A Guide to Christmas
- What does Christmas celebrate?
- When was He born?
- Where was He born?
- What did He do?
- Why does it matter to me?
What does Christmas celebrate?
We often think of Christmas as a time of year where we spend time with family and friends, and where we give and receive presents. Although we enjoy doing these things, they are a long way from the true meaning of Christmas. Christmas is really about the birth of Jesus Christ, a man whose whole life on earth was very different to those who lived around Him. In John 1 we are told who Jesus is. John introduces us to Him as “the Word”, who is with God, and who is God. John states that ‘the Word’ came into the world, and lived among men. John does not leave us wondering who this ‘Word’ is – it is Jesus Christ.
John is not the only person who tells us who Jesus is – the apostle Paul also does this in Philippians 2:6-8. Here Paul confirms that Jesus is indeed God, before going on to say in verse 7 that He was “born in the likeness of man”. This is very important when we look at what He did while He was on Earth.
When was He born?
It is commonly believed that Jesus Christ was born between 4 B.C and 4 A.D. When we read the record of events in the Bible, Luke 2:1 tells us that the Roman ruler at the time was Caesar Augustus, who demanded that everyone should return to the town where they were born to be taxed. For one couple, Joseph and Mary, this meant they had to leave their home in Nazareth whilst Mary was heavily pregnant.
Where was He born?
Mary and Joseph were both descendants of King David so they had to travel to Bethlehem, a small town in Israel. When they arrived they were unable to find any room in the inn, so the baby Jesus was laid in a manger (Luke 2:7).
What did He do?
The Bible gives us a detailed record of what Jesus did. In fact, in John 21:25 it says that “all the books in the world could not contain everything that Jesus did.” Jesus was able to walk on water, make the blind to see, raise the dead to life, make the lame walk, turn water into wine and feed a multitude with a few loaves and fishes. We also learn that He knows our thoughts and our actions because He is God and knows all things. All these things were recorded so that “we might believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God” (John 20:31).
However, the most important thing that Jesus did happened when he was about 33 years old. It was then that he died on a cross to take the punishment for our sins, even though He was truly perfect and had no sin Himself. After He died, He was buried and rose again from the dead three days later – something we think about at Easter.
Why does it matter to me?
All of this may seem like history – you might not think it concerns you. Actually, it does.
The Bible also says a lot about you and I. Romans 3:23 says that we are all sinners. We all fail to meet God’s standards because we have a corrupt and sinful nature. Therefore, we are deserving of God’s punishment (Romans 6:23). This punishment will separate us from God, and stop us entering Heaven where He is.
We can’t earn salvation by good deeds, and our wealth won’t buy us entry into heaven. However God sent His holy, righteous and sinless Son into the world to save us. Jesus Christ could not sin but in loving kindness towards us, he bore the punishment for our sins on the cross.
He has done everything that He can do, it is now up to you. You need to accept that Jesus is the Son of God. You need to believe that He died on the cross for your sins before He was raised back to life, and that He is alive in Heaven today. You then need to call on Him and ask God for your sins to be forgiven.
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