On this Christmas Eve, the focus is often on the gifts that we will give and even the ones we will receive. Vance Havner said that: Christmas is based on the exchange of gifts; the gift of God to man, His Son; and the gift of man to God, when we first give ourselves to God.
This joyous time of the year is a time when we gather together, and yes we give gifts, but it’s more important that we celebrate God’s ultimate gift to the world: His Son Jesus the Christ.
1 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
2 (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
3 And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
4 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:)
5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
6 And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
7 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.
The Gift of Christmas is expressed in 3 ways to us and the first is in:
1) The Joy of Christmas
Martin Luther said that-“All praise to Thee, Eternal Lord, clothed in a garb of flesh and blood, choosing a manger for a throne”. Christmas is joy and it was in that little town of Bethlehem that God gave the world a priceless gift: the Christ child. While we are here on this earth, we will have trials and trouble. Yet, as a believer in Jesus Christ we are secure and we experience the joy.
In John 15:11 we read the words of Jesus as He taught:
11 These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.
We have joy in having received the gift of Jesus into our lives.
2) The Promise of Christmas
Jonathan Edwards was an 18th-century clergyman who said that-“Christ is not only a remedy for our weariness and trouble, but He will give you an abundance of the contrary: joy and delight.
They who come to Christ do not only come to a resting place after they have been wandering in a wilderness, but they come to a banqueting-house where they may rest and they may feast. They may come from their former troubles and toils, and they may enter upon a course of delight and spiritual joys”
In the prophecies of the Old Testament, the declarations are made of a Savior who would come. God promised a Messiah that would come and God always keeps His promises.
In Isaiah 9:6 we read of the fulfillment of God’s promise-
6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Jesus is the fulfillment of God’s promise unto us.
3) The Celebration of Christmas
Billy Graham said-“Christmas is the celebration of the event that set Heaven to singing, an event that gave the stars of the night sky a new brilliance.”
Christmas is the pivotal event in the history of mankind. Nothing should obscure that Christmas time is the birthday celebration for the Christian faith. A time to rejoice, to pray, and to give thanks for God’s greatest gift, His Son.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 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.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.
We celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Savior Jesus Christ, and today we can call out as did the multitude of the heavenly host that first Christmas-Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.
On this Christmas Eve, Elaine and I want to wish you and your family a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
In God's Grace,