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Celebrating Christmas

2 Corinthians 5:21, "Christ had no sin, but God made him become sin so that in Christ we could become right with God."

How do we celebrate Christmas? Almost everyone celebrates Christmas in the way that their custom is, including Christians, most by buying presents, decorating their homes, visiting friends and families, and watching their age-old Christmas movies on TV. There are office parties, house parties, and many fun ways we celebrate the holiday.

Although there is nothing wrong with the festive holiday cheer and celebrating Christmas there is a deeper meaning for all of us and for Christians this can be summed up in three sentences.

· I am a Sinner

· As a Sinner I need a Savior

· Jesus Christ is that Savior

Putting the festive holiday aside we all can find a true blessing at Christmas. We all can find the greatest reason for the season. It's as simple as believing Jesus is your Savior and He came as a baby to grow into a man who died for your freedom.

Once we have decided to believe and follow Jesus, Luke's account helps us see what we can do with such a joyous promise.

Tell others about it: We are told that once the shepherds saw Jesus, they left to ‘spread the word concerning what they saw’. The shepherds became the first witnesses of Jesus the Savior being born. Luke is teaching us that we should imitate the shepherds and spreading the word concerning what you know about Jesus. Jesus follows this when He instructs us to go into the world and preach the gospel.

Be amazed: “and all who heard the news of Jesus were amazed” –Luke 2:18. Simple things can tickle our amazement like special effects in movies or events where people win medals. Although we can say ‘wow’ at the moment, it's just that, a moment. As soon as it runs its course, we don't give it a second thought.

Luke refers to such a deeper amazement. A holy wonder to the acts of God that are beyond human comprehension. An amazement that is adoration. We serve a God who created the world out of nothing calling forth life and order, a cause for amazement. At the end of the Bible, we read the glorious end of Jesus coming to save us, a cause for amazement. The Christmas story we read how God sent His Son to this world through a miracle and He became man. Our God is amazing and what He does should have us all being amazed.

Ponder on its meaning: “for Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart” -Luke 2:19. With all the worldly festivities we still need to spend Christmas pondering its meaning in our hearts. Beyond amazement of what God has done and who He is we need to take time at Christmas and seek God's counsel to understand the events of Jesus’ birth. Pondering is taking the time with what you know and building on it. Dig deeper, look for new meanings, grow from the basic story of Jesus’ birth. Look at all who were involved and why God chose each of them. Like Mary, treasure what you know, let it into your heart, then make it personal for your life, how can you grow in the circumstances you're in or the things going on around you? How can Jesus’ birth help you today? Although life is full of hustle and bustle, we need to remember to take time to ponder on God's Word and let it fill our hearts.

Finally, glorify and praise God for what was done that first Christmas: Luke verse 20, “the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God.” Do you do that? Do you worship God in praise and song?

To glorify; what a wonderful word. In Greek it means “a good opinion”. Websters dictionary: to glorify by bestowing, honor, praise, and admiration. To glorify someone is to tell them their “worth”. So, to glorify God is to acknowledge His worth. We do that through worship.

This is what the shepherds did, can you do the same? The entire Bible shows God's greatness. The New Testament gives us reason to hope and to be full of joy. Daily, God is taking care of you. You are alive! You are forgiven! You have the promise of salvation! Are these not reasons alone to glorify God? Sing His praises, shout His praises, tell the world of Jesus and what He has done for you and for them. Glorify God, be proud you are a child of His and worship Him.

This Christmas remember, through all your jolly celebrations, Christmas baking, decorating, and shopping to take time to remember why we celebrate. We are sinners, we need a Savior and Jesus is that Savior. Ponder the story in your heart, treasure the promises and tell the world of the miracle born in a stable who became a man to free us from the chains of the sin that bind us.

May your holiday be filled with love and laughter and may you find many blessings from Jesus this season and in the year to come.

I hope you have been able to join me as we have been reading through Hebrews with me and have been learning some new things. Let's continue our study with Hebrews 9:11-22.

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