Experiencing the Christ of Christmas

My Dear Friends, Christmas can be one of the greatest times of the year, full of wonders and miracles, or it can be a time of distress and depression.  When we respond like Mary did in Luke 1:38, “let it […]

My Dear Friends,

Christmas can be one of the greatest times of the year, full of wonders and miracles, or it can be a time of distress and depression.  When we respond like Mary did in Luke 1:38, “let it be to me according to your word” we give God permission to let the supernatural unfold in our lives.  The reason we often miss the supernatural Christ of Christmas is because misguided materialism drives us into a frenzied pace that turns the wonders of Christmas into a time of distress, depression and frustration.

Christmas is the celebration of Christ, which reveals to us the love of the supernatural God who visits His people with signs and wonders.  Christmas reminds us that we can expect the Lord to move in our lives in a supernatural way at exactly the right time.  Paul speaks of this fullness of time in Gal.4:4, “in the fullness of time.”  In the Christmas Story we see this fullness of time as Jesus Christ was born at a time when the transportation system of the Roman Empire paved the way for the gospel to be spread throughout the then-known world.  The Greek culture had provided a universal language of Greek for communicating the gospel.  As we reflect on God’s perfect timing for the miracle of Christmas, we are reminded that He has a plan, a timing and a miracle for allowing everything to work out for good in our lives. (Romans 8:28)

God’s plan for our lives involves supernatural seasons.  We are reminded of this with the evergreen Christmas tree in the cold winter months when most of the other trees have lost their leaves.  In spite of the circumstances, we can also remain alive as we move forward with a certain rhythm of heavenly timing.  We learn that as we pass through winter, spring, summer and fall that God has everything under control; for we learn that to everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under heaven.”(Ecc.3:1)  The passages of Christmas teach us that we need to look for God’s perfect timing and recognize when it comes.  Jesus corrected those who noticed only the seasons but ignored the signs of the times of what God was doing in the world and in their personal lives. (Matt.16:3)  How we need to seek God during this Christmas season to discover His power of supernatural seasons in our lives!

Christmas not only shows us God’s supernatural timing, but also how He weaves signs, wonders, and miracles into everyday life as He fulfills His promises.  The birth of Jesus Christ is a fulfillment of God’s promise to His people to send a Savoir.  “The Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son.”(Is.7:14)  The Christmas Story is full of signs, which communicate heavenly information.  For example the shepherds were told that the Christ child would be a sign to them, (Luke 2:12) and the wise men were directed by the sign of a star (Matt.2:9-10)  The fulfillment of the prophecies through the birth of Jesus Christ remains a sign to believers of all ages.  In the scriptures we see that over 300 prophecies were fulfilled when Jesus was born.

Isaiah, in one of his many prophecies that Jesus fulfilled, declared, “Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful.” (Is.9:6)  All over in the Christmas Story we see the wonderful work of God displayed.  It is shown in each of the appearances of the angels.  Just as the announcement of Christ’s birth woke Mary, Joseph and the shepherds to the wonders of this historical event, even so we can be awakened.  How we need the Lord to deliver us from the superficial aspects of Christmas and awaken us to the wonders of His love!  May God open our eyes and help us to recognize the wonders of His love through the sending of His Son and the beauty of His creation.  “God is love.  When we take up permanent residence in a life of love, we live in God and God lives in us.  This way, love has the run of the house, becomes at home and mature in us, so that we’re free of worry on Judgment Day—our standing in the world is identical with Christ’s.  There is no room in love for fear.  Well-formed love banishes fear.  Since fear is crippling, a fearful life—fear of death, fear of judgment—is one not yet fully formed in love.  We, though, are going to love—love and be loved.  First we were loved, now we love.  He loved us first.”  (1 John 4, The Message Bible)

Christmas is also a time of miracles, which reminds us of God’s desire to work miracles in our lives.  Reflecting on the miracle of Christmas causes us to realize that “all things are possible to him who believes.”(Mark 9:23)  The miracle of Christmas involves the miracle of the incarnation where Jesus was conceived through the power of the Holy Spirit without the involvement of a human father. (Luke 1:35)  This made it possible for God the Son to become a human being without giving up His deity.  When we accept the reality of this miracle, we are then able to realize that the celebration of Christmas is the celebration of God’s miracle power.  This means that when things look impossible, we are reminded that Jesus is the living miracle who causes us to confess that “all things are possible for those who believe.”

The fact is that as we try to believe, we find ourselves frequently facing opposition, doubt and fear.  God’s response throughout the Christmas Story is “fear not.”  The angel said to Mary, “Fear not, Mary….. The Holy Ghost will come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you… For with God nothing shall be impossible.”(Luke 1:30, 35, 37)  As we struggle with God’s promise and plans for us, we need to let His “fear not” reassure us that His power and provision are sufficient to meet every need.  In Luke 2:10-11 we see the angel telling the shepherds to, “fear not: for, behold, I bring to you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.  For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savoir, which is Christ the Lord.”  Just as the shepherds were told, even so we must also be reminded that in spite of the circumstances, miracles are often born in the least expected times and places!  Joseph was reminded of this when the angel told him, “Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife.”(Matt.1:20)  As Joseph, we also must be reminded that faith means loving someone enough to not judge him or her or cast them aside, but instead trust that God is at work in his or her life.  Joseph, instead of walking out on the relationship, believed God’s promise and stuck with it in spite of the circumstances.

As God release His signs, wonders, and miracles in our lives, we must accept them with believing hearts.  If we let unbelief, cynicism, greed, or double-mindedness creep in, we will find ourselves missing out on the miracle of Christmas.  We must let every Christmas light that we see remind us that, “God is light, pure light; there’s not a trace of darkness in Him.  If we claim that we experience a shared life with Him and continue to stumble around in the dark, we’re obviously lying through our teeth—we’re not living what we claim.  But if we walk in the light, God Himself being the light, we also experience a shared life with one another, as the sacrificed blood of Jesus, God’s Son, purges all our sins.” (1 John 1, The Message Bible)

At first Zacharias did not accept the promise the angel was sharing with him.  As a result of his doubting, he was not able to speak until the angel’s words were fulfilled in their own time.”(Luke 1:20)  Even though his faith was slow, he remained faithful and the moment of his son, John’s birth arrived.  As he held this miracle in his own two hands, he was able to speak and he offered up a song of praise to the God of miracles. (See Luke 1:57-80)  The last part of this song of praise goes like this, “Through the heartfelt miracles of our God, God’s Sunrise will break in upon us, shining on those in the darkness, those sitting in the shadow of death.  Then showing us the way, one foot at a time, down the path of peace.”(The Message Bible)

This year may we accept God’s Sunrise of the miracles of Christmas in our hearts.  Let us believe and fear not, knowing that the wonder of Christmas is upon us. Christ is Risen and it is His light that has driven the darkness from our lives.