WHAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO MERead Now
My earliest memories of Christmas were memorizing pieces for the Christmas Eve program. I remember how folding chairs would always have to be brought into the sanctuary and placed on the ends of the pews for the Christmas Eve service. The singing of the Christmas Carols was always more enthusiastic than was singing hymns during the year. Christmas was an exciting time, a time of anticipation for sure.
The Christmas revelers always seemed to become uncomfortable when Easter was associated with Christmas, which always confused me. The Bible teaches us that Christmas is truly all about Easter. We were promised that a Massiah for us was in Gods plans.
The earliest reference to the Massiah is in Genisis 3:12-15
The man said, “The woman you put here with me—she gave me some fruit from the tree, and I ate it.” Then the LORD God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?” The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.” So the LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, Cursed are you above all livestock and all wild animals! You will crawl on your belly and you will eat dust all the days of your life. And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.”
We were told that this Massiah would enter the world in a miraculous way, in a way never done before, and where the Massiah would be born.
‘Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
And this is Christmas. The Virgin birth, Mary and Joseph going to Bethlehem because that is where the Massiah would enter the world.
‘But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times.”
And then we are told the why Jesus the Massiah came to earth in Isaiah 53:3-6
"He is despised and rejected of men; a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid as it were our faces from him; he was despised, and we esteemed him not. Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the LORD hath laid on him the iniquity of us all."
Christmas is a wonderful time. The hope and elation of Christmas is very real. Christmas is a time for celebration for without Christmas we would not have had Easter, and without Easter we would not have hope or any reason for elation.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.”
I am so grateful that my earliest Christmas centered around the birth of Christ and the reason for the manger was so Easter could happen. I realized that Christmas without Easter is meaningless, that the joy of Christmas is the cross and the resurrection of Easter.
That is what Christmas means to me and my hope is that it is also what Christmas means to you. If it does not, you also can have real joy at Christmas by doing what Paul told the Jailer he must do to be saved when the jailer asked.
“25 But at midnight Paul and Silas were praying and singing hymns to God, and the prisoners were listening to them. 26 Suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison were shaken; and immediately all the doors were opened and everyone’s chains were loosed. 27 And the keeper of the prison, awaking from sleep and seeing the prison doors open, supposing the prisoners had fled, drew his sword and was about to kill himself. 28 But Paul called with a loud voice, saying, “Do yourself no harm, for we are all here.”29 Then he called for a light, ran in, and fell down trembling before Paul and Silas. 30 And he brought them out and said, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”
31 So they said, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved, you and your household.” 32 Then they spoke the word of the Lord to him and to all who were in his house. 33 And he took them the same hour of the night and washed their stripes. And immediately he and all his family were baptized. 34 Now when he had brought them into his house, he set food before them; and he rejoiced, having believed in God with all his household.”
And in Romans 10:9 we are told the same.
“that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.”
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