Summary: And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God.” - (Luke 1:35)
The miracle, meaning & the message of Christmas
In today's reading, our text is taken from gospel of Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke chapter 2:1-14.
The historic record of the birth of Christ can be found in the gospel of Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 2:1-20. It starts with the full description of that majestic, arrival of Jesus; He is not merely a baby in the crib. He is the only son of God. And because of that, Luke describes about this child…more than the Roman king Caesar. It is a History of God and Man. Without a doubt, Jesus is the most important figure in world history. More has been written of Him, spoken of Him, and considered of Him than of any other major character in all of recorded history. It has been said, in fact, that history is His story.
Today Christmas has become so commercialized it has lost its true meaning, so much of Christmas has been hijacked by popular cultural and transformed into something it was never meant to be. But it will be more realistic only when we understand the real meaning and significance of Christmas. Historically, Christmas commemorates the birth of Jesus Christ. Theologically, Christmas is the celebration of the incarnation of God in Jesus. Traditionally Christmas a time of wonder and joy, of generosity and peace that brings family and friends together in celebration and we observe the holy traditions that make the season captivating. Usually we are so preoccupied with the celebration that we sometimes forget the celebrant. Christ is the center of Christmas and He is the reason for the season.
The Christmas story begin nearly two thousand years ago there was born in Bethlehem of Judea, a babe whose life was destined to affect countless millions. That babe was Jesus Christ. The people among whom he was born were poor and despised, having been conquered by the Roman power. In the heart of every man was a cry for deliverance. Jesus’ first coming wasn’t exactly what the Jews expected. He was born into the most humble circumstances imaginable. It wasn’t what they were expecting, because they were expecting a king. They were expecting a king who would come in all His glory and splendor. He didn’t come that way the first time, because God’s plan was for Him to come as a suffering servant. His plan was for Jesus to provide the only perfect sacrifice by willingly offering Himself on the cross of Calvary. But that wasn’t where it ended because after three days He resurrected from the tomb. And He lives today. Jesus was resurrected that we might be resurrected. Because He lives, we have the hope that though we were dead in our trespasses and sins, we might be made to live again—victoriously and eternally. And we also have the hope that one day Jesus will return for us.
The modern English word Christmas comes from the Old English Christes Maesse (Christ Mass), the name of the service of Holy Communion that commemorates Christ's life. The earliest records mention a feast held in the Church at Alexandria, Egypt, around AD 200, to honor the Nativity. Ancient Romans also commemorated Jesus' birth by marking a division of the calendar still in use today. The years before Jesus' birth are marked as B.C. (Before Christ), and the years after Jesus' birth are marked A.D. (Anno Domini, which means, in the year of our Lord). By the end of the fourth century, almost all Christian churches had accepted the celebration. For many people around the world, Christmas is the high point of the Advent season, which honors the birth of the Son of God. It is a joyous time for many as they give thanks to God for His infinite love and mercy.
Christmas literally means the Mass (celebration) of Christ. "Christ" is a Greek word and title, meaning "anointed" or one set apart by God for a special purpose. "Christ" is equivalent to the Hebrew word "Messiah" Based on the words of ancient prophets, the first century Jewish people expected the arrival of the Messiah promised by God as a great savior of the people. Jesus also described His birth on earth as the most important "Good News," signifying that God Himself chose to come from heaven to earth to help make earth more like heaven. God became one of us in order to die for us and save us from sin, death, and the power of the devil. A mystery this profound can't be contemplated in just one day. This is why the church pauses during Advent to prepare for the Lord's coming.
The meaning of Christmas
Most of the traditional customs of Christmas, such as gift giving, tree decorating, light hanging, Santa Claus and feasting, come from diverse sources. Some see it as the greatest business time of the year which is fueled by the exchange of gifts? Others consider it the time to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Many attend church services on Christmas Eve and Christmas morning, and later gather for Christmas dinner with extended family. However Unlike any other baby, the one born that night in Bethlehem was unique in all of history. This is why Christmas is called the incarnation, a word which means “in the flesh.” In the birth of Jesus, the eternal, all-powerful and all-knowing Creator came to earth in the flesh.