TEEN TREE     OF LIFE

What Is Christmas, Really?

Part 1

December 17, 2017

 

BEFORE we begin, if you are a believer in Jesus Christ, take a moment to name your sins to God the Father. This will allow you to be filled with the power of The Holy Spirit as you read this booklet (EPH 5:18 & 1JO 1:9). IF YOU HAVE never believed in Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have that opportunity right now. Simply tell God the Father that you are believing on His Son Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior. If you make that decision, you are now a believer and will always be a child of God! When you die, you will spend eternity with Him forever in heaven! (JOH 3:16 & ACT 16:31).

 

If you ever want to look at a verse that tells you what Christmas really means, it’s this one: For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish, but have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world should be saved through Him. (JOH 3:16-17) It’s that simple. In order for God to give His only begotten Son, He would have to be born a man! And what a man!

 

Without a doubt, Christmas is so much more than Christmas Trees and lights or gift-giving and caroling! History teaches us that for centuries, there’s been a long tradition of wintertime celebrations. People had their winter holidays long before the birth of Jesus Christ. For example, in ancient Europe, people took time out in the darkest days of winter to celebrate the approaching spring and summer. In the far north of Europe, the Norse or Viking people of medieval Scandinavia had a party to celebrate the longest day of the year – the winter solstice. Those parties started on December 21st and lasted through January. Now that’s a long party!

 

We aren’t sure of the exact date of the birth of Our Lord Jesus Christ but we do know that it wasn’t in the dead of winter on December 25. Most researchers believe that Christ was born sometime in the early fall, possibly in September. It’s interesting to note that the word “Christmas” didn’t come into common usage until the 11th century. The word Christmas comes from the Old English phrase Cristes Maesse which translates as “The Mass of Christ.” It’s first found in writing in the year 1038. So, the reason we celebrate Christmas in the winter is because before Christ came to earth, people were already celebrating during the winter. When it’s cold and dreary outside – it’s the perfect time to celebrate!

 

But let’s get REAL now! Christmas isn’t about lighted, decorated trees, and Frosty the Snowman. But the majority of people today know little or nothing about the true meaning behind the celebration. Sadly, even many who say they’re Christians only pause for a short time during the hustle and bustle of the season to say, “Oh, yeah, Christmas is the birthday of Jesus Christ.” Some believers agree that He was God and came to bring peace on earth. And of course, many non-believers say that He was just a good man who taught us to be nice and love our neighbor. And very few people truly understand (or even care to understand) the real reasons we celebrate His birth.

 

Now, although Jesus Christ was born many years ago, this Christmas Eve has a great deal in common with the first Christmas when Jesus came into the world. On the very first Christmas Eve, the people on earth were unaware as to what was happening around them. Indeed, they were unaware, inattentive, oblivious, and unobservant! Just like they are today!

 

The earliest reference to Christmas being celebrated in December comes from the second century after The Birth of Jesus. It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia – a harvest festival that marked the winter return of the sun and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time and was sneered upon by the more serious leaders of the Christian sect.

 

Christmas eventually evolved from worshipping the sun, to worshipping the Son! By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian declared Christmas a civic holiday. However, the world, back then, was absorbed with unimportant things They were engrossed in their own lives and preoccupied with vanity and emptiness. But, Heaven wasn’t! The innumerable Holy and Elect angels were waiting in anticipation. They were waiting to break forth in praise and worship and adoration for the birth of a new born child – The Son of God. This birth meant that God had fulfilled His Word and Sent Forth His Child to Save the world!!! It was a fulfillment of ISA 9:6: For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. Also on that first Christmas Eve, there was also a farewell going on in heaven: The Son said goodbye to The Father. In fact, a part of that conversation is recorded for us in the tenth chapter of Hebrews: On that first Christmas Eve, the Lord is speaking to the Father and this is what He said: Therefore, when He comes into the world [this is the first Christmas], He says, “Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired, But a [human] body Thou hast prepared for Me…” (HEB 10:5) Note that the physical body of The Humanity of Christ was prepared for Him beforehand by God The Father.

 

Also, we have HEB 10:6-7: That is why Christ, when he came into the world, said, “You did not want animal sacrifices and grain offerings. But you have given me a body so that I may obey you. (New Living Translation) Jesus Christ said, in effect, “Father I realize that You have not been satisfied with the blood of animals so you have prepared a body for me so that I could be the ultimate sacrifice.” And then the Lord Jesus Christ bid farewell to His Father and began an unprecedented journey that was to end thirty-three years later on The Cross.

 

For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2CO 8:9)

This verse reminds us that The Physical Body of Christ was Divinely prepared by God The Father and God The Holy Spirit as the vehicle in which to bring God to mankind and to be The Perfect Sacrifice for sin.

 

And while all this was going on in heaven, the people on earth were oblivious to it! They had no idea that for the first time ever, God was going to become a man. God was coming in the flesh! Heaven was well aware of the event; earth was not. Wild, isn’t it??

There are so many things about Christmas that the majority of people today know nothing about. The Holy Spirit had taken ninth months to create a physical body inside of Mary which would be perfectly prepared for Our Lord. It had to be (and was) a human body that would be like no other because it was the only one to be born into this world without a sin nature. And this is because it was a body that was to be inhabited by the Second Person of The Trinity!!

 

For those who might not know or remember, the sin nature is an integral part of every human being. It resides in the cell structure of the human body. The sin nature was acquired originally by Adam at his fall and is subsequently passed down genetically to all mankind by the father. The result is both spiritual death and total depravity of all humanity, except Jesus Christ. Because of the virgin birth, Jesus Christ was born without a sin nature since He did not have a biological father. This is taught in MAT 1:18: Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit.

 

The time came when God would send forth His very own Son: But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman… (GAL 4:4) and every Christmas, we stop and acknowledge the birth of Christ. Some say He was God, others say He was just a man. The real issue is not that He came; the real issue is why He came. But why did He come? Why was He born? Did He come to represent God? Yes! Did He come to teach Truth? Yes! Did He come to fulfill the Mosaic Law? Yes! Did He come to reveal Love? Yes! But these are secondary reasons.

 

There is only one primary reason – one primary plan – One Primary Person. To sum it up: Jesus Christ came into the world on that first Christmas to suffer and to die for you. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many. (MAR 10:45)

{to be continued}

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