“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven, and heaven, and nature sing.” (Isaac Watts)
Christmastime, as they say, is the most wonderful time of the year. Christmastime often brings with it sweet thoughts and times of reminiscing with loved ones over the years past. There’s a celebration of joy in the atmosphere that isn’t felt as prominently during other times of the year.
But, I’m here to tell you that Christmastime is so much more than an emotional response to a holiday and family. It’s more than the gathering of sweet fellowship and food.
Christmastime is a declaration of all God has wanted to do for mankind since the time He created him. It’s the time we celebrate God’s love on display in holy determination to have that relationship with man that He so desired.
Christmastime is a celebration of the healing. There was a rift that was torn by sin between God and man – now it comes together in an era of reconciliation and peace.
Isaiah prophesies of the means by which God ushers this in. He said, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counseller, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace,” (Isaiah 9:6). This is the very foundation of the Christmas story. Matthew picks it up and tells us in the New Testament,” And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins,” (1:21). Mankind had fallen short of the glory of God, but this little baby had an assignment on His life to save people from their sins!
The Christmas story tells us that He is the fulfilled prophesy that states, “Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel,” (Isaiah 7:14). We see that come to pass in Matthew 1:23 which states He shall be called “Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us.”
Down forty-two generations He traveled (Matthew 1:1-17) to be with us. That’s why the carols ring out, “Veiled in flesh the God-head see; Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as man with men to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel,” (Hark! The Harold Angels Sing – Charles Wesley). He was that “Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth,” (John 1:14).
That’s why Luke lets us know, “He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end,” (Luke 1:32-33).
This is what the Christmas story is all about. Joy to the world – He came!
The Bible declares, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn,” (Luke 2:7). He was shunned by the world with no one to care other than Mary and Joseph. Nonetheless, He came!
The angels proclaimed that night, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord,” (Luke 2:11). The deliverance of all mankind made His way into the world. God’s plan of salvation broke through the flesh of humanity to rescue in the Spirit.
Joy to the world – He came!
God incarnate manifested Himself in the humility of man. He stepped off His throne in glory to dwell with a sinner like me. He pulled off His royal attire to associate with the filthy dregs of this life.
Joy to the world – He came!
Christmastime we celebrate His birth; we rejoice in His coming. But, that’s not the end of the Christmas story.
He came once so that He could come back again. The first time He came He was encapsulated in His mother’s womb, riding on a donkey toward Bethlehem to be born. But, the true end of the Christmas story is the next time you see Him, He won’t be that same baby from the womb riding with His mama on a donkey. He’ll be standing in the air riding the clouds of heaven.
The first time He came He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. The next time you see Him, He will stand before you as the King who broke free from the grave clothes that tried to bind Him, gaining the victory over the grave; gaining the victory over sin and death.
The first time He came only a few lowly shepherds and a few little wise men came to honor Him and pay tribute to the miracle that occurred on that night. The next time you see Him, “Every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father,” (Philippians 2:10-11). That same baby they ignored. That same baby they refused to find room for, their mouths are going to open and declare that HE IS LORD!
We celebrate the Christmas story as the ultimate gift of God’s love toward humanity. “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” (John 3:16).
But, the Christmas story is more than the celebration that He came. It stands as a reminder every year that if He came once as He said He would, then He’s coming back – just like He said He would!
We love this time of year. There’s no greater feeling than the fellowship and gifts of love shared. But, once the gifts are unwrapped and once the food is eaten and people return to their homes; let the Christmas story remind you, the King came once, and the King will return once again.
Pope Francis is quoted as saying, “God never gives someone a gift they are not capable of receiving. If he gives us the gift of Christmas, it is because we all have the ability to understand and receive it.”
In preparation of His return, I must ask, “Have you received His gift?”
Joy to the World – He came. And, He’s coming back again. That’s the true end of the Christmas story.
Have a Merry Christmas Everyone!!!!