Tis the season! Christmas 2013. It’s just 10 days away!
Who’s ready for it? Are you getting in the Christmas spirit?
Let me ask you a question. What factors come into play determining your degree of Christmas spirit each year? Perhaps it’s money, or lack thereof. The proximity of family and friends might play a part. How about your pace of life?
Been stressed lately? That can clearly be a variable. Or perhaps, sadly, the absence of someone very special this year has cast a melancholy shadow over your otherwise bright holiday.
Did you know that as Christians living in Solano County, we should have the Christmas spirit all year long?
God’s Word gives us the clearest answer.
The Apostle Paul wrote, “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” (2 Corinthians 8:9)
Some might read this verse and say, “Jesus became poor so that I might become rich. Let me show you my bank statement. I am anything but rich!”
What Paul is saying is that no one so great and mighty ever intentionally put so much aside and left so much behind, placing themselves in a place of such lowly and dangerous destitution to accomplish something so wonderful as Jesus did that very first Christmas. In other words, Christmas is a picture of 2 Corinthians 8:9!
In Bethlehem’s manger, we see the wealthiest, mightiest, most majestic and powerful personality in the entire universe, laying all of His privileges to those things aside to accomplish something mysteriously and miraculously wonderful – our redemption and return to God – a relationship sin had long broken.
The rich became poor.
Majesty in straw.
The Monarch of all monarchs – squirming in an animal feed trough, with a nervous first-time parents hovering above Him.
Think about it.
Earlier this summer, little Prince George was born across the pond – the highly celebrated and anticipated first child and heir of Prince William and Princess Katherine. He was born in the bright spotlight of high international interest in the very same high-tech hospital his father was born some 31 years earlier – the very best of obstetric, neonatal and pediatric support. Headlines worldwide broadcasted the news. Parties were thrown. Bets were made. Dignitaries scrambled and sent gifts. Magazines auctioned for the first images of the newest royal.
Now rewind 2,000 years!
Here was ‘Immanuel’ – God with us – visiting the planet He created, and more animals than humans witnessed His birth. The dignitaries? Lowly, unrefined, marginalized field workers – shepherds. The labor and delivery room? A crude drafty stable. “Though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor.”
Friends, this is what Christmas is all about!
It’s not about Bing’s “White Christmas,”cash registers ringing, sun-faded front yard Nativity scenes or packed mall parking lots. It’s not even about Santa Claus. It’s about Jesus Christ! It’s always been about Jesus.
So back to an earlier statement.
Why should we as Christians have Christmas spirit 365 days a year? The answer is simple. Through Jesus Christ – we have hope! Of all the people on the planet – as Christians – we live in the humbling awareness and reality of hope – real God-given hope!
Hope of what?
Hope of pardon and hope of peace with God!
Do you have peace with God this Christmas?
Here’s a part many miss. You can’t have the peace of God without having peace with God.
In conclusion, because of the Father’s will, His unconditional love and amazing grace, Jesus Christ became poor and was born in a stable, so that 30 years later, He might hang on a Cross – so that you and I could have exclusively in Him a hope of pardon and a hope of peace with God. This is the true Christmas story. It is the reason we can live in the spirit of Christmas every day of the week, every week of the year, year after year. Friends, this is the most wonderful message and the most beautiful invitation that the world has ever heard, or, will ever hear.
Steve Kiefer is the lead pastor at the First Christian Church in Suisun City. He can be reached at www.1stchristianchurch.org.