BY KENNETH HAGIN JR.
These days, before you can even carve the Thanksgiving turkey, the malls and stores have already started their Christmas advertising campaigns. By mid-December, the commercialism of the world’s idea of
Christmas could very easily create a “bah, humbug” attitude in even the most devout person!
But is this really Christmas? No! To the Christian, Christmas is shepherds, angels, the Magi, and the story of Jesus and the nativity. These are symbols of the true meaning of Christmas.
As we come to this season, the thoughts, hearts, and minds of many turn toward the birth of Jesus. I like the way Luke chapter 2 reads.
8 And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 FOR UNTO YOU IS BORN THIS DAY in the city of David A SAVIOR, which is CHRIST THE LORD.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.
Some say Christ was born at this specific time of year – at what we know as Christmastime. Others say, ‘This is not the time of year that He was born at all.” Different arguments have been carried on for
centuries. I say to those arguments, the time is not what is important. Whether or not this time of year is the specific time of year Jesus was born is not the most important issue. The important fact is, He was born!
Recently, some scholars argued over whether or not Jesus was actually born in a stable. They even took a poll and asked several people about this.
One lady said, “Well, it seems strange to me that it’s taken all these years to find this out.” Once again, to those kinds of arguments I say, what difference does it make? The important thing is the fact that He
was born, and the Bible says He was placed in a manger (Luke 2:12).
Many people do not understand that the location of Jesus’ birth is insignificant compared with the certain of Jesus’ birth. So let’s not get sidetracked by all the theological arguments. And let’s not let
the lights and the trees and all the other symbols take away from the biblical fact of His coming. That is the issue, and that’s the most important fact – that He came to earth to be the Savior of mankind!
You see, it’s a matter of the way you look at things. You can get distracted by emphasizing all the negative aspects surrounding Christmas – the commercialism, the theological debates, and unimportant
arguments about symbols or you can emphasize the positive aspects and reflect Christ. It’s up to you what you want to do.
Let’s forget arguing over the unimportant things and let’s get to the heart of the real reason for Christmas. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”‘ That is the real reason for the season – to celebrate the
coming of the Savior!
We celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ our Lord and Savior, but the full picture of Christmas does not stop there. Many people only think of Jesus as a babe in a manger. But the story only begins there. At
Jesus’ birth, the angels were singing, “Glory to God in the highest, peace on earth, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). But that was not the end of the story.
Go with me for just a moment in your mind’s eye and see the baby Jesus in a manger. See the shepherds as they come to worship and magnify God for the Savior who was born.
Then see Jesus thirty years later at the wedding in Cana as He turns the water into wine (John 2:1-11). Travel across land and sea with Him. Walk with Him down the dusty roads of Judea from village to
village. Sail with Him upon the Sea of Galilee. Sit with Him on the mountainside and listen to Him as He teaches what we call the Beatitudes. Go with Him to Capernaum and witness the miracles He performs there.
Watch Him deliver the man tormented by devils (Luke 4:33-35). Listen as He commands the tormenting evil spirits to “come out!” Stand with Him as He raises up Peter’s mother-in-law from her bed of sickness
With your mind’s eye, see Jesus stop a whole procession following Him in order to find out who touched Him. Hear Him declare to the woman who had been sick for twelve ears: “Daughter… thy faith hath made thee whole… ” (Luke 8:48)!
See the blind man Bartimaeus waiting for Jesus just outside of Jericho, clutching the rags he wore and shivering in his darkness. Then listen to the crowd of religious folks rebuking Bartimaeus, telling him to be quiet and to meditate quietly and see if the Master will come by. Admire Bartimaeus’ faith as he cries even louder, “… Thou Son of David. have mercy on me’ (Mark 10:48). Watch Jesus fulfill prophecy
(Luke 4:18) as He restores Bartimaeus’ sight (Mark 10:52).
I think two things happened in the case of Bartimaeus. Not only did Bartimaeus come out of his natural darkness and begin to see with his natural eyes, but in a sense, he also began to see with his spiritual
eyes. He came out of his spiritual darkness and sin when he came in contact with the Savior, Jesus Christ, and began to follow Him!
Continue walking with Jesus as He breaks bread with His disciples and institutes the Lord’s Supper, which we call Communion. The Apostle Paul describes it in First Corinthians.
I CORINTHIANS 11:23-26
23 For I have received of the Lord that which also I delivered unto you, That the Lord Jesus the same night in which he was betrayed took bread:
24 And when he had given thanks, he brake it, and said, Take, eat: this is my body, which is broken for you: this do in remembrance of me.
25 After the same manner also he took the cup, when he had supped, saying, This cup is the new testament in my blood: this do ye, as oft as ye drink it, in remembrance of me.
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
You have walked with Jesus, from His birth through all of these divine revelations and miracles, and have witnessed His earthly ministry. Now kneel with Him in the Garden of Gethsemane as He prays, “… let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will; but as thou wilt” (Matt. 26:39).
Then behold Jesus, the sinless, spotless Son of God, as He drinks of the cup of suffering, sin, sickness, disease, and degradation. Notice Him as He walks from the garden to the Judgment Hall, where a crown of thorns is put on His head and His back is scourged for your victory and healing.
4 Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted.
5 But he was wounded for our transgressions, he was bruised for our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon him; and with his stripes we are healed.
Follow Jesus as He carries His cross to Golgotha and is nailed to the cross, suspended between Heaven and earth. Two pieces of board and three nails become a bridge upon which mankind may pass from the
degradation of sin, sickness, and disease to the glory of God.
See Jesus on the cross as He lifts His head and His eyes toward Heaven and cries, “…My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” (Matt. 27:46). And with one last breath, He declares, “It is finished!” (John
Jesus’ head slumps to His chest, the earth shakes, and the rocks split. And in the temple, the curtain that separated man from the Presence of God in a place called the Holy of Holies rips apart from top to bottom (Matt. 27:51). No more would the Presence of God dwell in the Holy of Holies, a room made with stone, brick, and mortar. The Presence of God would now live in the heart of every human being who looks to God and says, “I accept the Savior, Jesus Christ.”
Form a mental image of Jesus as He is taken down from the cross and placed in the tomb. Once again, angels appear. They announce, “He’s not here! Why are you seeking the living among the dead?” (Luke
24:5,6). Jesus arose just like He promised!
For forty days, Jesus walked with His disciples and those who’d followed Him. Then outside of the city of Jerusalem, He ascended into Heaven. Again, the angels were there. This time they asked, “… why
stand ye gazing up into heaven? this same Jesus which is taken up from you into heaven, shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven” (Acts 1:11).
You and I celebrate Jesus’ birth, but I do not believe that we can fully celebrate His birth without having the whole picture of His life, death, burial, and resurrection.
There could be no death without a birth. There could be no death without a life. Jesus was born. He lived and died for one purpose. That one purpose was to redeem mankind from sin, sickness, and disease.
We wait for the day that He shall return. Paul says it like this:
1 THESSALONIANS 4:16,17
16 For the Lord himself shall descend from heaven with a shout… and the dead in Christ shall rise first:
17 Then we which are alive and remain shall be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air: and so shall we ever be with the Lord.
We as Christians know Jesus Christ as our personal Savior. We celebrate His birth, His life, His death, and His resurrection. Jesus was the Supreme Sacrifice that set us free that we might have life and
have it more abundantly! But not only that, we also celebrate His coming again! The bread and the cup say it all:
1 CORINTHIANS 11:26
26 For as often as ye eat this bread, and drink this cup, ye do shew the Lord’s death till he come.
We cannot fully appreciate Christmas without looking at the whole picture. We cannot separate Jesus’ life into bits and pieces. Christ lived, He died, He arose from death, and He’s coming again’ This is why
we celebrate Christmas!
Today I present to you Jesus Christ – the real reason for the season! I proclaim to you that “the hopes and fears of all the years” have been met in Jesus Christ.
Jesus is the most awesome and wonderful Gift we could receive from our Father God. Thanks be to God for Jesus Christ! Praise God for what Jesus has done for us and what He means to us this Christmas season and always!
THE ABOVE MATERIAL WAS PUBLISHED BY THE WORD OF FAITH, DECEMBER 1995, 15, 16, 17. THIS MATERIAL IS COPYRIGHTED AND MAY BE USED FOR STUDY & RESEARCH PURPOSES ONLY.