Though Christmas of 2019 is now history, church services and celebrations are over, gifts have been opened -- some broken and others exchanged or packed away -- and children are back in school and the rest of us back to full workweeks, the real reason for Christmas can bring us joy which lasts the whole year through.
Though Christmas celebrations pass quickly -- sometimes even before our minds have accepted the fact that the season is upon us -- the joy of the season doesn't have to pass away or be packed away with the decorations, ornaments and gifts.
The reason for the season -- which is often missed and forgotten -- takes us back to ancient Bethlehem and the fields surrounding that little but, at the time, bustling city. In that city, now over 2,000 years ago, God kept the promises He had been repeating to mankind for 4,000 years. The Seed of the woman who would crush the head of Satan (Gen. 3), the Seed of Abraham who would bring blessing to all the nations of the world (Gen. 22), the Son of David and the Root of Jesse who would establish an eternal kingdom (2 Sam, 7 and Isa. 11), the Child born of the virgin who is God Himself with us (Isa. 7 and 9), the One who would suffer and die to make atonement for the sins of all people and rise again in triumph (Ps. 22, Ps. 130 and Isa. 53) and that Ruler who was to come from Bethlehem (Mic. 5) was born.
Perhaps the words of Gal. 4, summarize it best: "But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons" (v.4-5).
God fulfilled all those promises when Mary gave birth in Bethlehem and laid her child in a manger: "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" (Luke 2:7).
To understand the true significance of this historic event and why it offers and gives unending joy and happiness, I urge you to hear again what God Himself says of this very real and historical event through His heavenly messenger, an angel. The words of the angel to the shepherds when Jesus was born still apply today. God still tells us what this humble birth in Bethlehem is all about: "Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10-11).
Jesus' birth and the angel's message are, as he says, good news of great joy for all people, for on that very day in human history, in Bethlehem, was born a Savior who is the long-promised Messiah (the Christ) and also the Lord (Jehovah God Himself in human flesh) come into this world to save us from our sin and the just condemnation we all deserve on account of our sin and disobedience.
God provided a way for sinners like me and you to be spared the just punishment we so deserve and to receive forgiveness of sins and life everlasting. Indeed, repentance and faith in Jesus is the only way (cf. John 14:6; Acts 4:12)!
Because God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son (John 3:16), the shepherds were filled with joy and, after they had gone and seen the newborn Jesus, returned glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
You and I too can continue to glorify and praise God -- even after the Christmas season is past -- for all we have heard and seen through God's Word of Scripture, for God so loved us, He stepped into history, sending His own Son to make atonement for our sins, that we might, by repenting of our sinful ways and looking in faith to Jesus and His cross, when our place in history is done, step into eternity with Him.
God grant you Christmas joy all year long through faith in Christ Jesus, God the Son come into this world to be your Savior!
Randy Moll is the managing editor of the Westside Eagle Observer and also a pastor at Good Shepherd Lutheran Church in Rogers. He may be contacted by email at [email protected] Opinions expressed are those of the author.Religion on 01/08/2020
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