What is Christmas really about?
•To the storekeeper it often means greater sales
•To the city employees it means Christmas decorations
•To Hallmark it means Christmas movies
•To the kids it means a wish list
•To the church it means Christmas plays & dinners
All of the above are apart of our Christmas festivities, but let’s not forget the reason for the season. One of my favorite stories that I continue to share will be reminded of the true meaning of Christ at Christmas time is found in Luke 2:25-35. It is about a godly man by the name of Simeon making a trip to the temple to see Jesus the Savior of the world. When Mary and Joseph brought Jesus to the temple Simeon took Jesus up in his arms and embraced Him.
“Simeon was there. He took the child in his arms and praised God, saying, Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace.” (Luke 2:28,29 NLT)
One of the reasons I like this story so much is that Simeon took the Child in his arms and blessed Him. I can only imagine the hush over the room and the attention that Simeon must have drawn from Mary, Joseph, and possibly others. Simeon had been anticipating this moment for some time. He knew that this precious baby boy would change the world and it was his last wish to see the child before he left this earth.
It is my prayer this Christmas season that we too will be reminded of the true meaning of Christ-
That it will be more then just Christmas plays, movies, and decorations. That it will be a time that we proclaim the message of peace and goodwill toward others. That it will be a time where we will enjoy His presence more then we enjoy the presents we receive. It is my prayer that we will embrace Christ and his word during this Christmas season.
Charlie Brown: “I guess you were right Linus. I shouldn’t have picked this little tree.”
Afterwards, Linus, the kid with the blue security blanket said, “Lights, please.” Then he begins to share the Christmas story from Luke chapter 2.
“Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord…”
Imagine, a thumb sucking kid with a security blanket introducing the gospel to Charlie Brown! But Linus seemed to be the theologian of the group. He often quoted scriptures from the gospels, and was found to be a great influence in the life of Charlie Brown.
Influence is a powerful thing and can be accomplished by the most unlikely one in the crowd.
Another moment of influence in the Christmas story is when the angel shared with the shepherds of Jesus’ birth. Scripture teaches us that a multitude of the heavenly host joined in with the angel praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” (Luke 2:14 NKJV)
Jesus himself was and is very influential. From the cradle to the cross people followed Jesus and are still following Him today.
You too are a person of influence. This Christmas season may we influence those around us and encourage them to celebrate the birth of Christ.
Oh, the joy of Christmas!
As a child I could hardly wait! I would begin to count the days until Christmas Day right after Thanksgiving. I enjoyed the gifts on Christmas Day, but I also enjoyed the festivities at the church I attended. The opportunity to have a part in the Christmas play was always fun, well almost always.
I was often tagged to play the part of one of the shepherds, and I remember almost tripping over the oversized bathrobe used for my shepherd robe. And I seriously doubt the bathrobe looked anything like what the shepherds wore in that day. But nevertheless, I was happy to be a shepherd boy carrying a staff in the traditional Christmas play. I also enjoyed helping my dad on Saturday’s filling bags with fruit and candy to be given to everyone that attended the Christmas program. Everyone in the church received a Christmas gift of some sort from the church. Now that was Christmas!
But something else took place during those years. The Christmas story was being introduced to me and was being etched on my heart. Often, I still hear these words that have echoed throughout the ages:
“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord”.
Understanding the Christmas story helps me to understand Matthew 1:21.
“She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
And one of my favorites is:
“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace” (Isaiah 9:6 NLT).
As a child I would count the days until Christmas, mainly for the excitement of gifts, candy bags, and Christmas plays! Today, I count the days, but for a different reason. I live with anticipation of the joy of celebrating the birth of Jesus with my family and friends. I encourage you during this Christmas Season to invite your family and friends to celebrate Christmas with you in your place of worship.
“O come let us adore Him, Christ the King!”
Bishop Tim Lamb combines over 34 years of pastoral and church planting experience to lead LifePoint Ministries. Bishop Tim's unique prophetic insight, forward-thinking leadership, and compassion for people combine to make him an effective leader for our pastors and churches.