How do you explain the meaning of Christmas in just a few words? Some people, when asked, say it’s about gifts. Others say it is about family. Still others say it’s about giving. Others, it’s about parties. And sadly for some it is ‘Bah, humbug!’. Yet others try to ‘out do their families or friends with the best food, best gifts, best festivities, best yard decorations.
Christmas means a lot of things to a lot of different people. To some it is a time of shopping and spending, or a time of drinking and carousing or a time of traveling and entertaining
But, what is the real meaning of Christmas? What message should it convey to every one of us?
How should we describe Christmas? Well the best way I know is this: “For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”
No person can out do what God has done. No party can out do what God has done. No dollar store decoration can out do the cosmic display beheld some 2000 years ago. No one could give a greater gift than God has already given.
Christmas should be a time to remember the great love God had for us. When Jesus was born, it had been some 400 years since the prophets last spoke. The world was a dark place, an empty place, a frightening place. Roman legions were scourging the known earth. Hope was lost, despair was rampant. The people cried out for a Savior. But did God send a Savior, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords in a celestial chariot with a mighty army of angels, to destroy the enemy of His people? Did he send an announcement with trumpets and parades, and military honor guards and marching bands? No! He came in the most non-descript way- in the form of a baby, in a manger, born to humble parents in quiet, peaceful solitude. Quite the opposite that we would expect the coming of a King. No CNN News, no gold engraved announcements, in fact, not even a mention in the local newspaper’s social page. And very few noticed.
Except a few shepherds, common men, of lowly station, who were privileged to witness firsthand what our God had done.
No clergy, no politicians, no reporters, no millionaires, just a few dirty, smelly shepherds. God chose the common, the lowly, the downtrodden to reveal Himself, not as a mighty warrior king, but as a helpless infant. In a common, ordinary manger. Yet in that common manger, surrounded by the smells of animals, and attended to by a few shepherds, He revealed to mankind Emmanuel- God With Us. And to those whom he chose to reveal that miraculous event, those whom the world looked down on, disrespected mocked and cast aside, He chose to use those ‘foolish things’ of the world to reveal Himself. Emmanuel- God With Us. The Prince of Peace.
Today the world tries to remove Christ from Christmas. Others downplay the importance of his birth, or argue whether he was born in December or September or if he was really born at all. They can try to take Christ out of every place. But they cannot take him out of your heart, from his birth to his life to his death to his resurrection, he cannot be removed from the public square that is in your heart. And we need to remember that. Where your heart is, so your treasure will be also. The best gift you can give is the gift within your heart. The Gospel of Jesus Christ. And it was freely given to you. So give it freely to others. No greater gift can you give, than the same gift God gave us- the gift of Himself. Emmanuel- God With Us.
And the world needs God With Us today more than ever. You are a minister of the Gospel. A Minister of The Lord of Lords and King of Kings! Do you feel a little impotent as a minister? A little ‘disrespected’ by those of much larger denominations or organizations who look down on you because you are a minister in a small, insignificant little ministry, according to the world’s standards? Remember, God did not choose to reveal His miraculous coming, born of a Virgin, to the academics of those days. Nor did he present himself at the gates of a temple or the walls of a great city. He used the least of the people, lowly shepherds, the outcasts, the least significant to announce His birth. And it was those shepherds who ran into town in utter amazement, who shouted from the mountain tops that Jesus Christ was born. God thought enough of the foolish things of the world to use them to announce this most precious of gifts- His Son! A Savior! Emmanuel-God With Us!
During the Christmas season, people generally make a special effort to be a little kinder, a little more considerate of others, and a little more generous. They get involved in such things as Christmas carolling, toys for the needy, meals for the misfortunate, etc.
They see it as a time for reaching out to others with love and concern. But why just during this season?
God so loved the world-let us never forget that. In all of our preaching, teaching, evangelizing, and every action we take let us always remember that the motivation for all this is the love of God for lost sinners. He cares about us. So should we care as He cares.
So should we love, as He loves.
For God so loved the world, that He gave…
Love cannot look with indifference on the hungry, and the sick, and the lonely, lostsouls of this world. Love must give. Give the Love of The Lord to all you come in contact with. It is the greatest Christmas gift you can give because it is the greatest gift you received.
May You All have a very Blessed and Merry Christmas, and may The Lord- Emmanuel…God With Us, be with you on Christmas, and every day.
Merry Christmas, my friends, Merry Christmas.
Pastor Sam Guido