The Christmas Message

Christians quite rightly should celebrate Christmas with great joy as the most important birth of all history that set in motion thirty years that was to change the world forever.

Jesus birth was little known on earth except by a few, specially chosen by God. Joseph and Mary of course, the humble Bethlehem shepherds watching their flocks, and later the gentile Magi or wise men from the East, Nevertheless all heaven knew of it and worshipped, filling the sky with joyful song.

Both Matthew and Luke begin their gospels by describing the birth of Jesus, Matthew is anxious to show that it fulfilled the prophecies of the Scriptures -

An angel of the Lord appeared to (Joseph) in a dream and said: "Joseph son of David - take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is by the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfil what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means, God with us) - Matthew 1: 20 to 23   

Matthew then speaks of the coming of the wise men because they had seen the prophetic star way out in the East.

There are many prophecies that speak of Jesus coming, for instance, in the book of Micah we are told that he would be born in Bethlehem -

But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, although you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from old, from ancient times - Micah 5: 2

Matthew wanted to make it very clear the Jesus’ birth, life, death and resurrection all fulfilled the ancient prophecies from the past.

But when we read the first chapters of Luke’s gospel it seems that he wants to capture the spirit of the angel’s words to the shepherds -

"I bring you good news of great joy that it be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord." - Luke 2: 10 & 11

There is a gaiety about the way Luke tells the story. Elizabeth’s neighbours rejoice with her at the birth of John the Baptist. Mary goes to visit Elizabeth and the baby kicks out joyfully in her womb, then Mary, full of the Holy Spirit, joyously gives out a great prophetic utterance - the Magnificat! Later a righteous old man meets with the family, having waited many years for ‘the consolation of Israel’ and prophecies over the child, saying -

Sovereign Lord as you have promised, you now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation, which you have prepared in the sight of all people, a light for revelation to the Gentiles and for the glory of your people Israel - Luke 2: 29 to 32

At the same time an old prophetess, in her eighties, came hurrying in giving thanks to God and talking about the child to all who she knew were true believers.

It is all so happy, joyful and thrilling! You can imagine Mary, now elderly, radiant as she tells the wonderful story to Luke, not forgetting to say how astonished she and Joseph were when the Magi arrived with their gifts of gold, incense and myrrh.

It is not surprising then that the Scriptures state that - "Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart" - Luke 2: 19

For Christmas to be like that for you it must be much more than merely cultural or folkloric. The dirty manger where Jesus was born was sanctified by his presence; he was the Son of God. May he be birthed in the your heart and life this Christmas, he will cleanse and sanctify it for ever.

May the birth of Jesus outshine the legend of Santa Clause and if people merely want a ‘Winter Festival’ let them choose another date, but we will stay with the glorious story of the beginning of the Christian era - the birth of Jesus Christ!

Many Blessings This Christmas!
Pastor Gordon Guillermo Burgess

Facebook: Alicante Church Of The Good Shepherd