It’s Christmas again, all over the world people are having a great time and wishing themselves a merry Christmas, I have celebrated Christmas all my life, growing up it was a time for new clothes, Christmas parties and plays, as I grew much older it became something else, more parties, ‘fun’ and a veritable excuse for all kinds of licentious behavior. Christmas is the only birthday celebration where the supporting cast are more prominent than the celebrant, in many celebrations today Jesus would be a stranger in his own birthday party!
All that changed for me though when the Christ in Christmas became a fundamental part of my life, up until then Christmas was all about me and not Him, now it is more of Him and less of me, it was only then that Christmas began to make more sense to me.
In all the years that I made Jesus a fundamental part of my life, it has been my desire to know him and what he stood for, not in an intellectual sort of way but in a relationship manner and the more I knew him, the more I was fascinated by Him, I believe it would take eternity to really know Him, but here and now is a good place to start.
Some people wonder why we should celebrate Christmas, they say His death was more important than his birth, that sounds true until you remember that He had to be born in order to die, It was his death that gave particular significance to his birth and in His birth was the promise and hope of His death, Wonderful!
The angels celebrated his birth with these words
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
Luke 2:1-14 NIV
These angels were the first celebrants of Christmas and they point the way as to why we should celebrate the birth of Jesus, the shepherd who heard these words were befuddled, they had no idea of what the angels were talking about, but we do, after so many years and millions of documented and verified incidents we understand what the angels meant when they gave glory to God for the advent of the One who is the most celebrated and talked about person in human history.
More books have been written about Jesus than any figure in history, more schools and institutions open in his name, great acts of charity and love done in His Name. He commanded no armies, built no schools, wrote no books but today multitudes have submitted to his authority and pledged unfailing love and fealty to Him. He is Christ the Lord! He did supernatural signs, miracles and mighty healings, today history is replete with documented miracles wrought in His name, attesting to the love and favour of God just as the angels ‘prophesied’.
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
The birth of Jesus was not a religious truth alone, it was also a verifiable historical fact, see how Luke the Physician situated his birth within the context of verifiable political events of the day, a census, nobody forgets a census. Titus Flavius Josephus, born Yosef ben Matityahu, a Jewish historian actually confirms that such a census took place.
Many people celebrate a Christ that was and I did too for many years until I met with Jesus and he became a part of my life, so now I celebrate a Christ that is, a Christ I know, a Christ I love and who loves me. Jesus is not the I was, He is the I am, ever living and ever present just as He said.
He is many things to me, He is a revelation of God’s love and power, a testimony to God’s faithfulness and the integrity of His word, what do I mean? Consider that the birth of Jesus was prophesied for thousands of years until it came to pass, it gives me hope that God can be trusted to bring His word to pass and that He is able to do as he says will do.
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called. Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the increase of his government and peace there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom,
establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness
from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Isa 9:6-7 NIV
Christmas is many things and more, this is why I celebrate Christmas and why you should too and by the way, don’t forget to wish the celebrant a happy birthday and how thankful you are that He was born.
Happy birthday Jesus and merry Christmas everyone!