Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Happy Holiday

We hear it so often around this time of year: "Happy Holiday!" "Season's Greetings!" Everyone seems to be in the mood for some kind of festive celebration. Exactly what is the holiday that we are celebrating? Are we allowed to say it? Is it a forbidden word? Are we afraid to say it? Will people be offended if we actually tell them what the holiday is?

What ever happened to Christmas? What ever happened to the Christ of Christmas? Long ago there was no room in the inn. Is there any room for Him in today's celebration? What ever happened to the birth of the Saviour? Has it been a giant mistake that all of our calendars mark His birth as the starting point, and that His birth divides all of this world's history into B.C. (before Christ) and A.D. (anno Domini, in the year of the Lord)?

Should we give up Christmas and abandon it as a holy day? After all, no one wants to mention it anymore, and it seems to have evolved into a meaningless, festive, gift-giving occasion apart from any spiritual significance. If the God of the entire universe, the Maker of heaven and earth, decided to pay a visit to this earth, that is highly significant and worthy of at least a yearly remembrance and thankful celebration! "And we have seen and do testify that the Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world" (1 John 4:14).

Here is the Christmas story according to John, a man who knew Jesus Christ very well: "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him; and without Him was not any thing made that was made.... And the Word was made flesh and dwelt among us" (John 1:1-3,14).

John also makes very clear the reason God came to earth as Man. He came on a saving mission: "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. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved" (John 3:16,17).

Why did God have to become a man? In order to save sinful men, someone holy would have to die for them. But there is no one holy except God, and God cannot die. Therefore God would have to become a man in order to be able to save mankind. This was made possible through the miracle of the virgin birth. Although God could not die, the God-man (the Lord Jesus Christ) could die and did die for our sins: "All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned every one to his own way; and the Lord hath laid on Him [the Messiah] the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:6). "But God commendeth His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us" (Romans 5:8).

On that first Christmas night, the angel announced the good news which summarizes the true meaning of Christmas: "And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:10,11).

The Saviour has been born! Do you know Him as your personal Saviour? He died as the sinner's Substitute and He rose again to provide eternal life for all who trust in Him. "But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His name" (John 1:12). Have you realized your condition as a needy sinner and come to Him, the only Saviour? Jesus said, "Him that cometh to Me I will in no wise cast out" (John 6:37).

--George Zeller

From MWTB.

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