Summary: Today we will examine the Scriptures and see how the first Christmas was observed and I hope we will walk away with six principals we can apply in our lives as we seek to celebrate the birth of the Savior this year.
How do you celebrate Christmas? How did you observe this holiday last year?
Did you purchase presents for your loved-ones? Did you serve dinner in your home or were invited to a friend or family member’s home for dinner? Did you attend a church service?
Now someone at this point may be thinking, “Oh no! He’s about to make me feel guilty about the way I celebrate Christmas.”
Well, if there is any guilt to be felt, I hope it is as a result of the Holy Spirit dealing with your heart.
Many of us profess to be Christians. As Christians we desire to be like Christ. As Christians we should be endeavoring to conform to the Word of God.
The world is evil and it is anti-God. As Christians, our prayer should be as David’s prayer:
(Psa 27:11 KJV) Teach me thy way, O LORD, and lead me in a plain path, because of mine enemies.
Upon reading the Christmas narrative in the Scripture, we will discover how the anticipated birth of Christ was researched, studied and discussed. When that wonderful day came, many were eyewitnesses of the Christ-child.
Luke 2:15-16 tells us, “So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger.”
If one were to take this data and contrast it with how people, even professing Christians, celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ today, they would have no choice but to conclude we were far from commemorating the same event that is recorded in the Bible.
It is like coming home from work or school on your birthday finding the front and sides of your house decorated with the words, “Happy Birthday!” You walk in to find your family all assembled together some eating, some talking, others watching the ball game.
You look on the table and see what’s left of a birthday cake. You scan the room and see opened gifts among the shreds of wrapping paper, bows and ribbons.
Someone looks up, and you, the “birthday boy” or “birthday girl” hope for some kind of acknowledgement. They open their mouth and holler across the room, “Is there anymore ice cream left?”
How sad, that in a similar manner, many will “celebrate” Christmas this December 25th without even acknowledging Jesus Christ whose birthday it is.
Through the month of December we will be focusing on Jesus in our preaching and teaching. However, for today we will examine the Scriptures and see how the first Christmas was observed and I hope we will walk away with six principals we can apply in our lives as we seek to celebrate the birth of the Savior this year.
1.) A Great Expectation
Around 722 years before Jesus was born a prophet foretold of the Messiah’s coming:
(Micah 5:2 NKJV) "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Though you are little among the thousands of Judah, Yet out of you shall come forth to Me The One to be Ruler in Israel, Whose goings forth are from of old, From everlasting."
About 716 years before Christ was born the prophet Isaiah penned the following words:
(Isa 9:6 NKJV) For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
(Isa 9:7 NKJV) Of the increase of His government and peace There will be no end, Upon the throne of David and over His kingdom, To order it and establish it with judgment and justice From that time forward, even forever. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will perform this.
Almost right away from the reading of these verses you can see that this was no ordinary man. Micah writes that His “goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
Isaiah writes that “the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
This was no ordinary man for the Bible says, “…there will be no end to the increase of His government and peace.” Have we ever in the history of this planet had an eternal government and eternal peace?
There was a great expectation for the coming of the Messiah. Some 800 years before His birth, the Prophets wrote about His coming. But amazing as this is, the Scripture records an earlier prophecy.
In the days of the creation of the first man, a great expectation was created in the hearts of those who would become followers of the Lord.