Sunday, December 19, 2010

The Right Christmas

Matthew 1:21
"And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name, JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins”

Christmas tree
Author: Yatharth, Licensed under Creative Commons
What does Christmas mean to you? To some people it means hard work – The stores are crowded with shoppers; the Post Office is overflowing with mails and the trains and buses and aeroplanes are carrying record crowds. To some people Christmas means a visit home. Surely this is the best time of all the year to be with loved ones. To some people Christmas means a sad memory. They look back over the year and think of the loved one who has left them since the last Christmas. To some people Christmas means revelry. They talk about Christmas liquor; they connect whisky with the blessed Name of the Saviour. But to millions of people, Christmas means nothing. They do not know Jesus. December 25 for them is just another day.

But Christmas means everything to the real Christian. It means that God loves him with all His heart. It means that God has regarded his lost condition and has done something about it. It means that God has given him the best Christmas Gift that even God could give. It means that his Saviour is born – born to set an example with His life – born to die for his sins, - born to be raised for his justification; - born to ascend on high and make intercession for him; - born to give him the hope of His coming again to gather all believers unto Himself. Christmas means that he has a Companion for life – a Friend in the hour of death, - a loving Brother for eternity. Yes, Christmas means everything for the Christian.

Now, if we are to have a right Christmas, certain things must be placed in that Christmas. Let us follow the Gospel Story and see what a Right Christmas includes:

 A Right Christmas Includes Making Room For Jesus

No room in the inn
Image from The BrickTestament

When Mary and Joseph came to the inn, the inn-keeper said: “We have no room for you”. Oh, he was the man who missed Christmas and all of its meaning! He had many guests in his hotel, but they were soon gone and forgotten. If he had allowed Jesus to be born there, this would have changed his hotel and his whole life. So today, if you say, “I have no room for Jesus”, if your heart and life are filled with other things, you miss everything good. Wouldn’t it be a good thing this Christmas for you to throw out all else and make room for Christ?

heart full of whalesThe Captain of a ship that goes out on whale hunting went to Church one Sunday. The preacher talked to him later after the service and learned that the sermon had made absolutely no impression on him. “To tell the truth, sir, replied the Captain, all the time that you were talking I was thinking about where I could likely find my next whale. I have no room in my heart for anything else but whales!” Is this true of you? Is your heart so full of other things that there is no room in it for Jesus?

As you travel around in this city you see the sign “No Vacancy” on the front of many offices. Some of you have hung out the same signs so far as Jesus is concerned. You have said to Him, “There is no room here for You. My heart is all filled up. Go away!” No room for Jesus! That is like an engine saying that it has no room for the oil – like a tree saying that it has no room for the sap; like the heavens saying that they have no room for the stars; like the garden saying that it has no room for the flowers. You are simply not living if you haven’t let Jesus come into your heart.

A Right Christmas Includes Worship. 

Shepherds come to worship
Image from The BrickTestament

When Jesus was born a wonderful miracle of nature took place. The heavens opened up and an angel came down to speak to a group of shepherds on a Judean hill. “Unto you is born this day, in the city of David a Saviour who is Christ the Lord. You will find Him wrapped in swaddling clothes, and lying in a manger”. The shepherds went to town, found the baby and worshiped Him. If you are to have a right Christmas, you must come and worship Him also.

Has worship any place in your life? It is a lost art with many Christians. They do not have time to stop and look up into God’s face and worship Him. They never enter God’s house; they say they can worship God anywhere, but they never worship Him. The Idol-worshipers look up to their gods and worship them. The dog worships as it gazes into the master’s face. The lover worships his sweetheart and the baby worships the mother. How much more should God’s children, saved and blessed in a million ways, lift their hearts to God in praise.

God can take a worthless, sinful life, wash it in the blood of Christ, put His Spirit in it, and make it a blessing to the world. But even God can’t do this unless He is given a chance. If we come as the shepherds did, if we kneel down before Him and worship Him, and surrender to Him and let Him have His way with us, He will make our lives beautiful indeed.

A man was brought to a great hospital for an operation. He had a cancer of the tongue and the surgeon was going to remove the tongue altogether. A large group of professors and students were looking on, when the surgeon said to the patient; “This will be your last opportunity to talk. Would you like to say anything before the operation?” The man looked up into the faces of all that company and cried out: “Praise be to Jesus Christ, throughout all eternity!” Oh that we might feel the same way about Him!

A Right Christmas Includes the Grace of Giving

Wise Men bring gifts
Image from The BrickTestament

Here we see the wise men coming to bring their gifts to Jesus. We sing about the three wise man, but the Bible doesn't tell us how many there were. In the various Christmas pictures, we see the wise men bringing their gifts to the stable. However, it is most likely that they brought these gifts later on when Jesus was older and not in the stable, but to the house. And what were the gifts? They brought gold, frankincense and myrrh. Each gift was a gift of value. We know more about Jesus than they did. He has done more for us than He did for them. Are we giving ourselves? Are we giving our time and our talents, and our money to Him? Most Churches were built with the blood of their earliest believers. They gave their own blood for the Christ they loved. What are you giving?

A certain Christian business man went to his lawyer who was also a Christian and said to him “I am having a hard time and I want you to draw up a bankruptcy paper for me.” The lawyer said, “I will tell you something better. I will tell you the way to pay all of your debts and avoid disgrace. If you will begin to tithe and give God His part, surely God will bring you out of this difficulty. God has promised to pour out His blessings upon those who tithe. You try this method six months and if it doesn't work, come back to me and I will draw up the bankruptcy papers”. The man promised to do this and stuck to his promise. He never had to return for the bankruptcy papers. God took care of him in a wonderful way. Has He not told us that “all these things” would be added unto us if we put Him first?

The matter of giving reached a climax on the Cross. Look at Jesus as He dies there. What is He doing? He is giving; - giving all that He has for you and me. Must Jesus give all and are we to give nothing in return? Surely, if you are a Christian you love Him and you love to give Him. It will be a right Christmas if you will say, “From now on I will give Him that which rightly belongs to Him.”

A Right Christmas Includes Telling Others About Jesus

Messiah is born
Image from The BrickTestament

 For our picture here, we look up and listen to the angel. For many years men had looked for the Messiah. They had longed for Him to come and fill their hearts with satisfaction and peace and joy. Now the angel announces that He has been born. The long night of waiting is over – the angel has brought the gladdest and sweetest message the world ever heard. In fact, the world has never been the same ever since.

But men are still in the darkness of sin. They are looking for something that satisfies; something which will give them peace and joy. We know what they need, for we have found the Remedy ourselves. They need Jesus. He can do far more for them than they can ever imagine. If we take the message of Christ to them, life will never be the same for them again.

A certain Senator in Washington invited the Ambassador from Belgium to his home for dinner. Now the Senator’s father was a grand old Christian. He sought always to win souls for Christ. So the Senator warned his father to be careful about what he said to the Ambassador when he came for dinner. When the Ambassador came in, he was received with great pomp and ceremony. Soon the old man came downstairs and the Senator introduced him to the Ambassador. The old man forgot the warning which his son had given him, and blurted out the question: “Are you a Christian?” The Senator was greatly embarrassed, but the Ambassador was very courteous. Some months later the old man died. Since he was a Senator’s father, many many flowers were sent to his funeral. But one wreath stood out above all others, and on the card accompanying this wreath was written these words: “In Memory of the only man in America who spoke to me about my soul” and the card was signed by the Belgium Ambassador. Oh may God help us to be interested in the souls of men!

There is joy unspeakable in telling someone else about Jesus. He wants us to do that. He loved us and died for us. He wants us to live for Him and seek opportunities to tell others about Him. We can find our greatest joy in lifting the loads of those who are heavily laden and pointing them to Christ. Let us like John the Baptist say “Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sins of the world.”

So let us do these four things – Let us make room for Jesus in our hearts and lives; Let us bow down and worship Him; Let us bring our gifts to Him; Let us tell others the sweet old old story of Jesus and His love. Then we will really have a right Christmas. 

God bless you all.

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