Christmas Blessings: Joy, Faith and Power
Christmas began in the heart of God before the World was ever formed. Jesus is called “the lamb that was slain before the earth came into being.”
1 Peter 1:18-21 says, “18 For you know that it was not with perishable things such as silver or gold that you were redeemed from the empty way of life handed down to you from your forefathers, 19 but with the precious blood of Christ, a lamb without blemish or defect. 20 He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake. 21 Through him you believe in God, who raised him from the dead and glorified him, and so your faith and hope are in God” (NIV).
The Joy, Faith and Power that we, as Christians, have cannot be separated from the Christmas experience. We celebrate the coming of a “baby”, the “lamb of God”. And, though, the religious leaders of Jesus’ day did not recognize Him, many other people did recognize Him as the Promised Savior. Even, secular kings (the “Wise Men”) knew that there was more than “just a baby” lying in that manger that special night.
This Child would forever change the World. As a child, Jesus amazed His teachers with His knowledge of God’s Word. He would change, for eternity, everyone who followed Him. Jesus changed a boisterous fisherman into a humble servant-leader who one day would lay down his life for the sake of the cause. By spending time with a politically connected, cheating and corrupt tax collector, Jesus converted Zacchaeus into a repentant, benevolent citizen of Jericho. When others wanted to kill a woman who had sinned, Jesus forgave her and gently taught her accusers that everyone has sinned and is in need of the Savior. Two self-centered brothers, provoked by an ambitious mother who promoted them and always looked out for their future, turned into servant-leaders who presented the Good News of salvation through Jesus Christ. When two sisters were disappointed in Jesus for not acting according to their plan, He raised their brother from the dead and changed the lives of all who heard of this miracle. He turned their deep sorrow into unspeakable joy.
We have this joy today through Christ. We rejoice that He came to the World to testify to the Truth and to forgive sin and to unite us with the Father. Our joy is complete when we realize that He is coming again.
Prayer is the plan for communication between the Father and us. This Child has become our High Priest. He provides the entrance into the very presence of God. Our Joy is full because we can talk to the Father. We can confess our sin and be made clean. We can worship our Father who is in Heaven. We can thank God for what He has done. And we can ask God for what we need. All of this is possible because of the “baby in a manger”. Is there any question why we rejoice at Christmas Time?
Thankfulness flows from our hearts when we think of all that Jesus means to us. Especially, when we begin to realize what we mean to Him. He loves us so much that He gave His life to demonstrate God’s love for you and me. That is real love.
In John 15:13 Jesus said, “13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends” (NIV).
There was something about Jesus that drew people to him. Rich people, poor people, men, women, children, the upright, the uptight, the serious seekers, the hypocrites, the “righteous” and the “sinners”; Jesus had a good Word for all of them. Jesus did good everywhere He went. All in God’s good time, Christmas brought Him here. He brought “good tidings of great Joy”. His presence meant that something good was about to happen. His presence in our lives today brings Joy and the awareness that God is going to move in a powerful way in our lives.
Romans 15:13 says, “13 May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (NIV).
Jesus gave people then and gives people now the power to turn from evil and to follow Him into joy, power and hope. He changes us from “victims” to “victors”.
Jesus was faithful to the Father’s plan and call on His life. His faithfulness, from the manger to the cross, secured for us power over temptation. Though we will be tempted, He showed that victory over temptation is possible.
1 Corinthians 10:12-13
“12 So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall! 13 No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it” (NIV).
Our Champion gives us victory over temptation and shows us how to get away from it.
He gives us the power of discipline. We see in His life the very hard road that He traveled in serving the Father. Even when He was rejected and scorned by men, he prayed and told people of the Father’s plan for them. When others may have given up, he pushed on.
Jesus, the Christmas Child, the Savior, the Lord overcame fear with love. Love for God and love for others empowers us to overcome obstacles, hate, and even fear itself. What a wonderful gift!
In Christmas, we see how far God goes to bring us back to Him. Knowing that we could not get to Him, He came to us: The Baby, The Son, The Savior, The Lord, The King Who will return one day.