25th December 2013

Christmas – A Child is Born 

“For unto us a child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder.  And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
 

What has that got to do with us? Indeed, what is Christmas to us? Is it a wonderful family time, a commercial festival, or does it have any religious meaning for us today?  What about the religious significance of the Christmas festival? Does that have a meaning for us all, old and young, happy or sad, with or without a family to share it with? We know that Christmas has something to do with the birth of a child, called Jesus. If we have read the Bible story we know He was born in humble circumstances, in a stable and laid in a manger. We may know that certain events are linked with his birth:  shepherds seeing angels, a special star in the sky leading three wise men bearing valuable gifts to his home shortly after his birth. But where do we come in, what does it all mean for us? 

As human beings we all sin. Some of us in little ways like telling lies, treating someone unfairly, or doing things that hurt others in some way.  Some of us sin in bigger ways, like murdering someone.  Sins, large and small, separate us from God. The Bible also tells us that the penalty for sin is death. So God, in love, a love far greater than we can understand, came to earth in the form of this little child, Jesus. As both fully God and fully human, Jesus led a perfect sinless life, yet He was killed, by being crucified, to pay the death penalty for all humanity. It’s hard to grasp but his life as God was worth more than those of all the human beings who have ever lived, are alive now, or will live in the future.  John 3.16–17 tells us, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved.” 

However bad a sinner you think you are, your penalty has been paid in love by that child, whose birth around 2000 years ago means not just we are free of sin, even though we have to live with it’s consequences for now, but also that we need have no fear of death because eternal life has been opened to us. So the true celebration at this time of year is to recognize the incredible LOVE that underpins the sacrifice and death of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ. 

Whether you celebrate with a loving family, or endure a stress-filled time in a less loving family; whether you are with friends or on your own; whether you re sickened by the commercialism of Christmas or enjoy every minute of it, only one thing matters:  That you realize God loves you, personally and individually, so much that He gave his life for you. The Christmas message is that you are loved whether you believe it or not, and that child was born for you! 

Prayer
Loving Father, what can we say in response to the love that underpins the birth, life, death and resurrection of our Lord and Saviour, Jesus Christ? Help us to appreciate and to respond to that love with all our heart.
Amen
 

Study by Keith Hartrick

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keithhartrickAbout the Author:
Keith Hartrick is an Elder in Grace Communion Church – Leeds, a Congregation of the Worldwide Church of God UK, and serves on the Church Council there.

Local Congregation:
Grace Communion – Leeds
Garden Village Welfare Association Community Centre
Pendas Way
LEEDS
LS15 8LE

Meeting Time:
Saturday 2PM

Local Congregational Contact:
Malcolm Arnold
Phone:  01484-312347
Email: malcolm.john.arnold@ntlworld.com

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