Summary: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:14
The Purpose, power & the Peace of Christmas
In today's reading, our text is taken from gospel of Luke chapter 2:1-35, we read about one of the most moving episode in the Human History. There is only one unique person ever in the world who called Himself “the Truth”, “the Way,” and “the Life” and He is the Alpha & Omega, the greatest of all the prophets, the mightiest of all the mighty, the Savior of the world, God incarnate.
The Purpose of Christmas
The origin and purpose of Christmas is presented beautifully in the Biblical account of Gospel of Luke. In those days the Roman emperor Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. This meant that families had to register in their historical tribal town rather than where they lived. So Joseph and the very pregnant Mary would have had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem, as this was town that Joseph's family, originally came from - a journey of about 112 kilometers. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
The world knew not of his birth. Work went on as usual. Nothing outwardly heralded his advent into the world. Only heaven appeared to be interested. In fact, God has to arrange a welcome himself, and so legions of angels circled the skies and heralded His birth. Wise men from the East, studying the stars, and observing an unusual phenomenon in the heavens, came with their gifts from afar. Shepherds bowed in adoration and worship. Rulers learned of his birth and became fearful and afraid. Anger filled their hearts. Murder was conceived and executed. Fearful of losing their power, they sought His death by every possible means. Every diabolical plan that satanic ingenuity could devise was used to destroy him. Demons trembled. Satan became enraged. All hell was allied against Him. But God was watching and He lived in spite of all.
The entrance of Jesus into the Earth was fascinating! Fulfilling prophecy, having gifts brought from afar, having local shepherd men honor Him, having a king attempt to assassinate Him and fleeing to Egypt in the middle of the night were a few signs that hint at the importance of this child. Jesus has come to earth, the Almighty has entered our world, the infinite has become finite, and the eternal has invaded time. He did not come to a palace with marble halls and carpeted stairs. No luxurious bed chamber was prepared for His birth. Cathedral bells failed to toll; bands were silent; no royal choruses burst forth in song. Only the music of Heaven was heard. Mary wrapped Jesus in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Lord Jesus came to a stable, and was laid in a manger. His mother had only the straw for a bed and animals were her companions. He was born into the most humble circumstances imaginable.
There is a verse that sums up the real purpose of Christmas better than any other verse in the Bible. And here is the verse—2 Corinthians 8:9 “For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that you through his poverty might become rich.” The whole story of Christmas is in that verse. It sums up the great truth behind a baby’s birth. Theologians call it the Incarnation–God in human flesh. The Bible calls him Immanuel–God with us. A generation ago C. S. Lewis put this doctrine in its proper perspective: “The central miracle asserted by Christians is the Incarnation. They say that God became Man. Every other miracle prepares the way for this, or results from this.” God has come down to us in the person of Jesus. He left heaven to make his home among us, to reveal God to us, to show us the true nature of the Father.
In him we see God’s love.
In him we see God’s mercy.
In him we see God’s kindness.
In him we see God’s justice.
In him we see God’s holiness.
In him we see God’s Redemption.
He came to us full of grace and truth, He is the Savior, he is the Lord, and he is the Christ—the one sent from God. This is the heart of Christmas. God loved us enough to send his only begotten Son. This is the marvelous truth of Christmas—Immanuel—God with us.
The Power of Christmas
How does one explain the Almighty stooping to become a tiny infant? Our minds cannot begin to understand what was involved in God's becoming man. Nor can anyone explain how God could become a baby. Yet He did. Without forsaking His divine nature or diminishing His deity, He was born into our world as a tiny infant. He was fully human, with all the needs and emotions that are common to us all. Yet He was also fully God--all wise and all powerful. For nearly 2,000 years, debate has been raging about who Jesus really is. Cults and skeptics have offered various explanations. They'll say He is one of many gods, a created being, a high angel, a good teacher, a prophet, and so on. The common thread of all such theories is that they make Jesus less than God. But the biblical evidence is overwhelming that this child in the manger was the incarnation of God. One passage in particular, written by the apostle Paul, captures the essence of Jesus' divine nature and underscores the truths that make Christmas truly wonderful.