John K. Jenkins, Sr. – 12/29/23
For the past month or so, our culture has focused much on the Christmas season and the celebrations that will soon follow suit. Our family calendars are filled, plane tickets have been secured, and for some, credit cards have been maxed out so that they can show others how much they love them. However, amidst all of the excitement, most people have yet to learn what the true meaning of Christmas is!
Where Have We Gone Wrong?
What surprised me the most was that churches have actually shut down on Christmas.
In 2022, when Christmas fell on a Sunday, I had many people ask me if we would still be holding church services, to which my immediate response was, “Yes!” Saints, if we aren’t going to make space to step away from the commercialism of this sacred celebration, how will we prioritize Jesus every other Sunday of the year?
My wife and I have been parents for quite a few years now – decades, really! And one thing that every parent must decide is how they will form their child’s belief system when it comes to Santa Claus.
When my children were small, my wife and I decided to acknowledge that Santa was a make-believe character but that Jesus was the true focal point of the Christmas season. I remember following that family lesson, a few of our children went to school and told their friends what they had learned about Santa. Well, let’s just say that there were many parents who were quite upset with my wife and me.
Parents, I wonder if some of your children find it hard to consider Jesus as a real person because you have put Christ and Santa in the same category during the celebration of Christmas.
So, how do we get back to a place where we are aligned with the true meaning of Christmas? Let’s focus on the face of our Savior.
The Real Reason For Celebrating Christmas
We live in a society with much noise and belief around many things – including who we personally decide to worship. However, only one God is unique from the others, and His name is Jesus.
1.The Person of Jesus
The life of Jesus is special and not just because He is God with us. His arrival and life on earth far outweigh the other gods made available to the world. He is unique and does not belong in the same box as other idols.
His Miraculous Conception (vs. 20)
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.”
Matthew 1:18-20, NKJV
Mary’s pregnancy was special. For you see, this divine pregnancy was not by way of the efforts of man through premarital sex. Jesus, who was conceived by the Holy Spirit, was both man and God, putting Him in a separate category altogether from Mohammed, Buddha, Confucius, and others.
Jesus’ arrival on earth and in our heartsare different, and as we anticipate the season of Christmas, we reflect on what distinguishes Him from every so-called god or savior.
His Divine Nature (vs. 23)
“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.”
Matthew 1:23, NKJV
At Christmas, believers are celebrating that God made a choice to come and be with us. He didn’t just send an angel or messenger; He came as Immanuel, God with us.
And when we look at other religions, we can clearly distinguish how different Jesus is from other manmade beliefs.
John 1:1, NKJV says, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” You see, Jesus isn’t just the Son of God; He was with God from the very beginning and is one with God. He is God Himself!
Secondly, John 1:14 tells us that the Word became flesh and lived among us, and He was full of grace and truth. How loving that God would leave His perfect throne so that He could manifest in the flesh and live among us!
Saints, no other religion can claim this. We have a loving God who intricately worked out the details of this miraculous birth story and used 42 generations, a lowly manger and surrendered people to do so. Through His love for us and our anticipation of Him, He is everything we would ever need.
2.The Purpose of Jesus (vs. 21)
“And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.”
Matthew 1:21, NKJV
We all have offended God in some way. Since the beginning of our lives, we have missed the holy standard God has set before us. Yet, in His goodness, God has acknowledged that and has prepared a way to restore what has been broken!
You may feel that you aren’t capable of doing the right things. You may be constantly reminded of every mistake you have ever made. You very well may keep straying from the path God has set before your feet. Can I encourage you? We never were supposed to get it right through our own devices. We need a Savior who can deliver us from the sin that has entrapped us. We need Jesus to make whole the places that are broken and fill us with His presence so that we can do all the things that He has empowered us to do.
You Are His Chosen People
Perhaps you are pondering your past, wondering if God could possibly save you. And to that, I confidently say, “He can, and He is willing!”
Looking at the second half of Matthew 1:21, we read, “for He will save His people from their sins.”
Who is included as His people?There is a lot of debate about whether Jesus was Black or European. And while there is much speculation surrounding this, one thing is fact, and that is He is a Jew.
“He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”
John 1:11-12, NKJV
Chances are, you and I are not of Jewish descent. But did you know we serve such an incredible God that He created a way for us to be called His children? When Jesus came to His people, they rejected Him. Because of that, Jesus opened the doorway for whoever believes to be called His people, too!
Saints, you can’t avoid Him, and you can’t run from Him. He loves you with an everlasting love that covers the many. He is with you every minute of every day and longs to be a part of your life. Will you invite Him in?
If you are curious about what it looks like to have a relationship with Jesus, a member from our team would love to connect with you.
I pray that you will remember the real reason for the celebration of Christmas. It is more than the gifts under the tree; it is about the Gift that hung on the tree.
For more on the true meaning of Christmas, check out Pastor John’s sermon, The Real Reason for the Celebration of Christmas, on YouTube.