是否為會員

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尋找聖誕節的意義

THE SEARCH FOR THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

(2022/12/19)

我們已經正式進入眾所周知的聖誕週」了。當然,商店已經展示了他們的聖誕裝飾幾個月了,聖誕樹和裝飾品、卡通的聖誕老人圖像、大大小小的糖果棒,以及包裝鮮艷的虛擬節日禮物等,好像喊著:「顧客們!現在是你們花錢購買聖誕禮品的時候了,幫我們把今年由虧轉盈吧!

我猜想你已經逐漸厭倦了這個重覆的問題:聖誕節的真正意義是什麽?令人驚訝的是,我們聽到名人和專家提供他們的意見,好像這個問題有很多答案一樣。他們提出的答案包括家庭慷慨彼此相愛和恩慈相待「保持童心以及其他許多的答案…等。

這些回答都非常好。但實際上,只有一個適當的答案能代表聖誕節真正的意義。在約翰福音1章14節中說得非常清楚和明白:道成了肉身,住在我們中間。上帝 - 宇宙的創造者和維護者,降世為人,以嬰孩的形象來到地球,最終成長為我們的老師、榜樣、救主、救贖者和主宰。

在這個季節,無數的講道和信息被播出,用來傳達聖誕節的重要性和深遠的影響。許多世紀以來都是如此。那麽,除了已經說過和寫過的東西之外,還能增加些什麽呢?也許,我們並不需要更多的東西,而是需要暫停和深思,記住我們所知道的。思考一下我們在新約約翰福音開始的篇章中,更多所發現的一些真理:

耶穌從起初就存在。耶穌基督,上帝的兒子,並不是在兩千年前的一個奇妙的早晨,在一個叫伯利恆的中東小鎮上突然出現的,那只是如經上所說:道(就是耶穌)成了肉身的時刻。耶穌和父神一直都是太初有道,道與上帝同在,道就是上帝。這道太初與上帝同在。萬物是藉着他造的;凡被造的,沒有一樣不是藉着他造的。(約翰福音11-3

耶穌來是要給予生命,帶來光明。在耶穌作為人類的孩子出生在這個世界之前,上帝已經以多種方式啟示了祂自己。祂透過人類的作者給了我們舊約,這是祂之前透過人類工作的一部歷史,並記錄了祂認為正確生活的誡命和律例。但耶穌來了,把我們從死的、「宗教的的行為當中解救出來,並且提供了唯一的、永恆的生命之路。生命在他裏頭,這生命就是人的光。光照在黑暗裏,黑暗卻不接受光。」(約翰福音1章4-5節

耶穌為我們提供了成為上帝家中一份子的途徑。聖經教導我們,每個男人、女人和孩子都是上帝的受造物是按照祂的形象造的,但是,並非所有的人都是祂神聖、永恆家庭的成員。這需要一個獨特的交換,只有透過接受耶穌基督做為禮物才能得到的。凡接待他的,就是信他名的人,他就賜他們權柄作上帝的兒女。這等人不是從血氣生的,不是從情慾生的,也不是從人意生的,乃是從上帝生的。」(約翰福音1章12-13節後來,耶穌擴大了這一個應許: 耶穌說:「我就是道路、真理、生命;若不藉着我,沒有人能到父那裏去。」(約翰福音146

如果我們仔細思考這些真理,還需要對聖誕節的真正意義」有任何疑問嗎?

© 2021. Robert J. Tamasy 是企業巔峰: 給今日職場從箴言而來永恆的智慧 一書的作者。也與導師之心的作者David A. Stoddard 合著Tufting Legacies。編輯多本著作包括Mike Landry. Bob的書:透過苦難成長。Mike Landry. Bob的網站為www.bobtamasy-readywriterink.com

備註:如果你有聖經,想閱讀更多的內容,可以考慮以下的經文(請查閱以下未列出的經文:路加福音2章1-3、25-32節;約翰福音10章7-16、11章25-26)
彌迦書5章2節
5:2 伯利恆的以法他啊,你在猶大諸城中為小,將來必有一位從你那裏出來,在以色列中為我作掌權的;他的根源從亙古,從太初就有。
路加福音2章4-20節
2:4 約瑟也從加利利的拿撒勒城上猶太去,到了大衛的城,名叫伯利恆,因他本是大衛一族一家的人,
2:5 要和他所聘之妻馬利亞一同報名上冊。那時馬利亞的身孕已經重了。
2:6 他們在那裏的時候,馬利亞的產期到了,
2:7 就生了頭胎的兒子,用布包起來,放在馬槽裏,因為客店裏沒有地方。
2:8 在伯利恆之野地裏有牧羊的人,夜間按着更次看守羊群。
2:9 有主的使者站在他們旁邊,主的榮光四面照着他們;牧羊的人就甚懼怕。
2:10 那天使對他們說:「不要懼怕!我報給你們大喜的信息,是關乎萬民的;
2:11 因今天在大衛的城裏,為你們生了救主,就是主基督。
2:12 你們要看見一個嬰孩,包着布,臥在 馬槽裏,那就是記號了。」
2:13 忽然,有一大隊天兵同那天使讚美上帝說:
2:14 在至高之處榮耀歸與上帝!
在地上平安歸與他所喜悅的人 ( - 有古卷:喜悅歸與人)!
2:15 眾天使離開他們,升天去了。牧羊的人彼此說:「我們往伯利恆去,看看所成的事,就是主所指示我們的。」
2:16 他們急忙去了,就尋見馬利亞和約瑟,又有那嬰孩臥在 馬槽裏;
2:17 既然看見,就把天使論這孩子的話傳開了。
2:18 凡聽見的,就詫異牧羊之人對他們所說的話。
2:19 馬利亞卻把這一切的事存在心裏,反覆思想。
2:20 牧羊的人回去了,因所聽見所看見的一切事,正如 天使向他們所說的,就歸榮耀與上帝,讚美他。
約翰福音8章12節
8:12 耶穌又對眾人說:「我是世界的光。跟從我的,就不在黑暗裏走,必要得着生命的光
約翰福音9章5節
9:5 我在世上的時候,是世上的光。」

反省與問題討論
第一、無論是在工作中、在你的社群或者是在電視或廣播中,你是否聽過人們談論聖誕節真正的意義呢?你都聽到了些什麽樣的答案?
第二、如果有人問你對聖誕節真正意義的看法,你會如何回答呢?多年來,你的回答是否有改變?如果有,是在哪些方面呢?
第三、「道成了肉身,住在我們中間」這段經文對你有什麽意義?你會如何向別人解釋對這段話的理解?
第四、耶穌說祂自己是光(約翰福音8章12節,9章5節)和生命(約翰福音11章25-26節),你認為在哪些方面這是真實的?為什麼這很重要?


 

MONDAY MANNA
December 19, 2022

THE SEARCH FOR THE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
By Robert J. Tamasy

 


We have officially entered what is widely known as “Christmas week.” Of course, retail stores have been displaying their Christmas finery for months already: Christmas trees and ornaments, animated Santa Claus figures, candy canes of all sizes, and brightly wrapped fake holiday gifts shouting, “It’s time for you, shoppers, to spend your Christmas money and help us put our fiscal years in the black!”

I suspect you have also grown tired of the repeated question, “What is the true meaning of Christmas?” Amazingly, we hear celebrities and pundits offering their opinions, as if there were many answers to the question. They suggest answers such as “family,” “generosity,” “love and kindness toward one another,” “childlike wonder” and many others.

All very nice. But in reality, there is only one proper response to express the true meaning of Christmas. It is stated very clearly and concisely in John 1:14, “The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.” God – the Creator and sustainer of the universe – took on human form and came to earth in the form of a baby, growing to become our ultimate teacher, role model, Savior, Redeemer, and Lord.

During this season countless sermons and messages are presented to convey the importance and magnitude of Christmas. It has been this way for many centuries. So, what can be added to what has already been said and written? Perhaps we do not need something more, but to pause and reflect, to remember what we know. Consider a few of the other truths we find in the opening chapter of the New Testament’s gospel of John:

Jesus was from the beginning. Jesus Christ, the Son of God, did not come into existence one amazing morning 2,000 years ago in a small Middle Eastern town called Bethlehem. That was just the moment when, as quoted already, “the Word – Jesus – become flesh. He and God the Father have always been In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through Him all things were made; without Him nothing was made that was made(John 1:1-3).

Jesus came to give life and bring light. Before Jesus was born into the world as a human child, God had revealed Himself in many ways. He worked through human writers to give us the Old Testament, a history of His workings through humankind up to that point and a record of His commands and statutes for right living. But Jesus came to rescue us from dead, “religious” works and offer the one and only path to life that will not end. In Him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it(John 1:4-5).

Jesus offered us the way to become members of God’s family. The Bible teaches that every man, woman, and children is God’s creation, made in His image. But not all are members of His divine, eternal family. That requires a unique transaction, receiving as a gift what is available only through Jesus Christ. Yet to all who received Him, to those who believed in His name, He gave the right to become children of God – children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God(John 1:12-13). Later Jesus expanded on this promise: “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me” (John 14:6).

If we ponder these truths, need there be any questions about “the true meaning of Christmas”?

© 2022. Robert J. Tamasy has written Marketplace Ambassadors: CBMC’s Continuing Legacy of Evangelism and Discipleship; Business at Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today’s Workplace; Pursuing Life With a Shepherd’s Heart, coauthored with Ken Johnson; and The Heart of Mentoring, coauthored with David A. Stoddard. Bob’s biweekly blog is: www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com.

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Reflection/Discussion Questions

 

1.Have you heard people talking about the true meaning of Christmas, whether at work, in your community, or maybe on TV or the radio? What kinds of answers have you heard?



2.If someone were to ask you about your views regarding the true meaning of Christmas, how would you respond? Has the answer you would give changed over the years? If so, in what ways?


3.What does the phrase, “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us,” mean to you? How would you explain your understanding of that to someone else?



 
4.Jesus said of Himself that He is light (John 8:12, 9:5) and life (John 11:25-26)? What are some ways in which you think that is true? Why is this important?





NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to read more, consider the following passages:

Micah 5:2; Luke 2:1-20,25-32; John 8:12, 9:5, 10:7-16, 11:25-26