I hope that all who will read this already know that Christianity is about relationship with God, our Father. A Purpose among several of Jesus coming into this world was to bridge our self-induced gap between us and God. The Father wants nothing more than to be in relationship with us, for this He created us. What I think is necessary to understand more practically is that this relationship is maintained on our part by religion.
We do not mean the rites and rituals and vestments of the Priesthood (stated as the good Puritan that I am). What we do mean is prayer, growing in understanding of His revelation of Himself (the Bible), fellowship together, obedience to His clearly stated Desires, and honoring God as God. These things are Given to us by God, these things are our religion – understanding that religion is how we maintain our part of the relationship. I think this jumps out in the events shortly after our Lord’s birth:
“And (Anna) was a widow of about fourscore and four years, which departed not from the temple, but served God with fastings and prayers night and day. And she coming in that instant gave thanks likewise unto the Lord, and spake of him to all them that looked for redemption in Jerusalem.”
(Luke 2:37-38 KJV)
Anna prayed and she hoped and she trusted that God would keep His promise for the redemption of his people. She honored the only begotten of the Father as is His right.
“And when (the wisemen) were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.”
(Matthew 2:11 KJV)
Men from afar knew who the Child in the manger was, because they knew God’s revelations. They honored Him as is His right and gave up the best of what they had to Him.
These wonderful witnesses did not act in a philosophical abstract of what religion is or isn’t or what it means to the individual, they went and did it. I hope each of you has a blessed Christmas!