"CHRISTMAS IS ABOUT . . ." By Pastor YAU
Text: John 3:16 Christmas, December 25, 2005
- "Happy Holiday" or "Christmas?": For the past number of years, Christmas has been renamed "Happy Holiday." Beginning from department stores slogans "Happy Holiday" to "Holiday Trees" to "Holiday Season" instead of the traditional "Merry Christmas" on Christmas cards, plays, music and many others, people, including some marginal Christians, celebrate the festivity commemorates the birth of Christ as enjoying some long weekend holidays. If the trend of secularization of Christmas continues, our children and their children, only in a few decades, will never know what Christmas is much less the significance of it.
- The name or the meaning? For a few years, particularly this year, many fervent Christians and politicians have staged campaigns to restore the name "Christmas" to the public arena from the Capitol Hill Christmas Tree to stores that allow their employees to greed customers with "Merry Christmas." While these moves may make some Christians feel better about their faith, none of them really makes any difference in their lives much less to the lives of many lost souls. It is nothing wrong to restore Christmas as it has been for centuries, but it doesnít really do any good for the lost world for which Christ came to save.
THE COMPONENTS OF CHRISTMAS: The meaning of Christmas begins with the original components of the history of Christmas. From the most beloved, memorized and recited verse of the Bible, John 3:16, we see the all-important components that caused Christmas to exist.
- Christmas is about God: This is not just because the whole sentence of John 3:16 begins with the word "God", but it is the fact that God is the originator and initiator of all the elements that make Christmas possible. As John 3:16 tells the history of the coming of Jesus, the Son of God, if we take God away from this verse, there wonít be anything left to celebrate of. Some time I wonder how anyone could celebrate Christmas without God as the center or reason in all their activities. May be that is why many people rather call it "Happy Holidays" instead of Merry Christmas.
- Christmas is about love, Godís love: Christmas is a time to celebrate love, Godís love. The love of God compelled Him to send His Son to die while we were yet sinners as Paul said it in Romans 5:8. "And God demonstrates His own love for us in this: while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." This sacrificial love of God continues to forgive our sins as we continue to repent and ask for forgiveness for all the sins and short coming in our lives.
- Christmas is for the whole world: The love God is so big that the whole world, the ancient, the present and the future generations are all concluded as the recipients of Godís love. Regardless of race, language, education, wealth, status or any other social differences, Godís love is all reaching and covering. As Creator of all mankind, Godís love is also for all mankind without any exception.
- Christmas is about giving: Man loves to get and keep but God loves to give and give. Beautiful love stories always focus on give, mostly self giving. God loves and He gives His most precious Son to be the ransom for the sins of men. God gives not just His son for our salvation, He gives us everything we need for our daily life. It is also about the self giving of Christ that He became man and died on the cross so men may be saved. (Philippians 2:6-8)
- Christmas is time to believe: This is the only action God requires of men to receive His love. Salvation is a gift, prepared and ready for all who will believe to receive. This is not about doctrine, not about knowledge, not about how good or bad one may be. The only thing God asks of us is if we believe in Him and His love. The Bible says: "For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth you confess and are saved." (Romans 10:10)
- Christmas is about eternal life: To celebrate Christmas without having eternal life is like going to a restaurant and come out with empty stomach. God sent His Son to this world for the purpose to save the world. Paul put it so beautifully in 1Timothy 1:15, "Here is a worthy saying that deserves full acceptance: Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners." Again the Bible says. "For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord."
OUR PROPER RESPONSE AT CHRISTMAS:
- Worship God: That is what we are doing today: worshipping God at Christmas. Since God is the center of Christmas, He deserves our full attention and worship. Donít let other activities like shopping, giving, partying, traveling and all the worldly so called celebration take over the most important part of Christmas that is worshipping God.
- Share love: All men were created with the need to love and to be loved. Share your love with people God places around you: family, friends, colleagues, neighbors, people at church, etc. Be creative to find ways to show your love. Make peace with someone and give love is a very good thing to do at Christmas.
- Focus on the world: We are talking about missions, outreach and witness for Christ. So many people around you are not saved and they will die without knowing the love of God. Find a way and do something for that little world of yours and make a difference to someone.
- Give generously: I certainly understand the joy of giving at time of Christmas when we already have so much? Give to charities, to the under privilege, to the needy, to those who were wounded in protecting us, the veterans and law enforcement people. Give to the homeless, children without parents. I am so proud of your generosity in giving to the victim of recent hurricanes. Above all, give to mission causes and missionaries are truly worthy giving.
- Believe in your heart: If you still have not made that decision to believe in Jesus, the focal point of Christmas, this is the best time to do that. There is no other better time to believe Jesus as your Lord and Savior at Christmas. Trust Him with your life and see the change and meaning He will bring you for the years to come.
- Receive eternal life: The Bible says: "Give and you shall receive." (Luke 6:38) If you give your heart to Jesus, you shall receive eternal life from Him. Celebrating the birth of Jesus on earth is good, but celebrating eternal life with Jesus in heaven is much better. Make that important decision for yourself today and secure your eternal life with Him forever.
- Make this Christmas special: Is there anything you didnít do at Christmas before? Is there something you can do this year? Read John 3:16 with a new understanding and see the real meaning of Christmas. Do something to make this Christmas special.
- Make this Christmas eternal: Donít let Christmas slip through your finger as usual. Make that commitment to ask Jesus into your heart so you will have new life in Him. You will always remember this Christmas of 2005, the Christmas you receive eternal life from the most Jesus, the center of real Christmas.