Isn't Christmas a religious holiday?
Q: I am living temporarily in your country while I attend graduate school. Please explain Christmas to me. I thought it was supposed to be a religious holiday, but from what I saw last year, I guess I am wrong. -- N.S.V.
A: Thank you for your email -- and yes, Christmas is meant to be a religious celebration, because it commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ over 2,000 years ago. He was born in a small village in an obscure corner of the Roman Empire -- but today His followers are found in almost every country.
However, I'm afraid many people today have lost sight of the original meaning of Christmas. Instead, it has become more and more secular and commercialized, focusing mainly on gift-giving or holiday parties or family gatherings. These aren't necessarily wrong -- but far too often we lose sight of the true meaning of Christmas, and we fail to reflect on the greatest Christmas gift of all: God's gift of His Son, Jesus Christ, for our salvation.
During this Christmas season, I hope you'll look beyond the advertising and the crowded stores, and discover instead the true meaning of Christmas. If you have never been in a Christian church, take time to attend a Christmas service at a church near you; you would be warmly welcomed. In addition, I encourage you to find a Bible and read about the birth and life of Jesus in the section called the New Testament.
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The real question, however, is this: Why do we celebrate the birth of Jesus? The reason is because He was the Son of God, who came down from Heaven to save us from our sins. As the Bible says, "No one has ever seen God, but the one and only Son ... has made him known" (John 1:18).
(Send your queries to "My Answer," c/o Billy Graham, Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, 1 Billy Graham Parkway, Charlotte, N.C., 28201; call 1-(877) 2-GRAHAM, or visit the Web site for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association: www.billygraham.org.)(c)2017 BILLY GRAHAM DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.