Christmas celebrations in Athens: Aina & Jan-Aage Torp celebrating in the home of Evi & George Markakis
Some worship Jesus on Christmas,
others consider Christmas an abomination;
the enemies of Jesus and His Kingdom hate it,
while the masses are only interested to go shopping
|A personal “Christmas story” (a real one!)
Many years ago, when I was much younger, we were having a family Christmas celebration, as usual. The whole family was gathered around the tree that my mother had decorated… children, siblings, cousins, nephews and nieces, grandchildren… (Greek families can be really big and loud especially when good food is on the table!)
At that time my own father had not yet become born-again-from-above by the Spirit of God, and same was probably true of a few more members of the extended family that was gathered together. So I wanted to take the opportunity to bring Christ into that Christmas celebration!
Somehow I developed a message based on the lights of the tree that remind us of the Light of God that came to this world; I used the decoration depicting the manger where Jesus was born to speak of the miracle of the virgin birth of Jesus and read the story of the Bible, etc.
In the conversation that followed, I spoke about inviting Jesus into our hearts so that He may become our own Savior and Lord, so that the Light of God may shine in us as well, etc.
Somehow, the conversation led to the story of Cornelius in Acts chapter 10; how he was “a devout man and one who feared God with all his household, who gave alms generously to the people, and prayed to God always” (verse 2), and what the angel that appeared to him, told him:
Acts 10:4 … “Your prayers and your alms have come up for a memorial before God. 5 “Now send men to Joppa, and send for Simon whose surname is Peter. 6 “He is lodging with Simon, a tanner, whose house is by the sea. He will tell you what you must do.”
When I was reading out that story to the whole family, I knew in my spirit that the Lord was using those words to speak to my own father, who was present.
My father had been a devout man who feared God; had been a Christian boy and as a student he was actively involved in the Christian Orthodox youth of his generation – but he had not experienced the spiritual regeneration by the Lord’s Spirit yet.
So I placed all the emphasis on the fact that Cornelius was also a devout man who feared God, but he still needed something more than that… he needed to listen to what Peter would tell him…
When Peter had come, he preached to Cornelius the Gospel of Jesus Christ, saying:
“He is Lord of all”,
“how God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power, who went about doing good and healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with Him”,
“who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead” and,
“that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:34-44)
I knew my father was listening… as "someone" was speaking to him (through my words)…
A few days later my parents had a divine visitation in the middle of the night! Both my father and mother woke up as someone was knocking on their bedroom door; the door was unlocked but no one opened it, no one entered, and there was no one there when they opened it up.
When they went back to sleep, my father had a dream; he saw a man who said to him “I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears My voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and dine with him, and he with Me”.
Those words are written in Revelation 3:20, but my father heard someone say those words to him personally, in his dream… it was just after Christmas of that year… it was because the whole family was gathered around the Christmas tree… it was because I had proclaimed the message of Christ to the family thanks to the celebration of Christmas!
My father was born-again-from-above by the Spirit of the Lord since that time, and has experienced the supernatural presence and power of the Lord several times in his life, since that night of divine visitation in that house that had the Christmas tree, with all its decoration on it…
That Christmas tree was not an Asherah pole of occult worship (even though that is how the tree entered the Christmas). In my parents’ house, it was a place of family gathering where the Gospel of Jesus Christ was proclaimed and released the Power of His Presence that saved my father (and a few more members of our extended family).
I am not promoting Christmas trees… but I am proclaiming the Gospel of the Son of God who was born to this world, that all who believe in Him may be saved from sin, darkness and death, and become sons of the living God through faith in Jesus.
Let us turn Christmas into the most powerful time of evangelism of the year; let us turn every Christmas tree into a platform of proclamation of what the bible says about the Son of God, Jesus Christ.
This world needs the Christ of God, and Christmas is the greatest window of opportunity every year to remember Him, and invite Him into our lives!
MERRY CHRISTMAS! “Joy to the world, the Lord is come…”