Tis the Season
A good number of Christians find themselves a bit frustrated over the way our culture has managed to contort the amazing act of God that is Christmas. The world has twisted the message angels proclaimed, into something totally void of the gift God unwrapped the night Christ was born.
Let’s focus on some points that not everyone considers, when thinking about this annual celebration.
First of all, we celebrate the birth of Jesus on the twenty-fifth of December, not because this was the actual date of the Saviors birth. On the contrary, the scripture doesn’t pin-point the exact date of His birth. Instead, we are given clues from which we can at best make an educated guess.
One thing that is a glaring hint included here…
Now there were shepherds nearby living out in the field, keeping guard over their flock at night.
Luke 2:8 (NET)
These same shepherds were the first visitors to come and witness the newborn Messiah. The first problem we have with a mid-December birth, is the fact that in this region the environmental conditions out in the open fields would not be conducive for grazing the flocks on the local hillsides.
A more ideal timeframe would have put this somewhere between April and June.
Just know that the significance of the date has much more to do with the annual renewal of a new year impending on the earth. The birth of Jesus was certainly an event of renewal, for by His grace the sin-debt of the entire world past, present, and future, was remitted.
Those who put their faith in the coming Messiah prior to His birth were afforded that grace by faith just as those who as a result of His life and death as our perfect sacrifice purchased that salvation. And all those being forgiven of that debt were given eternal life and adopted into a family, whose patriarch is none other than the GREAT I AM!
In him was life, and the life was the light of mankind. And the light shines on in the darkness, but the darkness has not mastered it.
John 1:4-5 (NET)
He came to what was his own, but his own people did not receive him. But to all who have received him – those who believe in his name – he has given the right to become Godʼs children
John 1:11-12 (NET)
The point of telling you this isn’t to disillusion you at all. The point of it is to realign any misconception about the celebration. The reality of Christmas is it should be celebrated each and every day, not just on December 25th or during the 12 days of Christmas.
God bestowed upon us a gift that constantly manifests itself in the hearts of humanity. This changed everything between God and humanity.
We merely celebrate Christmas on a particular day of the year. The reality is, what we should be celebrating on Christmas day, should be celebrated constantly. But the issue is we seldom really celebrate Christmas for what it represents to believers.
Another thing we need to be cognizant of, is while this is a celibration of new life; the birth of our Savior, the gift of the Father provides to us, means we are cleansed from all unrighteousness and are presented Holy in His sight, so we can live out eternity with Him.
It’s not just a birthday party. It is the fulfillment of the promise of the Messiah, it is the launch of a 33-year revelation of God’s love to all humanity, because of the birth of Jesus. This revelation encompasses His birth, His life, His death, His resurrection, and His ascension into heaven.
This revealed to us God’s plan of salvation for us to embrace with our faith and trust vested in His Son, Jesus the Christ, Jesus the Messiah.
The final thing to consider is, just who Jesus is. He is God in the flesh, Emanuel, “God with us!”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was fully God. The Word was with God in the beginning.
John 1:1-2 (NET)
God Himself came to be among us.
The last point I want to make here is that this revelation of the plan of salvation; the Gospel, had an end result folded into it. As Jesus ascended into heaven after his resurrection, He left with us an Advocate.
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you everything, and will cause you to remember everything I said to you.
John 14:26 (NET)
Just as Jesus is fully God, the Holy Spirit is fully God in the Spirit. Each and every believer that places their faith and hope in the grace provided by Jesus, is blessed with the presence of the Holy Spirit IN THEM.
This isn’t a varying quantity. We don’t have more of the Spirit in us at given times, but we do empower the Holy Spirits control of our being by surrender to His will and direction. The more we surrender the more His presence is evident in our lives.
If we are not seeing the Holy Spirit acting in our lives, we can be assured that it is because we have failed to surrender to him, providing him control of our lives. We do this, and it will become evident to ourselves and those around us that something is different about you. The fact is doing so, something is different in you, surrender to the Spirit allows God to direct our path.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not rely on your own understanding. Acknowledge him in all your ways, and he will make your paths straight.
Proverbs 3:5-6 (NET)
The translation I’m using uses the phrase ‘make your paths straight’ but in several other translations this is stated as ‘direct your path’. Surrender to the Holy Spirit is the very definition of ‘walking in the Spirit’.
The point here is as Jesus returned to be with the Father, He gave us something new, just as revolutionary as Him coming to live among us. Jesus coming was Emanuel, God with us. Now as he ascends into heaven, he leaves us with God living IN US!
We may not feel His presence all the time, periods of rebellion will minimize His impact in our lives. He may choose to remain quite at times to teach us important lessons. He is our councilor, our advocate with the Father, teacher and guide.
Our depth of understanding in the scripture is directly proportional to what the Spirit reveals to us.
As a result of this third point, we have cause to celebrate the gift of the Messiah, Christmas, every day we draw breath. It is more than an annual event, a birth-day. It is our constant rebirth into eternal life with God our savior. And as a result of that rebirth God’s Spirit is with us now and forever!
Like obedient children, do not comply with the evil urges you used to follow in your ignorance, but, like the Holy One who called you, become holy yourselves in all of your conduct, for it is written, “You shall be holy, because I am holy.”
1 Peter 1:14-16 (NET)
So, this isn’t the season to be jolly. It, “Tis the season to be Holy”, as God is Holy, and His Spirit lives in us. It Tis the season, because God came to walk among us as fully God and fully man, living a perfect life, giving Himself for the debt of sin we incur. Tis the season because as a direct result of this gift the season is established to celebrate, God lives in us!
In His Grace!