The True Gift Of Christmas Is Christianity

Christianity celebrates two great festivals, both are joyous, but one speaks of humility and the other of horror, one takes place in a manger behind an inn while angels choirs rejoice, and the other takes place on a cross of wood stained with blood and in the triumph of an empty tomb.

We are about to celebrate the first great miracle of the Christian age when God united divinity with humanity in the birth of Jesus Christ. Let us make no mistake; Jesus Christ was wholly man and wholly God, the Bible makes this clear, the angel Gabriel said to Mary -

"You will be with child and give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus" - Luke 1: 31

The Bible tells us that -

Being found in appearance as a man he humbled himself and became obedient to death - Philippines 2: 8

He experienced all that we experience as a human being, yet he did not falter, stumble, or sin, but the Bible also tells us he was God too -

In Christ all the fullness of the Deity lives in bodily form - Colossians 4: 9

So the apostle Paul could declare -

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or powers or rulers or authorities; all were created by him and for him. He is before all things and in him all things hold together - Colossians 1: 17

All this began when the angel Gabriel said to a young pious Hebrew girl -

"Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favour with God. You will be with child and give birth to a son - He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most high - his kingdom will never end" - Luke 1: 29 to 33

Of all the Bible stories the miraculous conception and the birth of Jesus is perhaps the most beautiful of all. We can imagine Joseph trying to tidy the manger spread around clean straw and hay and fetching water for Mary as she washed the tiny child and wrapped him in cloths according to the custom of those days.

Think for a moment of the awe of the humble Bethlehem shepherds as they found themselves looking up at a great heavenly host praising God and saying -

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests" - Luke 2: 14

And how the shepherds hurried to the manger and found things just as the angel had told them, I am sure that they knelt humbly and worshipped him.

We are told that Mary treasured up all these things in her heart and meditated on them, and when she visited Elisabet John the Baptist’s mother she broke out in prophecy and declared -

My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit rejoices in God my Saviour, for he has been mindful of the humble state of his servant. From now on all generations will call me blessed, for the mighty one has done great things for me - Holy is his name - Luke 1: 46 to 49

But it was not only the poor and humble Jewish shepherds who worshipped the Christ child, but learned strangers from a great distance away, journeying many weary miles, stage by stage, following a brilliant star, also came to Bethlehem; and so Matthew tells us -

On coming to the house they saw the child with his mother Mary and they bowed down and worshipped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh - Matthew 2: 11 & 12

Myrrh for his sacrificial death, incense for his priesthood and gold for his kingship!

Mary prophesied: "All generations will call me blessed". What a great a great example she is to us all: together with Joseph she played a decisive role in all that took place during the months before the birth of Jesus and the following months and years too until the call of the Father came to Jesus and he began the ministry which was to lead him to the cross, the resurrection, and home to heaven. The thing above about Mary is her joyful obedience and her response to all that the angel told her -

"I am the Lord’s servant - May it be to me as you have said." - Luke 1: 38

May this Christmas be a very special one for you? Will you respond to the Lord’s call as he did because Jesus is saying to you now? -

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy and my burden is light - Matthew 11: 28 to 30

The members of the "Church of the Good Shepherd" take this opportunity to wish all who read this article a very happy Christmas.

God bless you!!!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess
Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd