I want to wish every one of you a joyful Christmas! I love the culture-wide emphasis on joy at this time of the year. Even though our land is becoming increasingly pagan, even though so many ignore the real meaning of Christ’s miraculous birth, most try to find happiness in other ways during this season.
Let me give you an example. Norman Vincent Peale (1898–1993) wrote a best-selling book The Power of Positive Thinking. In it he said, “Christmas is the season of joy, of gift-giving, and of families united.” That sounds good, doesn’t it? But what happens if the Christmas gifts or the gatherings of friends and family are disappointing? What is left for the sad and weary world then?
Followers of Jesus have a much better path. The Bible points to Christmas joy that is meaningful and substantial and eternal. When angels suddenly appeared to some shepherds outside of Bethlehem, they said, “…Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11).
In order to fully appreciate the joy of Jesus coming to earth as a Savior, we must first remind ourselves of our need for a savior. Notice what God told Joseph after he learned that his fiancée Mary was pregnant before they were married: “[Mary] will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, [which means ‘Yahweh is salvation’] for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21).
This Christmas season spend some time reminding yourself where you would have been if God had let you continue in your own sin. Would you have been experiencing the dregs of degradation or would you have been filled with proud self-righteousness? Remember that Paul says, “There is none righteous, not even one; there is none who understands, there is none who seeks for God; (Romans 3:10–11).
Jesus is the only One who can make it possible for us to meet God’s requirement of perfect holiness. See (Lev. 11:44, 45; Lev. 19:2; Lev. 20:26; and 1 Pet. 1:16). This is the amazing joy of Christ’s birth. Christmas has made it possible for us to be covered in “…the righteousness of God through faith in Jesus Christ …” (Romans 3:22). Isn’t that glorious?
Many of us express our Christmas joy by giving to His work. You can give to the ministry here by going to https://bethelchapelchurch.com/give/ or by mail at 4028 K Street, Philadelphia, PA 19124 We need to make much-needed repairs in the church parsonage basement and install a handicapped-accessible bathroom there. Whether or not you are able to give, please pray for wisdom and direction and provision for this big project. Ten percent of what is given to us in this offering will be sent to Andy Bonikowski, a missionary that we help support in Spain.
Let’s combine the joy of giving with the joy we have because of Christ’s first coming–and let’s never forget that He is coming again!