I heard a wonderful sermon by my pastor this morning. He spoke of the first Christmas from Luke, Chapter Two. He focused mostly on the message given to the lowly shepherds. He emphasized the humble beginnings of Jesus with a stable for a delivery room, and that the angel did not proclaim Christ to kings or religious leaders, but to common shepherds. Of course, the angel had to begin with, "Fear not." Who would not fear when being approached by a celestial being surrounded with the glory of the Lord? The good tidings (good news) was that the long-awaited Messiah, the offspring of David, the Savior and Lord, was born that very day in the town where it was prophesied He would be: Bethlehem. Simple, humble shepherds, of all people, were the first to see Him!
Most of us living in the United States and in many other countries, know the story. Every year, it is as though the whole world knows, especially the merchants and preachers. The commercialization of the holiday has been ridiculed by many, to little or no avail. Stores remind us that giving is the key to Christmas. It is, but the giving that needs to be celebrated is the giving of God's Son for all of humanity. The angel even says that the message is "to all people." Jesus did not come for the Jews, or those who would one day become Christians. No, Jesus came for all. All of us are sinners, and all of us need a Savior. That is Who came that first Christmas.
That being said, what about all the thousands of Christmas Holidays since? Are they just as important? I doubt that, but nevertheless, they are very important to all the souls who believed on Jesus because a preacher took the time to focus on the birth of Christ. Holidays, as irritating as they have become, still are the occasion to proclaim God's love for His creation. It doesn't hurt for those who have accepted Christ years ago to be reminded, either. Unfortunately, one hears so much about the holiday and so little about the Christ, that most Christians dread the season. Oh sure, we act as though we are full of joy and pleased to attend functions, cantatas, and family get-togethers, but most of us would prefer some of the "peace on earth" of which the angel spoke.
There is one other Christmas that I have never heard spoken or preached. It is the last Christmas. There will come a time when the celebration of Christian religious holidays in the United States will be seen as unacceptable, if not illegal. They will be seen as a way of discriminating against other faiths. Those who support abortion and homosexuality already see Christianity as being a religion of hate and intolerance. I hope and pray that the Lord returns for His Church before it comes to that, but there is no guarantee as to when He will come. Before He returns to establish His earthly kingdom, the world has to be in such dire straits as to be willing to sign over our national sovereignty to a single world ruler. As I understand the Bible, Christians will be removed by God prior to the revealing of this evil despot. But, we can see even today that, with the world economy collapsing, there is a global move to change the monetary standard from the dollar, to the Euro. From there, a cashless society can not be far off. Come Lord Jesus!
So, as you celebrate or don't celebrate Christmas this year, consider that it may be your last one. Even if the Lord tarries, you may not live another year. War, accident, famine, disease, old age, etc. could end one's life. We can not take for granted that God will allow us another day, let alone another year. So let us rejoice in the love God showed so many Christmases ago, and celebrate His love this Christmas. Lord willing, if He grants us another, praise Him; if not, praise Him. Thank the Lord for His marvelous Gift!