Put up the Christmas Tree! Hang up the Lights! Go shopping!

Bah humbug , you say? Why should you decorate your home for this materialistic, made-up, bank account-draining, stress-causing holiday? What good will it do to drag out boxes of ornaments and decor and candles from the closets, attic, and garage? Probably no one else but you and your family will see it, so why should you work so hard? Is it really necessary or is it an outdated and meaningless occasion to overspend and be disappointed?

In my humble opinion, it is important to continue the traditions of Christmas for as long as you are able. Celebrating the birthday of the Savior of the WORLD is a very special occasion! Not outdated. Not meaningless.

Yes, it can be stressful and expensive and disappointing if the focus is on shopping and buying the perfect gifts and spending more than you can afford. But if you can grab your self by the chin ( like I did) and turn your eyes towards the real reason for the season, Jesus, and think about the glorious gift that God gave us that first Christmas long ago, you may be able to experience the JOY that was meant to be felt on this holiday. Put on some joyful music and let yourself think of WHO we are celebrating and WHY.

What if you didn’t grow up in a Christian family, or have never even heard the good news that a baby was born to take away the sins of the world, or the miraculous way his human mother became pregnant with the Son of GOD? Then let me tell you right now! Better yet, I will share the actual accounts of the prophecy of Jesus, his conception, his birth and who he was,  as told in multiple places in the word of God, the Holy Bible.

The people who walked in darkness have seen a great light; those who dwelt in a land of deep darkness, on them has light shone. For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this. Isaiah 9:2 

As for you, Bethlehem of Ephrathah, though you are the least significant of Judah’s forces, one who is to be a ruler in Israel on my behalf will come out from you. His origin is from remote times, from ancient days. Therefore, he will give them up until the time when she who is in labor gives birth. The rest of his kin will return to the people of Israel. Micah 5:2-3

During Elizabeth’s sixth month of pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to a virgin who lived in Nazareth, a town in Galilee. She was engaged to marry a man named Joseph from the family of David. Her name was Mary. The angel came to her and said, “Greetings! The Lord has blessed you and is with you.”

But Mary was very confused by what the angel said. Mary wondered, “What does this mean?”

The angel said to her, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, because God is pleased with you. Listen! You will become pregnant. You will give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and people will call him the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of King David, his ancestor. He will rule over the people of Jacob forever. His kingdom will never end.”

Mary said to the angel, “How will this happen? I am a virgin!”

The angel said to Mary, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will cover you. The baby will be holy. He will be called the Son of God. Luke 1:26-35

The birth of Jesus Christ happened like this. When Mary was engaged to Joseph, just before their marriage, she was discovered to be pregnant—by the Holy Spirit. Whereupon Joseph, her future husband, who was a good man and did not want to see her disgraced, planned to break off the engagement quietly. But while he was turning the matter over in his mind an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife! What she has conceived is conceived through the Holy Spirit, and she will give birth to a son, whom you will call Jesus (‘the Saviour’) for it is he who will save his people from their sins.”

All this happened to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet—‘Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’. (“Immanuel” means “God with us.”) Matthew 1:18-23

Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were absolutely terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! Listen carefully, for I proclaim to you good news that brings great joy to all the people: Today your Savior is born in the city of David. He is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: You will find a baby wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a vast, heavenly army appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among people with whom he is pleased!”

When the angels left them and went back to heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has taken place, that the Lord has made known to us.” So they hurried off and located Mary and Joseph, and found the baby lying in a manger. When they saw him, they related what they had been told about this child, and all who heard it were astonished at what the shepherds said. But Mary treasured up all these words, pondering in her heart what they might mean. So the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen; everything was just as they had been told. Luke 2:8-20

So the Word became human and made his home among us. He was full of unfailing love and faithfulness. And we have seen his glory, the glory of the Father’s one and only Son. John 1:14

But what does that mean, that Jesus was born to ‘save the world from their sins’ ? If you read the other parts of the Bible, you will learn that God made a perfect world, without sin, but the first humans rebelled against God and because of that , the world became the messed up place that it is, under the control of Satan , a fallen angel who also sinned against God and thinks he can one day become God. In the years before Jesus came, humans were either completely degenerate and worshiped idols, sinning against God in every way including sacrificing children to idols and having orgies to ‘worship’ their gods whom they greatly feared, or they were the chosen people of God, called Jews, or Israel, and they had to perform many animal sacrifices in order to be forgiven for their sins against God. God provided the sacrificial system to the Israelites, along with a list of rules, called The Law, that ‘if followed perfectly’ would make them right with God. However they were human, just like us, and they could not do anything right for very long. They constantly fell back into their old habits , worshipping God AND idols, marrying the pagan women, and breaking all of the Law regularly. God knew this would happen and he told the prophets that one day he would send a Messiah that would be perfect and he would be able to take away the sins of the world. The Israelites, or Jews, did not quite understand that this meant that this Messiah would be KILLED as a once-for-all-time-for-all-sins sacrifice that would break the power of death and control of Satan over God’s people. When Jesus was born, most of the Jews did not see the connection with him and the prophecies of old. So God said that ALL people , including non-Jews, also called Gentiles or pagans, would be able to have their sins forgiven, all sins, from birth to death, if they BELIEVED in His Son. This was great news! Jesus’ birth, and later death and resurrection, was for ALL PEOPLE! All who BELIEVE will be saved, according to Romans 10.

So , in short, before the first Christmas, all people were doomed to death and judgment because God is a holy and just God who cannot tolerate sin in his presence! But after Jesus was born, crucified, and resurrected, death and sin were conquered and we are washed clean by his blood and mankind can be reconciled to our Father who made us, loves us, and made a way for us! That is why Christmas is worth celebrating with great Joy, singing, decorations, gifts ( if desired), helping others, and loving our families. So, don’t let the Black Friday sales and political schemes, and confusing advertising messages stop you from having a wonderful time as we remember the birth of our Savior who is in Heaven now and will one day return to set up his Kingdom with those who call on him for forgiveness of their sins.

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Merry Christmas! 

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