Around 221 A.D. Sextus Julius Africanus Christianized the “day of the birth of the unconquered sun”, a popular holiday in the Roman Empire that identified December 25th as the birth of the Son of God, however, it is most likely that Jesus was not born on December 25th. Even though the culture has shifted the focus of Christmas towards Santa, family and giving gifts, we still have the opportunity to shine the light of the Savior on this generation by using this holiday to make it about Him.The greatest event in human history is not when man stepped his foot on the moon. It's when God stepped His foot on the earth. That happened when Jesus was born. Click To Tweet
The story of the birth of Jesus has many components that build our faith. I want to look at 4 things that stand out to me from the story of Christmas.
1. The lesson in genealogy. If you start to read the New Testament you will come to find that the first chapter of Matthew recalls the lineage of Jesus as the Son of David. To be frank, there have been many times when I would skip that portion of the Bible. I did not like reading about who begot who.
One time, I read it slowly and repeatedly. I was blown away because all the four women mentioned in that chapter were pretty messed up considering their lineage, not, that the men in Jesus’ lineage were necessarily the greatest examples of godliness either. Let’s look at some of these women, Tamar for example, she slept with her father in law, that is how Perez was born. Rehab, well, she was a prostitute. Ruth was a product of Moab and Bathsheba’s affair. God was trying to say that our past does not determine our future. Satan only knows about your past. God knows your future. It is better than your past.Every saint has a past, every sinner has a future. Click To Tweet
2. The lesson of miracles. We know that there was a spiritual silence between the last prophet of the Old Testament and the birth of Jesus. Things were pretty dead spiritually. Don’t get me wrong, Jews still had religion, rituals and rules, but no life. There was no prophets, no miracles, and no supernatural. The birth of Jesus broke that silence.
It all started with Zacharias receiving a visit from an angel. Then, experiencing the miracle of pregnancy in the advanced years. Prophecy started again from the lips of this priest, Hannah and others. God was beginning to speak in people’s dreams again.Jesus' birth was supernatural and everything connected to Him experienced supernatural. If you're connected to Christ – miracles as a byproduct. Click To Tweet
We must not seek miracles, but Jesus. With that said, if Jesus is in the center, miracles have to happen. It is what separates the church from religion. Most of what we do today in church can be done without Holy Spirit. But our programs, talents and resources cannot heal the sick, deliver people from the devil and from demons or save the soul. Only Holy Spirit can do that. What comes natural to Holy Spirit is supernatural to us. We must be more hungry for the supernatural than afraid of “deception” and “heresy,” so that we do not become people who have a form of godliness, but deny his power.
3. The lesson of gifts. After the birth of Jesus, wise men brought gifts to Him. But Jesus’ birth was God’s gift to humanity. Today in our culture people put gifts under the tree. God put His gift on the tree. God’s gift on Christmas is more than salvation. He gave us a Savior.If our need would have been information, God would have sent us an educator. If it would be technology, God would have sent a scientist. If it would be money, God would send an economist. Our need was salvation, God sent a Savior. Click To Tweet
Every gift must be received and opened. Faith opens that gift of salvation.
4. The lesson of the manger. Jesus was born in the stable because that is where lambs are born.
The manger was the place of birth for God’s Son. Unworthy of divine royalty, dirty, dark, defiled. God’s son was revealed through it. It doesn’t draw attention to itself.Our heart is like a manger. Unworthy of divine royalty, dirty, dark and defiled. But it must become a place of birth of God's Son. Click To Tweet
Your heart might be dirty, dark and defiled, but it can become a place of birth for Jesus. Once He comes to live there, He will purify it and turn it into a tabernacle. His presence brings purity and freedom.
Maybe, you feel like you are not good enough for Jesus. The Christmas story teaches us that He was born in a manger – He will come to live in you, if you only let Him. He will accept you the way you are, but not leave you the way you are.