Christmas Celebration

Series: Special Occasions

December 22, 2019
Brad Shockley

Episode Notes

Intro: Baby Jesus is what Christmas is all about. And pretty much everyone knows that. He’s the center of countless nativity scenes all over the world this time of year. And that’s a great thing. He certainly should be. I believe with all my heart it’s more than just a story, a fairy tale intended to warm our hearts and bring goodwill among men. I believe it actually happened. If we could go back in time we’d see it just as the Scriptures say.

Jesus really is the reason for the season, the who of Christmas. But have you ever thought about the why of Christmas? Why was Jesus born in a manger? For the next few minutes I’d like to share with you three reasons baby Jesus was born that first Christmas.

First, know Jesus came that first Christmas…

To erase misconceptions about God

Some time ago a pastor typed in the words “What is God like?” on an internet search engine and was amazed and troubled with some of the responses he found: “One guy said ‘I like to think of God as the sun and myself as a ray of sunlight.  The ray is the same substance as the sun so really I’m God too.’ 

Another guy wrote, ‘I like to think of God like my dead father watching everything I do.’

Another, ‘I like to think of God like our grandson who likes to hide and then jump out and surprise us.’  

One wrote:  ‘I like to think of God like a sweet and tolerate person pleased with everything He sees in the world.’  Oh my! 

Somebody wrote: ‘I like to think of God as a wise old woman.’

A university professor wrote, ‘I like to think of God as some sort of gigantic balloon, like a giant brain floating in space.’”[1]

No wonder so many people avoid God, run from God, are afraid of God, and don’t want to go to church! Their ideas about God are wrong. But just so that we would not have to wonder who God is and what he’s like, He gave us baby Jesus that first Christmas so we could rightly understand who he is and know the truth. Grown up Jesus said…

John 18:37 (ESV)

37 … For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

He also said… 

John 14:9 (ESV)

9 … Whoever has seen me has seen the Father….

And he said…

John 10:30 (ESV)

30 I and the Father are one.”

John the apostle wrote at the beginning of his gospel… 

John 1:18 (ESV)

18 No one has ever seen God… [Jesus] has made him known.

If you want to know who God is, look at Jesus. Because Jesus IS God and he came to erase any misconceptions we might have about him.

The second reason baby Jesus came that first Christmas was…

To express the love of God

There was this guy who was always telling his girlfriend, “Baby, I’d die for you!” One day she said, “You’re always saying that but you never do it.” Sounds like a girlfriend I had once!

Saying you love someone enough to die for them is one thing, but showing it is quite another. God showed it, folks! 

1 John 4:9–10 (NLT)

9 God showed how much he loved us by sending his one and only Son into the world so that we might have eternal life through him. 10 This is real love—not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as a sacrifice to take away our sins. 

Listen to the words of one pastor:

“How long is God’s love?  Long enough to last forever.  How wide is God’s love?  Wide enough to be everywhere.  How deep is God’s love?  Deep enough to handle any hurt you give Him or any problem.  How high is God’s love?  High enough to overlook your mistakes. 

Human love wears out.  All you have to do is go look at the divorce court for that.  Or between parents and children, between friends.  Human love has its limits.  But God will never stop loving you.  Never!  God will never love you any more than He does right now.  And God will never love you any less than He does right now.  God’s love is not based on how cool you are or how good or how righteous or how successful you are.  God’s love is based on His character, not yours.  He loves you unconditionally.  His love is wide enough to be everywhere.  That means there is no place you can be where God isn’t.  There may be times – in fact there will be times in life when you feel alone but you will never be alone.  Feelings lie.  You may feel alone but you will never be alone.  God said, I will always be with you.  It’s wide, it’s deep, it can handle anything.  No matter what hurt or problem you give God, He can handle it.”[2]

So baby Jesus came to erase misconceptions about God, to express the love of God, and, finally, the third reason baby Jesus came that first Christmas was…

To make a way for us to become part of the family of God

We come into this world separated from God because He’s so holy and righteous and good, and we aren’t at all compared to him. Most folks want to compare themselves to others and hope God will accept them. Others aren’t the standard, God himself is. 

That’s why we needed God to make a way for us to be in relationship with him. The apostle Paul wrote…

Ephesians 1:5–6 (NLT)

5 God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure. 6 So we praise God for the glorious grace he has poured out on us who belong to his dear Son.

Jesus lived the life we should have lived and died the death we should have died so we could become God’s children, part of his forever family. Paul also wrote…

Romans 5:11 (NLT)

11 So now we can rejoice in our wonderful new relationship with God because our Lord Jesus Christ has made us friends of God. 

Do you have a relationship with God through His Son, Jesus? It does not come through heritage, it does not come through church membership, it does not come through sprinkling or dunking, and it does not come through sincerity and good intentions. It comes only through faith alone, your choosing by faith to put your trust in Jesus, choosing to accept like a gift His love and forgiveness. Have you done that, friend?

If you haven’t, you can today.

Romans 10:13 (NLT)

13 For “Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Conclusion: I’m done except for one last thing. You may have noticed some seemingly out-of-place Scriptures in our Christmas celebration today. We did that because God never intended for us to camp out at the manger. The purpose of Christmas is to point us to the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus. And to the life changing truth he’s coming again.

[1] Rick Warren, The Purpose of Christmas

[2] ibid.

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