Are you ready for Christmas? That’s a question you and I hear a lot this time of the year. “I guess I’m ready” is my usual answer. I know December 25th will soon be here. We also hear the question asked, “What’s the real meaning of Christmas?” The simple answer is that Christmas is about Jesus and God’s plan of salvation. Just what is that plan?
After the fall
of man, God immediately instituted his plan of salvation. Throughout
the Old Testament he reminded his followers of the coming of the
Messiah. So strong was the confidence of Adam and Eve that when she
gave birth to their first son she said jubilantly, “I have gotten the man that the Lord promised”
referring to the promise of the Messiah to come. Of course, the
Messiah had not yet come, but it was the promise of the Messiah that the
people of the Old Testament believed in for their salvation.
throughout the Old Testament the prophets reminded the people of the
coming of the Savior—the path that God chose for sinful, imperfect
people like you and me to reach heaven.
More than 500 years before the birth of Jesus the prophet Isaiah wrote,
“A child will be born to us. A son will be given to us. The
government will rest on his shoulders. He will be named:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince
of Peace.” (9:6-7)
And then in fulfillment of that prophecy, as told in familiar Christmas story of Luke,
“At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the
Roman Empire. This was the first census taken while Quirinius
was governor of Syria. All the people went to register in the
cities where their ancestors had lived.
So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city
called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendent of King David, went to
Bethlehem because David had been born there. Joseph went there
to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage
and was pregnant.
While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her
child. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips
of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room
for them in the inn.
Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking
turns watching their flock during the night. An angel from the
Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the
area with light, and they were terrified. The angel said to them,
‘Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill
everyone with joy. Today your Savior, Christ the Lord was born
in David’s city. This is how you will recognize him: You will
find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.’
Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They
were praising God by saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those who have his good will.’”
sent his son for you and me so that we might have a path to heaven.
That was and is the depth of his love. But Jesus’ role in our salvation
wasn’t complete just because he was born in Bethlehem.
Jesus went on to live the perfect, sinless life that you and I are
incapable of and then gave his life up on the cross for our sins. And
finally, the most important part, Jesus rose triumphant from the grave
on Easter morning guaranteeing that you and I will rise again too if we
only put our confidence and trust in Jesus.
was and is God’s plan. That’s what you and I celebrate at Christmas,
the beginning of the fulfillment of God’s plan to take us to be with him
in a perfect place where there is no anger, no hurt relationships, and
no sorrow. It’s a wonderful plan and the most amazing thing of all is
that it is free, absolutely free. All we have to do is to believe in
Jesus. Nothing else is needed.
wife, Kathi, and I and our entire family wish you a truly joyous
Christmas celebration and many, many blessings in the New Year.
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