Summary: Describing what a really good Christmas is all about.

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Luke 2:1-14

"Have a good Christmas," the shopkeeper said. I responded in kind as I turned away with my first Christmas purchase safe in hand. But I could not help wondering, "How many people using that expression this season really know what makes a good Christmas?"

Just what is involved in a good Christmas? Store aisles crowded with eager shoppers making the registers ring with the shrill sounds of shopping success? Bank accounts and credit card limits stretched to the breaking point? Post offices overflowing with those anxious to send that last minute card or package to family or friends in faraway places? Bus and train stations, airports and highways congested with record crowds? Christmas parties resounding with ribald humour and reeking with the fumes of an alcoholic revelry? A table groaning with a load of culinary delights and Christmas goodies guaranteed to break any diet or exhaust any medicinal remedy? An annual visit to a Christmas pageant or a carol sing?

A good Christmas means much more than any of this. It must be a Christmas centered upon Jesus Christ the person whose birth is being celebrated. A Christmas focused upon the greatest of all gifts; the gift of His Son to a lost and dying world. A Christmas magnifying the meaning of the mission of the One who came as God incarnate to planet earth. A mission made crystal clear by the angel’s announcement to Joseph. "They shall call His Name Jesus, for he shall save His people from their sins." A mission with a message clearly defined by Christ Himself when He said, "The Son of man has come to seek and save those who are lost."

A good Christmas must be one that has room for Jesus. The pathos involved in the paradox of a simple innkeeper turning away the very eternal Son of God has ever intrigued those who read the Christmas story. But how sad that our sophisticated contemporary culture still seems to have no room for Jesus in the homes and affairs of a nation, even during the time set aside for His birthday celebration.

A good Christmas must be one bringing real joy and peace to the earth. Not the pseudo-peace or jocular joy that so often characterizes earthly relationships and celebrations. But the spiritual joy expressed by the angels on the night of a Savior’s birth and the spiritual peace personally experienced by those who have been justified by faith in Jesus Christ.

A good Christmas finds its full fruition in the human heart. The Saviour that was born into the world some two thousand years ago stands outside the heart’s door during this season graciously seeking admittance. The Bible says, "But as many as receive Him, to them gave He the power to become the Sons of God, even to those who believe on His Name." Those who would have a good Christmas are those who would receive the Christ of Christmas into their hearts and homes the whole year through - and eternally.

But just what can one of us do to ensure we make this season what it really should and could be for ourselves and those around us? How can we remind ourselves and others the real reason for the season? Just what does the real Christmas story tell us about what makes a good Christmas?

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