What is the real meaning of Christmas? By Nelson S Alfred

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Traditionally, Christmas is the time to think of Jesus Christ as a baby in a manger. While the birth of Christ is a special and miraculous event, it isn't the primary focus. The central truth of the Christmas story is this: the Child of Christmas is God.
God in a Manger
Christmas story is not about the Savior's infancy; it is about His deity. In fact humble birth of Jesus Christ was never intended to conceal the reality that God was being born into the world.
But the present day's commercial version of Christmas does just that. Thus, making Christmas of no consequence to the greater part of humanity.
It will be difficult for most of the non-believer and some believer can ever fathom what it means for God to be born in a manger. How does one explain the Almighty stooping to become a tiny infant? Our minds cannot begin to understand what was involved in God's becoming man.
Nor can anyone explain how God could become a baby. Yet He did. Without forsaking His divine nature or diminishing His deity, He was born into our world as a tiny infant.
He was fully human, with all the needs and emotions that are common to us all. Yet He was also fully God--all wise and all powerful.
We have seen in the old testament times have, whenever a king has tried to act as king and the priest what happened
1 Samuel 13: 5-13
5 And the Philistines gathered themselves together to fight with Israel, thirty thousand chariots, and six thousand horsemen, and people as the sand which is on the sea shore in multitude: and they came up, and pitched in Michmash, eastward from Bethaven.
6 When the men of Israel saw that they were in a strait, (for the people were distressed,) then the people did hide themselves in caves, and in thickets, and in rocks, and in high places, and in pits.
7 And some of the Hebrews went over Jordan to the land of Gad and Gilead. As for Saul, he was yet in Gilgal, and all the people followed him trembling.
8 And he tarried seven days, according to the set time that Samuel had appointed: but Samuel came not to Gilgal; and the people were scattered from him.
9 And Saul said, Bring hither a burnt offering to me, and peace offerings. And he offered the burnt offering.
10 And it came to pass, that as soon as he had made an end of offering the burnt offering, behold, Samuel came; and Saul went out to meet him, that he might salute him.
11 And Samuel said, What hast thou done? And Saul said, Because I saw that the people were scattered from me, and that thou camest not within the days appointed, and that the Philistines gathered themselves together at Michmash;
12 Therefore said I, The Philistines will come down now upon me to Gilgal, and I have not made supplication unto the LORD: I forced myself therefore, and offered a burnt offering.
13 And Samuel said to Saul, Thou hast done foolishly: thou hast not kept the commandment of the LORD thy God, which he commanded thee: for now would the LORD have established thy kingdom upon Israel forever.
2 Chronicle 26: 16-22
Uzziah's Pride, Leprosy, Death
16But when he was strong, his heart was lifted up to his destruction: for he transgressed against the LORD his God, and went into the temple of the LORD to burn incense upon the altar of incense. 17And Azariah the priest went in after him, and with him fourscore priests of the LORD, that were valiant men: 18And they withstood Uzziah the king, and said unto him, It appertaineth not unto thee, Uzziah, to burn incense unto the LORD, but to the priests the sons of Aaron, that are consecrated to burn incense: go out of the sanctuary; for thou hast trespassed; neither shall it be for thine honour from the LORD God. 19Then Uzziah was wroth, and had a censer in his hand to burn incense: and while he was wroth with the priests, the leprosy even rose up in his forehead before the priests in the house of the LORD, from beside the incense altar. 20And Azariah the chief priest, and all the priests, looked upon him, and, behold, he was leprous in his forehead, and they thrust him out from thence; yea, himself hasted also to go out, because the LORD had smitten him. 21And Uzziah the king was a leper unto the day of his death, and dwelt in a several house, being a leper; for he was cut off from the house of the LORD: and Jotham his son was over the king's house, judging the people of the land.
22Now the rest of the acts of Uzziah, first and last, did Isaiah the prophet, the son of Amoz, write. 23So Uzziah slept with his fathers, and they buried him with his fathers in the field of the burial which belonged to the kings; for they said, He is a leper: and Jotham his son reigned in his stead
For nearly 2,000 years, debate has been raging about who Jesus really is. Cults and skeptics have offered various explanations. They'll say He is one of many gods, a created being, a high angel, a good teacher, a prophet, and so on. The common thread of all such theories is that they make Jesus less than God. But the biblical evidence is overwhelming that this child in the manger was the incarnation of God.
One passage in particular, written by the apostle Paul, captures the essence of Jesus' divine nature and underscores the truths that make Christmas truly wonderful.
Colossians 1:15-20 says,
He is the image of the invisible God, the first born of all creation. For. . . all things have been created by Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things hold together. He is also head of the body, the church; and He is the beginning, the first born from the dead; so that He Himself might come to have first place in everything. For it was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him, and through Him to reconcile all things to Himself, having made peace through the blood of His cross.
A Ghostly Illusion
Paul was writing to the Christians at Colossae. The city was under the influence of what came to be known as Gnosticism. Its adherents fancied themselves the only ones who had access to the truth, which they believed was so complex that common people couldn't know it. Among other things, they taught philosophical dualism--the idea that matter is evil and spirit is good. They believed that because God is spirit, He is good, but He could never touch matter, which is evil.
Therefore they also concluded that God couldn't be the creator of the physical universe, because if God made matter, He would be responsible for evil. And they taught that God could never become a man, because as a man He would have to dwell in a body made of evil matter.
Those pre-gnostics explained away the incarnation by saying that Jesus was a good angel whose body was only an illusion. That teaching and others like it pervaded the early church; many of the New Testament epistles specifically refute pre-gnostic ideas. In fact, the apostle John attacked the foundation of gnostic teaching when he wrote "By this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is from God; and every spirit that does not confess Jesus is not from God" (1 John 4:2).
The apostle Paul refuted that same heresy when he wrote, "By Him all things were created, both in the heavens and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities--all things have been created by Him and for Him" (1:16). He specifically affirmed that Jesus is God in the flesh--the Creator of everything.
Like Father, Like Son
Ironically, some of the cults that deny Jesus' deity try to use Colossians 1:15 20 to support their view. They suggest, for example, that the phrase "the image of the invisible God" (v. 15) hints that Jesus was merely a created being who bore the image of God in the same sense as all humanity. But the truth is though we were created in God's likeness, we only resemble Him. Jesus, on the other hand, is God's exact image.
The Greek word translated "image" means a perfect replica, a precise copy, a duplicate. Paul was saying that God Himself is fully manifest in the Person of His Son, who is none other than Jesus Christ. He is the exact image of God. Jesus Himself said, "He who has seen Me has seen the Father" (John 14:9).
Hebrews 1 parallels Colossians 1:15-20 at a number of key points. Regarding the statement that Christ is the image of God, for example, Hebrews 1:3 makes an identical affirmation: "He is the radiance of His glory and the exact representation of His nature." Christ is to God as the warm brilliance of light is to the sun. He brings God from a cosmic location to the very hearts of men and women. He gives light and life. He reveals God's very essence. They cannot be divided, and neither has ever existed without the other--they are one (John 10:30).
Scripture repeatedly says that God is invisible (John 1:18; 5:37; 1 Timothy 1:17; and Colossians 1:15). But through Christ the invisible God has been made visible. God's full likeness is revealed in Him. Colossians 1:19 takes the truth a step further: "It was the Father's good pleasure for all the fullness to dwell in Him." He is not just an outline of God; He is fully God. Colossians 2:9 is even more explicit: "In Him all the fullness of Deity dwells in bodily form." Nothing is lacking. No attribute is absent. He is God in the fullest possible sense, the perfect image.
The Rightful Heir
In Colossians 1:15 Paul says Jesus is "the first born of all creation." Those who reject the deity of Christ have made much of that phrase, assuming it means Jesus was a created being. But the word translated "first born" describes Jesus' rank, not His origin. The first-born in a Hebrew family was the heir, the ranking one, the one who had the right of inheritance. And in a royal family, he had the right to rule.
So Christ is the One who inherits all creation and the right to rule over it. It doesn't mean He was born first in order, for He wasn't.
In Psalm 89:27 God says of David, "I also shall make him My first born, the highest of the kings of the earth." There the meaning of "first born" is given in plain language: "the highest of the kings of the earth." That's what first-born means--Christ is "King of kings and Lord of lords" (Revelation 17:16).
Hebrews 1 again has a parallel statement. Verse two says God has appointed His Son "heir of all things." He is the primary One, the Son who has the right to the inheritance, the ranking Person, the Lord of all, heir of all creation.
Creator and King
The claim that "first born" means Christ is a created being completely ignores the context of Colossians 1:15. Remember, you've already seen verses 16 17 explicitly name Him as Creator of everything. Christ is not part of creation; He is the Creator, the very arm of God, active from the beginning in calling the universe and all creatures into existence. John 1:3 says, "All things came into being by Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being." That could not be true if He were Himself a created being.
Hebrews 1:2 also identifies Christ as the Creator. Christ was the Person of the Trinity through whom the world was made and for whom it was fashioned.
CHRISTMAS DEVOTION
The Real Meaning Of Christmas
By Martha Noel
It's that time of year again. December has come and with it all the joys of Christmas. But what is the real meaning of Christmas? Is it the gifts under the tree, the lights in the windows, the cards in the mail, turkey dinners with family and friends, snow in the yard, stockings hanging in the living room, and shouts of "Merry Christmas" to those who pass us in the streets? Is this really Christmas?
For many people, Christmas is a time of sorrow. They don't have the extra money to buy presents for their children, family, and friends. Many are saddened at Christmastime when they think of their loved ones who will not be able to come home for various reasons. Turkey dinners may be only a wish and not a reality for some.
Yet, Christmas can be a season of great joy. It is a time of God showing His great love for us. It can be a time of healing and renewed strength. You see, Christmas is when we celebrate the birth of the Christ child. God sent His Son, Jesus, into the world to be born. His birth brought great joy to the world. Shepherds, wise men, and angels all shared in the excitement of knowing about this great event. They knew this was no ordinary baby. The prophets had told of His coming hundreds of years before. The star stopped over Bethlehem just to mark the way for those who were looking for this special child.
Luke 2: 4-19 says:
"So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.
This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart."
Why did He come? Why did God send His son to this sometimes cruel and hard world? He sent Jesus to us so that one day, He would grow up to become a very important part of history. His story (history) is one of truth, love, and hope. It brought salvation to all of us. Without Jesus, we would all die in our sins.
Jesus was born so one day the price could be paid for the things we have done that are wrong. The Bible says that all have sinned. We are all born with a sin nature. We do things that do not please God. Through the sins of Adam and Eve, we have all inherited that sin nature. We need to have that removed. The only way is through Jesus. Jesus came so He could die on the cross for ALL of our sins. If we believe that Jesus died for our sins, we can ask Him to come into our hearts and forgive us. Then, we are clean and made whole. We can know that heaven is a place where we can go to when this life is over.
"But if we confess our sins to him, he is faithful and just to forgive us and to cleanse us from every wrong." I John 1:9
We can truly be happy at Christmas! No matter what may be happening, we can know that we are His children. We then become sons and daughters of God. Heaven will be our home one day.
Look at Christmas in a new way this year. This is the year to invite Jesus into your heart. You will then have a "Merry Christmas." The joy and peace you will receive will last all year as you look to God for all your needs to be met.
Jesus Is The Reason For The Season! Rejoice!

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