Does the birth of Jesus actually make any difference in our lives today, right here and now in our present circumstances? Yes, it does! When Jesus came into the world, He was “God with us”, and because God is with us, every moment of our lives is radically different. Because of His abiding presence, we can face the confusing, troubling situations of life without fear, knowing that He will never leave us or forsake us.
Matthew begins his gospel by listing the genealogy of Jesus, and he includes people in that list who did some very evil things. Why would Matthew want to highlight the dirt instead of sweeping it under the rug? Because he wanted us to know that the forgiveness Christ came to bring is available to everyone, regardless of their past. Have you ever brought your past to Jesus, or are you still carrying it all by yourself?
Look at the news headlines any day of the week and you’ll see a world filled with terrorism, war, hatred, violence and fear. Yet sometimes the worst kind of turmoil and unrest can be found in our own lives! We say we’re saved, but we have no peace in our heart. Isaiah promised that Christ would be our Prince of Peace. Do you truly have His peace today?
The birth of Jesus would have been very different if you and I had arranged the details. We would have chosen a better place for Him to be born instead of an unsanitary stable. We might have chosen a different time in history, a different city, even different parents. But God knew exactly what He was doing when He chose such lowly circumstances, and our lives are forever changed because of it.
In the deepest part of our hearts, we all long to find endless love. Songs and books have been written about it, movies have been made about it, and yet none of us have ever known a perfect, unbroken endless love from another person. But the Bible tells us about a love that will never come to an end, not even when we die. Have you ever received this gift of everlasting love?
Exactly who was that baby born in Bethlehem? Was He really sent from heaven, or was He just an ordinary man, and what difference does it make either way? The Bible calls Him the Mighty God. If that’s true, then the consequences for not believing in Him are enormous! What decision have you made about that baby in the manger?
The stress of our daily lives and the uncertainties of the world in which we live can leave us filled with fear and despair, and even the best counselors will admit they don’t have all the answers. But Jesus, whose birth we celebrate at Christmas, was called the Wonderful Counselor. He not only cares about all our troubles, but He knows exactly what to do about them because He is the very embodiment of wisdom and knowledge. Have you talked with this Wonderful Counselor lately?
When Jesus was born 2,000 years ago, people reacted in very different ways to Him. Some were threatened by Him, like King Herod. Others, like Simeon, welcomed His arrival. And Jesus still evokes the same two responses today. People either reject Him or receive Him, and which one you choose will make all the difference in your life. How have you responded to Jesus?
Why would the King of heaven choose to enter the world in such lowly circumstances; born in a stable to an unwed teenage mother, welcomed only by shepherds who were among the lowest people in society? Because Jesus came to be a Savior for all people… for ALL people… and that includes you! This Christmas, rejoice in knowing that His love extends to all those who are willing to receive Him.
As we rush all over town preparing for Christmas, have we ever stopped to consider all that God did to prepare mankind for the coming of His Son into the world that first Christmas so long ago? The lengths God went to may surprise you, but even after all that, most people still rejected Him. What about you? In all your preparations for Christmas, have you prepared your own heart to receive Him?
What is the greatest need in the world today? Is it a stronger economy, better government, less war? While those things are important, they pale in comparison to man’s greatest need, and that need was met in the One who came that very first Christmas so long ago. That Baby in the manger was the Savior of the world who came to forgive our sins and restore our broken relationship with God. Have you ever recognized your need for Christmas?
When we were children, most of us had things handed down to us. Perhaps we had clothes from an older sibling handed down to us, or toys they had outgrown. That first Christmas 2,000 years ago truly was a hand-me-down Christmas. God handed down His Son to a sinful world. Jesus humbled Himself and was made a little lower than the angels in order to come and save us. This Christmas, you may receive all the gifts you’ve ever wanted, but have you ever received the one Gift you really need?