Summary: Today our Christmas traditions have evolved from the different ways Christmas is celebrated around the world. Immigrants have brought their customs with them, and as a result we have a great diversity of customs, traditions, and fantasy’s that obscures t
Let Us Go to Bethlehem and Find the Faith of Christmas
It is hard to imagine not celebrating Christmas, yet during the infancy of America Christmas was banned and for a time, and even illegal.
How did we get to where we are now?
Christmas evolved out of the old Roman festival of Saturnalia. It was a midwinter feast and celebration of the sun. Held on the last day, 25 December, when the feast of Mithras was held. Mithras ("the sun of righteousness") was a Persian god whose cult was adopted by the Romans.
At first the early church was mainly concerned with the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus.
Then with the conversion of Emperor Constantine in the 4th century, Rome became a Christian country, and since Rome was trying to reach a largely unconverted population, it renamed this pagan festival and substituted it with Christian one.
Today our Christmas traditions have evolved from the different ways Christmas is celebrated around the world. Immigrants have brought their customs with them, and as a result we have a great diversity of customs, traditions, and fantasy’s that obscures the sacred truth of Jesus birth.
1. Today we have a great need to rediscover the truth through faith.
2. Today we need to go to Bethlehem and find the faith of Christmas; we need to discover the real truth about this special blessed event between God and mankind.
a. Faith sees the invisible, believes the improbable, and understands the incomprehensible.
b. Faith unlocks the significance of Jesus birth.
c. Faith enables Jesus birth, to enable our rebirth.
d. Faith in the Christ child gives us hope, it uplifts because of the love of God which was embodied in a manger.
Let’s look at the faith of some very important key persons of Christmas
1. God is Faithful to his promise to be with us
A common theme in the Bible, from cover to cover, is that God is faithful when his people are unfaithful.
Time and time again, despite humanity’s repeated wanderings and rebellion, God demonstrates his heart to forgive and lead his people, even when they choose to leave him.
God is faithful; by him you were called into the fellowship of his Son, Jesus Christ our Lord.
God was faithful in bringing the plan of redemption through the Christ Child.
2. The faith of Mary’s
Unlike Zacharias, Mary had faith that God would do what He promised. She asked, "How shall this be?" and not "How can this be?"
Mary’s response reveals her humility and honesty before God
She experienced the grace of God (Luke 1:30) and believed the Word of God, and therefore she could be used by the Spirit to accomplish the will of God.
Mary’s believing response was to surrender herself to God as His willing servant.
Luke 1:38 KJV
38 And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her.
A "handmaid" was the lowest kind of female servant, which shows how much Mary trusted God. She belonged totally to the Lord, body (Luke 1:38), soul (Luke 1:46), and spirit (Luke 1:47). What an example for us to follow! (Rom 12:1-2)
Mary’s example teaches us to receive the word of God.
Mary’s Faith meant handing over to God the total control of her life. A resignation to the will of God, and of faith in the promise.
Mary’s experience in the stable shows us that even in the most unfamiliar and uncomfortable situations, God can be present and at work.
Mary’s Faith enabled God to be revealed, a sign of hope to all of mankind
3. The faith of Joseph
The Jewish law held espousal or engagement to be as binding as marriage. The wedding was merely a recognition of the agreement that had already been established.
Because he was a faithful man, Joseph wanted to protect Mary from public shame and disgrace. If Mary was exposed, the law of the day would have been to stone her for her perceived sin.
Because he was a faithful man, Joseph faith demonstrated qualities of mercy, compassion, and kindness when he wanted to protect her.
Because he was a faithful man, Joseph believed God’s message in the dream. His love for God and for Mary made him willing to "bear reproach" for Christ.
Because he was a faithful man, Joseph was given a great honor even through he was a man of small estate.
Because he was a faithful man, Joseph was used in a way he could not imagine the consequences.
Many times we may think our lives are of no consequence, but in reality God just might be using our lives in a way we don’t readily see. All because we have faith in the birth of Jesus