Summary: The word, "nativity" comes from the Latin word meaning, "to be born". But Christmas isn't just about who was born, but also what was born. Last week we looked at how hope and peace were born when Jesus was born. Today we'll look at love and joy.
INTRODUCTION: The word, "nativity" comes from the Latin word meaning, "to be born". But Christmas isn't just about who was born, but also what was born. Last week we looked at how hope and peace were born when Jesus was born. Today we'll look at love and joy.
RECAP: Our hope was born on Christmas. The Jews had longed for the arrival of their messiah. The Jews had cried out to God, wondering when their deliverance would come. They knew the promises, they knew the prophecies and they held onto the hope of the glorious coming of that day. And then it happened, the Savior was born; hope was fulfilled. Simeon took the baby Jesus in his arms and said to God, "my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people." We, too, are waiting for our future hope; the second coming of Jesus. But it's a sure hope because we know that since hope was fulfilled when Jesus came the first time we can have confidence that it will happen again, just as Jesus promised. So, we wait in hopeful anticipation for Jesus' return so that we can be with him forever.
Our peace was born on Christmas. Jesus was called the Prince of peace. Because of our sin we are not at peace with God. We could not establish peace ourselves; we needed a peacemaker. Jesus, the sinless one, was that peacemaker. He was the only acceptable sacrifice for our sins. He died on the cross to pay our penalty; thus making peace with God through his blood. But we have to accept it; we have to put our faith in what Jesus did in order to be free. If I do there will not only be peace between me and God but also peace within myself because God's spirit lives in me. And not only will there be peace within myself, but I can also be a peacemaker for those around me. Hope and peace.
1) Love was born on Christmas Day. [video]
Disclaimer-not that love didn't exist until the day Jesus came into the world; love has always existed since God is love and therefore love has always been. But when Jesus was born it was the manifestation of God's love to us.
1st John 4:9-10, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins."
Jesus' arrival signified God's love to the world. God showed us how much he loved us when Jesus was born. God and Jesus shared this oneness that you and I can only imagine. And then it came time for the two to become separated. It's like a parent and a child who share this inseparable bond and unbelievable closeness and then the child leaves to go on this mission to a faraway place. A place where the conditions would be unbearable (comparatively speaking) Remember, we're talking the difference between heaven and earth here.
And some of the people there would be very mean to him and no one would really appreciate the unbelievable sacrifice he was making. And then, knowingly, a part of mission would include torture, crucifixion and death. And this mission would include the depth of love you once shared with each other to become the complete opposite-hatred. You would turn your back on your own son, with whom you shared unexplainable intimacy with.
Knowingly, willingly, you let him go; not for your sake-but for the sake of those who weren't going to appreciate him and for those who would hate him. But you carry it out-because that's the depth of love you have for the people of earth. So it helps to take an all familiar phrase like, "God so loved the world" and contemplate what is really involved in God showing his love by sending Jesus.
What about Jesus' love? It's true that Jesus' love was there for us too. The father let him go but Jesus had to let go too. Phil. 2 talks about Jesus making himself nothing when he took on human form and becoming a servant. When he was with the Father he was part of the Godhead; he was the master, not the servant. But now he lowered himself by taking on human form and subjected himself to subservience. That's unbelievably humble and sacrificial. To make yourself lower to the one you were completely equal to is so humble. And on top of that, to subject yourself to serving your own creation is an unmatched sacrifice. It's such a poignant display of love.