Author: Rick Warren
This week much of the world will shut down for Christmas. Office and stores will close and the streets will be empty on Christmas morning. What’s the big deal? How can an event that happened more than 2,000 years ago still have such a profound effect on our world today?
At that first Christmas, some angels told a bunch of Middle Eastern shepherds, “Do not be afraid. We bring you good news that will be a great joy to all people. Today your Savior was born. He is Christ, the Lord. Give glory to God in heaven and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” [Luke 2:11-12,14]
From the angels’ instructions, we learn how to make the most of Christmas:
1. MAKE IT A TIME FOR CELEBRATION! “good news…great joy!”
Christmas is a time to celebrate all that God has given us and done for us. It’s a time to set aside your problems and pressures for a moment and focus on God. If God wanted to communicate to birds he would have become a bird…but he wanted to communicate to human beings so he became like one of us and came to earth 2006 years ago. Now we can know what God is like – Jesus tells us.
Of all the ways God could have come to earth, he came the same way everyone of us did – by a birth. Why? Because he didn’t want us to fear him – and no one is afraid of a baby!
2. MAKE IT A TIME FOR SALVATION! “your savior was born.”
If we needed information, God would have sent an Educator. If we needed more government, god would have sent a Politician. But what we need most is salvation – so God sent us a Savior. What is “salvation”? It’s forgiveness for my past…power to manage my present problems…and a guarantee for my future. But like any gif you must accept it in order to benefit from it. As a young man I worked as a lifeguard for 3 summers. I learned that you can save people until they stop trying to save themselves.
3. MAKE IT A TIME FOR RECONCILLIATION! “let there be peace…”
Christmas is a time to seek to restore those broken or strained relationships. It’s a time to say “I’m sorry” and “Will you forgive me?” it’s also a time to offer forgiveness to all those who have hurt you. First you make peace WITH God, then you receive the peace OF God. Once you have that you’ll find it much easier to make peace with other people.
MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR FROM EVERYONE AT SADDLEBACK CHURCH!
Until next week...
1. This time of year we hear people talk about “the spirit of Christmas.” What does that mean to you and what do you think God means it to be?
2. What can you do to make Christmas a celebration this year?
3. Is there someone you need to forgive or be reconciled with? Is there someone whose forgiveness you have been asked to accept?