On this Christmas Eve, in the year of our Lord 2012, believe it or not, this Christmas Eve has a lot in common with the first Christmas when our Lord was born into the world. On the very first Christmas Eve, earth was unaware as to what was happening around them. Unaware, inattentive, oblivious, and unobservant!
The earliest reference to Christmas being celebrated in December comes from the second century after the birth of Jesus.
It is considered likely the first Christmas celebrations were in reaction to the Roman Saturnalia, a harvest festival that marked the winter return of the sun and honored Saturn, the god of sowing. Saturnalia was a rowdy time, much opposed by the more austere leaders among the still-minority Christian sect.
Christmas developed as a means of replacing worship of the sun with worship of the Son. By 529 A.D., after Christianity had become the official state religion of the Roman Empire, Emperor Justinian made Christmas a civic holiday. However, the world, back then, was absorbed with that which was not important. They were engrossed in their own lives and preoccupied with vanity and emptiness. However, Heaven wasn’t!
The innumerable Holy and Elect angels were waiting in anticipation. They were waiting to break forth in praise and worship and adoration to the birth of a new born child, the Son of God. A birth that meant that God had fulfilled His word and sent forth His child for salvation. A fulfillment of Isaiah 9:6, For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and on that first Christmas Eve there was also a farewell going on in heaven, the Son said goodbye to the Father. In fact, a part of that conversation is recorded for us in the tenth chapter of Hebrews.
On that first Christmas Eve, the Lord is speaking to the Father and this is what He said:
Therefore, when He comes into the world [this is the first Christmas], He says, “Sacrifice and offering Thou hast not desired, But a [human] body Thou hast prepared for Me;” (Hebrews 10:5)
Note that the physical body of the humanity of Christ was prepared for Him beforehand by God the Father.
“In whole burnt offerings and sacrifices for sin Thou hast taken no pleasure. Then I said, ‘Behold, I have come (In the roll of the book it is written of Me) To do Thy will, O God.’” (Hebrews 10:6-7)
He said in effect, Father I realize that You have not been satisfied with the blood of animals and therefore you have prepared a body for me so that I could be the ultimate sacrifice. Therefore, the Lord Jesus Christ bid farewell to His Father and began a journey that was to end 33 years later on the Cross.
For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich. (2 Corinthians 8:9)
The physical body of Christ was divinely prepared by God the Father and God the Holy Spirit as the vehicle to bring God to mankind and to be the perfect sacrifice for sin. In addition, while this was going on, earth was oblivious to it! People on earth had no idea that for the first time ever, God was going to become a man. God was coming in the flesh, Heaven was well aware of the event, earth was not.
There are so many things about Christmas that the majority of people today know nothing about. The Holy Spirit had taken nine months to fashion inside of Mary, a physical body which would be perfectly prepared for our Lord. A human body that would be like no other human body because it was the only human body to be born into this world without a sin nature. A body that was to be inhabited by the second person of the Trinity (that is, God the Son).
The fullness of time had come when God would send forth His very own Son. Galatians 4:4 teaches this, But when the fullness of the time came, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, and every Christmas time we stop and rather mindlessly acknowledge the birth of Christ. Some say He was God, others say He was just a man. The real issue is not that He came, the issue is why He came.
Many people stop and think about Christmas just as the fact that He came...but they never bother to find out why He came. Why did He come? Why was He born? To present God?...YES. To teach truth?...YES. To fulfill the Law?...YES. To reveal love?...YES.
These are all secondary reasons why He came. There is really only one primary reason. One primary plan.
One primary person. And that is that Jesus Christ, who came into the world on that first Christmas for one major reason...to suffer and to die for you.
Therefore, the biggest question in this life for any person who is not confident of their eternal future is: “What must one do to be eternally saved and go to heaven?” The book of Acts 16:30-31 tells us that Paul & Silas were asked the following question by the Jailer. "Sirs, what must I do to be saved? So they said, believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved." Jesus Himself said in John 6:47 "Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me has everlasting life." Did you notice the word “has”…, it doesn’t say “will” have, it says “has” everlasting life, which means the very moment you believe in Jesus Christ, you have eternal life. John 20:30-31 tells us what we must believe about Jesus, that is, one must simply believe …that He is the Christ (the promised Messiah), the Son of God; and that believing you may have life (eternal life) in His Name; nothing more and nothing less.
Have you believed in Christ as your eternal savior? If not, what are you waiting for? Tomorrow is promised to no one!
Mark & Lottie
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