Summary: We need to be careful how we celebrate Christmas.
A father called a family conference and challenged everyone to be more disciplined in the management of their time during the busy Christmas season and to curtail excessive spending on gifts. He talked about better relations between visiting relatives and a more congenial atmosphere around their home. He brought his speech to a crescendo with his final rally cry, "Let’s make this the BEST Christmas EVER!" His little second grade son countered the big motivational speech by noting, "But dad, I don’t see how we could ever improve on the first Christmas."
We certainly can’t improve on the first Christmas, but we can improve on the way we celebrate it today. As we conclude our reflections on Christmas, I want us to turn our thoughts to how we ought to rejoice in the birth of our Savior. As we think about how we should rejoice in Christmas, let’s consider the song that the angels sang when they announced the event of our Savior’s birth:
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests."
From the song of the angels, we learn the following things about how we should go about rejoicing in Christmas:
1. Let’s Rejoice In The Greatness Of God - v. 14a
Secularists have put forth great effort in seeking to remove God from the celebration of Christmas. From judges banning nativity scenes, to retailers renaming Christmas trees "Holiday trees," to schools forbidding children from singing Christmas carols, the unbelieving world continues to make one attempt after another to remove Christ from Christmas.
But Christmas is all about God and what He has done for us in the person of Christ. He is to be at the heart of our rejoicing at Christmas. To remove God from our celebration of Christmas is to miss what Christmas is all about.
"Christmas is all about God coming to earth as a man,
so that men on earth might come to God."
In rejoicing in the greatness of God, we need to . . .
A. Rejoice In His Person - "Glory to God"
Two Texas Aggies went to Minnesota one winter to do some ice fishing. After setting up their tent, they pulled the cord on their chain saw to cut a hole in the ice. Then they heard a mysterious voice from above saying, "There are no fish under the ice."
"Is that You, God?" they asked in awe.
"No," came the reply, "but I know that there are no fish under the ice. I’m the owner of this ice-skating rink."
We may have all the "trapping" of Christmas celebration, but if our focus isn’t on God and what He has done through Christ, then our worship is just as futile as was the Aggies attempt at ice fishing.
B. Rejoice In His Position - "in the highest"
One of our favorite Christmas carols, "Joy To The World," is not just about the first coming of Christ, but also about His second coming!
Verse 1 - The first advent of Christ
1) Joy to the world! The Lord is come; let earth receive her King; let every heart prepare Him room, and heaven and nature sing.
Verse 2 - The present activity of Christ
2) Joy to the world! The Savior reigns; let men their songs employ; while fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains repeat the sounding joy.
Verses 3 & 4 - The future advent of Christ
3) No more let sins and sorrows grow, nor thorns infest the ground; He comes to make His blessings flow far as the curse is found.
4) He rules the world with truth and grace, and makes the nations prove the glories of His righteousness, and wonders of his love.
"Because of Christmas, the One who reigns up above, will one day reign here below!"
"The message of Christmas is the Christmas story. If it is false, we are doomed.
If it is true, as it must be, it makes everything else in the world all right." - Harry Reasoner, 60 Minutes
2. Let’s Rejoice In The Grace Of God - v. 14b
A little girl was overheard, after a day at church, asking her mother, "Mommy, does God believe in us?" Give that question some serious thought. Does God believe in us? He created us. He sustains us. He sent His only Son to die for us on the cross. He has entrusted us with the responsibility to spread the gospel.
The answer is "YES!" He believes that though we are sinful, we are worth redeeming. Though we are lost, we are worth finding. Though we are condemned, we are worth saving! By His grace - His unmerited favor and kindness - He has reached out to us, so that we might become all that He created us to be!