18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit.
19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly.
20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.
21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:
23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”
Christmas - Tis the time for rejoicing and celebration! Yes, Christmas is the time when we rejoice over the birth of Jesus Christ.
But who is Jesus? Why rejoice? Why celebrate? What is the real meaning (I mean the REAL meaning) of Christmas? Can many who are so busy during the Christmas season give an answer?
Personally my favourite time of the year is really Easter. I can rejoice and be glad at Chrismas only because there was an Easter. Jesus came to fulfill the Father's plan of redemption - the one to save and redeem a people, rebellious and alienated from Him, through His death on the Cross.
We rejoice at Chrismas time because God condescended to become one of us, thus the name "Immanuel". So, though Christmas is a time when we celebrate giving (because through his incarnation Christ was offering to the world peace and salvation), it really should be a time when we reflect on humility, as Christ suffered the greatest humiliation and humbled himself for our sake.
He, the Creator, the Word of life, equal to the Father, the king of the universe, condescended to become a babe, in a small town, in a manger. As the song writer said: "Oh what a mystery! Meekness and majesty, bow down and worship, for this is your God!"
However, is this really what we think of as we put up our christmas tree, decorate our houses, write our christmas cards and shop for christmas gifts for loved ones? As we watch the lights at Christmas time or as we walk through our streets and our malls, do we think of ourselves as being part of a greater story, a greater purpose than those lights and decorations? Do we think of Christmas as a holiday standing on its own feet, or do we see it and celebrate it in light of its place in History - the time when Christ entered humanity to bring about a new state of affairs, when the long-awaited Redeemer appeared to meet our greatest need (salvation)?
One can only truly appreciate Christmas for what it is, and genuinely rejoice during this festive season, if and only if he has understood its true meaning, its needs, and its end. If not, we might as well call it a holiday season or whatever else we want to call it.
For those of us who know why we rejoice at Christmas, we need to proclaim it. We need to tell it on the mountain that "salvation has come".
"If we do not recognize the holy child as the Lamb of God who died, was raised, and is coming again in judgment and everlasting blessing, then Christmas isn't our holiday, but a dreadful anticipation of the final reckoning." Michael HortonSo as we go through the Christmas season, let us remember that it is a time to celebrate God's plan of redemption and His love for us in the person of Jesus Christ, and a time to proclaim Him as Redeemer and Saviour of the World.
**** This post will be featured in a special TOS blog cruise on December 15 entitled "Sharing Christmas".