Christmas in a nutshell!
“for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a Son; and you shall name Him Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” Now all this took place so that what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet would be fulfilled: 23 “Behold, the virgin will conceive and give birth to a Son, and they shall name Him Immanuel,” which translated means, “God with us.” (Matt. 1:20-23)
What is Christmas really all about? We all know…right? It truly is an amazing time of year! It is still a time of family celebration when members come together to share a meal and presents for the little ones. Where lights light the streets, church bells ring, and for a few hours after the stores close, there is a quiet over the land. Maybe I am still imagining an age gone by…but maybe not? This year my wife has had Christmas music playing in the house - it seems like forever. Not the “Santa Baby” garbage you hear on the radio, but beautiful Christ-centered, old fashioned Christmas music. I must say, it has done something to me – taken me back to a time when family gatherings were beautiful and fun events. Where the children ran around excitedly while the adults prepared the Christmas feast. Lots of laughter, food and fellowship around the table, the tree, the living room – so much food; so much excitement! They were the best of times!
Many family members are gone now, the children have grown up and moved on to family traditions of their own. Christmas is certainly much quieter than it used to be. But now, coming out of a three-year “pandemic”, there seems to be a renaissance of the old. Many houses have Christmas lights, many families are gathering again, the stores are busy, there are lots of cars parked on the streets, and there is even snow on the ground…it’s supposed to be a white Christmas! I am amazed at how much this day of the year is unlike any other! There is still something powerful about this season of Christmas. There is a desire to gather together and celebrate. Celebrate we must!
We need this day, this season! We need the power of the message of Hope it brings. There is still war, and pain, and suffering, and violence, and death, etc… But! There is Hope! This day takes us back to the day God came to Earth, in the middle of a crazy and depraved world, in the womb of a virgin, as Isaiah the prophet had foretold hundreds of years earlier. This day is a day unlike any other, where a God who loves so much, desires to save His people from their own sins. Jesus and Immanuel – what a beautiful, wonderful, powerful name! God in the flesh - vulnerable, earthly and human. A little child, born in a manger, to common folk – uniting shepherds and magi, angels and sheep, heaven and earth, the divine and the natural. “For a Child will be born to us, a Son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace.”(Isa. 9:6-7)Oh how this world needs a Wonderful Counselor to bring healing and reconciliation; a Mighty God to destroy the power of darkness; An Eternal Father to guide and lead His children into truth and righteousness; and a Prince of Peace to bring calm to a world gone crazy! Most of all, we need Him to be governing our world in justice and mercy.
Friends, the message of Christmas is clear – there is hope in this one called Jesus. If God cares enough to come down as a baby to save us from our sins, He certainly cares enough to see it through to the end when He will set up His reign and rule in His kingdom. We can, however, experience a measure of that now by allowing Him to be Immanuel in our own personal world. Is “God with us”? Yes, even more so, if we have received Him as Lord and Savior, He is in us! And if He is in us, then joy unspeakable and full of glory! Beyond the parties, and the lights, and the gifts, and the food, and the carols, is a guarantee that He who came as a baby, will come again as a King! And when He returns, His Kingdom will be unending righteousness, peace and joy in the Holy Spirit! We can even experience some of that now! So let’s celebrate Christmas looking back to what has been done for us, and ahead to what will be. And let’s try to take as many as we can with us by inviting others to experience Immanuel in them.
Hoping and Praying this Christmas is unlike anything you have ever experienced as Jesus reveals even more of Himself to you!
"Advancing the Kingdom of God by releasing Spirit-filled followers to serve Jesus in freedom and joy."