18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”22 So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” 24 Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, 25 and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.
The Christmas story is the greatest story ever told. It is the story of what God did to save you and me. It started at the beginning of the human race. God created man in His image so that He can appreciate and enjoy His creation.
The moment Adam and Eve fell into sin, God put into motion His greatest work…His work of salvation. He carefully unfolded His plan through prophetic revelation. Specific predictions were given hundreds of years before their fulfillment. Then when the time arrived, He sent His only begotten Son into the world to deliver man, woman, child… from the prison of sin and death…and bring them into the kingdom of God.
God chose Mary to be a special vessel of honor. No one before her and no one after her would have this honor. She was chosen by God to be the earthly mother of His Son. She was chosen to be the vessel through whom the eternal Son of God, the second person of the Trinity, would be born into our world.
Was Mary chosen because she was pretty? No… Was she chosen because she was a princess? Absolutely not! Was she chosen because she was a celebrity? Was she chosen because of who she was or because of what she had done? NO!!! She was just a common woman. It was by God’s sovereign grace that she was chosen.
Thank God for sovereign grace. The Bible says that not many of us who were chosen are wise, educated, rich, and powerful. God chose us from among the millions regardless of who we are and what we have done. He chooses whoever He wants. And for you and me, that is sovereign grace.
If you could use one word to describe Christmas, what word would it be? Sadly…some would use words like headache, busyness, expensive, or even bothersome. To many people Christmas is just another day, only a little more expensive and a lot more trouble. I thank God that Christmas shopping is not as bad as “black Friday”, where many get hurt, just to get the good deal. You see… that is how the world has made Christmas to be. The truth of Christmas has been removed. Instead of joy and peace, it has become burdensome, busy, and comes with a price tag. How sad that an event that brought so much joy in Heaven should bring so little joy here on earth.
I would like to suggest to you… as we celebrate this Christmas season that it should be a time of joy, peace, love. and gratitude. You see, throughout the year, we have faced a lot of good times, troubled times, struggles, hurt and so on. But through all of that, “Immanuel”, which means, (God with us) has been with us from the beginning. Jesus Christ is the true reason for the season.
A Christmas TV special, Charlie Brown asks if anyone knows what Christmas is about, and Linus recites the story of Christ’s birth from Luke 2. Have we forgotten, that Christmas is not primarily about us, our family, friends, presents? But about Him. (Jesus)
Charlie Brown Pic:
(Don’t add To Powerpoint)
11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
One year a Christmas afternoon visitor asked five-year-old Ruth, "Did you get everything you wanted for Christmas?" After a moment’s hesitation, she answered, "No, but then it’s not my birthday!"
Isn’t it easy to get so wrapped up in the celebration that we forget what it is we are supposed to be celebrating? The world does that. It has become politically incorrect to say Merry Christmas- they want is to say Happy Holidays or Merry X-mas. We have the Jewish day of Hannakuh, or the African celebration of Kwanzza, to compete for the place that belongs to the Son of God. But even without buying into the world’s ways, we can easily forget what Christmas is really all about… by forgetting Jesus.
If God has given you the Greatest Gift Ever, His Son… focusing on Jesus means that you not only remember the Savior in the manger…but remember the Savior in our heart. Remember that this baby grew up and went to the Cross to pay for our sins, that He rose again to give new life, and that He lives in our hearts today to give you joy peace and love.
This is our third Christmas, (Fil-Am Baptist Mission Church) although I do miss the first year when everybody was here, those who were with us when God made this church to be. They will always be in our hearts, and in our memories. Within the three Christmas that we have spent together, God has also added some new faces with whom we have grown to love and to be part of this church.
As we celebrate this Christmas season, let us not forget the real reason why we are celebrating.
Its all about the Baby in the manger, wrapped in swaddling cloths. God’s precious gift to the world.
Pastor Richard Santos
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