Sunday, December 14, 2014
The Why of Christmas '14--Love and God with us.
A few days ago I posted a musing on Christmas, in it I mentioned that I usually do two posts on Christmas and that one, even though first, was the least important. It dealt with societal issues while important still isn’t on the same level as this one dealing with issues for the individual.
If you haven’t read it yet and am interested it’s here--actually not that far down the list of my posts.
Christmas is important because of what we celebrate on that day. It’s not toys, electronics, other gifts even an e-novel or a tree and lights. Those items are not bad so please don’t misinterpret what I mean, but we don’t worship those things and even though they will give us happiness and maybe a slight change in our lives they do not equal what God has done. He alone is to be worshipped and He alone can really make us new from the inside out. He is Hope as well as Joy-unspeakable, Peace-that passes all understanding; there is a reason Joy, Peace and Noel are Christmas words. Hope could be there too.
I have said this before in previous Christmas posts and I probably will again--at least as a part of Why Of Christmas. Now Christmas is about God coming down to our level. Jesus was born a baby so He could live as a human. One of His names is Emmanuel which means “God with us”. A verse in Matthew 1:23 Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us. That concept is one of two things Christmas is all about. God did a special miracle to allow Jesus to be installed in Mary’s womb all so He could be with us in a very special way. God is not a god who is a way up there too far above us to know what we go through, or one that is a Hard Judge ready and willing to punish us for wrong doing. He is a Judge and will deal with evil, but He made a way for us. Part of that way was Jesus being born. I am repeating certain points here, but I want to make sure they get across. This point, God with us, is one of the basic tenets of Christianity. The Creator of the universe, as wide and huge as it is, is with us, who live on a small corner of his creation. He did not leave us to do something else as some teach, neither did He leave us to find Him on our own, but He came down to teach us, to show us the way.
The second aspect of Christmas I want to discuss is that God Loves Us. His sending Jesus to be born as a baby shows that God the Creator loves us. All of us, each and every one. When it comes to love it matters not what we have done, not done, or what was done to us. Christmas is a time to realize that. Again there are reasons why the words Joy, Peace, Noel are part of the traditions of Christmas. He was prophesied to come for our salvation and it happened. In fact the whole Bible leads up to that event. And all he taught, experienced as a human, His actions as a man, and His death and Resurrection all happened because God loves us and didn’t want to leave us as is. Sin did more than just separate us from God individually, it placed us in a bad place. God set up what was needed to rescue us and to allow us to be made into His family. That all started with His birth which we celebrate on Christmas. Even those who ignore that aspect of Christmas do and use traditions that show that. Most of the older Christmas traditions started with something to do with Jesus. Many of the new traditions maybe not but as I said the older ones. Even many of the original songs of Christmas deal with Jesus and God’s love for us.
Many of you may know John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” but how many know Romans 5:8? “But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” Or Romans 8:34? “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again, who is even at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” And lastly, “Romans 10:9 That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.”
Salvation and the Joy, peace and love that comes with it are because God is with us and loves us.
There are many fine sermons this time of year dealing with one or both of these ideas. Here is a link to one. The one by Jenna Livingston on 12/8/14 . My pastor, Bill Chaney, will have a couple between now and Christmas if you want to keep an eye out for them on the VCCPODCast page I just linked to. But there are, as I said, many fine sermons and messages during this time of year.
You want more info or to talk more about it you can send a note here to my church-Valley Christian Center --or to me at LO1DOG@comcast.net or leave a comment here.