Christmas, the Reason for the Season
This week many people around the world will celebrate Christmas. Sadly, there are many who do not even realize why we celebrate this occasion. There are some who know but have forgotten the real reason. For some it will be a time of stress, worry, and selfishness. For those that understand the reason for this season, we will celebrate with much joy at the gift given many years ago in a stable in Bethlehem, Judaea, the greatest gift given to man kind from our Father. What was this gift? His name is JESUS.
Handout: Christmas, the Reason for the Season
You may be one that once really felt the joy and the true reason for Christmas, but maybe over time you have forgotten. Maybe you are one that has never really thought about it getting caught up in the things that have changed with time. Maybe you are one that does understand the true meaning and you celebrate with great joy and thanksgiving. Whatever your situation may be, I would like for us to go back to the real reason for Christmas. Come with me on this wonderful, beautiful journey many years ago. Let us go to the time in history that would change the world forever, a day of love, and joy for the human race. The day of hope for the world since the beginning of the Earth that was cast under the curse of sin. I ask as you read with me, to open your heart to the Holy Spirit and let God take you back to that time. Put yourself in the place of those involved. Ask yourself how would you feel in these situations? Turn with me in God's word to the book of Luke chapter 1.
Luke 1: 26-39 "And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth, To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a Son, and shalt call His name JESUS.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto Him the throne of His father David: And He shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible. And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her."
Can you imagine how Mary must have felt? Highly favored of God she was to have been chosen to carry the very son of God in her womb and deliver him. She could have been overwhelmed thinking the weight of the world lay on her shoulders; instead Mary submitted unto God's will and trusted him. In verse 38 we see Mary chooses to be a willing vessel to be used of God for a great and wondrous miracle. She understood that she didn't have to figure everything out, that God had a plan and she should just follow and do as he led her to do. Reading on we see that Mary goes quickly to the house of Zacharias to visit her cousin Elisabeth who was also with child. When Mary tells Elisabeth of what the angel has told her. Elisabeth is filled with the Holy Spirit and her baby (John the Baptist) leaps with joy in her womb. Let's read on and see what Mary has to say, starting with verse 46.
John 1:46-55 "And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy; As He spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
Instead of worrying about what everyone is going to think of her being with child and not being married, which by law, could have been very dangerous for her, instead, Mary understands that God is in control and that He is all powerful and is able to take care of her and fulfill his plan in her life. She praises and worships God and is thankful for the favor he has shown to her.
Go with me now to the first chapter of Matthew. Here we will see this situation from the perspective of Joseph, the man who is to be wed to Mary.
Matthew 1:18-25 "Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as His mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily. But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the LORD appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost. And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins. Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. Then Joseph being raised from sleep did as the angel of the Lord had bidden him, and took unto him his wife: And knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name JESUS.
This is wonderful. Not only was Mary highly favored, but Joseph as well. He was chosen to be the man to raise up Jesus after he would be born. Joseph, as did Mary submits his will to God in obedience knowing like Mary that God was in control and that he had a plan and would take care of them. Can you just imagine how they both must have felt knowing that this little one yet to be born, would be the one that had been foretold for centuries by the prophets of old who would come and save the world from their sins? How amazing that must have been. So many feelings all wrapped up inside each of them. Going back to the book of Luke chapter 2, we will read of the wonderful occasion of why we celebrate Christmas.
Luke 2:1-7 "And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."
What a wonderful, unexpected way for the King of kings to be born, in a stable. How amazing and unpredictable our Father is. Reading on we see the account of shepherds that were working that night when angels appeared with the great news of Jesus' birth.
Luke 2:8-20 "And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them."
Now imagine you are a shepherd that night in the fields keeping your sheep and suddenly this angel appears with the glory of the LORD shining so bright with this news. Then with the angel this multitude appears giving God praise. Wow, to have been there that glorious night, to witness that. How amazing it must have been. What rejoicing must have taken place. I can just imagine God on his throne looking down with love on his beloved son, and seeing every person that would accept Salvation and be saved through this child. Hallelujah!!! What a gift to a world without hope. Don't you know Satan trembled at the news. He no longer had a hold on mankind with the curse of sin. The Savior was born who would break the chains of sin and death forever for all those that would accept him and believe!!! Reading on we can see the words of prophets praising God as they see the baby Savior. What a wonderful experience to hold the darling Lamb of God in their arms and see the Salvation come to mankind.
Jesus left the ivory palaces of Heaven to come to earth and be born and not born with great riches as king's children of this earth were born, but born in a cave where animals were kept. How amazing his birth, life, death and resurrection truly is. He came right down to have the human experience so that he could identify with us and understand. JESUS, God in human flesh came to save us when we could not save ourselves. Truly what love the Father has bestowed upon us. To give his only begotten Son, who was good, and perfect, and Holy, for the sins of a lost and dying world without hope. Think on that just a moment. Think of what it would have meant if JESUS had not come, had not been born, had not died and rose again. Where would that leave you and I? We would have been doomed for eternity. Eternity, can you even imagine how long that is? Can you imagine forever without God, forever far away from the very one that created us and loves us? Can you imagine being separated from the very one that breathed the breath of life into us, the one that our soul long for, the only one that complete us?
Jesus came to bridge the gap between God and man created by sin.
Without the righteousness of Christ we cannot know the Father. God made a way to reconcile with the human family in which he loves so much. Jesus came and redeemed everything that the first man Adam lost through disobedience. Jesus came to save that which is lost. If you don't have a relationship with him today, you can. All you must do is believe on the Lord JESUS Christ. Ask him to come into your heart and be the Lord of your life. Ask God to forgive your sins and create a new person in you. Commit to being a child of God. It is the most important and most wonderful choice you will ever make. Jesus will not turn anyone away. He waits with open arms for you to invite him into your life and into your heart. Make that wonderful decision today and accept the wonderful gift of God in Jesus.
Romans 10:13 "For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved."
John 3:16-18 " For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God."
I hope this has blessed you to remember why we celebrate Christmas and the gift that God gave to the world that blessed time. We rejoice at the birth of our Savior and the hope that is in Him. We worship and praise our Father that we can now have relationship with him through Christ. This Christmas as you celebrate with family, or just alone with the LORD, remember the story of his birth and the things he taught while here and the sacrifice that he made for you, for all. Rejoice and be thankful for Him and that God loves you and that he is mindful of his children and he is concerned and cares deeply for you and I. May HIS Holy Spirit with joy well up inside each of our hearts this Christmas. Go, rejoice, celebrate, and share the good news of the gospel with those around you, let us do as Jesus commanded, let us love one another. Merry Christmas and God bless you all.
Dearest Heavenly Father,
How worthy You are to be praised. There is no other like You, nor will there ever be. We worship You Father. We come to You today in the name of Jesus. We thank You and we worship you for your many gifts and blessings but most of all for the gift of your only begotten Son to the world. We thank you for the gift of Salvation and reconciliation to you through Christ. Help us this Christmas to reverence you and Christ and to keep the true reason for this season in our hearts and to share it and your love with others. Forgive us for the times we might have forgotten what Christmas is really all about. Give us the peace that only you can and help us to give the gift of the gospel of Christ to those that may not know. Help us to ever celebrate and be thankful for the gift of your love and your Son everyday in our hearts. We will forever praise you and thank you for all that you do and for all that you are Almighty Father. We thank you Jesus for being our Lord and Savior. Glory and honor to you as we celebrate your birth. In the beautiful name of JESUS we pray…AMEN!
December 20, 2016