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The Christmas story recorded in Luke 2:1-20 (NIV) states: “In those days Caesar Augustus issued adecree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
In today’s world, many felt that the Christmas story is an old wives’ tale occurred more than two thousand years ago. However, whether people believed it or not, the fact remained that it happened as part of God’s plan of salvation for humanity. The Christmas message is here to stay, and the birth of Jesus as the Saviour is at the heart of it. Wayne Grudem wrote,
God, in his wisdom, ordained a combination of human and divine influence in the birth of Christ, so that his full humanity would be evident to us from the fact of his ordinary human birth from a human mother, and his full deity would be evident from the fact of his conception in Mary’s womb by the powerful work of the Holy Spirit (Systematic Theology, 530).
When people believed the Christmas message, faith was involved. Brett Blair emphasized, “Faith understands that God intervenes in the natural course of events; on the other hand, if the natural course of events should happen to answer prayer--that which we call a coincidence--faith still believes God is present.” What’s the Christmas message we need to remember today?
· Point #1: Christ became like us and in doing so, God became near to us. He came for the purpose of giving us access to God's throne of grace through His Son Jesus to give us life purpose and meaning. Most importantly, forgive our sins, and the hope of heaven beyond this life. Remember to look past the commercialism of Christmas. It is not about the gifts we receive or what we give to others but the greatest gift from God on the first Christmas.
· Point #2: The central theme of Christmas is the incarnation—that God became a man to redeem man, “that in Christ "lives all the fullness of the Godhead bodily" (Col. 2:9). John opens his first epistle by saying that Christ was from the beginning "which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and our hands have touched (1 John 1:1). In other words, God comes in the flesh.
· Point 3: The first Christmas celebration became a heavenly party participated by the shepherds in the fields. Heaven and earth celebrated together as the Saviour of the world came and born in a humble manger. The natural and the supernatural mingled on that glorious day. On that first Christmas, a big heavenly celebration spilled on earth over the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ.
In understanding these points, Joel Pankow stressed,
God became man - born in the manger with one mission. He had to take on our flesh - born of a virgin - so that he could fulfill God’s will - and save us. He fulfilled his mission of dying for you. He fulfilled His mission of making you holy and that’s the simple reason for Christmas and its celebration.
So set aside the things you have become preoccupied with and remember that you have a Savior. You have a Lord. You have a Christ. And you have His promises.
Let’s talk again!