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Saturday, December 21, 2019

12-21-2019         CELEBRATE JESUS!

We all should be pretty familiar with the Christmas story.  Gabriel visiting the virgin Mary, the birth in the manger, etc., etc.  But this post, I would like to share a bit about why we should be so happy and joyful. 

I’m not going to lace this which a bunch of scripture references (as normal) so you may have to do a little research with things you may not be familiar with.  This is just me to you.
We can experience the reality of Jesus coming into this world, for our sakes, by celebrating His earthly birth. 

When the shepherds came to the manger, seeing the babe, they had great joy and they rejoiced greatly after seeing the babe in the manger.  Tradition has the Magi coming to Jesus at the manger, but our Lord was nearly two years old when they arrived (check it out).  They honored Him as King of the Jews, but I suspect that they realized that He was indeed King of a much greater realm.  I don’t know how far those Magi travelled, but I do know that it was a great distance.  It wasn’t just an overnight excursion!  When the Magi found the child, they had great joy.  We might explain our exchanging gifts on Christmas because the Magi brought gifts to the young child Jesus, to celebrate his birth.  Likewise, we have joy in giving gifts as others express their delight and we do the same when we open our gifts.

Jesus had to be born as one of us, that is born in the flesh, as a human.  Mary WAS a virgin until the birth of Jesus.  Mary had no ‘marital’ relationship with her husband Joseph (nor any other man) until the birth of our Lord.  What happened with her after the birth, you can debate amongst yourselves.  I’m not going to do it here.  Yet she was a virgin until Jesus was born.

So the question is “Why did Jesus have to be born like one of us?”  He came to redeem us from our sin thereby bringing us back into relationship with our heavenly Father.  His birth was the beginning that journey.  Restoring a relationship which had been severed when Adam & Eve disobeyed God and ate of the forbidden fruit in the garden.  Yes God gave Moses the Law (10 Commandments) and Israel ‘followed’ the Law but Jesus tells us that He came to fulfill the Law and He did that through grace.  The only way to fulfill the Law is to keep it.  That means obeying every letter, jot, tittle or pen stroke without fail.  If Jesus had an earthly father, this would have been impossible.  Humans are example of what I’m saying.  How many of us have ‘never’ broken the law?  Never told even a ‘white’ lie, desired something that wasn’t ours?  Get the picture?  We have an earthly mother and an earthly father, of course, unless you’re a ‘test tube baby.  And even then ….. the components would still be there, just not a physical relationship.  What human has never broken any of the Ten Commandments?  Only Jesus!  Jesus was born both man and God.  So Jesus brings us into grace where the only requirement is to love.  His birth set the stage for His ultimate gift of love (Calvary).  Of course, when we abide in love, we automatically keep the law, read it in Exodus.  We are continuingly fighting to not transgress the Law.  Yet, by the grace of God, we confess our sin and truly repent, God forgives us and we come back into His grace.  Experiencing God’s grace should be reason enough to bring great joy into our hearts.  Jesus brings us that grace.  We should experience the true meaning of Christmas which is the birth of grace coming into our lives.   

For thirty years Jesus walked as we walked.  I guess He walked at least a mile or more in our shoes – so to speak – being tempted with the same things we are tempted with, but not falling.  Read His experience in the wilderness.

For three and a half years (approximately) He taught us about the Kingdom of God.  Then He was crucified for our sakes.  BUT, PTL, by shedding His blood, He was victorious over not just our sin but gave us the promise of eternal fellowship with Father through His resurrection and our faith!  His shed blood cleanses us and when we confess and repent, our sins are no longer remembered by God.  Is this a reason for rejoicing? 
Then after walking with His disciples for another forty days, teaching them even more about the Kingdom of God, He ascended into the clouds, returning to His (and our) heavenly Father, promising us the same eternal fellowship – forever.  That should be reason for great joy (yes?).  He returned to heaven to prepare a place for us so we can be with Him through eternity, isn’t that reason to rejoice?

Why celebrate Jesus?  First, we acknowledge His coming into this world for our sakes.  We’re appreciative that He lived like us, giving us the example of how we should be.  He showed us that it can be done – through love.  We are thankful that He has cleansed us through His sacrifice and that He has opened the door for eternal fellowship with the Father, through Himself (Jesus is the door and no one comes to the Father except by Him – do a little research if you’re not sure).

 How should we celebrate Jesus?  With everything that we are and that we have.  We give our Father reverence for who He is.  We praise Him with the things we say, prayers, speech, songs.  We have a multitude of musical instruments with which we can glorify Him.  We should play for Him.  We have writing, drawing, organizational skills, bricklaying, ironworking or woodworking skills, care-giving skills, acting skills or any other talent He has given us with which we should glorify His Holy Name.  But the thing He desires most from us is our love.  He sheds His love upon us (even when we don’t deserve it) and all He asks is that we give back to Him by trusting Him and living in that love.  
Remember, Father and Son are One, so when we honor one, we honor the other.  Dare I say God’s love towards us is our greatest source of joy?  We can express our joy by loving Him in return. 

So we celebrate “Christmas”.  Christ, being ‘Savior’, that is Jesus.  ‘Mas’, in the Greek, means either ‘us’ or ‘our’.  “Jesus is our Savior” or “a Savior for us”.  Christ-mas.  We celebrate it by living in the love of God.

May all who read this have a merry and blessed Christmas season.  May you all have a safe and happy New Year – filled with joy.


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