December 2008

christmas-decorThe true meaning of Christmas gets lost when we believe contrary worldviews. Our beliefs determine our views in a world where absolutes are fading away. The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines Christmas as “a festival or holiday commemorating the birth of Christ.” Do you believe the dictionary’s definition of Christmas? Our view will determine how we will celebrate the holiday season.

The Prophet’s View

Our heavenly Father prepared His kingdom for us from the foundation of the world.1He knew that Adam and Eve would succumb to the temptations of the serpent, but immediately, He promised that the seed of the woman [Jesus] would bruise Satan’s head. 2

Over seven hundred years before the birth of Jesus, the Lord granted a sign to prove that He would crush Judah’s enemies. Isaiah said, “…the Lord Himself will choose the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel – ‘God is with us.’” 3

Later, Isaiah prophesied, “For a child is born to us, a Son is given to us. And the government will rest on His shoulders. These will be His royal titles: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His expanding, peaceful government will never end. He will rule forever with fairness and justice from the throne of His ancestor David. The passionate commitment of the Lord Almighty will guarantee this!” 4

The Angel & Mary’s View

Isaiah’s prophecies were about to be fulfilled, “In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy [with John the Baptist], God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, ‘Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you.”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. ‘Don’t be frightened, Mary,’ the angel told her, ‘for God has decided to bless you!’ You will become pregnant and have a son, and you are to name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give Him the throne of His ancestor David. And He will reign over Israel forever; His Kingdom will never end!’

Mary asked the angel, ‘But how can I have a baby? I am a virgin.’ The angel replied, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby born to you will be holy, and He will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s already in her sixth month. For nothing is impossible with God.’ Mary responded, ‘I am the Lord’s servant, and I am willing to accept whatever He wants. May everything you have said come true.’ And then the angel left.” 5

The Prophetic View

After the birth of John the Baptist, Zachariah, his father, prophesied concerning Jesus, saying: “Praise the Lord, the God of Israel, because He has visited His people and redeemed them. He has sent us a mighty Savior from the royal line of His servant David, just as He promised through His holy prophets long ago. Now we will be saved from our enemies and from all who hate us. He has been merciful to our ancestors by remembering His sacred covenant with them, the covenant He gave to our ancestor Abraham. We have been rescued from our enemies, so we can serve God without fear, in holiness and righteousness forever.” 6

“And you, my little son [John the Baptist], will be called the prophet of the Most High, because you will prepare the way for the Lord [Jesus]. You will tell His people how to find salvation, through forgiveness of their sins. Because of God’s tender mercy, the light from heaven is about to break upon us, to give light to those who sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, and to guide us to the path of peace.” 7

The Birth of Jesus

“At that time, the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria). All returned to their own towns to register for this census.

And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was obviously pregnant by this time.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn.” 8

The Shepherd’s View

“That night, some shepherds were in the fields outside the village, guarding the flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terribly frightened, but the angel reassured them. ‘Don’t be afraid!’ he said, ‘I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize Him: You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snugly in strips of cloths!’

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God: ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and peace on earth to all whom God favors.’ When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, ‘Come on, let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.’

They ran to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. Then the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished, but Mary quietly treasured these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their fields and flocks, glorying and praising God for what the angels had told them, and because they had seen the child just as the angel had said.” 9

The Biblical View

The Lord has led me to give you this Biblical view of Christmas. It may be the only time you hear it this season. There is no greater gift that I can give you other than the truth concerning Christmas. Jesus came as the Savior of the world to take away sin, defeating the devil. This is why we rejoice and celebrate this glorious season.

Not only do we rejoice at Christmas, but on Easter, celebrating the resurrected life of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by faith in His shed blood for our sins and in His resurrection to give us life that we are saved by grace. This is one of those times of year that we celebrate our faith in Christ with victorious believers who will sit with Jesus on His throne, just as He was victorious and sat with His Father on His throne.10

This is a glorious time of the year when the Spirit of God moves in our lives to bring great joy. “For the Kingdom of God is not a matter of what we eat or drink, but of living a life of goodness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.” 11 It is such a joy for me to know that I am celebrating this season with you. King David said to the Lord, “You will show me the way of life, granting me the joy of Your presence and the pleasures of living with You forever.” 12 And as believers, we will live forever together in His kingdom.

A Prayer For You ...

Our loving Father in Heaven, may Your will be done in our lives as we think upon Your Son, Jesus. He came to earth to save us and to bring us into Your family. We inherit all that is good through Him. Like the shepherds, we give thanks, glory and praise to You for all You have done. Your love is seen in Him, and we receive that love as our gift, so that we may love others. Help us, Father, to show the love of Jesus to this world, so others may obtain the correct, perfect and eternal peace which only Jesus can give to those who trust and believe in Him. Thank You, Father, for Your gift of life eternal and for our place in Your Kingdom…a place Jesus has prepared for us. May You bless us, Father, now at this season and always, in Jesus precious name, Amen.

Scripture References (New Living Translation):

1 Matt. 25:34
2 Gen. 3:15
3 Isa. 7:14
4 Isa. 9:6, 7
5 Luke 1:26-38
6 Luke 1:68-75
7 Luke 1:76-79
8 Luke 2:1-7
9 Luke 2:8-20
10 Rev. 3:21
11 Rom. 14:17
12 Psa. 16:11

Acknowledgement: A special thanks to Sherry for transcribing this months view!

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