The Day Before Christmas
Becoming agents of reconciliation.
2 COR 5:17~21 The Ministry of Reconciliation
17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old has gone, the new has come! 18 All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation: 19 that God was reconciling the world to Himself in Christ, not counting men's sins against them. And He has committed to us the message of reconciliation. 20 We are therefore Christ's ambassadors, as though God were making His appeal through us. We implore you on Christ's behalf: Be reconciled to God. 21 God made Him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in Him we might become the Righteousness of God.
The Apostle Paul wrote that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” (2 Timothy 3:1) And that is so true of today! All sorts of dangers and hurt everywhere. Hard times are all around us. Some of us are experiencing hard and painful times. Things seem to be getting worse. And with this bad news, comes a good message found in the meaning of Christmas. I believe that one of the messages we can live with coming from Christmas is that Christmas is Community.
As we read 2 Cor 5:17~21, I can hear the Christmas Message yelling at us! He came to bring us into a right relationship with the Father. The relationship was damaged because of our sin and that separated us from Father God. (He being Holy and Pure...) God's message to us today-those of us who are aware-is to respond to His Love Message and join in the work of bringing others into the understanding that He wants us to make peace with Himself. He will provide all we need for that peace move as well. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world as a baby-in the flesh-the Incarnation-who was pure and without sin so that in Him we might become the Righteousness of God.
In the middle of all the sounds, color, advertising, the giving and exchanging of gifts, let's make THIS a Christmas in which Christ is known. In one where others can hear and understand the message of reconciliation.
Christmas is a call of God:Called to Come Together ~ Like that of Jesus and His Father. Let's look into the past to the time when Jesus and His Father were talking. In fact, it was prayer. We were the main topic of that prayer. Let's look at it in John 17:20~23
20 "My prayer is not for them alone. I pray also for those who will believe in Me through their message, 21 that all of them may be one, Father, just as You are in Me and I am in You. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that You have sent Me. 22 I have given them the glory that You gave Me, that they may be one as We are one: 23 I in them and You in Me. May they be brought to complete unity tolet the world know that You sent Me and have loved them even as You have loved Me.
What we have here is the Christmas Message. In verse 23, we can see that this unity they that have and that they want us to have will aid in others knowing about His First Coming. If we, who are called Believers, would act in Unity and out of the same love Jesus and His Father had, the world will know about the Birth and the Message of reconciliation between Him and us.
Basically, He is calling all of us to unity. Called to unity. Called to Oneness (but not Jelly). With substance, with a back bone, with a purpose and with a future and a hope.
With back bone…The Word of God
With purpose…His Plan for reaching a lost world.
With a future (and a hope)…
Jeremiah 29:11 "For I know the plans I have for you," declares the LORD, "plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”
This seems to be a promise! Do you read it that way? Next question is harder: Do you believe what God said in that verse? If so, then don't worry about next week or next year. We need to plan, yes. We need to make arrangements, YES! But we do not have to fear. His plans for us are for His good!
In this Christmas story, God called His Angels together to announce the Birth of His Son.
As we sing about the men and sheep on that hillside, it is kind 'a hard to think of what it was like for them. They had never been part of anything big in their lives. They were part of the lowest groupings of people in that society. Most likely, they were not well educated. They were not rich. They were outside watching their flock by night-as the song goes. And all of a sudden, Bam! Great light! Angels talking and singing to them. They were terrified and the Angel said to them: “Do not be afraid.” There was not even an exclamation mark! What would you have done? I would still be afraid! It is one thing to be told: "Don't be afraid.” Quite another thing of not being in fear. Yet, these men of wool, it is said of them in
Luke 2: 15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."
My guess is I would not have been so lax about it all, but to their credit, they not only went and saw but also went and told. And this message that they told was a message of Unity. They were of one heart and of one story. They spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.
UNITY in the Message.
In this Christmas story, God called the shepherds together to be witnesses to the Birth of His Son.
Even though the men could not give witness in a court of law, these commoners spoke in the common places around Israel. These men would be sure to tell others about what had happened that evening. It impacted their lives forever. How has the message of Christmas effected you conversations?
What was demonstrated in this was a UNITY in the Meaning.
In this Christmas story, God calls the world to taste and see the Wonder of the Birth of His Son. Here is where Isaiah comes in. He wrote about Jesus many years before Jesus was born. He spoke of Him in ways that gives us a flavor of who Jesus is now. See how it fits in today's world of pain/worry/hopelessness.
Isaiah 9: 2 The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned. 3 You have enlarged the nation and increased their joy; they rejoice before you as people rejoice at the harvest, as men rejoice when dividing the plunder. 4 For as in the day of Midian's defeat, you have shattered the yoke that burdens them, the bar across their shoulders, the rod of their oppressor. 5 Every warrior's boot used in battle and every garment rolled in blood will be destined for burning, will be fuel for the fire. 6 For to us a Child is born, to us a Son is given, and the government will be on His shoulders. And He will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. 7 Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David's throne and over His kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the LORD Almighty will accomplish this.
Look at our possibilities in the message! These Four Marvelous Names!
The First is Wonderful. Jesus' life was wonderful. He mixed things up with all sorts of bad people (sinners) yet was sinless. He walked with some very rich men and women but had no place to sleep at night. He associated with people called publicans who were tax collectors (usually shady men) and sinners yet never partook in their lifestyle. The people who became His enemies could find no fault in His character at all; He was beyond reproach. The Pharisees said. “We have never heard a man speak like this man speaks.” Even at His death on the Cross, a Roman soldier said of Him. “Truly this Man was the Son of God.”
Jesus was also wonderful in His death. His substitution death was a fitting end to His selfless living. He lived for others; He died for others. When people beat on Him, He did not open His mouth. People jeered and mocked Him, but He said, “Father, forgive them; for they don't know what they are doing.”
The great wonderful fact of His death was that His death brought about reconciliation between God and man. The crucified Christ became the risen Christ on that wonderful first Easter morning.
The second part of that phrase is having Jesus called Counselor. People need counselors today. People who can help others understand their roles and situations and console them thru the painful areas of life. Jesus is such a counselor. With the thousands and even millions of people all over the world who have accepted this Christ, they have found the Solution to their unsolved problems. He is the one who said He'd carry our burdens and lift our sorrows. He can be that for us. He is The Counselor.
“The heaviest end of the cross lies ever on His shoulders. It He bids us carry a burden, He carries it also.” Charles Spurgeon.
The second Name Jesus was called was The Mighty God. When the wilds of the world were in need of taming, God sent The Might One to bring it all under his Feet. God did not send an army of Angelic Host to accomplish His divine purposes, He sent a Baby! This Baby was/is God/Man. The Incarnate One who is the Mighty God of the universe.Thirdly, Jesus was called The Everlasting Father. He is eternal. He had no beginning and He has no end. He always was and will always be. Eternal has a long-term sound to it, doesn't it? When He was born in that manger that was not His beginning; THAT was His incarnation. He was the designer of the entire universe. He told the crowds “Before Abraham was, I am!”
The fifth name given to Jesus was The Prince of Peace. The Apostle Paul wrote that “in the last days perilous times shall come.” There are wars and rumors of wars. Countries are at odds with each other. Marriages are falling apart. There will never be lasting peace on this earth until He comes again in Righteousness. But Jesus is the Prince of Peace in another way, too. None of us can have peace with our Creator apart from Jesus and the peace He made possible through the Blood of His Cross. (Colossians 1:20) We cannot have peace in our hearts apart from our relationship with Jesus. He will, in fact, give us His Peace today, this Christmas, if we put our trust and our hope in Him. “My peace I give you-not as the world gives you.”
UNITY in the Mighty Name of Jesus. Here is Community.
That is Christmas. In a nutshell: He came to bring us back to His Father. We would be absolutely lost without Him and without His Grace and Mercy to forgive us. He has given us the message of reconciliation to pass on to others. He has given us a united message of Hope to pass on to a world without hope. He has given us a message of being a witness of His Forgiveness. A message that gives us a satisfied heart. As we come under His leadership as our wonderful Counselor; as our Might God; as our Everlasting Father; our Prince of Peace. Know that peace today-as best as you know how-here is a prayer you can pray to open yourself to this forgiving heart of God.
“Lord Jesus, I am sorry for the things I have done wrong in my life (take a few moments to ask His forgiveness for anything particular that is on your conscience). Please forgive me. I now turn from everything that I know to be wrong.
Thank You that You died for me on the Cross so that I could be forgiven and set free.Thank You that You offer me forgiveness and the gift of Your Spirit. I now receive that gift.
Please come into my life by Your Holy Spirit to be with me forever.
Thank You, Lord Jesus. Amen.”
If you prayed such a prayer, PLEASE contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
May you all have a wonderful Christmas!