CHRISTMAS

 

What is Christmas?            I want presents!

Who is Jesus Christ?      Jesus' Conception

Why celebrate Christmas?  Christmas Carols

Christmas Traditions

Too much rushing around, too commercial! Bah, humbug!

What is Christmas?        Christ - mas is the celebration of Jesus Christ's Birthday!  Jesus was born 2003 years ago, or so.  In fact, our modern calendar reflects the date of Jesus' birth.  B.C. means Before Christ's birth, and A.D. is Latin for Anno Domino, which means "Year of our Lord".  

Who is Jesus Christ?        Jesus Christ is God's only begotten Son.  Jesus is the Christ, the long awaited Messiah of the Jews.  

Scripture says about Jesus' Conception:   In the sixth month of Elizabeth's pregnancy God sent the angel Gabriel to a town in Galilee named Nazareth.  He had a message for a girl promised in marriage to a man named Joseph, who was a descendant of King David.  The girl's name was Mary.  The angel came to her and said, "Peace be with you!  The Lord is with you and has greatly blessed you!"

Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message, and she wondered what his words meant.  The angel said to her, "Don't be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you.  You will become pregnant and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.  The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end!"

Mary said to the angel, "I am a virgin.  How, then, can this be?"  The angel answered, "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God's power will rest upon you.  For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God.  Remember your relative Elizabeth.  It is said that she cannot have children, but she herself is now six months pregnant, even though she is very old.  For there is nothing that God cannot do."

"I am the Lord's servant," said Mary; "may it happen to me as you have said."  And the angel left her.  Luke 1:26-38 TEV     Bring me to the Explanation.

Luke 1:26-38 - The Explanation  

Here we read that a young girl, probably around fourteen years old, named Mary is visited by an angel.  God sent that angel to Mary for a specific reason.  Gabriel was to tell Mary that she was chosen from all women, of all time, to be the mother of His Son, Jesus.  

What an awesome message!  What was Mary's reaction?  At first Mary was afraid.  She did not understand.  "Mary was deeply troubled by the angel's message, and she wondered what his words meant."  But God was quick to soothe her worries, concern and fears.  His angel told her "Don't be afraid, Mary; God has been gracious to you."  This is immediate comfort!  God did not want her to be afraid of Him or His messenger.  God wanted her to know that His grace shone on her!  God was telling Mary that He loved her and that she was special.  Thought questions.

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Then came the news.  God told Mary that she would be "He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High God.  The Lord God will make him a king, as his ancestor David was, and he will be the king of the descendants of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end!" Thought questions.       

Isn't it amazing that here the Lord God Almighty chose an insignificant young girl to do a mighty thing!  To carry, bear and raise His Son!  God did not call the most educated, not the richest, not the most beautiful, not the famous, but He did call the one who loved Him and wanted to serve Him more than anyone else.   Mary's job would be huge!  She would have to raise a King whose kingdom would never end!  She would be in charge of God's own personal and only begotten Son!!  

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What was Mary's reaction?  First she explained her own situation, and then asked the angel questions!  "How, then, can this be?"  What a great reaction!  Interact with he Lord as He is!!  Mary did not retreat into fear.  Mary did not become overwhelmed with the task.  Instead Mary looked at it One step at a time.  Her first question was - how will I become pregnant? And the gentle and awesome loving God of the universe explained through Gabriel that the entire Trinity will be involved.  "The Holy Spirit will come on you, and God's power will rest upon you.  For this reason the holy child will be called the Son of God."   

These facts satisfied Mary.  Through God's intervention, He always makes things clear and peaceful.  God is the only Father that is fully Loving and true.  God even added a physical fact that would validate His news.  Gabriel told Mary that her cousin Elizabeth was miraculously pregnant!  Gabriel also ministered to Mary teaching her "For there is nothing that God cannot do." What a wonderful God we have!!  

Thought Questions

  1. Have you been afraid of God?  How has He shown you that you are very special to Him?  
  2. Has God ever told you something important?  How did you react to Him and His news?  What did you do because of what He said? 
  3. When you have trusted Him fully and did just as He asked, what was the result?
  4. Have you ever felt that God had a special  task for you?  Has He ever given you specific instructions on how to do it?  Sometimes we hear the Lord through other people's encouragements to do something good, sometimes we hear God directly in our thoughts.  If there is a wonderfully good idea that comes to you, that seems better than what you would ordinarily think, it may be God giving you His own idea!
  5. When God has shown you a way to go, and you have seen that if you did what He asked that wonderful things in your life would occur, have you decided to stop listening to Him and not do it?  Have you retreated in fear?  The Bible says "Perfect Love casts out all fear."  Always return to God, who is perfect Love, and do as Mary did, ask Him detailed questions.  If He doesn't answer right away, keep on trusting in Him all the more.
  6. Have you ever had the courage to speak to God in return?  Has God seemed too big to talk with?  He is not too big.  In fact, that is why He sent His Son Jesus to come to earth.  God wanted to talk with us and walk with us and dwell and live with us.  Jesus, who is fully God and man, called himself the Son of Man (Daniel 7:13,14) because he enjoyed identifying with us!  Jesus took on flesh at Christmas because He wanted to be seen by us and with us and to show us how much he loved us!  Please talk with God today, He wants you to.
  7. Do you think Mary should not have asked God questions?  Had Mary not asked, she would never have had the courage or wisdom to follow the God she was serving.  
  8. Does God not want to hear from us sometimes?  No.  God wants to hear everything that we feel and think.  God already knows all of that information (Psalm 139:7 ;John 14:16,17 ; Ephesians 2:18-22), but He wants a relationship with us.  Every good relationship is based on communication.  No relationship is good without talking and listening to each other and being honest from the heart.  The good news is that God is always honest and true and loving... for He is God.  That half of the relationship is sound.  It is only on our part that we need to be better.  It begins with being honest with ourselves and with God.  
  9. What if I am angry with Him?  Or if I even hate Him?  God is ALLWAYS reachable.  (Psalm 139:7)  The fact that He has allowed you to be alive thus far means that He is still giving you the opportunity to come to Him!  Won't you take this chance to tell Him all that you are feeling?  No, He won't strike you with thunderbolts, but He will listen to you.  God is Love, and He cannot act different from His own character.  All the bad things that we have done have been the cause of our pain.  God has not caused our sorrow.
  10. Is there something that you wish God would do in your life, but you think that it is impossible?  There is nothing impossible with God.  What we want may not come as we thought, but God knows always works things for your best interest.  Those in Christ Jesus have this as a promise
  11. What is your attitude when you hear the Word of God?  Is your response one of trust?  Do you say "I am the Lord's servant, may it happen to me as You have said." ?   What are some things that God is telling you about your relationship with Him right now?  Can you accept His truth?  Will you love Him unconditionally as God loves you without condition?  Will you obey His desires for your life?  
  12. The angel left knowing that God's message was delivered.  Gabriel did as God had asked.  Gabriel knew that it was up to Mary to obey the Lord.  Are there times that you have been God's messenger, but felt that your task was not complete until the person did the result God desired?   It is comforting to know that people have a personal relationship with God alone.  Others are not responsible for their obedience or otherwise.  However, we do have an influence, for good or not.  As long as each of us obeys the Lord out of love, and maintains our relationship with Him out of love... that is what we are called to do.  Gabriel did right.  It was up to Mary to obey the King.  So it is with those to whom we bring the Good News of Jesus Christ; to obey the King.  
  13. Have you accepted God's only begotten Son?  The Lord God Almighty is inviting you to receive His Son into your heart right now.  Will you accept Him on faith as Mary did?  If so, bring me to Prayer.

Praise to the Lord Jesus Christ, King of Endless Glory!

Elizabeth: Mary's cousin, and mother of John the Baptist, wife of the priest Zachariah.   See: Luke 1:5-25, 57-80.

Prayer:    Lord God of the universe, Maker of me and Mary.  Thank you for sending your Son Jesus to be here with us.  Thank you Jesus for wanting to live here and for loving me.  I understand that you came to teach me how to do right.  I know that you came on earth to die as a payment for my sins.  I am sorry for all of the wrong things that I have done.  I want You to come into my heart now and make it clean.  I want You to teach me how You want me to be.  Jesus, thank you for forgiving me!  Jesus please help me to listen to You and learn from You.  Fill me with your Holy Spirit so that I may always be your child!  I love you Jesus Christ!  Amen.

Bring me to:  Holy Spirit or Jesus or Salvation or Promises or sinful life or Righteousness

All Bible verses listed above are taken from the Good News Bible, TEV translation. 

Bring me to How to Pray.

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