“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son,"
Our God loves celebrations! Throughout the Old Testament, we see Him instituting special days and instructing the Israelites to celebrate yearly, as a reminder of His power among them and His provision for them. Also, through the celebrations, He wanted younger generations to know what He had done for their ancestors in the past. The Sabbath, for instance, was instituted to make sure they rested as God did, on the seventh day of the week (see Exodus 31:12-17). Similarly, the Passover was to remind them of the time the angel of death killed the firstborn of both man and beast in the land of Egypt, but spared the Israeli families (see Exodus 12:1-14).
Over two thousand years ago, God put His salvation plan into motion, sending His One and only Son into the world to make His dwelling among us (see John 1:14) and to become our Savior. About three hundred years into Christianity, 336 to be exact, the Romans recorded the first celebration of the birth of Jesus. We have celebrated His birth ever since, with decorations, caroling, feasting, giving, and receiving. Even those who don’t believe in Jesus often celebrate it in some form.
Every year when we celebrate Christmas, the birth of our Savior, we should reflect on the truths behind the season:
We are sinners and need redemption –We know we are sinners because Scripture tells us that, through the disobedience of Adam and Eve, sin and death passed to all mankind. “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23 NIV). There is only one way to restore our fellowship with God; it is through faith in Jesus, because He came to seek and to save that which was lost. Scripture tells us, “Truly, truly, I say unto you, except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3 NIV).
God is love – It is His love for us that led to His formulating the plan for our redemption before the foundation of the world. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life” (John 3:16 NIV). We are also reminded of His humility! He was willing to leave His throne and majesty above, be born into a sinful world, not in a palace, but in a manger! He says to us, “Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29 NIV).
God is faithful – He promised Jesus’ coming decades before He was born. “The virgin will be with child, and give birth to a Son, and will call Him Emmanuel,” which is translated, 'God with us'” (Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23 NIV). He promised, and then fulfilled it! That is a faithful God! Again, it was prophesied, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NIV). Through the angel Gabriel, He declared the Virgin Mary was going to have a Son, and to name Him Jesus. He would be great and be called the Son of the Most High (Luke 1:30-31 NIV). God fulfilled everything He promised concerning Jesus. How faithful! This reminder assures us that we can trust Him one hundred percent; He has never failed since the beginning of time, and never will! We can look forward to the promise of the rapture and His second coming with hope.
We should Express gratitude - We need to be thankful to God because we could never have saved ourselves nor done anything to qualify for salvation. He planned it, and carried it out; making us His sons and daughters, so now we can confidently say of God, “Abba, Father” (see Romans 8:15).
Merry Christmas; let’s celebrate with assurance, gratitude, and anticipation of His return!