A few days ago I was fortunate enough to have the opportunity to give a Christmas devotional during our young adult Christmas dinner. I would also like to take this time to share it with you as well. It is a bit longer than my usual articles, but worth the time. I hope you enjoy it:
This time of year, this season, we set aside as a very special occasion. Families and friends gather together and celebrate. It is a time of joy, celebration, and charity. This is the time we celebrate the birth of our Savior:
Luke:2:4: And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
Luke:2:6: And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
Luke:2:7: And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Here we find that Jesus was born in Bethlehem. This, as with all other things, was by design, and not accident. Bethlehem literally means “house of bread”. Jesus became that manna, that bread which came down from Heaven to be born in Bethlehem.
Lu:2:10: And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Lu:2:11: For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
Good tidings of great joy; What greater joy do we know than salvation? Not only for those who were able to see the baby wrapped in swaddling clothes, laying in a manger, but to all people. We have that joy, and it is still available to all that will hear and accept Him.
Matthew:1:22: Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying,
Matthew:1:23: Behold, a virgin shall be with child, and shall bring forth a son, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.
Not only did the King of Glory come down from His throne, that He would dwell among us, He remains with us today, in His Word and in the Spirit. He is still Emmanuel, God with us. He is the Reason for the season and our gathering together tonight.
For just a few more minutes, let us look at the Gift received then, and the Gift that yet awaits.
Luke:2:25: And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him.
Luke:2:26: And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.
Luke:2:27: And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law,
Luke:2:28: Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said,
Luke:2:29: Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word:
Luke:2:30: For mine eyes have seen thy salvation,
Luke:2:31: Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people;
Luke:2:32: A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.
Here we read about a man named Simeon. We see first that he was led by the Spirit to the Lord, Jesus Christ. Just as it was then, it remains so today. How precious is that moment when his eyes beheld Salvation, and our Spiritual eyes also found the beauty of the cross? This was done openly and not only for the Jews, but for us, the gentiles as well. In Matthew we read another account of finding the Savior:
Matthew:2:7: Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
Matthew:2:8: And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
Matthew:2:9: When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
Matthew:2:10: When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
Matthew:2:11: And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense, and myrrh.
The wise men were sent to search diligently. That is to search with purpose. They went seeking and they did find. When they found, they rejoiced with exceeding joy. Do you still remember that joy the moment you too found the Savior? Not only did they rejoice, but they took from their own treasures and gave from them gifts. Today we too rejoice in fellowship with the Savior, we are rewarded in diligently seeking our Savior, and we too offer gifts of ourselves unto Him. Just as they followed a star to find the child Christ, we too follow that bright and morning star, which is Christ. This is the gift which was received then and now.
And finally, the Gift which awaits. Our King ,which came from glory and perfection, which went from riches to rags and took upon Himself our shame. He paid our debt and washed us clean by His precious blood. He did all this by the work He accomplished here in the flesh, that we could have the promise of eternal life. Romans and Ephesians say it like this:
Romans:6:23: For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.
Ephesians:2:7: That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.
Ephesians:2:8: For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:
Ephesians:2:9: Not of works, lest any man should boast.
We await eternal life. We await that mansion prepared in glory. As much as we wait to inherit these things, our Gift, Jesus Christ, also waits.
John:14:2: In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you.
John:14:3: And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also.
Our Lord awaits at the right hand of the Father for that moment He will be able to receive us unto Himself. Jesus, our Gift from God, awaits. As Christmas approaches, keep in mind that we have the ability by the Spirit of God and the witness of our testimony to reach out to the lost and lead them to the same Gift from God we have already accepted. Let us continue to praise and give Jesus thanks for this season and every day for those gifts received and those yet to come.