More Than A Holiday

Christmas is coming.  It’s a significant day for millions of people across the world.

Billions of dollars will be spent on gifts for friends, family and coworkers.  Black Friday got its name for being the first day of the year retail sales are out of the red and into the black (profit).  It also recognized as the first organized day of the year for Christmas shopping.

The holiday is the single biggest driver of the economy.  It is traditionally known for family gatherings, workplace parties and its own genre of music (which some may argue gets played too early!).    From Mannheim Steamroller to Mariah Carey, if you’re shopping in December, you know Christmas is near.

Christmas also is known for instigating a spirit of goodwill among those who celebrate it.  Good, simple deeds are spread far and wide.  People go out of their way to do something for someone they often don’t even know.  Parents spoil and kids lose sleep.  Christmas traditions prevail – from decorating Christmas cookies to watching the same Christmas movie as a family every year, we produce an atmosphere that is consistent and warm.  A time of year kids can depend on to spend time with their parents, and a time when some parents scrape the bottom of the barrel to try to get their kids a gift they will remember.  Families that rarely attend are seen in the church pews.

 

Though all of this is good for everyone involved, it doesn’t mean anything unless the real meaning of Christmas is the center of the celebration.

If we are to believe that God is consistent (which He is), then we know that He is an angry God.  He is the same God that drown the sinners of the world with the flood.  He is the same God that allowed his people to wander a desert for 40 years.  He is the same God that took sides in war, and protected his people as they slaughtered entire kingdoms.

In the rain, God gave Noah the Ark.  In the desert, they so quickly forgot the Pharaoh and his army dead at the bottom of the Red Sea.  In Joshua’s victory over the Amorites, God extended the dayGod is not silent, He is active to this day.  You just have to know where to look.

See, if you look closely, you see a God that saves.  A God that saved the believers and gave humanity another chance starting with Noah.  A God that uses hardship for His plan, like His people in the desert.  A God that actively gives believers power over their enemies.

A God that would knowingly and willingly send his Son to this spinning rock.  Again, full of sinners that wanted nothing to do with him despite the miracles that He did everywhere he went.  He knew Jesus would walk the streets and heal.  He knew Jesus would toss the tables in His Temple.  He knew Jesus would cast out demons and outwit the Pharisees.  He knew Jesus would go through trial and temptation.

He saw His infant Son born in a manger – the King of Kings – and then in that same moment saw shards of metal on the end of a whip rip into his skin.  He saw the wise men He sent visit his Baby boy with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh and then witnessed the nails go into Jesus’ hands and feet.

God’s sacrifice was ultimate – his only Son.  Perfection – given to a world of sinners and he was crucified by them.  And if you need proof that God listens, Jesus’ last words were “Forgive them, Father, for they know not what they do.”    And He has.

An angry God with a track record to prove it, time and time again, showed mercy to you and I and everyone that will ever be conceived, by giving his Son to us, free of charge, to pay the debt we all owe.  It’s not just the birth of a man named Jesus, it was the beginning and the end.  The beginning of the only way to spend eternity in Heaven and the end of sin covered by our sacrifice or our good deed.

All you have to do is believe that God sent his Son to die for our sins.  If you believe that and give your life to Him, then your eternity will be spent in the presence of a God that loves you so much that He gave His own Son for you.

There is a twist to the ending this story… Jesus is not dead.  We aren’t celebrating the birth of a dead Savior on Christmas day.  He is risen. 

“All the powers of darkness tremble at what they’ve just heard, because all the powers of darkness can’t drown out a single word.”

Merry Christmas, everyone.  Keep Jesus at the center of your celebration and it is an absolute fact that you will be blessed for it!

 

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