The Christmas season is full of symbolism that is intended to direct our attention to the Luke 2 story in the Bible. Shepherds, gifts, stars and angels are all there. With any symbol related story, if people do not explain the significance and meaning to the original the whole story falls apart and the original truth can be distorted or even lost forever. Modern day Christmas celebrations in our country continue to follow down that path. We all heard about the school nurse in Texas who had to remove the Charlie Brown Christmas verse from her door only to go to court to have it put back up. http://www.christianitydaily.com/articles/8746/20161220/texas-judge-allows-restoration-charlie-brown-christmas-poster-bible-verse.htmWe know all about the Nativity scenes that had to be removed from affordable housing complexes in Denver because government money is accepted by the property http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2016/12/20/housing-complex-orders-residents-to-remove-nativity.html. And don’t forget about the School “Holiday Plays” that can no longer sing Christmas songs, only seasonal melodies.
All examples of how some in our society have lost their way and understanding of what each of these symbols mean and the story they represent. None of these examples are unique but I heard a new one yesterday that puts this idea over the top. There is a pastor in Maryland that is trying to start a movement to lessen the importance of the Virgin Mary in the Christmas story. It’s not that she thinks we need to remove Mary from the story, just the virgin part. She believes that as we honor the Virgin we are putting too much emphasis on sexual purity and setting an unrealistic standard for young people today. After reading this poor woman’s story my heart went out to her. Rev. Ruth Everhart was sexual abused at 20 and is still feeling the effects of the assault today, so much so that she is tying her experience into the Birth story of Jesus and distorting the message. What she fails to acknowledge is the emphasis on Mary is not that she was a virgin, it is that the conception was a miracle from God and there is no other way to say it. For a pastor to miss this importance due to her own experience is disheartening. This is Protestant Theology 101, but she has allowed the symbols of our culture and a traumatic personal event to shape her theology instead of the Bible. https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/acts-of-faith/wp/2016/12/16/our-culture-of-purity-celebrates-the-virgin-mary-as-a-rape-victim-that-hurts-me/?utm_term=.f36ad9a510a4
Unfortunately, most people still take the pastor’s word for it instead of going directly to God’s Word for truth. There are people out there who are looking for justification for their sinful behavior and will find it in theology like this. Others with legitimate hurt will find comfort in a false gospel when they hear a message like the one Rev Everhart is presenting. This is just another great example of why we should study the Bible on our own to be ready for the tests that are waiting for us in the world we live.
This week, go back and read the real story of Christmas in Luke and Matthew. There is a lot our culture gets wrong. Make sure you know the full story so you do not miss the true miracle of Christmas.
Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.Isaiah 7:14
Serving the Savior
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