Summary: Christmas is about one thing, really -reconcilliation. And, as Christ’s coming that night long ago led to the possbility of reconcilliationbetween God and man, so should our lives really be about reconcilliation - don’t you think?
A Christmas Carol
One of the fondest and most familiar distinctions about Christmas is the special music of the season. Almost everyone has a favorite Christmas carol or hymn. The majority of those chosen as number one favorite by people all over the world have the coming of the Savior, the birth of the Lord Jesus, as their theme – even for those who say that they don’t believe in Jesus Christ, don’t believe in God even.
One recent survey showed that the top fifteen favorite Christmas carols all had a Christian theme. Let me run down the titles for just the first five and you will see what I mean:
1. Silent Night
2. Oh Come All Ye Faithful
3. O Little Town of Bethlehem
4. Hark the Herald Angels Sing
5. Angels We Have Heard on High
My favorite, O Holy Night, came in at number six. I’m sure that you have a favorite, also. And, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that favorite of yours said something about Jesus, our Savior and Lord, coming to be born here on earth. I wouldn’t be surprised if it said something about how He became humble and became one of us and that it was for our benefit. And, I wouldn’t be at all surprised if that favorite Christmas carol glorified God in some way.
What does surprise me is that there are so many who fight against the mention of Jesus, the mention of Christ and CHRISTmas time when the top fifteen Christmas carols in America all mention Jesus Christ either by name or at least by Who He is!
Many scholars believe that the magnificent description of Jesus Christ found in verses Colossians 1:15-20, is an early Christian hymn that Paul is quoting. These words also comprise some of the earliest verses of the very first of all Christmas carols that have come down through the ages. The tune for this hymn has been lost in ages past, but the words remain, and they focus upon the overall supremacy of our Lord.
Here are Paul’s words:
“He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation. For by Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created through Him and for Him. He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, so that He Himself will come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
The word “firstborn” here has to do with birthright, not order of birth. Throughout history, and especially Hebrew history, the firstborn son was regarded as sacred to God and a special sacrifice was to be made if the child lived beyond the first thirty days. The firstborn has special rights, responsibilities and privileges. And, it was the firstborn of the royal household to whom the crown and the throne would be passed when the king either retired or died.
Now, there are many other significant factors that distinguish the firstborn in Sacred literature, but suffice it to say, in this context the focus is on the preeminence of Jesus Christ. What do we mean by “preeminence”? Preeminence means primacy, superiority, dominance, supremacy and incomparability. And, that pretty well summarizes Jesus Christ, wouldn’t you say?
There is a lot we could say about this text, and we probably will at a later time. For our purposes today, I want to look at verses 19-20:
“For it was the Father’s good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross; through Him, I say, whether things on earth or things in heaven.”
Jesus is not only Master and Lord of the created universe, He is Master and Lord over those who are being made new creations in Him (2 Corinthians 5:17). All the rules changed when Jesus came and was born in Bethlehem those many years ago. There is an old Christmas carol that tells this beautifully:
Let all mortal flesh keep silence,
And with fear and trembling stand;
Ponder nothing earthly minded,
For with blessing in His hand,
Christ our God to earth descendeth,
Our full homage to demand.
King of kings, yet born of Mary,
As of old on earth He stood,
Lord of lords, in human vesture,