Christmas Means Good News for ALL People
The birth of Jesus was announced by a holy angel to the shepherds tending their sheep, "I bring you Good News of great joy which shall be for all people. For unto you is born this day, [in Bethlehem], a Savior who is Christ the Lord. And suddenly there was with the angel many holy angels praising God and saying, 'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will for all people.'"[i] After the shepherds went to see Jesus for themselves, they returned praising and glorifying God for all the things which they had heard and seen. Since Jesus was born to be the Savior of all people and the holy angels announced, at His birth, that this great event was Good News for all people then all people, not just Christians, will be blessed. Christians believe that Jesus was God in human form. Jesus is thus called the "Incarnation" of God.
The Holy Bible says that no person has ever seen God but gives us definitions of God to help us understand Him. There are only four definitions of God given in the Bible. The best-known one is, "God is Love."[ii] The Bible tells us how much God loves everyone, in what is probably the best-known verse in the whole Bible, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son so that everyone who believes in Him...shall have eternal life."[iii] There is a song of Jesus' all-inclusive love children sing in Sunday School, Jesus Loves the Little Children, "Jesus calls the children dear, Come to me and never fear, All the children of the world, Red and yellow, black and white, All are precious in His sight. Jesus loves all the children of the world."
As a man, children were coming to Jesus, but His helpers, called disciples, were telling the children to go away and not to bother Him. Jesus, however, said to His disciples, "Let the little children come to me...for of such is the kingdom of heaven."[iv] These were Jewish children; Jesus loves all children and all parents regardless of their religious faith. Another song of Jesus' unconditional love children sing is Jesus Loves Me. "Jesus loves me this I know for the Bible tells me so. Jesus loves me when I'm good, when I do the things I should. Jesus loves me when I'm bad, but it makes Him oh so sad." Jesus truly loves all children of the world! A great song about God's unconditional love adults sing, by Frederick Lehman (1868-1953), is The Love of God:
The love of God is greater far
Than tongue or pen can every tell
It goes beyond the highest star
And reaches to the lowest hell.
If we with ink could the ocean fill
And were the skies of parchment made
And were every stalk on earth a quill
And every man a scribe by trade;
To write the love of God above
Would drain the ocean dry
Nor could the scroll contain the whole
Though spread from sky to sky....
A second Biblical definition of God is "God is Light."[v] Light is a very appropriate symbol for God, who is eternal, since light never ages. When people from around the world, of all religious faiths, have had out-of-body death experiences, they have reported meeting beings of light whom they recognized as loved ones, and then meeting "The Being of Light," whom they just knew, without having to be introduced, is God. The Bible and the holy writings of other religions tell all of us to be children of light and the light of the world. Jesus told His followers to let their light shine [doing good deeds] so as to glorify God. Children sing This Little Light of Mine. "I'm going to let it shine all over the whole wide world...let it shine, let it shine, let it shine."
A third Biblical definition of God is "God is Spirit."[vi] Since God is Spirit, God is omnipresent which means that God can be everywhere in the whole world with everyone all the time. The Bible says that there is no place anyone can go from God's presence, not even in hell where adults, who do bad things to other people, go in order to be proportionately punished for their sins and thus corrected, reconciled, and restored to God.[vii] This definition and explanation logically leads to the fourth definition of God.
The fourth Biblical definition of God is "God is a Consuming Fire."[viii] This definition of God might at first sound scary, but it is not to make anyone afraid of God. It is to reveal the purity of God and how God makes all people and creation pure by His purging power. The New Testament of The Holy Bible was written in Greek. The Greek word for fire is "pur." This is the word, via Latin, from which we get our English words: pure, purity, purification, purge, etc. This Christian song, God Leads His Dear Children Along, expresses the truth of God using whatever method is necessary, except violating free will, to purify all people. "Some through the water, some through the flood, some through the fire...." Fire symbolizes purification in all major and most, if not all, minor religions. Since God loves sinners but hates sin, God burns up sin purifying sinners!
I have written a book about God's unconditional love, amazing grace, infinite mercy, and perfect justice. The cover of my book, Spiritual Terrorism, is a picture of a blazing fire. Neither the title nor the fire is meant to scare anyone but to help people understand fire in the Bible and other holy books, in regard to judgment, is a good thing. In relation to God, since Love, Light, and Spirit are good things, fire must also be a good thing since "God is Fire." When my first grandchild was only three years old he looked at my book, pointed to it, and said, "Oh, fire!" He knew that fire will burn and hurt so he knew not to touch hot things. I said, "Honey, this is not real fire. It is Biblical fire, which symbolizes purification, so it will not burn and hurt you." I realized that he did not understand the word "purification" so I knew that I needed to explain this in a very simple way he could understand. When he gets dirty, he likes to have a bath to get clean. I explained purification by fire as God's way of cleaning adults who get "dirty" with sin, and that hell is God's "timeout" for adults who sin by hurting others. It is like the Christian hymn, How Firm a Foundation, "...The flame shall not hurt thee; I [God] only design thy dross [spiritual impurities] to consume, and thy gold [good qualities] to refine."
A few weeks after my grandson's fourth birthday I was putting together a fire pit, and he was helping. I noticed that he was looking at the picture of a blazing fire on the front of the large box in which the fire pit had been shipped. Appearing to be in deep thought, he went into the house. A couple of minutes later, he returned holding my book. He pointed to the cover and said, "Biblical fire will not burn and hurt you." He then pointed to the picture of the blazing fire on the fire-pit box and said, "That fire will burn and hurt you." I thought, "Wow, how smart and insightful!"
At only three years of age he had not only understood what I had shared with him in a very-brief simple way, but, at only four, demonstrated that he knows the difference between literal and symbolic fire. He understands what millions of literal-minded adults in Christianity and other religions, living in fear of God due to believing in literal hell fire, do not understand! This view of God will enable him to grow up having reverence for God due to a sense of awe (the meaning of Biblical "fear") about God without being afraid of God. This will inspire love and worship of God and devoted service for God. This grasp of God's unconditional love, corrective discipline, and perfect justice is what God wants for all people!
Universal religious understanding of God as symbolic fire—consuming sin, purifying sinners—will have a greater impact on the world than the discovery of fire, resulting in universal peace. In the 21st Century we hear a lot about recycling and going green to protect the earth's environment. When we finally have peace on earth, there will be the biggest recycling program in the history of the world! The Bible says that mankind will convert swords and spears (weapons of war) into plowshares and pruning hooks (farming tools).[ix] This means that modern weapons of war—ships, planes, tanks, missiles, machine guns, etc.—will be recycled into agricultural equipment for growing crops and feeding people! Human hunger will be a thing of the past, and everyone will be living in peace and prosperity. Young people will not study and train for war any more, and nations will no longer fight wars.
This time of universal peace is symbolized in the Bible by the lion lying down with the lamb, the earth being full of the knowledge of the Lord, righteousness rushing down like a mighty stream, and there being nothing to harm anyone anywhere in the whole world![x] Universal salvation and universal peace is what God had in mind form the beginning when He came in the person of the baby in the manger of Bethlehem to destroy evil[xi]and be the Savior of all people. This is why the angelic host proclaimed peace on and earth good will to ALL!
The word "Gospel" means Good News. This will be the best Good News ever heard when all evil has been destroyed, all morbid fear of God has been cast out of everyone, all people are perfected in God's perfect love,[xii] and all people are loving their neighbors as themselves.[xiii] This Good News will be the result of Jesus, as God, drawing all people to Himself,[xiv] all people confessing that Jesus is Lord,[xv] all living in Christ, and God becoming "all in all"—the most important Person in everyone's life.[xvi] Then everyone in the universe will be living in harmony with God and in peace with everyone else. This is why Christmas is Good News, not just for Christians but for all people of the world!
[i] Lk. 2:1-18; 2 I Jn. 4:8; 3 Jn. 3:16; 4Mt. 19:14; 5 I Jn. 1:5; 6 Jn. 4:24; 7 Ps. 139; 8 Heb. 12:29; 9 Isa. 2:4;
10 Isa. 11:6-9; 11 I Jn. 3:8; 12 I Jn. 4:18; 13 Mt. 22:36-40; 14 Jn. 12:32; 15 Phil. 2:9-11; 16 I Cor. 15:22, 28
This Christmas story has been published by Bearhead Publishing, Brandenburg, Kentucky. It is in a collection of Christmas stories: Historic Clifton AFAF 2010 Signing Authors' Book. A minister, fluent in English and Spanish from Puerto Rico, who read this story, liked it so well that he asked my permission to translate it into Spanish. It is now available in Spanish as well as my evangelism piece, "SALTED WITH FIRE: Five-Liberating Truths--The Good New of God's Eternal Love/Amazing Grace/Infinite Mercy/Perfect Justice."
He is now in the process of translating my book into Spanish. He stated that he believes that the glorious message of Christian Universalism is much needed and will be a "hit" in the Spanish-speaking world. Interestingly, due to the religious-thought police, this minister must use a penname as the translator since he would be condemned as a heretic by his denominational officials for just translating writings on Christian Universalism, much less believing it!
Copyright Boyd C. Purcell, Ph.D.
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