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Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Why Do We Celebrate Christmas?

Soon we will gather together as the Body of Christ on earth and begin to celebrate His birth. But, some may ask, "Why all this fuss over a baby in a hay stall nearly 2000 years ago? What does that really have to do with me?"  I'm so glad you asked. That's something we would like to explore for just a moment.

We must begin with the beginning. I mean, THE beginning. Scripture says that God created the heavens and the earth. Regardless what else you may believe about what happened afterwards, we must begin with the fact the where did all there is come from?

Popular belief that rejects God has no real answer. As someone once stated, it is like the formula:
                                   "nothing + no one = something."
One doesn't have to be an intellectual scholar to realize the faulty reasoning in that statement. The stars and all the universe could not have just appeared all by themselves. There had to be a Pre-existing One, a Creator, and that Pre-existing One is God. God, who is eternal and has always been spoke into existence all the universe with the power of His Word.

So if we accept the fact that pre-existing God created everything, we also accept the fact that He did it intentionally and with purpose. What was that purpose? Listen to what the Scripture says in Eph 1:3-6–
 “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. For he chose us in him before the  creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us for adoption to sonship through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will— to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.”

We were created to have fellowship with God. However, when the first man and woman had enjoyed a short time of walking with their Creator, they were tempted to reject what God said was good and chose instead to supplant that command with their own desires and opinions. They wanted the right to determine what was good and what was evil. The choice was fatal, and separated humankind from their Maker. Fellowship was broken. Atonement, or reconciliation had to be made to restore the relationship with God. We were unable to do anything to bring about the restoration necessary.

The result of this broken relationship was a vacuum in the lives of all men and women. Many, even today, try to lives their lives apart from the very One who could give them life, hope, fulfillment. The season of Christmas is just a hollow shadow, just a time to do something for others and bring on the party.

The sin in the garden wedged an eternal separation between God and His creation. The echos of the sin in the garden still are heard today in the refusal to seek God and His fellowship. Yet God provided a way for restoration, but it would be at great cost. God knew that the man and woman He had created would choose to follow their own path, so He provided a way to restore that
fellowship. That path, that way was the willing choice of the Son to become like one of His own creations to live a sinless life and become the willing sacrifice that would pay the price of our disobedience and through Him, restoring that relationship to becoming children of God.

Paul goes on in Eph. [1:7-10]
"In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God's grace that he lavished on us. With all wisdom and understanding, he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times reach their fulfillment—to bring unity to all things in heaven and on earth under Christ."

Somehow in the miraculous mind and plan of God, God becomes man through the birth of a virgin named Mary: [Luke 1:31-35]
"You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end."
"How will this be," Mary asked the angel, "since I am a virgin?" The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God."

Some might say, "You are being too exclusive. Believing in Christ as the only way to God eliminates all other possibilities. That's too narrow." However, just think for a moment, truth by its very nature is exclusive: 2 + 2 = 4. To say that something is true, we have also have to be able to say that there are some things that are not true. Jesus, Himself claimed the be the Son of God. He said in John14:6, "Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." Here is the question we must answer: "Is what Jesus said  true?" For if it true then we must accept it, or reject it.{For more on this subject, let me encourage you to visit Ravi Zacharias' ministry website: I have found it to be a great source of help.}

One of God's gifts to man and woman at creation was the gift of free will; the ability to choose to follow Him or follow after their own desires. He wanted the fellowship with His creation to be one of free choice, not puppets on a string. When we choose to follow Him, we are  acknowledging that He is King of kings and Lord of lords!

What is our response to all that God has done? Scripture says in Romans 5:8: "But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us." And later, "If you declare with your mouth, "Jesus is Lord," and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved." We can respond to Him in faith, believing, accepting what He has done, receiving the eternal life that He alone can give. We can respond in worship!

All this came through a baby in a manger; that is why we celebrate this season. God became man and dwelt among us. God reached down to give us hope, to give us life, to restore the relationship that He has desired with His creation.

The only way we can truly celebrate Christmas is by the full recognition of Who Christ is. So much of this season has been pushed aside by making the center of the season what we want, and pleasing ourselves, yet we have seen the very heart of Christmas is the love of God and His provision to restore the relationship with men and women broken by sin, and restored by the sending of Jesus, His Son. Let's begin to shift that focus and put the spotlight where it really belongs, on Jesus Christ, the Living Son of God!

The question that remains is what we will do with these facts? What will be your response to all that God has done? The light that God has given is shining, literally thousands all over the world are seeking Him, seeking forgiveness, receiving eternal life. What about you?

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