While Joseph and Mary were in Bethlehem, the time came for her to give birth. She gave birth to a Son, her firstborn. She wrapped Him in a blanket and laid Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.
There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”
At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:
Glory to God in the highest heavens,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this Child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.
Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!
Celebrating The King of Kings birth together,
What are the top words that come to mind when you think about Christmas?
Write down the first 10...
Look at those words, anything interesting that you see? Any word pop up that you did not expect? Any word missing?
Where did the word, "gift" fall on your list? Or how about the word, "Jesus" or "Xmas?"
The word Christmas comes from Middle English Cristemasse, which in turn comes from Old English Cristes-messe, which literally means Christ’s Mass.
Did you write down Xmas?
I use to believe that writing “Xmas” instead of Christmas was an attempt to remove Christ from Christmas and may even consider it blasphemous. However, “X” in “Xmas” is not the English letter “ex," the idea of my "ex" girlfriend or boyfriend. It is an abbreviation of the Greek name of “Christ”, Χριστός (Christos), which means "anointed." This "X" instead of "Christ" can be traced many centuries back, as far back as 1100 AD.
During the Xmas season, I think we will hear one word more than any other. It’s not "Xmas," “merry,” “tree,” “Santa,” or even “Jesus.” It's the word “gift.”
By the end of November, we begin a frantic dash to find the right gift for everyone on our list. The word “gift” consumes us for a month.
Many people think that gift giving at Christmas was started by the Wise Men when they brought gifts to the baby Jesus. But it was God who started it all when He gave the first Christmas gift.
“For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
On the first Christmas, God gave the greatest gift of all, He gave His Son. He gave His Son to die on the cross so you can have a forgiven past, a purpose for living, and a home in Heaven. Jesus is the original Christmas gift.
We only give because God gave to us first.
The spirit of Christmas is the spirit of generosity. “We are saved because the Master Jesus amazingly and out of sheer generosity moved to save us." Acts 15:11 (Msg)
If it weren’t for God’s generosity, we would have nothing. The air we breathe is a gift of God’s generosity. The blood flowing through our veins is a gift of God’s generosity. The fact that our hearts are beating is a gift of God’s generosity. Every good thing in your life, including your life itself, is a gift of God’s generosity.
But God’s greatest act of generosity came on the very first Christmas when He gave us Jesus.
When did you first open God's generous Xmas gift?
How are you contemplating this gift this season?
How can you join God and give this gift away this season?
Contemplating The Gift of all gifts and seeking to give that Gift to others,
Pastor Chris Reinertson enjoys all sports, especially those involving a ball. He loves to hang out with people and challenge them to be Jesus REVolutionizers.