Necessary? What Could Be More Necessary…Than Christmas?

Posted: December 24, 2014 in 99-Uncategorized
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Today and tomorrow, we will take a break from where we are in the Book of Luke to talk about what this whole Christmas thing means or should mean to us as believers and to non-believers…

When you reflect back as a child what was the greatest Christmas gift you remember ever receiving? What is that first bike? What is that first game console? Was it your first car? However, I bet the Christmas memories that are burned in your memories was not the material things that you received. It was that moment in time where special family moments occur. Memories are made at Christmas. We feel a heightened sense of love at Christmas. But what does all that have to do with being Christian. Why is it or should Christmas be so important to us?

The heightened sense of love that is the spirit of Christmas is because it represents the greatest gift ever given. It is at Christmas that Christianity begins. Without Christmas, there would be no Christian faith. The Christian faith requires that there be a Christmas. Just think about it. Everything hinges on this moment in time 2,000 years ago. First, Christmas is the culmination of the Old Testament prophecies of the Messiah. Second, it was absolutely necessary that Jesus come to earth in the flesh. Third, our salvation depends on this baby being born. Christmas is the most necessary event in human history. Christmas, what could be more necessary?

The first thing about Christmas that is important is that it is evidence that God keeps His promises. Throughout the Old Testament, God promises through the prophets that there will be a Messiah that will come to save His people. God never has broken a promise that He has ever made. God is a God of integrity. When He makes promises, He keeps them. Through this baby boy born in anonymity in a stable in Bethlehem, God kept His promise to send a Savior. This gives us great confidence in the promises of God. The promise of a Savior was fulfilled. Jesus came to earth, God in the flesh, to save His people from their sin. What started in the Garden of Eden began God’s plan to reconcile man to Himself. This birth is a required part of God’s plan. Without this birth, there is no fulfillment of Scripture. Without this birth, God is still unseen. Without this birth, God does not have a face. Without this birth, the love of God is abstract. Without this birth, though a loving and powerful God, He would still be a bit remote and unapproachable. Christmas was necessary to fulfill Scripture of a promised Messiah. God come down out of heaven to live among us. Christmas is necessary as demonstration of God’s faithfulness in keeping His promises.

The second thing about Christmas that is important is that Jesus lived among us. Theologically, the humanity of Jesus is an important aspect of His earthly life. Jesus is divine (John 1:1; Colossians 1:16), yet also took on a human body to identify with humanity. He was born of a woman (Matthew 1; Luke 2), ate food (Matthew 4:2; 21:18), slept (Luke 8:23), and experienced temptation (Matthew 4:1-11). Like other humans, he could perspire (Luke 22:43-44) and bleed (John 19:34). He also displayed humans emotions, including anger (Mark 3:5), joy (John 15:11), and sorrow (Matthew 26:37). Jesus was a real dude who really existed. He came to earth through a mother’s womb just like each one of us. He did all the things we do as humans. He grew up and experienced all that awkwardness. He ran and jumped and played as a child. He knows what being a child is like. He apprenticed for his family trade with his earthly father. He attended weddings and celebrated major events in life. He knew the sorrow of death of family and/or friends. He knew what it meant to have real friends. I am sure there were moments with His disciples where there was laughter that made His chest hurt. I am sure there were moments where there were profound conversations with them that stuck in His memory. He knew being betrayed. He knew being deserted. He knew pain. He knew being unjustly accused of something. He knew feeling so completely alone that you don’t think that there is one person on earth that cares about you. He knows physical ailments that cause your death. He knew human death. None of this happens without Christmas. Jesus knows the human experience that you and I go through because He was born into the flesh. Jesus knows what we go through because of Christmas. Because of His experience in the flesh, He is now our Advocate with the Father. None of this happens without Christmas.

In terms of His divine plan, Jesus also became human as part of His plan to die in our place as a sacrifice (Hebrews 9:22). Further, in order to resurrect, He first had to physically die, which required taking on a physical body. In fact, our salvation completely depends upon Jesus coming to this world in human form. Romans 5:8 clearly states, “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” His love was fully displayed in taking on human form and allowing this form to be destroyed as a sacrifice on our behalf (Isaiah 53). Unlike any other human, Jesus lived in a human body yet did not sin. Hebrews 4:15 shares, “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” He resisted temptation perfectly (Matthew 4:1-11), revealing both His full deity and full humanity. In order for Jesus to die as the perfect sacrifice, as the final culmination of the Old Testament sacrificial system instituted by God, He has to be born in the flesh and live a sinless life. All other sacrifices were imperfect and had to be repeated because they were created beings sprung forth from an imperfect world. Jesus is part of the trinity of God, thus not created. He is eternal. He is perfect. However, in order for Him to be a sin sacrifice for us, He had to come into the world. He had to come into human history. He had to live in a human body so that He could die as our sin sacrifice. None of God’s redemptive plan culmination happens without Christmas. None of this happens with this baby boy being born on Christmas Day.

Christmas Day is important to believers as we celebrate what God has done for us through Jesus Christ. Our faith is built on this bedrock of Christmas Day. Immanuel. God With Us. Christmas Day is important for non-believers too but not because they get to join in the gift giving. It is important to non-believers because Christmas Day actually happened. Jesus does not have to re-do Christmas. It is there for the taking. Jesus came into the world on Christmas to ultimately be the once-and-for-all time sacrifice for the sins of all who have ever been born or ever will be born. The work is done already. All you must do is believe that this baby boy is the Son of God who died for your sins and you shall be saved. That’s it. Done deal. All because of Christmas.

My favorite movie is “The Last Samurai” and in that movie there is a classic line. Ken Wantanabe’s character says to Tom Cruise’s character that the ways of the Samurai are no longer necessary. Tom’s character says the classic line, “What could be more necessary?” It is that line that applies to Christmas for humanity. What could be more necessary than Christmas! It was necessary. It is necessary. Nothing could be more necessary.

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