Hebrews 9:1-12The first promise had rules for the priests’ service. It also had a holy place on earth. A tent was set up. The first part of this tent was called the holy place. The lamp stand, the table, and the bread of the presence were in this part of the tent. Behind the second curtain was the part of the tent called the most holy place. It contained the gold incense burner and the ark of the Lord’s promise. The ark was completely covered with gold. In the ark were the gold jar filled with manna, Aaron’s staff that had blossomed, and the tablets on which the promise was written. Above the ark were the angels of glory with their wings overshadowing the throne of mercy. (Discussing these things in detail isn’t possible now.) That is how these two parts of the tent were set up. The priests always went into the first part of the tent to perform their duties. But only the chief priest went into the second part of the tent. Once a year he entered and brought blood that he offered for himself and for the things that the people did wrong unintentionally. The Holy Spirit used this to show that the way into the most holy place was not open while the tent was still in use. The first part of the tent is an example for the present time. The gifts and sacrifices that were brought there could not give the worshiper a clear conscience. These gifts and sacrifices were meant to be food, drink, and items used in various purification ceremonies. These ceremonies were required for the body until God would establish a new way of doing things. But Christ came as a chief priest of the good things that are now here. Christ went through a better, more perfect tent that was not made by human hands and that is not part of this created world. He used his own blood, not the blood of goats and bulls, for the sacrifice. He went into the most holy place and offered this sacrifice once and for all to free us forever.
Chris-mus and Christ’s-mass are two of my favorite holidays. They weren’t always. I grew up in a family of Jehovah’s Witnesses, agnostics and atheists. None of which celebrate the Christ’s Mass. The atheists’ and agnostics in the family did at least celebrate Chris-mus.
You know the difference right? For a long time I didn’t know the difference. I didn’t even know that one was a holiday and the other a holy day.
Chris-mus, (notice the way it is pronounced … Chris rather than Christ) is a secular holiday that celebrates gift giving, Santa, flying deer, evergreen trees and colored lights.
Christ Mass celebrates the birth of the Christ child. The promised savior of sinful man. The fulfillment of the promise given to Abraham that, through his decedents, all people will be blessed.
I try to remember not to wish people a “Merry Chrismus” but to rather bless them by saying, “Have a blessed Christmas.”
Father, thank you for the gift of your Son, Jesus the Christ. As we enjoy this holiday season, keep is mindful out the Holy Day of his birth into human form.
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