Summary: The world today has no real conception of what Christmas really means, and much less its deeper meaning.
THE DEEPER MEANING OF CHRISTMAS
"Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)
Much of the world today has no real conception of what Christmas really means. To many, it is Santa Claus, gift-giving and partying big-time. No wonder the world insists on calling it just “another holiday.” The deeper meaning of Christmas begins with the Christ Child being born in Bethlehem; continuing with the gift of eternal life and the indwelling of Christ in our hearts; and Christians living in the continuing victory of the ever-present grace of God in our lives.
I. GOD WITH US!
Seven hundred years before the birth of Christ, Isaiah’s remarkable prophecy of our Lord’s birth was given to the people of Judah. Matthew records the message that the angel delivered unto Joseph which included a direct quotation from Isaiah 7:14. "Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." Matthew 1:23 (NKJV).
It is difficult to understand how anyone, Jew or Gentile, could doubt that Jesus, the Son of Mary, was the promised Messiah. That first Christmas in Bethlehem nearly two millennia ago should dispel all doubt for all time. John writes in his Gospel, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth. John 1:14 (NKJV). His miraculous birth, His sinless life, His atoning death and His glorious resurrection speak volumes confirming His Messiahship.
God became man so that He could dwell among us…and ultimately to die for us. He is with us today in the Person of His Holy Spirit, as He said, “and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.” (Matthew 28:20 NKJV)
II. GOD IN US!
We stand in awe as we think of the God of heaven being with us every day and in every situation of life. But the Lord doesn’t stop there! Praise His Name, He is not only WITH us but He is IN us. Paul states this truth this way; “To them God chose to make known how great among the Gentiles are the riches of the glory of this mystery, which is Christ in you, the hope of glory.” Colossians 1:27 (ESV)
God is IN us in the Person of His Holy Spirit. The precious Holy Spirit is the Spirit of the Godhead. He is called “The Spirit of God” in I Corinthians 3:16; “The Spirit of Christ” in Romans 8:9 and our Lord Jesus called Him “The Holy Spirit” clearly setting forth His unique and distinct Personhood. Paul underscores the Spirit’s great work IN us, writing, “But when the completion of the time came, God sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba, Father!” So you are no longer a slave, but a son; and if a son, then an heir through God.” Galatians 4:4-7 (HCSB)
Think of the wonder of it all…very God of very God living in our hearts bringing comfort, strength, direction, teaching, assurance, divine fellowship and healing.
III. GOD FOR US!
The declaration: “God FOR us” is our guarantee and assurance of victory in our spiritual lives. This gives us confidence in every situation and struggle in life. Napoleon is quoted as having said “God is for the side of the army that has the largest number of battalions”. God has a different take on the subject. The Word of God makes it indelibly clear that “God is FOR those who are the called according to His purpose of eternal salvation.” Paul leaves no doubt about this when he wrote to the church in Rome, “What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?” Romans 8: 31-32 (NKJV)
John, in writing to believers in general, shared this great truth; “You are from God, little children, and have overcome them (false prophets and false teachers); because greater is He who is in you than he who is in the world.” 1 John 4:4 NASB
When we awake each new day with the realization that God is WITH us, IN us, and FOR us, that day comes equipped with the assurance that all things will be working together for our good. To God be the glory. AMEN.