Christmas begins the celebration of the greatest gift ever. Christmas is the time we celebrate the love of God manifested in the birth of Jesus. The hope, joy, peace, and love of mankind presented to us in the gift of a Savior. How will we receive and celebrate this gift from God? Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
Our celebrations in life tend to revolve around accomplishments. A time when we get together and reflect on what we and others have accomplished. We celebrate the accomplishments of the past. We define whether or not we were successful based on our performance.
But God’s love is not performance based. God loves each one of us regardless of what we have done. This is what makes Christmas a celebration for all. Jesus came for everyone, not just a select few that perform well.
Remember those familiar verses from the Gospel of John it states “whoever believes in him”. God did not restrict the celebration to the top performers. God didn’t even restrict the celebration to the ones who loved Him. The celebration is for all mankind. John wrote it this way in another of his writings;
1John 4:9-12; This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. Dear friends, since God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.
God loved us before we ever considered loving Him. That is a true gift. God provided for us before we even knew we needed something. God wants all of us, “whoever believes in Him” to have life and have it to the full. We must first accept the gift God offers, the gift of His Son. This isn’t just any gift this is the ultimate gift. Read what the writer of Colossians says about Christ.
Colossians 1:15-20; He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all things were created by him and for him. He is before all things, and in him all things hold together. And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. For God was pleased to have all his fullness dwell in him, and through him to reconcile to himself all things, whether things on earth or things in heaven, by making peace through his blood, shed on the cross.
Paul goes on to explain to us what the meaning of this gift is and how we should respond.
Colossians 1:21-23; Once you were alienated from God and were enemies in your minds because of your evil behavior. But now he has reconciled you by Christ’s physical body through death to present you holy in his sight, without blemish and free from accusation– if you continue in your faith, established and firm, not moved from the hope held out in the gospel. This is the gospel that you heard and that has been proclaimed to every creature under heaven, and of which I, Paul, have become a servant.
God has made the provision that can restore our relationship with Him; the provision that will forgive our sins; the provision that will make our life complete; the provision of a Savior, Jesus Christ. He asks only that we receive the gift. Are we willing to receive the gift that God presents to us this Christmas? Are we willing to receive Jesus as your Lord and Savior?
The celebration is not only for those who are receiving this gift for the first time, the celebration is for those who know God through Jesus. They understand the difference Jesus made in their lives and are thankful that God would think so much of us that he would provide such a wonderful gift. Only after you have asked Jesus to come into your life and the Holy Spirit dwells in your soul can you begin to comprehend the magnitude of what God has done. That is why Christians all over the world celebrate each year the birth of their Savior.
Sometimes in life, when we are living in the moment, we have trouble comprehending what others have done for us. I look back on my childhood years and can now appreciate all my parents did for me. I didn’t see it or understand it so much back then but now I know what it cost them to provide for me. I can now understand what sacrifices they made to help me grow into the man I have become. Take a look around as you celebrate this season. Who has provided for you; who has sacrificed for you; who has gone above and beyond; those are the people you need to thank God for.
The fact about Christmas is we celebrate the birth of our Savior, a Savior whose death was necessary to bring us salvation. We cannot fathom the love it takes for someone to lay down their life for us. The celebration has its foundation in the understanding that Jesus came to sacrifice everything He had for us, His very life. We celebrate the hope made flesh to dwell among men. If you know forgiveness, don’t hold back. Celebrate; Jesus is the reason for that forgiveness. He alone made it possible for us to know that we have been forgiven. He alone made it possible for us to have that assurance.
John 1:1-5,10-14; In the beginning was the Word, 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 has not understood it.
He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God– children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s will, but born of God.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.
To me the two most important words that I reflect upon on Christmas are “HE CAME”. Jesus came to earth to dwell with man. Jesus came to earth to show us how to live. Jesus came to earth to teach, guide, and direct us. Jesus came to give his life as a sacrifice for our sin. Jesus is our hope, our salvation.
Philippians 2: 6-11; (Jesus), being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death– even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
That is why we celebrate. That is why we rejoice. That is why Christmas is one of the most holy times of the year. Jesus came. He was willing to do what was necessary so that we could have life. He himself contrasted it this way;
John 10:10; The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.
We can only have a full, satisfying, abundant life through our Savior Jesus Christ. Every other way leads to dissatisfaction and strife. Our way isn’t best; His way is the only way. I want to suggest celebrating this holiday in a special way this year. Remember the gift that God sent to you. Receive it with an open heart. Celebrate the fact that Jesus was willing to come for my sake and yours and give his life so that we might have life.
Have a wonderful Christmas celebration! Remember the best gift of all, Our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ! Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!