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Google has more than 373 million references to the word “Christmas.” Wow, you could spend your entire holiday vacation (and then some) wading through all of the inferences to this global celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ. Here are some things I learned:

  • Christmas was declared an official federal holiday in the United States in 1870.
  • Christmas was challenged in a lawsuit several times as being a holiday that violated the “separation of church and state,” but it was upheld by the Supreme Court on December 19, 2000.
  • The Puritans of New England disapproved of the public celebrations of Christmas and outlawed the celebration in Boston from 1659-1681.
  • In World War I, Germany and Britain spontaneously stopped fighting in France and began to sing carols on Christmas Day and later played a soccer game between the two sides. A truce was honored for days.
  • The Eastern Orthodox Church celebrates Christmas on January 7, in honor of the Julian calendar, which corresponds to December 25.

What surprised me most was that the religion of Islam considers anyone who claims that God actually came to earth be called a “shirk.” This is because they believe people who claim that God has touched the earth shirk God’s holiness. According to their religion, that person would blaspheme God.

Christianity, by contrast, not only celebrates that God came to earth, lived among us and taught us, but that God became one of us! On Christmas we declare that Emmanuel was born, “God with us.” He was God and man. That’s the real gift of Christmas. By becoming one of us, His death on the cross would be the ultimate sacrifice for the penalty of our sins. His life was God’s gift to us and His death was Christ’s gift to God.

Prayer: “Jesus, You are the reason we give gifts; You are the reason we gather and celebrate; You are the reason we decorate; You are the reason we sing. The gift of Your life makes it possible, in a world that often rejects You and wars against You, to still have hope!”

By: Glenn Burris Jr., general supervisor

served as the president of The Foursquare Church from 2009-2020.