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I have always found the proximity of Christmas and New Year's to be a rather fitting arrangement. Yes, the "Christmas sniffers" have informed me, many times, in fact, that they are quite sure Christ was not born on Dec. 25.

What is a Christmas sniffer, you ask? When you encounter one, the conversation will normally go as follows. "Well, (sniff) you do realize, do you not, that (sniff) Jesus was most likely born in March (sniff).

The sniff is designed for demonstration of superiority and disdain, not any desire to inhale the local aroma.

I mentioned these type of folks recently, and then within two days, an entire state away, was accosted by one. "We don't celebrate Christmas," he said (yes, with a sniff). Jesus was born in March, not December."

"So, what do you do for him on his birthday in March?" I asked pleasantly.

"Ummmm ... " he responded.

"In other words, nothing," I replied. "Let me guess, you just 'celebrate his birth all year long, right?' "

"Yes, that's it!" He brightened.

"How would that work if you tried it with your wife?" I asked. "You know, 'Honey, we are not actually going to do anything at all for your birthday. No gifts, no cake, no card, no celebrating. We aren't going to sing to you. In fact, we are not going to acknowledge it in any way. We are just going to celebrate it all year long by ignoring it altogether.' "

The conversation was pretty much over at that point.

And so, Christmas sniffers dealt with, I do, as I said, find the proximity of our chosen dates to celebrate Christmas and New Year's to be a rather fitting arrangement. His birth was a new beginning for everyone. Galatians 4:4-7 says, "But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons. And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father. Wherefore thou art no more a servant, but a son; and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ."

His birth gives us access to redemption, adoption, sonship and heirship. Talk about a new beginning!

On Christmas morning, we unwrap gifts. Just a week later, we unwrap a new year. The parallel is fitting.

The birth of Christ is something to celebrate. But the celebration ought to then give way to what Romans 6:4 calls the newness of life. Simply put, we ought to allow Christ to change us, first of all in salvation, and then in our daily walk as well.

As we celebrate his birth, bid goodbye to 2019 and bid a warm welcome to 2020, it is an excellent time to allow Christ to make things new in your life. Make sure you are truly born again. Get back in church faithfully if you have been out. Forgive grudges and hurts accumulated during the year or even the years. Be reconciled to a family member or friend. Repent of and forsake sin in your own life. Lay aside a harmful habit. Pay off a debt and lay plans to get out of debt altogether. Start working out. Set up a weekly date night for you and your spouse. Go back to school. Find a way to serve in your church and community. And then realize that since all of this will require strength greater than your own, you will need to pray daily and rely on his strength to see all of this done.

Merry Christmas, and a happy New Year!

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Pastor Bo Wagner

Bo Wagner is pastor of the Cornerstone Baptist Church of Mooresboro, North Carolina, a widely traveled evangelist and the author of several books available on Amazon and at www.wordofhismouth.com. Email him at 2knowhim@cbc-web.org.

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