Christmas Fact and Fiction ?
As a young adult, I attended a Christmas Eve service at a family member’s church. We sang beautiful carols, and a soloist performed a moving rendition of “A Strange Way to Save the World.”
Then the sermon began, and I was stunned when the pastor said he wasn’t sure he believed the virgin birth actually happened despite it being a nice story, and he questioned the accuracy of other biblical details about Jesus’ birth. That church’s written “Articles of Religion” affirmed the virgin birth, but no one publicly protested the pastor’s statements.
If you’re picking up this magazine at a Free Methodist Church, I don’t expect you’ll hear a sermon like the one I heard that night in another branch of Methodism. Still, I have seen fellow Free Methodists provide biblically questionable images at Christmastime, such as three wise men (the Bible doesn’t say how many Magi came to see Jesus) at the manger (Matthew 2 has them coming to a house, and Luke 2 only mentions the shepherds joining Mary, Joseph and the baby). Oh, well, at least we know the “Little Drummer Boy” made it to the manger; right?
In this issue, FreeMo Journals Editor David McDonald mentions some ancient Christmas stories that are as historically unbelievable as the many paintings and figurines that show Santa kneeling before the manger (fmchr.ch/scmanger). Like the Santa-meets-Jesus images, however, there’s a good message in some of these tall tales.
This Christmas, let’s read and believe the truth of the biblical accounts and recite the Apostles’ Creed in proclaiming that Jesus Christ is God the Father’s “only Son our Lord; who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of the Virgin Mary.” Then feel free to join me in singing “pa rum pum pum pum” and checking out the valuable messages that can be found in some Christmas fiction.