THEMES: Hope, Peace, Joy, Love = Jesus
The Christmas story is such a familiar one right? We could tell it off by heart. The Christmas Carols tell the story – the Christmas story of Jesus! God’s gift to the world.
Christmas is: God’s fulfillment of His promises.
Glory to God in the Highest heaven and peace to God’s people on earth!
Heaven and earth! Christmas is revealed as Heaven (Love) came down to us on earth!
The Christmas message is Love = God’s love and grace for us in Jesus!
Love came down …………. To ……………. For (ask people to answer)
Preparing for Christmas hasn’t just happened when we woke up this morning and ……. Bam ……….. it’s Christmas! Our season of ADVENT which is preparing for the promise of God’s plan to come and dwell among us – God with us – God for us – in the birth of Jesus.
Each week in ADVENT (4 weeks) has seen us with a focus:
“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 that will cause great hope, peace, joy and love for all the people.”
HOPE “Therefore the LORD himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.”
The prophet Isaiah foretold the coming of the Messiah with these words: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel.” Immanuel means “God with us.” In John 1:14, the original words literally mean “God pitched His tent among us.” The promise of Isaiah seemed almost impossible—the God of the universe would come to earth and move into their village, their neighbourhood! Then, on an ordinary night in an ordinary stable, an extraordinary baby was born. Jesus was God clothed in flesh, and in His humanness, He brought us unimaginable hope.
As you remember the incredible story of Jesus’ birth, take time to ponder how miraculous it is that the God of the universe took on human form to fill your heart with hope. As you look forward to the celebration of Jesus’ birth, take time to pause in awe and wonder as you see examples of God’s faithfulness and quietly praise Him. He is with us. And as you remember the hope He brought and how it has changed your life, shout for joy to all of the heavens. He is with us!
Peace “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favour rests.”
When Jesus came to earth as a newborn baby, He did not look like the Savior people were expecting. People expected a warrior who would overthrow the government rather than a humble baby who would overcome the world with peace and love. Jesus’ birth may not have seemed like the beginning of a world-changing plan to rescue the lost, but that is exactly what it was. God knew that the people He loved were unable to save themselves, so He sent His Son to save the lost—and in doing so, He offered peace to all mankind.
You are precious to Him—so precious that He sent His Son to seek you and save you! You are of such great value to Him that He would go to the ends of the earth to bring you back to Himself. As you celebrate the birth of God’s Son, Jesus, think of one way that He has shown you His perfect peace, and thank Him for it. Spend some time rejoicing and praising Him for His love and peace!
Joy “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 that will cause great joy for all the people.”
Happiness is something we all desire. But our happiness is often fleeting, dependent on our circumstances and our mood. Jesus’ gift to us is something far greater—joy. When we live for Him, His joy can help us to conquer our most difficult challenges, calm our most terrifying fears, and overcome our most discouraging disappointments. When our hearts are filled with the joy Jesus brings, we can respond as the shepherds did—praising His name even in the face of things we do not understand.
As you celebrate the Christmas season, consider how you can choose joy in your life. Take your worries, your frustrations, your confusion, and your stress and lay them at the feet of the Highest King. Ask Him to sustain your heart with a deep, abiding joy that provides a steady foundation when your world is shaken. As you begin to trust Him with the things that threaten your happiness, you will find that He fills all of those empty, anxious places with peace and love and gives you the strength to trust in Him fully and completely. Put your faith in Him—and in Him, your joy will be complete.
Love “On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
We do not know with certainty, but many scholars believe the wise men’s gifts had significant meaning. Gold was typically given to a king, incense (or frankincense) represented God, and myrrh was a spice used for burying someone who died. These 3 gifts may have recognized that Jesus is King, that He is God, and that He was going to die for our sins.
As you consider the great love God has lavished upon you, you may wonder what you can give Him in return. You probably do not have gold, incense, and myrrh to give to Jesus this Christmas. But it is not your gifts He desires—it is your heart. So offer it to Him with love. You might commit to spending 15 minutes each day in prayer or giving up 1 worry that prevents you from fully trusting Him. And as you lay your gift before Jesus, kneel in worship before the One who gave everything for you. He is Immanuel. He is God with you. His love for you knows no end, and He is worthy of your worship!
- What is 1 way God has shown you His great love today? Take a moment to pause each day and thank God for His great love that sent Jesus to earth.
The Christmas story is one of joy and wonder. It is one of unimaginable sacrifice. And it is one of love and trust. Imagine Mary and Joseph, young and just beginning their life together. They may have dreamed of a future filled with ordinary things. But rather than the life they had planned and prayed about, they became part of an eternal plan that was anything but ordinary—the birth of Immanuel, God with us. Did they know that the baby born in the stable in Bethlehem would be the Savior of the world? Could they possibly have imagined that Jesus, who was born in such humble circumstances, would one day return to sit at God’s right hand? Could they even comprehend that the Son of God, born into their family, would give His own life for them—and for all of us?
Christmas is the celebration of the greatest gift ever given, the gift of a Lord and Savior who changed the world for all of eternity. And while this is awe-inspiring in itself, it is even more amazing that God sent His Only Son to us the same way all sons come—like a tiny, helpless baby. The most important king who would ever live, the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, began His life as fragile and vulnerable as everyone else.
God loves you so much that He sent His Only Son to earth as a tiny baby—a tiny baby who grew to become a man who gave you the unimaginable gift of eternal life with Him. Take a moment to thank God for the very special gift He gave as you celebrate the birth of Jesus. Merry Christmas!
God’s only Son was born so that with the forgiveness of sin, we could be reconciled back to Him. The separation that kept us in darkness was overcome by Jesus’ light. Jesus said, “I am the Light of the world; whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life.”
No matter where you are today, and no matter what you’ve done, the Saviour of the world has come! For YOU! Let His light shine on all the dark places of your life and restore what has been lost in the darkness. The Light is here, and He has declared that you never have to walk in darkness again. Receive His love and experience Christmas like never before!
God loves you so much that He sent His Only Son to earth as a tiny baby—a tiny baby who grew to become a man who gave you the unimaginable gift of eternal life with Him. Take a moment to thank God for the very special gift He gave as you celebrate the birth of Jesus.
- As you celebrate Christmas, how can you thank God for the perfect gift of His Son?
- Celebrate the birth of our Saviour by responding to Jesus in the same way His first visitors did—with worship! Seek Him as the shepherds did. Bow down as the wise men did. Lift your voice in praise as the angels did. Allow the wonder of Jesus, God made man, to be with you today.
Prayer: Loving God, thank You for preparing a way since the beginning of time for us to be close to You again. Thank You for sending Your Son to be born, and to die, so I could live! Today, as I celebrate Christmas, help me have a deep appreciation of Your love for me and the Light You have brought into my life. I praise You for making it possible for me to never walk in darkness again!