From the Manger to the Cross: Jesus as Messiah

By Pastor Joe Balaan

SCRIPTURE:

Luke 2: 10-14

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.


Christmas has been celebrated for a very long time that it has become a tradition. There is no problem with traditions, until it is not in accordance with God’s word anymore that it becomes a hindrance to the growth of your faith. Sometimes, it even twists the hands of God and of people just for it to be kept alive. When it is Christmas time, you force yourself to work so hard so that you will have enough money for Christmas dinner and giving gifts. Are you happy? Christmas was not made to give you a burden but to give happiness. But some people do not understand that. They become trapped in tradition and that makes the holidays difficult. Crime rates go up during the season because people want to give. Ironic isn’t it? The Apostle Paul in Colossians 2:8 says, “See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ.” Tradition becomes wrong when it is not about Christ anymore. Christ is the reason for the season. But sometimes, even He is left out of the equation. Your mind is deceived so you cannot celebrate the true meaning of Christmas. Is there any circumstance that will stop the celebration of Christmas? If someone dies, does Christmas stop? There is none. Because that is not the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas becomes lonely because you do not understand the real reason why there is such a celebration. So many people say Christmas is only for children. But no. Christmas is all the more for adults! Many people only think of the gatherings and the gifts during Christmas time. It becomes tiring and does not spark joy anymore.


If you really want to be happy during the Christmas season, understand the calling of Christ. Christmas is not about the festival but about the salvation of mankind. Take away everything else and simply think about your salvation. Only then will you realize how much money you have wasted during all those Christmases that you bought gifts and partied and slaved away to tradition. God sent His only begotten Son so that you can have salvation. That is Christmas. The Israelites also had the wrong notion about the Savior. They thought he was going to sit on the throne of David and save them from the countries that wanted to conquer them. They thought he was a political figure and they did not understand. Christmas is not a physical celebration but a spiritual one. People focus so much on the material things and that which they do not have during the holidays. They forget about what they have already received. People forget that they have already received the best gift that they could ever get and that is the gift of salvation given by God Himself. The problem is if you have not received.


Christmas is not bound by times or dates. It began when Jesus Christ came and it continues. When you understand the salvation of Jesus, Christmas is in and with you. Christmas can be everyday! If you understand that the reason for Christmas is your salvation, then you hav all the right to celebrate it even without any fanfare or celebration.


For Christmas to be meaningful, you have to understand that Christ’s death gives meaning to His birth. The death of Jesus Christ gives meaning to His birth. If Jesus did not die, then there would be no Savior and you would still be the same. During Christmas, think about the birth and the death of Jesus. The Bible does not say anything about celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ, but it does tell you to celebrate His death.

Revelation 20:6 says “Blessed and holy are those who share in the first resurrection. The second death has no power over them, but they will be priests of God and of Christ and will reign with him for a thousand years.” You received life when you accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Lord and Savior. There is no death anymore because your spirit is alive. The King of Kings laying on a manger and not in a palace? You have to understand that the spiritual aspect is the focus of Christmas and not on the physical. The world asks you to focus on the latter but it should not be so. It gives Christmas a different meaning. So keep your eyes on Jesus.


Hebrews 11:27 says “By faith he left Egypt, not fearing the king’s anger; he persevered because he saw him who is invisible.” Christmas is not for everybody. True happiness that is brought about by the real meaning of Christmas is for people who see the things are not seen by the eyes of the multitude. If you can see the things that others cannot see, then Christmas is in you.

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