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Christmas is Jesus - Christmas

By Rev Dr Colin Peckham

Christmas is:
A TIME OF EXULTATION

There was joy in heaven, for the heavenly host were praising God at Christ's birth (Luke 2.13). There was joy on earth, for the angels brought 'good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people' (Luke 2.10).

This joy transcends all barriers of creed, culture and race. To his immediate disciples, who were all Jews, Jesus spoke that their 'joy might be full' (John 15.11); when Philip went to Samaria and preached Christ, 'there was great joy in the city' (Acts 8.8.); when Paul and Barnabus told of the conversion of the gentiles, 'they caused great joy' (Acts15.3).

This joy centres in Jesus, 'the day-spring from on high' who 'hath visited us' (Luke 1.78). Jesus had come and a spiritual dawn was breaking. 'The people that walked in darkness have seen a great light' (Isaiah 9.2). 'I am the Light of the world,' said Jesus. The Sun of Righteousness has risen and joy spreads everywhere. Christmas is a time of joy.

Christmas is:
A TIME OF RE-AFFIRMATION

It re-affirms the doctrine of the Virgin Birth

The Apostles' Creed states that Jesus was conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.' Today the Virgin Birth is regarded in many quarters as unworthy of twentieth century intelligence. It is declared to be biologically impossible. Jesus, they say, was the son of Joseph, or of a Roman soldier, or of a German mercenary. If you do not have a miracle-working God you have to make do with natural explanations!

Would Mary be called by an angel 'blessed among women' (Luke 1:28) if she were an adulteress? 'Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son' (Isaiah 7:14). 'The power of the Highest shall overshadow thee' (Luke 1:35), is the Scriptural explanation. God clothed Himself with human flesh as He projected Himself into human history in the form of a baby and in the person of His Son.

'God contracted to a span,
Incomprehensibly made man.'

'In the beginning was the Word (there is eternity) and the Word was with God (there is personality) and the Word was God (there is deity) (John 1:1) and the Word became flesh (there is humanity) and dwelt among us (there is community) (John 1:14). He gave up the full exercise of His divinity and subjected Himself to the limitations of expression. The omnipresent One was housed in a baby's body and imprisoned in a sinful environment. Who can fathom the depths of this humiliation?

It re-affirms the doctrine of the Deity of Christ.

It was not at His birth that the Lord Jesus began to exist. He was before all worlds, Very God of Very God! Neither did He cease to be God through His incarnation. He is 100% God and 100% man. At the incarnation, God the Son took on another mode of existence. This incarnation and humiliation brought God to us! In Jesus we have the supreme revelation of God. He who was bound and imprisoned by human limitations is now released in and to humanity. The incarnation means a God who is caged in human body, but who is released in humanity. God in the flesh is God concrete. 'Emmanuel -- God with us!'

Christmas is:
A TIME OF SALVATION

Jesus ('Saviour')

'Unto you is born a Saviour' (Luke 2:11). 'Thou shalt call his name Jesus for he shall save his people from their sins (Matt. 1:21). God has said, 'the soul that sinneth it shall die' (Ezek. 18:4). But just as the righteousness of God demands punishment for sin, so the love of God provides the substitute. The purpose of the incarnation was the crucifixion. Bethlehm is inextricably linked to Calvary. The crib leads to the Cross. Jesus was born to die. His death was an offering for sin, and God punished Jesus in man's stead. Here justice is satisfied and our sins are taken away. Here salvation is obtained and we can worship at the crib because it effects the cross.

Emmanuel ('God with us')

Not only does He save us by taking our sins away, but He saves us by coming to live within us. Salvation is 'Christ in you, the hope of glory' (Col. 1:27). We are made 'partakers of the divine nature' (2 Peter 1:4). We are 'born of the Spirit' (John 3:5). The living, resurrected Jesus must be born in us, and then through us His life is poured.

This is salvation: negatively, He takes away our sins; positively, He lives in our redeemed lives.

Unto YOU is born a Saviour. Is He yours?

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