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SUNDAY DECEMBER 30, 2018
“WHAT IS THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS?”
LUKE 2:21-40

 

IN VERSES 1-20 OF THIS CHAPTER, WE SAW HOW THE LORD JESUS CHRIST CAME TO BE BORN IN BETHLEHEM ALTHOUGH HIS MOTHER MARY AND JOSEPH LIVED IN NAZARETH OF GALILEE. WE ALSO SAW HOW THE ANGELS AND SHEPHERDS CELEBRATED THE FIRST ADVENT OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TO THE EARTH. OVER THE PAST 2000 YEARS WE HAVE COME TO CELEBRATE THIS ADVENT OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST TO EARTH AS “CHRISTMAS.” TODAY WE WILL CONSIDER FROM THIS PASSAGE THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS TO SIMEON AND ANNA, AS WELL AS THE SIGNIFICANCE OF CHRISTMAS TO THOSE OF US WHO LIVE TODAY. FOR THOSE OF US WHO HAVE BEEN BORN IN CHRISTENDOM, CHRISTMAS HAS FASCINATED US SINCE CHILDHOOD. IT HAS ALWAYS BEEN A TIME TO EAT, DRINK AND TO EXCHANGE GREETINGS AND PRESENTS. THIS YEAR WAS NO EXCEPTION. HOWEVER, WHILE IT IS WONDERFUL TO EXCHANGE GREETINGS, CARDS AND PRESENTS, AND TO VISIT FRIENDS AND RELATIVES WE HAVE NOT SEEN IN A LONG TIME, IF THIS IS ALL THAT CHRISTMAS MEANS TO US, WE ARE GREATLY SHORT CHANGING OURSELVES. IF WE FAIL TO REALIZE THAT THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS IS OUR ACCEPTING GOD’S GIFT OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON, THE LORD JESUS CHRIST, AS A SACRIFICE FOR THE SINS OF THE WORLD, THEN WE HAVE COMPLETELY MISSED CHRISTMAS. HOW WAS YOUR CHRISTMAS, AND WHAT DO YOU THINK IS THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS?

1)WHAT IS THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS? WHAT DID CHRISTMAS MEAN TO SIMEON? SIMEON WAS A DEVOUT MAN WHO WAITED FOR “THE CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL AND THE HOLY GHOST WAS UPON HIM.” THE HOLY SPIRIT REVEALED TO SIMEON THAT HE WOULD SEE THE MESSIAH BEFORE HE DIED, SO THE SPIRIT LED HIM INTO THE TEMPLE WHEN THE CHILD JESUS WAS BEING PRESENTED TO THE LORD. THEN SIMEON OPENED HIS MOUTH AND BLESSED THE LORD. TO SIMEON CHRISTMAS WAS THE FULFILMENT OF A PROMISE GOD HAD GIVEN HIM (VV21-35).

2)WHAT IS THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS? WHAT DID CHRISTMAS MEAN TO ANNA? ANNA WAS AN EIGHTY-FOUR YEAR OLD WIDOW AND PROPHETESS “WHICH DEPARTED NOT FROM THE TEMPLE, BUT SERVED GOD WITH FASTINGS AND PRAYERS NIGHT AND DAY. AND SHE COMING IN THAT INSTANT GAVE THANKS LIKEWISE UNTO THE LORD, AND SPOKE OF HIM TO ALL THEM THAT LOOKED FOR REDEMPTION IN JERUSALEM.” TO ANNA CHRISTMAS WAS A TIME FOR REJOICING AND PRAISE TO GOD (VV36-38).

WHAT IS THE MEANING AND PURPOSE OF CHRISTMAS? WHAT DOES CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU AND ME? SOMEONE HAS SAID THAT CHRISTMAS IS LIKE A SNOWBALL THAT HAS BEEN ROLLING DOWN A MOUNTAINSIDE FOR 2000 YEARS. IT HAS PICKED UP SO MUCH DEBRIS THAT A LOT HAS TO BE PEELED OFF BEFORE WE CAN IDENTIFY THE CORE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS. IN THIS PEELING OFF PROCESS, THE FIRST CHAPTER OF THE GOSPEL OF JOHN IS VERY INSTRUCTIVE. IT DSCRIBES THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS THE WORD OF GOD THAT WAS FACE TO FACE WITH GOD THE FATHER FROM ETERNITY PAST. HE CREATED THE UNIVERSE AND EVERYTHING IN IT. HE HAD LIGHT AND LIFE ABIDING IN HIM. HE WAS MADE FLESH AND TABERNACLED WITH US. HE CAME TO HIS OWN PEOPLE (THE JEWS) “AND HIS OWN RECEIVED HIM NOT. BUT AS MANY AS RECEIVED HIM, TO THEM GAVE HE POWER TO BECOME THE SONS OF GOD.” WHAT THEN SHOULD CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU AND ME? CHRISTMAS PRESENTS THE OPPORTUNITY FOR YOU AND ME TO BECOME SONS OF THE LIVING GOD BY SIMPLY ACCEPTING GOD’S GIFT OF 3)HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON! WHEN WE ACCEPT GOD’S GIFT OF HIS SON, WE ARE BORN OF GOD INTO GOD’S FAMILY. THIS NEW BIRTH IS “NOT OF BLOOD, NOR OF HE WILL OF THE FLESH, NOR OF THE WILL OF MAN, BUT OF GOD.”

WE READ IN THE PASSAGE THAT THE HOLY GHOST WAS “UPON” SIMEON. THE HOLY GHOST LED SIMEON AND ANNA INTO THE TEMPLE AT THE RIGHT TIME TO SEE AND TO WORSHIP THE CHRIST CHILD. WHEN WE ACCEPT THE LORD JESUS CHRIST AS OUR SAVIOR, THE HOLY GHOST COMES NOT “UPON” US BUT “WITHIN” US TO BEAR “WITNESS WITH OUR SPIRIT THAT WE ARE THE CHILDREN OF GOD AND HEIRS OF ETERNAL LIFE (ROMANS 8:14-17). WHAT DID THIS CHRISTMAS MEAN TO YOU? WAS IT JUST ANOTHER TIME TO GIVE AND RECEIVE GIFTS BETWEEN FRIENDS AND RELATIVES? I SINCERELY HOPE NOT. I HOPE THAT YOU TOOK TIME TO ACKNOWLEDGE AND TO RECEIVE GOD’S GIFT OF HIS ONLY BEGOTTEN SON. OUR RESPONSE TO GOD’S OFFER OF SALVATION THROUGH HIS SON JESUS CHRIST HAS ETERNAL CONSEQUENCES. IT DETEMINES WHETHER WE SPEND ETERNITY IN HEAVEN WITH GOD, OR IN HELL WITH THE DEVIL AND HIS ANGELS!!

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