December is a month full of fun and activities because of Christmas day. Families concentrate on re-furbishing their houses and baking up a storm as they look forward to have fellowship with each other. Entrepreneurs invent new ideas to grab public attention and try to make this festive season into a successful business model. Churches also take advantage of the festivities and schedule program after program starting with carols and ending with carnivals.
Because of this fast paced hectic holiday schedule, the present generation does not know the real meaning of Christmas. I would like to remind you what actually the birth of Christ reveals to us.
1. God’s Love and Sacrifice
Even before the creation of the world, God had His plans to redeem His people from eternal death. Subsequently, He sent His only begotten Son to this world. During Christmas, we think more about the infant Jesus than the Father who sent Jesus into this world.
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.” – John 3:16-17
John reiterated the love of God again in his epistle.
“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.” – 1 John 4:9
In this Christmas season, we should realize that God is loving us as his own, as He sacrificed His son in order to save us. We should recall God calling Jesus as His ‘beloved son’ and we, as His most beloved sons and daughters.
2. God’s Assurance
If we understand this incredible love of God, we can put our trust more on Him. Every unwanted doubt will disappear from our heart and faith will grow day by day and we will be loving Him more and more. Paul brought out this fact in Romans 8:32.
“He who did not spare his own Son, but gave him up for us all—how will he not also, along with him, graciously give us all things?” – Romans 8:32
3. Urges us to thank God
The more we think about God’s sacrifice, the more we can thank Him. Most commonly we thank Him for the blessings He bestows on us. We thank God for protecting us from a possible accident. We have earmarked some days to thank Him and to show our gratitude to Him. We thank Him when we get through an examination or recover from a dreaded illness.
It seems like we always need an occasion to show our gratitude to God. This denotes that only on some occasions, we need God and rest of the time we are living on our own. Is He not worthy of praise forever and ever? For the life He gave us, and the gift of His son so that we may be saved from drowning in our own sins? (Also read Philippians 4:6-7)
4. Teaches us to Guard our Tongues
Joseph was hearing unpleasant news about his fiancé and surprisingly he didn’t want to complain or gossip. He did not want to defame her. This is the quality God seeks in us. Instead of calling her out (like the law demanded), Joseph was able to realize the agony that Mary was going through. Joseph wanted to address the issue directly with Mary. He didn’t send prayer requests to his friends to calm down his avenging heart or to lift Mary out of this guilt. While Joseph was calming down his soul, the Angel of God revealed the truth to Joseph.
Knowingly or unknowingly, Joseph waited upon God in the crucial moment of his life and believed God’s word and obeyed. Without a second thought, he took Mary to be his wife. Bible says that in Bethlehem rooms were not available to them. It may be either full or people may not feel free to spare the accommodation as a result of gossip about them. Are we hindering God’s plan through our unnecessary talks?
“Likewise, the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole body, sets the whole course of one’s life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” – James 3:5-6
5. Changes the Facade of the Temple of God
The birth of Jesus changes the facade of the Church building into a simple gathering. He was born in a manger in order to be available to all mankind. If Jesus was born in a palace, the shepherds could not have visited the baby Jesus. Jesus drove out the commercials from the temple and ministered among the common people walking in the streets. He did not want to stay in a structural building, revealing His body as the true temple of God,
“Jesus answered them, Destroy this temple, and I will raise it again in three days.” – John 2:19
Regarding structural temple building Jesus said
“Do you see all these great buildings?” replied Jesus. “Not one stone here will be left on another; everyone be thrown down.,” – Mark 13:2
In the previous verse, Jesus says that He is the temple and subsequently we are His temple. Jesus had disclosed this fact to the Samaritan woman as well.
“Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” – John 4:23-24
(Also read Hebrew 9:9-10)
6. Reveals the power of the Holy Spirit
After a long gap of almost 400 years, God was speaking to Mary through His angel and educated her that she was conceived by the Holy Ghost and to our surprise she is admitting the fact without any struggle.
“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—” 1 Corinthians 2:9
Holy Spirit’s involvement in the creation of the universe is recorded in the book of Genesis. Holy Spirit always does things which we cannot even fathom. Joseph and Mary believed in the work of Holy Spirit. When we read God’s word, until and unless the Holy Spirit speaks to us through the word of God, it will not bring results in us.
“But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” – John 14:26
7. Calls us to become wise
“Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.” – Luke 2:14
God gives us peace and only with peace of mind and peace in our hearts can we understand His words the way he intended.
To obtain this favor from God, we have to leave all our grudges that we are still holding against anyone. These foolish acts to build up are ego and restore our pride are from Satan. Let us ask God to give us the wisdom to discern His plans that are waiting for us in the offing to fulfill His promised blessings in Heaven and on this Earth too.
“But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere. Peacemakers who sow in peace reap a harvest of righteousness. – James 3:17-18
Jesus came to this world to save the sinners and to reconcile the whole mankind with its father. Joseph, Mary, Inn keepers, shepherds, magi and Herald, all played a vital role either with extreme perseverance or with stubborn hardheartedness in this Redemption Plan. Even now we have many roles in the Redemption Plan. If we realize the above mentioned 7 things, we will contribute our part, in a positive way, in accomplishing the Redemption Plan too.
Oh Prince of Peace
reign in our hearts
to accomplish the Father’s will
on this Earth.