CHRISTMAS, IN ALL IT'S GLORY
- They call this the most wonderful time of the year.
- Have you ever thought about why Christmas is such a wonderful time of the year?
- Have you ever noticed how the world comes to a halt at that specific time, even countries and people that don't celebrate Christmas, seem to take a pause, perhaps a moment to reflect, at this time?
- We hear songs and we sing songs we would never sing at any other time of the year.
- We eat food that we would not eat during the rest of the year, like gammon and fruit cake. We would even eat more than is good for us.
- We will leave our homes and travel, sometimes great distances, to spend time with family and those who are special to us.
- We decorate our homes in ways we would never do at other times during the year.
- We will go out and buy gifts for others for no specific reason - just because it's Christmas.
- Even our attitudes can change at this time of the year, as we endeavor to be a blessing to others.
- We take time off from work or studies to just be together with family and friends.
- There is a sense of goodwill and hope that arises in people's hearts.
- People generally seem happier and smile more easily.
- Some people who would never cast a shadow at the church entrance will be found sitting in crowded churches, and often it's not even on a Sunday.
- There is something incredibly special, mysterious, and wonderful about this incredible time.
- The Bible calls it a time of good news and glad tidings and that is what it is.
1. CHRISTMAS WAS GOD'S IDEA
- No man could ever come up with such an enduring idea.
- Imagine an idea that could captivate the world for thousands of years.
- Celebrations and traditions come and go, but this one continues to intrigue humanity.
- Out of nowhere, when no one was expecting it, God interrupted human history and angels appeared and a Baby was born.
- Luke 2:9-11 Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord's glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. ''Don't be afraid!'' he said. ''I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, Who is Christ the Lord.'' (NLT)
- I love the word 'suddenly' in this translation. I also love the words 'Good News - Great Joy - To all people!'
- God did not come to humanity with instructions, He came with a declaration and gift - the promise of good news and great joy to all people and the Gift of a Saviour in the form of a helpless baby.
- This was the undeserved and unmerited favour and kindness of God to humanity, and only heaven knew how desperately we needed it.
2. CHRISTMAS WAS GOD'S DOING
- The coming of Christ on that first Christmas morning was not only God's idea, but it was also something He chose to do for mankind.
- There was no human who helped to achieve what happened on that day.
- No human being can take any credit for what took place, nor could any person take credit for the lasting effect it would have through all time.
- It was God and God alone Who put His plan and purposes into action for the sake of every person ever born.
- Humanity had to just stand back and see what God was doing and so we had to stop and pause to consider such a great and wonderful kindness.
- Think of the wise men. They were just doing what they had always done and suddenly, a star appears, and the rest is history - that is the mystery of Christmas.
- It is a moment in time when there is a movement in the spiritual or heavenly realm, when for a moment heaven touches the earth and things are never as they were.
- Luke 1:68 'Blessed (praised, glorified) be the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited us and brought redemption to His people.'
- God visited His people on that wonderful day when Jesus was born.
- It was such a significant moment in time that all of history has not forgotten it, nor has it been able to undo its effect and importance.
- John 1:14 'So the Word became human and made His home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen His glory, the glory of the Father's one and only Son.'
3. CHRISTMAS HAPPENED BY GOD'S DESIGN
- If modern man had to arrange the idea of a Christmas, it would in all likelihood be very different.
- Years ago, in the church that I was a part of, I would often be involved with our special Christmas production. Every year it had to be bigger and better than in the past and we called it our 'Christmas Extravaganza!' Everything about it was grand and monumental. I remember one year we even had someone dressed as an angel abseil down a rope from the roof to the stage. The only problem was that the rope stretched, and she almost bumped a few people's heads en route to the stage.
- But God's idea for Christmas was not like we humans would do it.
- There was no extravaganza or drama. He sent a star to some wisemen. He sent a choir of angels to some unsuspecting shepherds, and He sent a baby in a manger to change the world.
- He chose a simple servant girl to carry this great Gift and allowed the Saviour of the world to be born in a stable.
- Human wisdom would have designed something much more appropriate and significant, but this was God's design.
- 1 Corinthians 1:27 'Instead, God chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And He chose things that are powerless to shame those who are powerful.'
- God's ways are not our ways, and His ways are so much higher than our ideas or imagination.
- Perhaps it's in the very simplicity of things that we find God in all His splendour.
4. CHRISTMAS TRANSCENDS MAN'S UNDERSTANDING
- There is something about it that we will never grasp with our human minds.
- We can try and figure it out and try and make sense of it, so that our human understanding can put it in our little box, but it will always be more than that.
- Humanity loves to apply its mind and gain understanding so that we can explain everything.
- But when it comes to the story of Christmas, and all that the Almighty God did on that wonderful day, it surpasses our wildest imagination and supersedes our understanding.
- Every other explanation but a sovereign, miraculous, move of God is inferior and unacceptable.
- Christmas runs contrary to man's ideas.
- You can't work it out with your mind, that is why it takes a lifetime to even begin to appreciate it in all its fullness.
- When I was a child, Christmas was all about gifts.
- When I was a teenager, it was all about a good holiday and a great celebration.
- When my father passed away, Christmas was all about relationships.
- When my children were young, it was all about giving.
- When my wife went to be with the Lord, it was all about the eternal dimension.
- Now it has developed in my own mind to be a deep and meaningful spiritual experience.
- Perhaps one day it will be about looking forward to seeing Him face to face.
- All I know is that Christmas is more than gifts, holidays, celebrations, relationships, and spiritual experiences.
- It is the knowledge that God came and visited mankind so that every aspect of our lives and our thinking could change and never again regain their original proportions.
- It's a mind-blowing revelation that we will never fully comprehend.
- Perhaps it is in simplicity and in childlike faith that we stand the best chance of grasping how wonderful the birth of our Saviour was.
- Matthew 11:25 Jesus prayed this prayer: 'O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, thank You for hiding these things from those who think themselves wise and clever, and for revealing them to the childlike.'
5. CHRISTMAS IS PART OF GOD'S ETERNAL PLAN
- I believe we will celebrate the giving of the gift of Jesus Christ throughout all eternity.
- It was not just a moment in history that we recall with ever-fading memories.
- It is a living thing because Jesus rose from the dead and He lives forevermore.
- Hebrews 4:12 'For the Word of God is alive and powerful. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.'
- Hebrews 4:14 'So then, since we have a great High Priest Who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to what we believe.'
- What started in a manger, in a stable, with a birth of a helpless baby, will resound through all of eternity, with ever-increasing magnitude.
- Christmas is a very revelation of God Himself. Emmanuel - God with us!
- The wonder of Christmas can only be revealed as God reveals Himself to you, and that will take an eternity.
- Don't miss what is right in front of you as you celebrate this most wonderful time of the year.
- This should be a time of great humility as we see God in all His Greatness and Majesty.
- You can write it off as a fact of ancient history, or you can receive it as a living, awesome, eternal reality.
- You may have written the story differently, but in the end it's not your story, it's God's story and He did it the way He destined it to be, and you and I can just reach out to it and by default, embrace Him.
- Let Him be a Saviour to you, let Him be the Son of God to you, let Him be all in all to you!
6. THE REALITY OF CHRISTMAS HAPPENS AS WE BELIEVE
- Christmas is a time to receive God's unmerited favour and His undeserved blessing.
- Acts 16:30-31 'Sirs, what must I do to be saved?' They replied, 'Believe in the Lord Jesus and you will be saved, along with everyone in your household.'
- It's Christmas, come to Him just as you are and believe in His unmerited favour and His great faithfulness towards you.
- Begin to realise how much you need the Saviour, born as a baby in Bethlehem all those years ago.
- May He be born in you today, as you personally invite Jesus to come into your heart and life.
- You may say but I have nothing to bring... but you have your heart and that's all He's looking for.
- You see, it's a matter of the heart, not a matter of the intellect or the mind.
- Those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ can experience Christmas in all its glory.
- Christmas is a time for your deepest longings and desires to be satisfied.
- Perhaps it sounds unlikely, and that is why people struggle to believe.
- But He wants to come and fill the hungry with good things.
- Psalm 107:9 'For He satisfies the thirsty and fills the hungry with good things.'
- Ultimately, He is the Giver of exactly what you need.
- James 1:17 'Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, Who does not change like shifting shadows.'
- Put your whole trust in Him today - it's the season!
By Andrew W Roebert
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