First of all, I have to pass along an apology from Pastor Steve. We had an abundance of distractions this morning: a lovely snowstorm yesterday evening, bitterly cold temperatures this morning, visitors to the church, members stuck in the snow…enough that the message accidentally did not get recorded this morning! Please forgive us!
I’ll do my best to give you the gist of Pastor Steve’s beautiful message on “The Truth About Christmas,” starting with our special Advent Call to Worship from The Christmas Code by O.S. Hawkins.
Call to Worship “Making the Most of Christmas” Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them. –Luke 2:20 How can you make the most of Christmas? For some it is all about decorating the house or tree, getting that special gift, seeing relatives, or getting invited to that certain someone’s party. But making the most of Christmas is so much more than any of these things. Join the shepherds this year in making these next few days a time of “glorifying and praising God,” a time of celebrating all that Christmas is and means. According to Psalm 22:3, God “inhabits the praises” of His people. This is where and when God feels at home—in the midst of your praise. Note the shepherds “returned.” Where? To their homes and businesses. What an impact this must have had on those who knew them best. May God give you the grace to follow these shepherds and make the most of Christmas this year.
Message and Scripture References
The truth about Christmas is that it is about God’s promised Messiah. Jesus came in “the fullness of time” (Galatians 4:4). God knew when the “fullness of time” would be, even 400 years before Jesus’ birth, when He sent the prophet Malachi a vision of Christ’s coming (Malachi 3:1). God knew even before then, when He sent the prophet Micah a revelation over 300 years before Malachi (Micah 5:2). It was this prophecy that the wise men studied to lead them to travel to Bethlehem to worship the newborn King (Matthew 2:1-12). God promised a Savior; He gave us the greatest Christmas gift ever in Jesus the Christ.
The truth about Christmas is that it is about Jesus and why He was born to be Immanuel. Jesus came to be God with us to show us the Truth (John 18:37). Moses may have been the vessel through which the Law was given, but Jesus came to bring grace and truth to mankind (John 1:17). Jesus came to destroy the works of the devil (1 John 3:8). He was born both fully God and fully man because God loved us so much that He knew we could not go on any longer without the hope of salvation that is only found in Christ (John 3:16).
The truth about Christmas is that Jesus was born to die (John 15:13). Around 750 years before the birth of Christ, God revealed to the prophet Isaiah that it would only be by His wounds that we could be healed of our sins (Isaiah 53:5-6). God also knew, however, that not everyone would believe His Word made flesh (Isaiah 53:1).
And the truth about Christmas is that it is about us and our witness (or lack thereof) for the Lord Jesus. God wants our whole hearts, not just what’s left after a day of work or play or stressing to find the perfect gift while avoiding other shoppers. God’s well-spring of grace is infinite; all He asks in return is that you draw nearer to Him with every breath (James 4:6-10). When we spend our time praising and glorifying the Lord Jesus, instead of worrying about gift buying and Christmas parties; when we hunger and thirst for righteousness, instead of worrying about health and politics and keeping up with the Joneses, the light of Jesus will shine forth from us like a beacon for all the lost souls searching through the emptiness for something to cling to. When we rejoice in the Lord, we are His witnesses, telling about Him to everyone we come in contact with (Acts 1:8).
Jesus is the Truth about Christmas.