1And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. 2(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) 3And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. 4And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) 5To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. 6And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. 7And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. 8And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. 10And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. 11For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. 12And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. 13And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 15And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. 16And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. 17And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. 18And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. 19But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. 20And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.
When I was a child, Christmas was about gifts, not God. It was about getting, not giving. Delicious food was enjoyed, but no feasting on faith. The sound of football on the television smothered out any seasonal background music. There were a few laughs and heated discussions punctuated by opinionated relatives pontificating about politics. Unfortunately, there was not a birthday party for Jesus. Now, thank God, our family celebrates the birth of our Lord. Our grandchildren act out the Christmas story and the adults applaud. By grace, we make much of our Savior’s birth!
Prophetically, Jesus Christ, the son of God, was born in the City of David. The birthplace of an earthly king—David, was overshadowed by the birthplace of the King of kings—Jesus. A tiny village Bethlehem, just south of Jerusalem, was the location of our Lord and Savior’s entrance onto earth. Christ’s humble birth would lead to the new birth for all who humbled themselves and believed. Our Savior came not to rule the heartland, but to rule human hearts. God’s love was with us in the flesh, so we could be set free. Jesus came to save His people from their sins.
“She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
It’s easy for commercialism to consume our Christmas spirit. Sales, online shopping and credit cards all compete for our attention. We can stress over giving the right presents, instead of stressing the need to give our Lord the right attitude and adoration He deserves. The fear of disappointing a friend or family member with an unappreciated gift can replace our fear of God. The expectation of how much time we have with our children can make or break our holiday cheer. Thus, we seek to be selfless like our Savior. We thank God for any time with loved ones.
Most importantly, has the Christ of Christmas become the Savior of your soul? Is your relationship with God a personal or a cultural faith? We can’t get into the Lord’s kingdom on the coattails of our family’s faith. When we own our beliefs we know the Lord owns us. Jesus was born so we might be born again. Thus, like a trusting child we embrace Christ as the Savior of our sins. We bow to Him as Lord over our life, and we proudly proclaim “Merry Christmas” to all souls in need of a Savior. Yes, Christmas is just the beginning— Easter validates our victory in Jesus!
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead” (1 Peter 1:3).
Prayer: Heavenly Father, I praise You for Jesus Christ’s birth, so I might be born again and find Salvation through Christ’s shed Blood at calvary.
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