Summary: Thoughts on Christmas from 2 Corinthians 8:9.
Christmas is a big deal! It is estimated that each year in this country, Americans use 28,497,464 rolls and sheets of wrapping paper, 16,826,362 packages of tags and bows, 372,430,684 greeting cards, and 35,200,000 Christmas trees during the Christmas season (Garbage magazine).
Yet, despite the popularity of Christmas, the true reason for the season continues to be obscured as the world insists on trying to keep Christ out of Christmas.
Two women who were having lunch in an elegant hotel were approached by a mutual friend who asked the occasion for the meal. One lady replied, “We are celebrating the birth of my baby boy.” “But where is he?” inquired the friend. “Oh,” said the mother, “you didn’t think I’d bring him with me, did you?” What a picture of the way the world treats Jesus at Christmas.
“To avoid offending anybody, the school has dropped religion altogether and started singing about the weather. At my son’s school, they now hold the winter program in February and sing increasingly non-memorable songs such as “Winter Wonderland,” “Frosty the Snowman” and - this is a real song - “Suzy Snowflake,” all of which is pretty funny because we live in Miami. A visitor from another planet would assume that the children belonged to the Church of Meteorology.” - Dave Barry, Syndicated Columnist
A little boy and girl were singing their favorite Christmas carol in church the Sunday before Christmas. The boy concluded “Silent Night” with the words, “Sleep in heavenly beans.” “No,” his sister corrected, “not beans, peas.”
Indeed, we now live in a time when multitudes of Americans simply have no clue as to the real meaning of Christmas. That’s why we, as Christians, must remind ourselves and the world of what Christmas is really all about.
In one verse, the apostle Paul shares with us the essence of Christmas. Let’s give consideration to what he tells us in this verse. Paul reminds us of the person of Christmas - the Lord Jesus Christ.
A. The person of Christmas is Lord.
The Greek word here is “kurios.” It’s Hebrew counterpart is “adonai,” the word substituted each time a Jewish scholar came upon “Yahweh,” or “Jehovah” (two possible pronunciations of the same name) the name that God referred to Himself by when speaking to Moses Exodus 3:14). A name considered so sacred that the Jews dare not pronounce it when reading the Scriptures. In other words, when Paul refers to Jesus Christ as “Lord,” he is referring to Him as God. In referring to the person of Christmas as “Lord,” Paul emphasizes His divinity!
In the Old Testament, the name “Yahweh,” or “Jehovah” was often tied to a revelation about God’s character. There is Jehovah Jireh: “The Lord will provide,” (Genesis 22:14); Jehovah Nissi: “The Lord is my Banner,” (Exodus 17:15); Jehovah Shalom: “The Lord our Peace,” (Judges 6:24); Jehovah Maccaddeshcem: “The Lord your Sanctifier,” (Exodus 31:13); Jehovah Ro’I: “The Lord my Shepherd,” (Psalm 23:1); Jehovah Tsidkenu: “The Lord our righteousness” (Jeremiah 23:6); Jehovah Shammah, “The Lord is there,” (Ezekiel 48:35).
Paul is telling us that the person of Christmas, the LORD Jesus Christ, is the same God who revealed Himself in the Old Testament to be the Lord who will provide; the Lord who is our banner of victory; the Lord who is our peace; the Lord who is our sanctifier; the Lord who is our shepherd; the Lord who is our righteousness; and the Lord who is there for us! Indeed, an understanding of the character of God as revealed by His name tells us what He desires to be to us!
But mankind had a problem which kept this wonderful relationship with God from being a reality, the problem of sin. Which is why the person of Christmas has yet another title. His is not only Lord, but . . .
B. The person of Christmas is Jesus.
The name “Jesus” is the Greek version of the Hebrew name “Joshua,” which means, “Savior.” Indeed, this is the very reason the angel gave to Joseph for naming the child “Jesus” -
“ . . . you shall call His name Jesus [the Greek form of the Hebrew Joshua, which means Savior], for He will save His people from their sins . . .” - Matthew 1:21 (Amplified)
One cannot rescue someone and remain where they are. When the heroes of 911 rescued people from the twin towers, they couldn’t remain outside. They had to go inside, where the people in need of saving were. That’s what God did in the person of Jesus.
“Jesus” was a common name back then. Much like “Paul” or “David” or even “Joshua” is today. The fact that the Jesus was given a common name emphasizes His humanity. But the meaning of this common name signified that He had come for an uncommon purpose, which He fulfilled through ending His life on a cross, paying the penalty for the sins of the world!