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Remember Why

Here we are again. It is the time of year when the world around us turns red and green. Bright, flashy lights shine everywhere we turn our heads. Music that only comes out during this festive time is blaring through every speaker in every store and small shop we walk into. Television networks are bringing out some favorite classic movies and some new movies that have never been seen before and special programs are slated for the rest of the year.

However, not everyone is merry and bright this time of year. For some people, this time of year is a reflection of times past. Times when they were hurt, abandoned, or abused. This is the time of year when they were subjected to family members who may have been the cause of the pain and suffering, they still endure to this day.

For others, this time of year brings back good, yet painful, memories of yesteryear when families would gather. Times when they would get to see cousins and uncles and aunts who lived afar off who only came together during the holidays. But now that grandma and grandpa are no longer with them those traditions have been lost.

Still others are trying to cope with the loss that this past year has brought, and they are trying to navigate the first holidays without a special loved-one in their life.

The truth is, there are many reasons why a person may not feel happy during this time of year. We may never know what those reasons are, or we may be one of the ones chosen to help them through their pain. Whatever the case may be, there is something that we need to remember this holiday season.

We need to remember why we celebrate this season in the first place.

I want you to ask yourself a question and give a real, honest answer.

How do you celebrate Christmas?

Is your celebration a gathering of family?

Do you get together with close friends and reminisce?

Does your workplace have a party or gift exchange?

Do you go out of your way to make the season especially great for someone else?

There are so many things that we can do during this time of year, but one of the biggest things that we should be doing often gets overlooked because of all of the things we are doing. No matter what you are doing to celebrate Christmas this year, you should never forget why we celebrate Christmas.

This is the time of year that the church has set aside to celebrate the incarnation of the second person of the Godhead. This is the time of year that we have set aside so that we can celebrate the miraculous birth of a Child who did not have to come, but did. Of course, I am talking about Jesus.

Before people get too religious minded on me, yes, I am well aware that Jesus was not born on December 25. I am also well aware that we have no idea what day He was actually born. It could have been sometime during the Summer or early Autumn. What we do know is that He was born, in Bethlehem, to a virgin girl, as it was foretold by the prophets of the Old Testament.

But Christmas is not just about the birth of a Baby. It is about who that Baby was, is, and always will be.

Genesis 3:14-15 (ESV)  The LORD God said to the serpent, “Because you have done this, cursed are you above all livestock and above all beasts of the field; on your belly you shall go, and dust you shall eat all the days of your life. I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel.” 

Isaiah 7:14 (ESV)  Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel. 

Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)  For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 

Jeremiah 23:5-6 (ESV)  “Behold, the days are coming, declares the LORD, when I will raise up for David a righteous Branch, and he shall reign as king and deal wisely, and shall execute justice and righteousness in the land. In his days Judah will be saved, and Israel will dwell securely. And this is the name by which he will be called: ‘The LORD is our righteousness.’ 

Micah 5:2 (ESV)  But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days. 

That Baby, born in Bethlehem, whose birth we celebrate during this time of year, is the fulfillment of prophecy. He is the Messiah given to Israel, even though they, for the most part, rejected Him at His first coming. He is the Son of the Living God.

Why do we celebrate the birth of a Baby?

We celebrate the birth of a Baby because that Baby laid down His life so that we could become the sons and daughters of God. We celebrate the birth because of the life, death, burial, and resurrection. Without the birth of Jesus, none of the rest of what He did would have been possible. Yes, He could have still come to earth and taught the same people, but He would not have been able to die for the sins of others.

Jesus had to come through the natural means of being birthed into our world so that He could die. It was the purpose for which He was made human. If He had come in the fulness of His deity, then the Sanhedrin and the Roman soldiers would not have been able to beat Him, much less crucify His body.

However, Jesus did come to us as a man. He was fully man and fully God at the same time. This is something that we really do not understand but we believe it by faith. We believe that Jesus was just as much human as you and I are, while at the same time He was just as much God as the Father and Holy Spirit. This is the only way His sacrifice would have been acceptable to God.

So, this Christmas I would like to issue a challenge to everyone. Somewhere in the midst of all the hustle and bustle of this time of year, take time to remember why we celebrate. Take time to remember that Jesus came to us, the King of Kings born in a barn; the Lord of Lords made a lowly Child so that we may become sons and daughters of the Most High God.

For a little time, put away the Bing Crosby, Elvis Presley, Alvin and the Chipmunks, and whoever else you might listen to singing Christmas favorites and pull out a hymn book, turn to those pages that are usually in either the front or the back that has songs like “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing,” “Joy to the World,” “Away in a Manger,” and other songs that worship and tell of who Jesus is. Bring the family together and sing those old songs. Break out the Bible and read Luke 2:1-40 and Matthew 1:18-25. Read the prophecies of the coming Messiah to remind yourself why Jesus came.

As we remember why we celebrate this time of year, may we also remember those who are not feeling up to celebrating. Pray for those who have lost family members and are going through their first Christmas without them. Be active in the community, whenever possible, and share the love of Jesus Christ, and the hope that He brings.

More than anything else, let your light shine before others so they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven. The best lights at Christmas time are those that come from the children of God being the hands and feet of the body, reaching out and loving those who do not feel worthy of any kind of love. Go out and be that light in your family, church, workplace, community, city, or wherever you may be.

Always remember why we celebrate and share why with others.

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