Its Christmas time again. Why do we celebrate Christmas? Mankind has always had celebrations but why Christmas? Christmas is the traditional time we celebrate and remember the birth of Jesus. We give gifts to remind us of Gods gift to mankind - Jesus.

In many countries Christmas has become a time when people overspend and overeat. It has been exploited to become an important economic factor in trading  and for some businesses it is the busiest time of year. The media constantly tell us how many shopping days until Christmas. But what is the real purpose, or the real meaning, and real reason for Christmas?            Its the special-ness of JESUS.

The  Bible “or the Word of God” records the life of Jesus in four great books often called “the Gospels” written by four people who lived, and worked with Jesus - Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Each gospel adds to the picture of the life of Jesus.

 

Matthew tells us about an angel appearing to Joseph telling him about “the baby from God” and how he and Mary were to become part of the completion of a promise from an older part of the Bible “the Jewish law” - something special. This baby had a star that led wise men to the place where He was born in Bethlehem so they could worship Him as a King of Israel – something special. 

 

Mark tells us about John the Baptist who was born to prepare the way for Jesus. He taught repentance. Jesus came from Nazareth where He grew up, and went to John the Baptist to be baptized in the river Jordan and God spoke from heaven - something special. Jesus called His disciples to follow Him here and taught them about the kingdom of Heaven.

 

Luke wanted to write down the facts about the life of Jesus so people would understand what Jesus did and said. He gives us details about John the Baptist and his birth. An angel appeared to Zechariah the father of John the Baptist – something special. Mary the mother of Jesus visits Elizabeth and sings a new song of worship, praise and thankfulness – something special. Luke also gives us the explanation that Jesus was born at Bethlehem because of the Roman census. But this was written about in the Old Testament hundreds of years before – something special. At Bethlehem angels made another appearance, this time at night to shepherds in the hills around Bethlehem. A heavenly choir praising “Glory to God” and “glad tidings and great joy” to all mankind - something special. The shepherds hurried into Bethlehem to see this great event, a new baby. On the way back to the hills they told everyone and the people wondered.

Joseph and Mary took Jesus to the temple after eight days observing the Jewish law. An old respected worshiper called Simeon took baby Jesus in his arms and praised God saying that Jesus would be a “light to the Gentiles and the glory of Israel” - something special. He spoke about how the heart of Mary would suffer pain, which we know this happened 33 years later when Jesus was crucified. Anna, another devout worshiper, praised God and spoke about Jesus to everyone who wanted the deliverance of Jerusalem - something special.

 

John starts his gospel right at the beginning of time when God created the world with Jesus – something special. He explains how John the Baptist was born to be a witness of the “light of the world” Jesus and how Jesus lived as an ordinary person but was full of grace and truth – something special. When John baptized Jesus he recognized Him as the Lamb of God and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and Gods voice was heard - something special.

Friends, this Christmas 2009 take time in all the festivities and celebrations to reach for a Bible, read the writings of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, live them, breathe them, see in your mind the angels, the stable, the wise men, the shepherds, the scripture characters and understand the special-ness of Jesus. He was born to be the “Lamb of God”, He was crucified to redeem us. And then He rose again.

Let Jesus be the light in your life.

Chris Baines

 

 

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