Matthew 1:23 NIV “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” - which means, “God with us.”
Christmas time is more than gifts under the tree, and festive moments with friends, family and our community. We all have our traditions, and they are varied and many. I love to see my family and share a Christmas meal with them. My family and I spent seven years in Germany. We loved the atmosphere there with many Christmas fests and shopping along the Rhine River.
Our favorite meal was Rumpasteak with krauter-butter, and spätzle. We continue this traditional meal at our home every year. While there, our favorite trip each year was going to Rothenburg, a quaint village surrounded by a protective wall with incredible Christmas shops. There you could find every Christmas decoration imaginable.
Through all of our favorite times and festive experiences, the true meaning of Christmas must not be overshadowed. The birth of Jesus Christ is truly the best Christmas gift we could ever have imagined.
The gifts from this immaculate conception are so numerous, and reminding ourselves of these treasures is of the utmost importance during this season. Jesus, the son of God, came to earth in human flesh; holiness entering the world in a humble way.
There was no fanfare, nor parade, and as a matter of fact, many of the of the biblical scholars of this time missed the Old Testament prophesy of Isaiah 7:14 that says, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” As they did in the biblical times, many today miss the true meaning of Christmas and go through the season without worshiping the King of Kings.
The gift of Jesus is salvation. In just a few short months, we will celebrate why he came Immanuel-God with us. Jesus came to destroy the sins of the world and pay the ultimate sacrifice of giving his life on the cross for our salvation, our eternal life. Where there was a gap between God and us, Jesus closed it. Jesus provided a way to be one with him. The atonement means we have a relationship with him and that we can confess our sins to him and be reconciled to him.
This gift cost us nothing! The gift-Jesus-gave us provided the opportunity to believe in him and call out his name, and to be “born again.” It means we learn to trust in him and start a new life, where the old self gets cast away. 2 Corinthians 5:17,18 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
Immanuel, God with us, is even more significant when, prior to his death on the cross, he told his disciples not to worry. He reminded them that the counselor, the Holy Spirit, the Spirit of Truth, will come in my name and teach, remind, convict, guide, and testify to you. John 14,15,16.
As a believer in Christ, you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit, and God is always with you. Jesus reminds us that he is returning again, and we will be raised up with him and have eternal life.
Yes, Christmas is more than a holiday of fun and cheer. It is a celebration of Jesus’ birth. He is a gift of hope, joy and encouragement. The gift of salvation is for the whole world!
Romans 1:16 says, “For I am not ashamed of the gospel, because it is the power of God that brings salvation to everyone who believes.” Help give this gift to others who may not know Jesus by proclaiming and professing his name. Live it out this season, and throughout the year, and let the fruit of the Spirit be evident in your lives; “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control.” Galatians 5:22
God bless you, and Merry Christmas to all!