Joy to the World!
Christmas will no longer be the same. Streets and shopping malls used to be filled with sparkling Christmas lights and music and people. Coronavirus has not completely vanished despite the availability of the boosters and the passing of its peak. We still need to wear masks in many places, to avoid crowds and to take precautions most of the time. Our Christmas spirit has been diminished.
On the contrary, the pandemic has made me reflect on the meaning of “Christmas” and rely on God more dearly, especially during this Christmas season.
The Birth of Christ Rewrites History
On Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Christ. The birthday of Christ is indeed the single most important day on earth and it is marked in our history as well as our calendar. The years before the birth of Jesus Christ are labeled with B.C. (before Christ) and the years after Jesus Christ was born are labeled with A.D. (anno domini, namely “in the year of our lord”). This year 2021 denotes that it has been 2021-years since the birth of Christ. The dates on the calendar that govern our lives are in regards to all sorts of matters: from writing checks and mailing letters to holding business meetings and having holidays. Our calendar is the propounded evidence of our savior Jesus Christ’s birthday.
Man’s Sin & Christ’s Salvation
In the beginning, God created all things in the universe as well as man and woman who enjoyed all things in His abundance. But after they have sinned, they were separated from God. Yet God judged them with love and kindness and salvation has been entailed right from the beginning.
After they sinned, God clothed them with the skin of wild animals, which exemplified the shedding of blood for salvation. From the descendants of the women came Jesus Christ who is the salvation of mankind. So God said to the snake which had tempted the woman to sin, “… I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Prophecy of Nativity
More than 700 years before Jesus Christ was born, God said through the prophet Isaiah that, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). “Immanuel” means God is with man.
The book of Isaiah also said that, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.” (Isaiah 9:6-7)
After Christ was born, the New Testament recorded that, “But when the set time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those under the law, so that we might receive adoption to sonship.Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, Abba, Father.” (Galatians 4:4-6)
Christ Was Born
When Christ was born, the world rejoiced. The New Testament described, “… there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in clothes and lying in a manger.’ Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, ‘Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.’.” (Luke 2 8-14)
The new statement in Matthew 2:1-12, God used the “Star of Bethlehem” to announce the birth of the Son of God to the world. Even the wise men from the far east followed the star and took a long journey to worship the newborn King. They asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” The wise men led by the star arrived in Bethlehem and saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Born in a Manger
Jesus Christ was not born in a palace but in a humble manger. A manger, unlike a palace, is a place where anyone can come close to him. God wants us to go to HIM. When Jesus Christ was on earth, he always welcomed those who came to seek him. God loves us so much that HE sent HIS only begotten son to us to save us. Whoever repents and seeks God, HE would forgive and grant salvation and eternal life.
“God loves us so much that HE sent HIS only son Jesus Christ on earth to redeem for us. God does not want anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.” (2 Peter 3:9)
Christ suffered for us and saved us. The bible said, “… he took up our pain and bore our suffering, yet we considered him punished by God, stricken by him, and afflicted. But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was on him, and by his wounds we are healed.” (Isaiah 53:4-5)
Can you imagine that the Creator of the universe came to us with the limitation of the physical flesh, just like you and me, from birth to death, endured and withstood hunger, pain, and sorrow, as well as the rejection from men? Christ has no sin; yet HE was crucified on the cross, suffered and died to save us from our sins. That’s the love of God !
Christ,The Only Way to Salvation
You might ask: If God has love and mercy, why does HE not just grant us forgiveness and salvation? Why must Jesus be born in flesh and die on the cross?
God is indeed loving and merciful but righteous. HE would never consider the “unrighteousness” as “righteousness”. Man is sinful: “… for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God”. (Romans 3:23)
Jesus Christ is the only way to salvation. The bible says, “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12)
As you may know, there are many religions in the world. Their leaders they worship have collapsed. Only Jesus Christ has died for us and resurrected from the dead. HE has defeated death and Satan.
And we, as humans, are indeed limited in our own flesh to know the truth and the eternal God. Like strayed sheep, we need God to lead us the way. Christ is the way. Christ is the only mediator between God and man.
Jesus Christ says, ” I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” (John 14:6)
Rejoice! Christ Was Born to Save!
As the angel says, “… I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.” (Luke 2:10)
Rejoice! The good news of salvation is for all the people, regardless of race, class, rich or poor. The bible says, “…to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.” (John 1:12)
Whoever accepts Jesus Christ and believes in God would receive eternal life and be with God. “Immanuel!” – God is with us! An eternal life with our loving God is a life full of joy!
Would you like to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Savior today? You may pray as follows:
“Dear God, you are the one and only one who created the universe. You sent your beloved son Jesus Christ to this world, to be crucified for my sins, rose from the dead on the third day, and triumphed over sin and death. Now I sincerely confess my sins and repent, accepting Jesus Christ as my Lord Savior, and ask you to forgive me for all my sins and grant me eternal life as a child of God. I’m accepting the Lord’s invitation to come into my heart and take control of my life. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, I pray. Amen.”
(Note: If you have made the above prayer, congratulations! We rejoice with you and please contact NYSTM at firstname.lastname@example.org so we can further assist you.)