|Volume 21 Number 12 December 2019||
Christmas and Easter
Christmas and Easter are both manmade holidays that carry religious significance. Christmas is the celebration of the birth of Jesus, and Easter is the celebration of our Lord’s resurrection. I fully acknowledge that the Bible says nothing about either of these days, but I want you to think about why Easter should be much bigger than Christmas in the eyes of those who do view these days as religiously significant. As important as the birth of Jesus is, the resurrection of Jesus is the cornerstone of Christianity. The Bible is crystal clear on the subject: If Jesus did not raise from the dead our faith is useless because we are still in our sins (1 Corinthians 15:17). Encourage others to think about this monumental truth and what it means not just one day a year but every day.
[Editor’s Note: While brother Baxley did not recommend recognizing Christmas and Easter as religious holidays for Christians to embrace, he did make an appropriate emphasis on the resurrection of our Lord from the grave—the precursor to His ascension to and coronation in Heaven (Romans 8:34; Hebrews 2:7). ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]
The great leader Moses died, and the Lord God chose the faithful warrior Joshua to be the leader of the children of Israel. They were encamped on the east side of the Jordan River, and the time had come for them to cross over it into the land of “milk and honey,” the land of Canaan. God had assured Joshua several times that He would be with him as he was about to enter the promised land (Joshua 1:6-9).
In Joshua 3, the priests carrying the ark of the covenant were to lead the people across the Jordan River and into the land that God had promised to Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3). Joshua, in charging the people to follow the priests at a certain distance, said this to the people, “For you have not passed this way before.” The children of Israel were about to enter a land they did not know.
As we enter the new year, it could also be said of us, “For you have not passed this way before.” We do not know what this new year will bring. It might be joy or woe, happiness or sadness, life or death, success or failure, etc. For the child of God, we should read what God said to Joshua and know that basically He tells us the same: “Be strong and of good courage,” “Be strong and of good courage; do not be afraid, nor be dismayed, for the Lord you God is with you wherever you go” (Joshua 1:6, 9). In Hebrews 13:5, we read, “Let your conduct be without covetousness; be content with such things as you have. For He Himself has said, ‘I will never leave you nor forsake you.’” We have this blessed assurance through our Lord because we are children of God. Here are some suggestions that will strengthen you as you enter the uncharted course in this new year.
I close this article with the words of the apostle Peter in 2 Peter 1:10-11, which reads, “Therefore, brethren, be even more diligent to make your call and election sure, for if you do these things you will never stumble; for so an entrance will be supplied to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
[Editor’s Note: This brief encouragement when facing the commencement of a new year is suitable for daily application every day of every year. ~ Louis Rushmore, Editor]