Monday, May 27, 2024

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葡萄樹傳媒

思考耶誕節的意義

By:Robert J. Tamasy

耶誕節對你的意義是什麼?

每當耶誕節來臨的時候,很多人都會問這個問題,答案通常因人而異。有些人會把焦點放在好玩的部分:像是派對、家人團聚、送禮物、對人的善意和快樂的音樂..等等。其他的人可能會想到一長串的準備工作:預備大餐、有客人來要打掃房子、裝飾耶誕樹、找合適的禮物和包裝禮物等等。但是對很多人來說,耶誕節真正的意義在於紀念耶穌基督的誕生,因為這是為什麼會有這個節日的由來。

對商業的世界來說,特別是在零售業,耶誕節意味著獲利。大大小小的零售業:百貨公司、服飾店、童裝店、珠寶店、玩具店,甚至是藥妝店和雜貨店都參加了這一場年終大戰。網路商店也準備好要把這個節日需要的物品送到你家。對實體和網路商店來說,這個季節就是一張黑或紅(賠或賺)的大規模資產負債表。

對工商業人士來說,耶誕節是加緊工作的時刻,但從個人角度來說,它也有別的意義,那就是這一句話:「耶誕節對你的意義是什麼? 」

對相信聖經的人來說,耶誕節就是慶祝嬰孩耶穌的誕生(無論他確切的出生日期是何時)。馬太福音和路加福音很詳細地描寫了耶穌的降生。在約翰福音裡對於耶穌誕生沒有很多的著墨,但是對他降生的重要性卻寫得很清楚:

太初有道,道與 神同在,道就是 神。這道太初與 神同在。萬物是藉著他造的;凡被造的,沒有一樣不是藉著他造的。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1-5節)「道成了肉身,住在我們中間,充充滿滿地有恩典有真理。我們也見過他的榮光,正是父獨生子的榮光。」(約翰福音1章14節)

在 Dr. Paul Brand 和 Philip Yancey 合著的書「在祂的形象裡」(In His Image註1) 寫到,當耶穌來到這個世界,他成為那位眼睛看不見、無限大的、無法言喻,神的顯現。耶穌告訴他的門徒說,看到他就是看到神。當時很多宗教領袖把他的言論看成非常可恥的異端,但是耶穌的確是這樣說的。

在耶誕的時刻,耶穌的跟隨者紀念他的誕生,但不僅止於此。耶穌花了三十三年來到世上成為教師、導師、生活的典範,最後為全人類的罪犧牲。「神使那無罪(無罪:原文是不知罪)的,替我們成為罪,好叫我們在他裏面成為 神的義。」(哥林多後書5章21節)

如果耶穌沒有死在十字架上、復活,這個節日就沒有意義了。在商場上,我們把耶誕節看成一年一度增加銷售的大好時機,但如果沒有耶穌,這個節日根本就不會存在。

註1:此書台灣沒有出版中文。此書名翻譯由CBMC總會自行翻譯。

勞勃.泰默西是領袖資產協會的傳播部副部長,這是一個總部在美國喬治亞州亞特蘭大的非營利組織。他也是一個有40年經驗的退休新聞工作者。他寫過一本書「最佳狀態的商業:箴言給今日職場的歷久彌新智慧」(Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace)。他也與David A. Stoddard合著一本書「導師之心」(The Heart of Mentoring)。要了解更多資訊, 可上網www.leaderslegacy.com 或上他的部落格www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com以及www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com

回應和問題討論
耶誕節對你的意義是什麼? 從你的觀點來看,工商業界人士是如何看待耶誕節的呢?你自己個人的看法又是如何呢? 你是如何看待聖經裡所描述耶穌的誕生和他的一生呢? 假設耶穌沒有降生,也沒有耶誕節,你認為今天的世界將會是什麼樣子的呢?若你想要看或討論聖經中有關此主題的其他經文,請看以下經節:馬太福音1章18節-2章18節;路加福音 1章26-56節、2章1-20節


CONSIDERING THE BUSINESS OF CHRISTMAS
By Robert J. Tamasy
What does Christmas mean to you?

This question is often asked this time of year, and answers are remarkably diverse. Some focus on the fun part of the season – parties, family gatherings, gift giving, good will toward others and happy music. Others think of endless preparations, such as cooking meals, preparing the home for visitors, putting up Christmas trees and decorations, the challenge of finding the right gifts and wrapping them. For millions, the real meaning of Christmas is to remember the birth of Jesus Christ, for whom the holiday is named.

For much of the business world of course, particularly in retail, Christmas means profits and the bottom line. Retail establishments of all sizes – department stores, clothing stores, children”s and jewelry stores, toy stores, even drug stores and grocery stores – anticipate sizable boosts during the year-end Christmas season. The same applies increasingly to online businesses, poised to ship goods of all kinds to meet the holiday needs of their customers. For both physical and virtual businesses, this season often serves as the boundary between black and red ink on the balance sheets.

For business and professional people, Christmas can mean one thing at work, while from a personal standpoint it can mean something different. So again the question: What does Christmas mean to you?

For those that believe the Bible, the answer must involve the Christ child, whose birth is celebrated at this time of year regardless of when it actually occurred on the calendar. The gospels of Matthew and Luke describe this birth in detail, but perhaps the gospel of John, without referring specifically to the events of Jesus” arrival in Bethlehem, explains its significance most clearly:

In the beginning was the Word (Jesus Christ), 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 has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness did not understand it…. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us… (John 1:1-5,14).

As authors Dr. Paul Brand and Philip Yancey wrote in their book, In His Image, when Jesus entered the world He became “the visible, finite expression of the invisible, infinite, inexpressible God.” Jesus told His followers that to see Him was to see God. Many religious leaders of the time viewed such a statement as an outrageous heresy, but that was what Jesus claimed.

At Christmas, followers of Christ commemorate His birth, but it doesn”t stop there. Jesus spent 33 years on earth as a teacher, mentor, model for living, and finally, the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of mankind. “God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the righteousness of God” (2 Corinthians 5:21). Without Jesus” death on the cross – and His resurrection – this holiday we call Christmas would be meaningless. The world of commerce might have invented a similar observance to boost annual sales, but without Christ there truly could be no Christmas.

Robert J. Tamasy is vice president of communications for Leaders Legacy, Inc., a non-profit based in Atlanta, Georgia, U.S.A. He has written Tufting Legacies (iUniverse); Business At Its Best: Timeless Wisdom from Proverbs for Today”s Workplace (River City Press); coauthored with David A. Stoddard, The Heart of Mentoring (NavPress), and most recently edited When “Want To” Becomes “Have To!” by Gary Highfield. For more information, see www.leaderslegacy.com or his blogs, www.bobtamasy.blogspot.com and www.bobtamasy.wordpress.com.

Reflection/Discussion Questions
What does Christmas mean to you? How does the perspective of Christmas that you observe in the business and professional world compare to your personal view? When you think of the biblical accounts of the birth of Jesus Christ and his life, what reactions do you have? Suppose Jesus had not been born, and there in fact was no Christmas – or any reason for it. What difference do you think that would make for life and work today?NOTE: If you have a Bible and would like to review some other passages that relate to this topic, consider the following verses: Matthew 1:18-2:18; Luke 1:26-56, 2:1-20

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