. John McArthur in his book, The Miracle Of Christmas, reminds us of just how confusing the message of Christmas can be, as he tells the story of the little girl that came running into the house after Sunday School to show her momma the picture she had drawn.
"Momma, Momma, she cried out with pride; my teacher told me I drew the most unusual picture of Christmas that she had ever seen."
The Momma studied the picture and concluded that it was indeed a peculiar picture. "This is a wonderful picture, and your drawing makes everything look so real," she said. BUT, why are all these people sitting on top of your airplane?"
"Oh," the little girl responded with exasperation, that her message was not obvious. "That's the Flight to Egypt."
"Oh" said Momma, "and who is this mean looking man sitting in the front?" The little girl responded, "That is Pontius, The pilot!!"
"I see", said Momma as she continued to study the picture. And this must be Mary, Joseph, and baby Jesus. But who is the plumb, jolly man sitting behind Mary?" The little girl responded with a great deal of attitude in her voice, "Well, that's Round John Virgin, of course."
YES, THE MESSAGE OF CHRISTMAS CAN BE CONFUSING..........
Is it Santa clause or the Christ child lying in a manager? Is it a star in Bethlehem, or a tree covered in tinsel and glass and plaster decorations?? Is it people coming to kneel in worship and adoration of the Christ child born in a stable, or is it rushing about from one Christmas activity to the next until we are utterly exhausted?" Is it giving gifts for the sake of saying " I gave you a gift or is it recognizing the gift that God Himself sent into the world for all of humanity to reach out and embrace as their own?
Let's turn to the Word of God and see if we can clear up some of our confusion today. Let's discover God's promises together.
Let's read Matthew 1:18-25: "Now the birth of Jesus was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed (engaged) to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found with the child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph, her husband, being a just man and who was faithful to the law; yet he did not want to expose her to public disgrace, so he had it in his mind to divorce her quietly. But while he thought on these things, an Angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying," Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. Now all of this
was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet Isaiah, in Isaiah 7:14 saying: "Behold a virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son and they shall call His name Immanuel, which is translated, "God is with us". Then Joseph, being aroused from his sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to himself his wife and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn son. And he called His name Jesus."
Have you ever seen your children or your spouse lingering by your Christmas tree and wondered if they were looking to see if they could find gifts with their names on them under the tree? I'm sure you have. But the message of Christmas is not found under the tree, but in Him who died on a tree, Jesus Christ, our Lord. Let's look at the promises that God makes for us. For in them we acknowledge the reason for the season.
Christmas brings 5 incredible promises to us. 5 promises that we must unwrap and make use of in our lives. 5 promises that we are reminded of each and every Christmas that we have celebrated and will be there in the ones yet TO BE celebrated. 5 promises that will be waiting for you to unwrap them. 5 promises on display in every Christmas decorations. . For this Christmas and every Christmas, God makes 5 very special promises to you...
PROMISE1:GOD IS WITH US.....Jesus Christ came as a testimony that God is with us and to the fact that God will keep His promises. When we see Jesus as a baby in a nativity scene, it is a reminder that God is with us. When we see Him lying in a manger, it's a reminder that He is with us in the rough and tough times, the difficult times, when things are scarce or sparse and you don't have much---God is with you. He wants you to know that He has not only been there, but He is with you now when the going gets tough. God is with you. In that first Christmas, Joseph was dealing with Mary, his future wife, being pregnant with a child, and the child wasn't his, and they weren't married, but still they knew God was with them. Then Joseph arrives in Bethlehem to register for the census; but no motel or hotel rooms could be found. Joseph knew it was his responsibility to provide for his family but could find nothing.
He finally accepts the offer of putting his family up for the night in a stable. Why... Because God was with him. Mary, a young girl, was wrestling with being pregnant, but not yet carrying her husband's last name. She was on a donkey and traveled hundreds of miles, went into labor, had to give birth in a stable filled with animals belonging to the guest that filled the inn. She gives birth without a doctor, a nurse or even a midwife; but Mary celebrated that first Christmas by giving birth to the Christ Child. She held The Son of God to her breast, and loved him. She wrapped him in the warmth of love with whatever clothes were available. As she looked into His crying or sleeping face; she knew God was with her. When we look at any manger scene, or at a picture of Jesus holding a sheep or visiting with little children we should say to ourselves ...God is with us. If you have invited Christ into your life God is right here and available to all who are willing to look up in faith and see Him. It is a gift to us and a blessing available to any and all who will reach out and grasp it. This is God's 1st Christmas promise to you.
PROMISE 2: GOD IS IN US
15 "If you [really] love Me, you will keep and obey My commandment16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another [c]Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you.18 "I will not leave you as orphans [comfortless, bereaved, and helpless]; I will come [back] to you. 19 After a little while the world will no longer see Me, but you will see Me; because I live, you will live also.,
Jesus gave us a gift; the precious Holy Spirit which is the third person of the Godhead which abides in us to empower us so we are protected on our journey through this world. All around us evil abides, dwells, inhabits, motivates, enables and has dominion over people's lives and circumstances, but we have the presence of God within us, so......We are empowered to overcome and defeat the works of the evil one; The Holy Spirit brings to our remembrance the things we have studied and learned from the Word of God, so that we can use it to defeat the enemy. The Holy Spirit endues us with power to be His witnesses and fills us with His gifts to do His work. The Holy Spirit cultivates the fruit of the Spirit to grow in our lives and be manifested to a world that hungers after the things of God. It is the Spirit living in us, who gives gifts to the Church as He equips, empowers, and enables people with the gifts of ministry. He gives us motivational gifts so that we are reminded that it is not us, but God working through us that allows us to touch a world in His authority and in His might. This is what Christmas is all about. Experiencing God's Christmas promises.
The promises that God is with us...The promise that He is in us....
Promise #3. The Promise to be for us.
It"s amazing to think that the God of Creation is with us..It's awesome to realize that the God of eternity lives in us; But it is life enabling to know that God is for us. That He is actually at work on our behalf. What does that actually mean for us. It means that God your Father, your Savior, your Healer, your Enabler, your Empowerer, will never do anything to weaken or destroy you. He is always at work for your benefit!
2 Chronicles 16:9 For the eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth, to show Himself strong on behalf of those whose heart is loyal to Him.
Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.
These verses tell us that God is always at work on our behalf. Have you ever really thought about why God knows the number of hairs on your head?
Or have you ever considered why God has more thoughts of you then there are grains of sand upon the seashore? It's because He is examining your life for ways to work on your behalf. always remember that God is always for you and not against you.
Jeremiah 29:11 For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you a future and hope. This is God's promise that He is going to guide us, gift us, direct us into truth, and lead us into abundant life; He is going to give us the power to overcome the obstacles in our life's journey. If you remember nothing else from this message... remember this----GOD IS FOR YOU, WHO CAN BE AGAINST YOU? Embrace this truth because the devil and the world will tell you it's not so. Actually, they will tell you that God is against you. But that's a lie straight out of the pits of hell...And how do I know it's a lie----because of God's Christmas promise #4.
Promise # 4 GOD LOVES ME
How do I know that He loves me? First because John 3:16 says; 16 For God so loved the world (that includes me and you) that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes (not is good enough, not tithes enough, not goes to church enough, or works hard enough, but believes) in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. 2ndly, I know He loves me because Romans 5:8 says; 8 But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us. He didn't tell us that we had to clean up our act before He could love us. He didn't say when you get good enough; enough good deeds; when you have worked hard enough; memorized enough Bible verses; Or given enough money...Christ died for you and me while we were yet sinners. God's love is unconditional. He provided his love before we needed it and all we had to do was reach out and receive it..Christmas comes with the fulfillment of God's promises.
Promise#5 God is OUR Light
Light is the very nature and image of God. At Christmas God comes as our promise in different colored lights. WHITE LIGHTS... SYMBOLIZING the purity of He who was without sin paid the price to atone for all our sins. We need never fear facing the justice of a Holy God. (1 Timothy 2:5-6)
RED LIGHTS....Symbolizing His Blood that was shed to pay for your sins and mine. (1Peter 1:18-19) GREEN LIGHTS.....Remind us of Everlasting Life. (John 6:47). BLUE AND PURPLE LIGHTS.... Remind us that Christ is our Lord and King. Revelation 19:16 and because of this promise we walk not in darkness of this world but in the Light of His Love and Life. Because of His promises everyday is Christmas Day!!!!! Receive the Promises of God for....
GOD IS WITH YOU, GOD IS IN YOU; GOD IS FOR YOU; GOD LOVES YOU; GOD IS YOUR LIGHT!!!