The words “Love Came Down at Christmas” are from a Christmas poem attributed to Christina Rossetti. It is a great reminder that love is the message of Christmas, but we often lose sight of the person of the Christ of Christmas as He is forgotten or ignored among the competing attractions of presents and wrapping and tinsel and rich foods.
This article tries to look at who really is the Christ of Christmas and ends with a challenge to come to know Him personally for oneself. Each section contains sample verses that illustrate the truths being described rather than numerous texts.
1]. WHO IS THIS JESUS WHO CAME DOWN AT THE FIRST CHRISTMAS?
He Is The Eternal Son Of God
John 1:14. “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
He Is The Creator [and Sustainer of the universe.]
John 1:3, “All things were made through him, and without him was not anything made that was made.”
Heb 1:1-2, “Long ago, at many times and in many ways, God spoke to our fathers by the prophets, 2 but in these last days he has spoken to us by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom also he created the world.
Col 1:16 “For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him. 17 And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.”
He Is The Promised Redeemer
Eph 1:7, ”In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
He Is The Present Saviour
Acts 4:12, “And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved.”
He Is The Present Lord
Act 2:36, “Let all the house of Israel therefore know for certain that God has made him both Lord and Christ, this Jesus whom you crucified.”
Php 2:9-11, “Therefore God has highly exalted him and bestowed on him the name that is above every name, 10 so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, 11 and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
He Will Be The Future Judge
Jesus said of Himself. John 5:27 “And he [God the Father] has given him authority to execute judgment, because he is the Son of Man. 28 Do not marvel at this, for an hour is coming when all who are in the tombs will hear his voice 29 and come out, those who have done good to the resurrection of life, and those who have done evil to the resurrection of judgment.”
Act 17:31 “because he has fixed a day on which he will judge the world in righteousness by a man whom he has appointed; and of this he has given assurance to all by raising him from the dead.”
2]. WHY DID HE COME TO EARTH?
To save people from their sins. “an angel of the Lord appeared to him [Joseph, betrothed to Mary] in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. 21 She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” Mat 1:20-21.
Why did they need saving?
- Everyone needs to be saved! All are sinners in the sight of God. “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,” Rom 3:23.
- Everyone is perishing until they trust in Jesus, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” Jn 3:16.
- Those who don’t trust in Jesus remain under His wrath. “Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God remains on him.” John 3:36.
- Everyone is dead in sin and remain under His wrath, until they trust in Jesus, “And you were dead in the trespasses and sins 2 in which you once walked, following the course of this world, following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience 3 among whom we all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” Eph 2:1-3
- BUT trusting in Jesus brings salvation, “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” Eph 2:8-9.
3]. WHAT DID HIS COMING TO EARTH ACHIEVE?
The law of God was obeyed perfectly by a human [Jesus].
Mat 5:17-18.“Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished.”
Rom 10:4, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes.”
The penalty for all the breakings of the law was paid in full by Jesus
Rom 5:19 “For as by the one man’s disobedience the many were made sinners, so by the one man’s obedience the many will be made righteous.”
Gal 3:13 ‘Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree.”’
Forgiveness Of Sins, The gift of the Holy Spirit, Eternal Life, Peace With God and Reconciliation To God, are all available to us, in Him
Eph 1:7 “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.”
Eph 1:13” In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit.”
1Jn 5:11-12,“And this is the testimony, that God gave us eternal life, and this life is in his Son. Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have the Son of God does not have life.”
Rom 5:1 “Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Rom 5:2 “Through him we have also obtained access by faith into this grace in which we stand, and we rejoice in hope of the glory of God”.
2Cor 5:18 “All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation.”
4]. WHAT CHALLENGE DOES THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS PRESENT TO YOU AND ME TODAY?
Jesus Christ is ALIVE! There is a wonderful part of the Holy Communion service in “A Prayer Book for Australia” which has these words to be spoken by all present. It summarises so much of the life and ministry of Christ in 3 simple phrases. It reads, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” It is a great reminder to all present that the Christ of Christmas cannot be ignored.
“Christ has died” reminds us that He came and died for sinners like you and me. I remember vividly Dr Leon Morris one of the great biblical scholars of the 20th Century, saying in a sermon in the Ridley Theological College Chapel, in Melbourne, Australia when I was a student there, these challenging words, “We Have Been Died For! And By None Other Than The Son Of God Himself!” It put things into perspective. You can’t ignore what He has done. You can’t undo it as an inconvenient truth. You have to take Him [and what He did] seriously.
“Christ is risen” emphasises the truth that death could not contain Him and that He rose from the dead, the victor over sin, death and the powers of darkness. He remains risen! He is alive today!
“Christ will come again.” He is coming back to gather His people to Himself. But the flip side of that is that He is coming to pass judgment on those who rebelled against Him and His teaching, on those who rejected Him and on those who simply ignored Him. You cannot ignore the IGNORABLE!
5]. HOW TO MEET THE CHALLENGE OF THE CHRIST OF CHRISTMAS
I faced a deep challenge as the year 1958 was about to turn into year 1959. It was 15 minutes to New Year’s Eve. I had walked through the crowded streets of Tweed Heads -Coolangatta on the Queensland- New South Wales border. I became aware that even in the midst of thousands of people in various stages of sobriety and inebriation that God’s eyes were on me and I could never hide from Him.
I had read many booklets given to me by my Christian sisters. I had just finished reading “Peace with God” a book written by the famous evangelist Billy Graham. I had recently listened to teaching tapes of the late John Stott, once a Chaplain to the Queen and the famous Rector of All Souls Langham Place in London. I had begun to realise the truth that “Christ has died, Christ is risen. Christ will come again.” The words of the Risen Jesus in Revelation 3:20 became extremely real to me. He said He was standing at the door of individual human hearts wanting to enter, “Behold, I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in to him and eat with him, and he with me.”
Now was the time to act on all I had heard and read and to begin the New Year of 1959 as a believer. So I knelt down beside my bed in a flat in Boundary Street Coolangatta and prayed a prayer I had seen in one of John Stotts’ booklets. It was a simple prayer of commitment based on the letters A.B.C.D. It was opening the door of my heart to the Christ of Christmas. At almost New Year!
- I had to Admit I was a sinner in the sight of God. I knew I was not a perfect human being.
- I had to Believe that Christ had come and died for me as an individual.
- I had to Consider the Cost of becoming a believer. I realised that meant ‘boots and all,’ a total commitment of every area of my life to Him, for ever!
- I had to Do something about it. I had to invite Him into my life to be my Saviour and to enthrone Him as Lord of the remainder of my life.
I tell the story that as I finished the prayer, the bells rang out, the horns of cars were being honked and thousands of people were yelling out and rejoicing in the streets outside. Because the NEW YEAR had come in! I was later to learn that at the same time there was rejoicing among the angels in heaven that another sinner had come home! “Just so, I tell you, there is joy before the angels of God over one sinner who repents.” Lk 15:10. It’s nice to think that what happened that night made no difference to the joy in the surrounding streets, but it did have an impact in heaven!
You could have your own encounter with the Christ of Christmas [who is watching you read this article and is knocking on the door of your heart even now] by praying the same sort of prayer I prayed at that time, which has led to almost 61 years of indescribable blessing for me. I didn’t realise that night that the Lord would lead me to the most beautiful life partner one could ever wish for [almost 54 years of a joy-filled marriage ending just a month ago when my wife Carole succumbed to an incurable cancer] and to the blessing of children and grandchildren. I didn’t realise that He would enable me to have a fulltime ministry for over 38 years that would include 28 years of challenging ministry in Cathedrals, nor ministering overseas on about 10 occasions for at least a month at a time. Nor did I realise that He would take Carole and me through difficult times when we would discover greater depths of His love, comfort and power. He has His own plan for you as an individual. You can discover it, as you too, open the door to the Christ of Christmas.
Here is a suggested prayer you can pray, based on the ABCD prayer I prayed.
“Dear Lord, I admit that I am a sinner in Your sight, but I do believe that You Jesus died on the cross for me. I have considered the cost of becoming a Christian but when I realise what it cost You to give up Your life for me, then no sacrifice I could ever make, would be too much for me to make for You.
I choose now to open the door of my life to You and invite You in to be my Saviour from sin. Come and take control of every part of my life as my Lord and Master.
I thank You Jesus for coming into my life and for the good things You are going to do in me and through me as I keep yielding my life over to You. Accept my thanks in Your precious name of JESUS. AMEN!
[If you felt it might be helpful to tell me that you have prayed the prayer, then you could let me know that wonderful news by emailing me on email@example.com
I would consider it a privilege to keep on praying for you in the days ahead, that you might experience the Lord’s richest blessings.]
May you have a joyous and blessed Christmas in fellowship with the Christ of Christmas and by the grace of God, enter into the New Year as a grateful switched-on new creature in Him!
Blog No.333. posted on www.jimholbeck.blog on Sunday 8th December 2019