner Donuts. Information: 941-776-0026. Faith Matters is a regular feature of Saturday's Herald, written by local clergy members.