Would any of us even know of the town of Bethlehem if it hadn’t been for Jesus? I am always amazed at how powerful the name of Jesus actually is. I feel privileged to be one of those who share in His life giving power. Actually everyone has shared in this power as stated in the gospel of John 1:9. Here the coming of Jesus was announced, “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.” That’s what happened that first Christmas. Then later in life Jesus said as he was about to be taken up into heaven, “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you: and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” Acts 1:8
I am a member of the body of believers who not only follow Jesus, but believe He is empowering my life toward his eternal will and purpose wherever I am and wherever I go. Just think, this Christmas we will see images of Santa riding on his sleigh to give gifts at destinations around the world. For the last 2,000 years the gift of redemption in Jesus Christ has been taken around the world through people whose lives have been changed by the power of the gospel!
All around the world during this Christmas season there are two forces at work…those who love the story of redemption and those who hate the story of redemption. The difference is that the gift of redemption goes forth into all the world to all people 365 days a year. We celebrate its power. We share its life saving capacity to bring true peace to human hearts and lives.
A battle rages for the souls of people because when the gift of salvation changes the heart and life desires of a person, it snatches death from Satan, the very author of death. “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.” Ephesians 6:12
When Jesus came, the march of the unknown became the known. Mary and Joseph heard the call and marched to Bethlehem. The Shepherds saw the angel and marched to Bethlehem. The Magi saw the star and marched in search of the Christ child. The world changed that night because Jesus set in motion a march toward eternity that, through the rest of the ages, paid and paved the way for humans to return to God’s divine plan and purpose for all who come to Him through faith and love.
The haters also marched. Herod marched in and killed all the children under two. The institution of religion and politics marched Christ to the cross and crucified him. Those haters are still marching today trying to break down every visible and verbal communication that contains the name of Jesus. Oh how the haters would love it if only they could silence the name of Jesus from which the power flows to the strength of the people of the world. Do away with Christ. Take out the nativities from the marketplace. Cut down any representation of the Holy One who has come to set the people of the world free from sin and bring peace to all who abide in Him.
This Christmas, whether you gather round a tree or just a bowl of rice and beans, stop and give thanks for what you have. You may have no physical gifts to exchange but you can share the song of redemption and tell someone about the message of salvation that flows from the throne of God because of Jesus Christ his Son. Think again with appreciation about the good news of salvation that arrived at the advent of the birth of Jesus.
Think about the number of miles that have been traveled and the price that has been paid for bringing this grand gift of redemption to everyone living in today’s world. “By grace are we saved through faith and that not of ourselves. It is a gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast. For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto the works which God prepared in advance for us to do.” Ephesians 2:8-10 Keep the faith. Claim the power you have in Him. Keep the celebration going. Never let it go. Jesus is coming again after we complete the works that He has prepared for us to do. He will come and take us home to dwell with him forever!
Have a Blessed Christmas!