THE REAL MEANING OF CHRISTMAS


“And the Word was made Flesh and dwelt among us, (and we beheld His Glory, the Glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and Truth…”  John 1:14

“For God so loved the world that He gave…”  John 3:16

Somewhere under all the hustle and hurry of this Holiday Season, there is a real meaning to Christmas.  Most of what we see, and experience is superficial and meaningless.  It must be more than spending money, buying things, decorating trees, giving gifts and feasting.  It must be more than what most people make it.  I believe we can discover the real meaning of Christmas.  What is it all about?  What does it all mean?  Why did Jesus come?

FIRST:  Christmas is all about JESUS.  It is a season to celebrate and commemorate His Birth.  It is a time to remember the Greatest Thing that ever occurred on Planet Earth.  God was Made Flesh and came into this world to dwell among us!  What a Miracle!

SECOND:  Christmas means God so loved that He gave.  God is the First and Ultimate Gift Giver.  He saw a world He loved and wanted.  He sowed His Only Son, and He reaped a Family… a Family of Sons and Daughters who are Alive with His Life and Full of His Power!

THIRD:  Christmas means that Jesus came to earth.  This message has to do with WHY He came.

Going back to the first Christmas and the 30 years that followed it brings us to a remarkable and miraculous time in Human History. 

(1) Jesus, the Promised One, came to earth in the most uncommon manner.  He was born into a poor family.  He was deprived of the privileges that Royalty usually enjoyed.  His nursery was a barn, His bed was a feed trough, and his blankets were grave clothes.  His first visitors were farm animals and poor shepherds.  He came into the world, and no one noticed!

(2) As He grew in wisdom and stature, He lived among the poor and oppressed.  He was a carpenter… He worked with His hands.  Leaders ignored Him and religious people misunderstood Him.  He was befriended by the common people… the lepers looked for Him.  The blind called for Him.  The sinful sought Him.  The demon possessed cried out to Him.  The poor and forgotten and the hurting and the helpless received Him, Believed Him, Loved Him, and Worshipped Him. 

(3) Jesus was never popular with the Religious Crowd.  He was too radical and revolutionary.  He did not think like they thought, act like they acted or talk like they talked.  He broke tradition and challenged custom.  He did not fit into their mold.  He was Different.

(4) Jesus lived a life like no man had ever lived.  He loved His enemies.  He prayed for His critics.  He forgave His tormentors.  He took time for the little children and confounded the wisest of the wise.  He worked miracles.  He stopped storms.  He healed the sick, raised the dead and cast out devils.  He fed the hungry and visited the poor.  He would not bend to the opinions of men nor seek popularity by compromising His ministry.

But these are not the real reasons He Came to Earth.  I think I know why. 

I.  JESUS CAME TO HEAL A HURTING WORLD

“For God so loved the World He gave…”  Jesus loved so much He left heaven and came to earth. 

At the time He appeared as a Babe in Bethlehem, Israel had been without a Prophet for more than five hundred years.  There had been No Word from Heaven.  No Fresh Revelation.  No Holy Ghost Visitation.  There was No Vision and No Visitation.  Human hearts were stricken with barrenness and emptiness.  God seemed to be gone and heaven appeared to be brass.  Prayers were prayed in vain, and religion had lost its life.  Spiritual Desperation had swept over Israel.

Godly people were at the mercy of a Political Monster.  Rome was in power, and Caesar was their god.  Humanistic philosophers and unbridled immorality ruled.  The Roman Army was cruel, savage, and merciless.  Poor people were the pawns of injustice, slavery, oppression, and fear. 

The sick remained sick until they died.  The lame remained crippled, and the blind remained sightless.  The bruised and broken and found NO ANSWER.  People were hurting and hearts were crying.  Jesus came to HEAL and HURTING WORLD.

TODAY the world is hurting.  Some of you are hurting.  This is not a time of “great joy” and “celebration” it is a time of heaviness, sadness, grief, and despondency.  Some of you are bruised and wounded and lonely and forgotten.  Sin and satan have taken their toll and despair has set in.  Suicide seems logical and quitting is easier than coping.  All the lightheartedness and celebration only send you deeper into despair.  I have news for you GOOD NEWS!  Jesus came to HEAL YOUR HURT!  He is more than a BABE in a MANGER…  HE IS THE LORD GOD WHO REIGNETH FOREVER!  He is here NOW to WORK ON YOUR HEART!

II. JESUS CAME TO BREAK THE SHACKLES OF DEAD RELIGION

At the time of His Birth, Religion had a strangle-hold on the People of God.  It had become their god and it had hidden the One True God.  The Law had become a merciless taskmaster and fear and condemnation had set in.  The Law of Moses had been added to and no less than 613 separate Rigid Rules and Regulations had been imposed on innocent people.  Jesus said of this system:  “They bind heavy burdens and grievous to be born, and lay them on men’s shoulders…” 

Religion is what is the matter with the world!  In the name of God religion is killing and slaughtering and murdering in Lebanon, in Iran, in Central and South America.  It is building walls and barriers and it divides and separates men from each other and from God.  It is worshipped in the place of God, and it is served in the place of Jesus.  It has caused deception and it has given place to the devil.  Millions are religious and are religiously going to hell.  Religion Binds… Jesus sets Free!  Religion kills… Jesus gives Life!  Religion separates…. Jesus Reconciles!

Even today, men are known by Religious Titles and Religious Names.  Some are Fundamentalists and Liberals and Moderates… others are Charismatics and non-Charismatics… still others are denominational and non-denominational…. then we have the Catholics and the Protestants…  then the Jews and Pentecostals and Dispensationalists.   Jesus makes us ONE.  When He is declared LORD, we become HIS BODY!  No matter what nationality, race, creed, religion, or color!  Hallelujah! 

Jesus sets men free from the shackles of dead religion.  When He died, the Veil of the Temple was torn from the TOP to the BOTTOM and God Got Out!  “I’m so Glad Jesus set me free… satan had me bound, but Jesus set me free!”

III.  JESUS CAME TO REVEAL GOD TO THE WORLD

His birth answered the question once and for all:  “What is God really like?”

He told those around Him:  “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father…”  Jesus Condescended…. made Himself of “no reputation” and took on the “form of a servant and was made in the likeness of men”  and was “found in fashion as a man…”  Jesus wants the World to Know how WONDERFUL GOD REALLY IS!  He reveals His Nature and shows forth His Glory.  He is LOVE and He is Loving.  He is Kind and Just and Compassionate.  He is Strong and yet Gentle.  He is Truth and He is Life.  He is Powerful and Authorative.  He is a Giver and not a taker.  He is a Healer and not a bearer of sickness.  He is a Multiplier and not a Divider!  He is Abundance and not lack!  If you want to Know God, you will have to first Know Jesus!  “No man cometh unto the Father except by me…” 

Jesus “emptied” Himself of His God-Qualities and His God-Characteristics and came to earth to show us how Wonderful God really is!

IV.  JESUS CAME TO STOP THE  devil.

“For this purpose the Son of God was manifested (born), that He might destroy the works of the devil…”  I John 3:8

The devil has three purposes:  (1) to kill  (2) to steal and (3) to destroy.  Jesus has stopped him in all three counts!  Jesus came to give us Life and to give it to us MORE ABUNDANTLY.  Where satan kills, steals, destroys, makes sick, gives diseases, breaks up homes and marriages and takes away strength and happiness… where he enslaves, binds, and restrains….  JESUS CAME to STOP what the devil does.  He has delivered us from the hand of the enemy and set us free from the snare of sin.  satan is defeated and hell is conquered. 

Jesus… the Babe of Bethlehem  is now the LION of the TRIBE of JUDAH!  Get into the real meaning of Christmas… Understand it is more than trees and tinsel and flashing lights… more than gifts and Santa Claus… more than hilarity and revelry…. IT IS GOD’S GIFT TO THE WORLD! 

JESUS IS GOD’S PRESENT TO YOU TODAY  

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