Today is Jesus' birthday. People around the world observe Christmas! Although the Bible does not say exactly when Jesus was born, I think that it is meaningful to celebrate a day when Jesus came to earth for us. It is also meaningful to mediate on why Jesus should have to come here, and what the Lord’s disciples should do on earth.
Luke 2:11 shows who Jesus is.
“Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.”
Christ means an anointed one, a king, a priest, and a Messiah. The Lord is another name of God since the Israelites were scared to call God’s name.
Therefore, we can rewrite Luke 2:11 like this:
"Today, in the town of David, who was worthy of God's heart, a man was born who would save the world from the sins. He is the King, the Priest, and the Messiah! He is also a perfect man and a perfect God. Today is the surprising day because God becomes a man.”
The birth of Jesus was the work that Heavenly Father had planned long ago. In Genesis 3, when Adam sinned, God said her offering will crush Serpent’s head (Gene. 3:15). As written, Jesus was born as a descendant of a woman, the Virgin Mary. God led Abraham to the Promised Land and prepare the birth of Jesus. Many prophets and people also have waited the birth of Jesus, but they didn’t see the day when Jesus was born. Now it is the day when Jesus was born through Holy Spirit. It is a great joy to all the people. It is clear that the news of Jesus’ birth should be the great news to those who have waited for the Messiah.
So, Christmas should be the happiest day. Even though you may suffer from many hardships, today I pray that you will be filled with the joy from God.
2. Express joy.
What kinds of image do you have regarding to Christmas? For me, Christmas tree and gifts! There are several stories about decorating the Christmas tree.
One of them is that Martin Luther started the decorating the tree.
Luther was walking in the forest on Christmas evening. He was surprised to see the dark forest shining brightly like a lamp. It was because the moon light was shining on the fir tree where the snow was piled up. Martin Luther realized this and shared his idea to his people, “We are like a shabby tree in the darkness, but when we receive Jesus' light, we can become a person who shines a beautiful light around us." Luther made a Christmas tree by sharing this enlightenment with people to remember the Lord’s coming as the light in a dark world.
Another story related to the Christmas tree began with a poor family in Germany.
A mother couldn’t buy a present for a child; so she made various shapes with a piece of paper on a fir tree. However, a spider webbed in the tree, and the web in the morning sun seemed to wrap gold thread and silver thread. It was a present for mother who loved her children. Later people decorated the Christmas tree to remember the mother’s love.
There is a Christmas tree in my house. When Christmas approached, my wife decorated a Christmas tree. And she stacked up gifts for the children. She always shared a story why she made a tree with gifts. She said that her mother did for her sisters and her although her mother was poor. Her mother wanted to share the joy of Jesus’ birth with her kids. Now, all nice memories are keeping my wife warm every Christmas season. I hope that my kids have good memories with the joy of Jesus’ birth.
No matter how the tree of Christmas had begun, we will be able to make our own meaning to the tree. I would like to bring a bunch of kids' presents under the Christmas tree at the church. I want to teach the children that the birthday of the Lord is a joyful and meaningful day as much as the joy of receiving gifts. Christmas is also a day of expressing the joy that the Lord has given us. I hope that you may have these good memories on Christmas Day.
Christmas is the time when the whole family gathered to rejoice that the Lord has come to the earth.
3. Glory and Peace
On the day Jesus came to this land, angels and many heavenly armies appeared and praised God. Luke 2:14 explains the reason why Jesus came to this land.
"Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace to men on whom his favor rests (Luke 2:14).”
Christmas is a day of glory and peace.
I hope that Christmas is a day filled with the glory of the Lord and his peace to you. However, in the movies, Christmas turned into a horrible day. All kinds of accidents might occur on Christmas, which completely misled the meaning of Christmas. Jesus' birthday is the day of glorifying God. I pray that you will be filled with the peace that the Lord gives to you.
But peace does not seem to work for everyone. If you look closely at the passage, you can find that peace to men on whom his favor rests. If so, you may raise a question immediately. Who is person who pleases God? What is the peace that the Lord gives to us?
Let’s read Proverbs 21: 3.
“To do what is right and just is more acceptable to the LORD than sacrifice." Other translation of this passage says, “to do righteousness and justice Is desired by the LORD more than sacrifice.'
God delights in our worship. However, it is said that to do what is right and just is more acceptable to the Lord than worship! In other words, God is pleased for us to live in the will of God.
The following passage says: “Haughty eyes and a proud heart, the lamp of the wicked, is sin."
We should notice that the prosperity of the wicked is sin. If you see the wicked prosper, do not be envious. It is clear that there is no peace that the Lord gives to these people. I am sure that they always anxious and worried about something without peace.
He/she whom God pleases is a person who lives righteously and God gives the peace to him/her.
The following passage is “a fortune made by a lying tongue is a fleeting vapor and a deadly snare.” It is clear that there is no peace of God to such a man.
The peace that the Lord gives is to those who are pleased with God.
In Psalm 147:11 states: "The Lord delights in those who fear him, who put their hope in his unfailing love.”
Those who fear the Lord are those who live righteous lives. God gives the peace to those who desire the love of the Lord. The peace that the Lord gives is absolute peace. You can’t buy it with money or power. It is a peace that cannot be shaken by the tempest.
Peace given by Jesus also means restoration of relationship.
The Lord has come to the earth to restore the relationship between God and people. Restoration of your relationship with God, and also with your neighbor is peace.
When God came to the Garden of Eden, Adam hid from the face of God because of the broken relationship between God and Adam. However, Jesus restores the relationship between God and man.
The Lord also wants us to restore our relationship with our neighbors. Then you have this question. Who is my neighbor? It is a parable of Jesus that shows it well.
As a parable of Jesus clearly showed, your neighbors are people who help you and bind your wounds when you are in trouble. I hope that your neighbor is your family and also church members. When you are in trouble, they will help you without any expectation.
What you need is practical help. Someone may say, “May God bless you.” “I hope that God will send someone else to help you” Yes. It is a word for comfort, but they are not your neighbors. They are just passers-by. Your neighbor will help you when you are in trouble.
This is a story of a church. It was hard for a person to have a job because of health difficulties. She received a government support, but still had difficulties. When her church’s members heard the situation of this person, they were worried about her. So they decided to pray, and the session decided to pay her electricity bill for a certain period of time. Was it good decision or not?
There was a similar story in a church. Someone has served the local church as a deacon for a long time. However, his life became difficult because of illness. He got old and hard to find a right position. When the church members heard about this news, they worried and discussed what the church do for him. However, there was a conflict among the people. “The church should help him. We are a family in God; we are not a kind of charity for this kind of person. God would feed him.” The conclusion of this church was that the church would not help him. They pretended not to know the situation. I don’t know whether they prayed for him, but the deacon passed away because he didn’t have a neighbor in his church sadly.
This story should be not ours. Those who help you are your neighbors. What the Lord said to us that we should be such a nice neighbor to serve others. This is how we restore our relationship with our neighbors and how we enjoy peace from the Lord.
Who is our neighbor? A man who met a robber? A poor man? Yes, maybe. But your neighbor will be your family, and your church members. We should remember that your family and your church member also need a neighbor like you.
I hope that all of our churches members are doing well and prosper. I hope that your children will get a good job. I hope you all should be healthy. I hope that you will be a healthy and influential person in society. I hope that we all become neighbors to each other. I hope that all of us will be glad together and be grieving together. The Lord came to this earth to restore the relationship with neighbors. This is the peace that the Lord gives to us.
4. Anyone can worship Jesus Christ!
The first people who came to see Jesus who was lying in the manger were shepherds. They were the poor and they didn’t prepare any gift for Jesus. The second visitors, the Magi, were the Gentile and they came to worship Jesus. Through these, the Lord has shown that everyone desires to be saved. That all nations will enjoy peace with God and enjoy peace with their neighbors. It is the "baby in the manger" that shows that the way to come to Jesus regardless of their situation in society and in wealth, is open.
Today is the day when Jesus commemorates the coming of this earth. I bless you in the name of the Lord that you are full of the true joy that the Lord gives you and the peace that God gives to you who are pleased with Him.
I would like to sing a song with you. The title of the song is “in the depths of my soul.' It should be our confession! There is the peace that the Lord gives to us.