The Reason for the Season

22 Dec

Why do Christians celebrate Christmas? Many reasons are given. It is the season of giving. So we buy gifts for our loved ones – family and friends – and others who are needy. It is the season for family reunions. So students go home to the provinces, to enjoy a short holiday with the family, and other relatives. It is the season for eating! People gather for Christmas parties – in the office, at school, in church, at the table tennis club, etc. We all put on weight in December from overeating! But, what is the real reason? Why is Christmas a Christian celebration?

Bethlehem_Church_of_Nativity,_cave_of_birth,_tb102603461.jpg

The Cave of Birth in today’s Bethlehem Church of Nativity.

The real reason is from the original Christmas story that happened two thousand years ago. It really happened, as a historical event, in a small town called Bethlehem, in the Roman province of Judea when Quirinius was governor of Syria. Caesar Augustus ordered a census of the Roman world and a carpenter named Joseph went from Nazareth to Bethlehem to register. Dr. Luke tells the story in his Gospel (Luke 2:1-20). Mary, the wife of Joseph was pregnant, and the time for the baby to be born came but there was no room in the inn for the couple, so the baby had to be placed in a manger after birth. Let us read Dr. Luke’s account from verses 8 to 15.

Sheperds+christmas.jpg

An angel told the shepherds about the good news!

The shepherds were terrified when the angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord filled the night sky! I think we would be terrified too. But the angel told the shepherds not to be afraid. Instead they should be filled with joy, because of what happened in Bethlehem. “Today… a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.” The good news of great joy is bound up entirely with who the Baby of Bethlehem is. And this good news is for all people, initially all the Jewish people, but eventually all the people of the world. He is the Savior, and particularly the Savior from sin. In the Gospel of Matthew, Joseph the stepfather, was told to give the baby the name Jesus (Matthew 1:20,21). Mary was a virgin and became pregnant when the Holy Spirit came upon her (Luke 1:34,35). The name Jesus means the LORD saves! What is wrong with the world? Economic meltdown, poverty and hunger, degradation of the planet, corruption and inequality, terrorism and violence. All these are true but the Bible says, the main problem is sin. The world is fallen, out of sync with GOD the Creator. In particular humans are sinful, rebelling against GOD. Every person is out of harmony with himself and with his fellow human beings. Humanity needs a Savior from sin. This Savior is Christ or Messiah. Jews expected a political Christ to liberate them from Roman imperialism but Jesus said he came to give his life as a ransom from sin (Mark 10:45). His death on the cross paid the penalty of the sins of the world so that GOD can forgive us and welcome us into his holy presence. The apostle Paul wrote that GOD demonstrates his love for us by sending his Son Jesus to die for us, in our place (Romans 5:8). This Savior from sin, Jesus, is the Christ or Messiah who was pierced for our transgressions and crushed for our inequities (Isaiah 53:5). The Savior Christ is also the Lord. We should understand Lord as the same Lord who sent his angel, and the same Lord who lit up the night sky with his glory! In fact, “Lord” in the Old Testament is the Greek translation of Yahweh, the name that GOD revealed to Moses in the burning bush (Exodus 3:14-15). The Baby of Bethlehem is Jesus the Savior from sin, the Christ on the cross, and the Lord of glory! That is why the good news of his birth is such good news of great joy for all people!

nativity.jpg
The Baby of Bethlehem is Jesus the Savior from sin, the Christ on the cross, and the Lord of glory!

What shall we do with this good news? What shall we do with the Savior, who is Christ the Lord? We could ignore him and live our lives like the Baby of Bethlehem was never born. Then we will never know the Savior who came to save us from sin, never appreciate the greatness of GOD’s love demonstrated on the cross, never know the Lord who created us for himself sot hat we may know him, love him, please him, and enjoy him forever! On the other hand, we can say yes to Jesus. We can trust him as our Savior and yield our lives to him as Lord. If we do this, Christmas becomes a meaningful celebration. We will finally understand the reason for the season. It is Jesus!

Christmas 2010 message of Dr. Isabelo F. Magalit, Senior Pastor of Diliman Campus Bible Church delivered last December 12, 2010 (DCBC Christmas Party).

DCBC holds service every Sunday at 7:30 AM (Tagalog Service), 10:00 AM (English Service) and 3:30 PM (Afternoon Service) at the UP School of Statistics Auditorium, Magsaysay St., Diliman, Quezon City.

Map to UP School of Statistics

Advertisements

What do you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: