CHRISTMAS AND THE LOVE OF GOD

Christmas is a very unique and special seasonal celebration all over the world. It is the remembrance of the birth of Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the world. It is time to remember God’s initiative of love, in making the first move in reconciliation with disobedient, fallen mankind. We remember the offended God, deciding to stretch out his hands with all readiness, willingness and eagerness to forgive all of mankind. God’s first response is to express his displeasure and judgement. Immediately after, God ‘took the bull by the horn,’ by deciding to send Jesus on the ultimate rescue mission to redeem mankind, right at the occasion and location of man’s fall into sin. Christmas therefore is a remembrance of God’s love, for choosing to rescue disobedient man. We remember God’s humility in standing up to take the place of the offender and bear the punishment for the offender’s sins. Thus peace was made at the initiative of God and at his own expense. Jesus was born to die for our sins and to rise up from the dead; and eventually become King; the King of ALL kings and the Lord of ALL lords. Love, humility, giving, service, selflessness, justice, holiness, repentance, forgiveness, peace, goodwill to all men are hallmarks of Christmas. It is when Jesus Christ comes back that he would reign as King of kings and Lord of lords. God Almighty set the pace. We as human beings need to follow.
As a young boy, I heard an adult asking; “Why do you sing resurrection songs in December? Another adult replied him; “It does not matter when you sing each category of songs.” It is the depth and faith in God which count. As I grew up, I liked many hymns and songs, especially those which expressed the whole gospel in a nutshell. An example is the hymn ’Seeking For Me.’ themed on the Love of God; Composed by E. E. Hasty.[Author A. N.]
Jesus my Saviour to Bethlehem came,
Born in a manger to sorrow and shame;
Oh it was wonderful – blest be His name!
Seeking for me! For me!
Then in the following stanzas, the hymn writer says:
How Jesus went to the cross to die; how he paid the great debt and set my soul free. Dying for me! For me!
How Jesus called me while I wandered astray from the fold [like a lost sheep]; he pled gently and long with my soul, Calling for me! For me!
Finally, he speaks about the second coming of Christ thus:
Jesus my Saviour shall come from on high-
Sweet is the promise as weary years fly;
Oh, I shall see Him descend from the sky,
Coming for me, for me!
Coming for me! For me! –
Coming for me! For me! –
Oh, I shall see Him descend from the sky,
Coming for me! For me!
Many other carols highlight the glory of the new born King, Jesus.
His incarnation, priesthood, his righteousness, his life-giving power, his healing virtue, are all expressed.
The global impact of Christmas, as historically documented, is seen also in the carols highlighting the visit of the three wise men; kings from the East, who came to visit Jesus in a house, giving him gifts, in Bethlehem. That was after leaving the manger.
The impact of God’s redemption for mankind stems from his absolute love, which would not discard or abandon us. Imagine being asked to die for a condemned armed robber, a terrorist, or a morally corrupt person in your community; would you oblige or voluntarily rush out to do so? Certainly not; judging by general human standards. For a good man or woman in society, some people may agree reluctantly or hardly opt to die in their places or stead.
However, that unpopular and unlikely line of action was what God took. Read how the Holy Bible tells us:
For when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die. But God demonstrated his love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him. For if, when we were enemies, we were reconciled to God by the death of his Son, much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by his life. Romans 5:6-10.
Our first parents sinned by deliberate disobedience to God. Being our foundational and therefore representative parents, Adam and Eve. ushered sin into the world with the deception by Satan. The choice was theirs to obey God or Satan. Their choice had severe spiritual and physical implications. As forewarned by God, death was the result. Man died spiritually by being cut off and out of fellowship with God. This effect passed on to all mankind. Genesis 2: 16-17 God instructed Adam not to eat the forbidden fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. As we found out later, Adam disobeyed God. Adam was not deceived by the devil, but Eve was. Genesis 3:1-19, 21. Adam chose to join his wife in disobeying God. God pronounced curse upon them and consequently upon the whole human race.
God prophetically declared the ultimate redemption of mankind thus:

And I will put enmity between thee and the woman; and between thy seed and her seed; it shall bruise thy head, and thou shalt bruise his heel. Genesis 3: 15.

It is the seed of the woman and not the seed of the man. God, the Maker, is Omniscient. Jesus Christ was born with conception between the seed of the woman and the HOLY SPIRIT; not involving the seed of man.
The prophecy was fulfilled thus: Thousands of years later, God sent an angel called Gabriel to a Jewish virgin called Mary. The angel said to Mary:
Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. And behold thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great; and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the LORD God shall give unto him the throne of his father, David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Luke 1: 30-33.
As for Mary, that was too hard to take and difficult to comprehend. She was humble, but bold enough to ask the angel:
How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? Luke 1: 34.
The angel replied, to allay her fears: The Holy Ghost shall come upon you, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow you. Therefore, also, that holy thing that shall be born by you shall be called the Son of God.
To give her double assurance, the angel told her that her old cousin called Elizabeth had conceived in her old age. A woman considered by many to be hopeless as far as giving birth to a child; barren indeed, was an expectant mother; six months pregnant! Nothing is impossible to God. Luke 1: 35-37.
Thus, an overwhelmed, excited and humble Mary surrendered herself to God: Behold, I am the handmaiden of the LORD. Let it be done unto me as you have said. Luke 1: 38.
In the Garden of Eden, after their failure, God made coats of skin for Adam and Eve and clothed them. Genesis 3: 21. God must have killed an animal in the process. The blood of the animal was shed. GOD IS ABLE THOUGH TO MAKE COATS OF SKIN WITHOUT KILLING AN ANIMAL, BUT KNOWING THE SUBSEQUENT ORDER OF SACRIFICE, BLOOD HAVE BEEN SHED TO COVER THE GUILTY SHAME OF ADAM AND EVE. ADAM AND EVE WERE COVERED; LOOKING FORWARD TO THE SHED BLOOD OF THE SECOND ADAM THAT WAS TO COME; JESUS! Abel did not merely imagine a sacrifice of choice animal from his flock of sheep; he must have learnt it from his parents and from God.
And Abel, he also brought of the firstlings of his flock and of the fat thereof. And the LORD had respect unto Abel and to his offering. Genesis 4:4. Please read Genesis 4: 1-4. [What do you have to contribute on this?].
However, in the fullness of time, the reconciliatory initiative made by God through the death of his Son Jesus Christ removed the curse and judgment of death from us all. We have been reconciled to God by the death of Jesus Christ. We are saved by his life because he died, was buried but arose from the grave on the third day according to prophecies of the Scriptures. We can rejoice in victorious celebration. The Bible states:
And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement. Wherefore, as by one man, sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so, death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned. Romans 5:11-12.
The whole of mankind was hopelessly under the grip of sin and death. Before the law came by way of the Ten Commandments given to Moses, no man could be legally accused of sin, even though all sinned through Adam and Eve. The partaking in the failure of Adam and Eve was the inheritance of death which passed on to all mankind. That death was pronounced upon us conditionally by God. We entered into it by the choice of our fore-parents. We therefore inherited the death as well.
Jesus Christ came as the second Adam. He was perfect all the way. He obeyed God all the way. Greater still, Jesus Christ died for our sins instead of us all. He became sin for us, took our sin away. He died our death. Arose from the grave and freely offers and gives his life to all who would receive him! That is Love that is indescribable! It is such a great and wondrous love.
At this time of Christmas celebration, we remember that God sent his own begotten Son, Jesus, into the world. He was born in a manger, in the little town of Bethlehem, in Judea. Jesus Christ came on a rescue mission. He came to rescue mankind from sin and death. That rescue mission has been completed. Jesus came, born as a baby. He grew up and became a carpenter in Nazareth. He ministered across Jerusalem, towns and villages in Judea and Samaria in Palestine. He surrendered himself to be crucified after a torturing flogging with whips at the whipping post by fierce, cruel Roman soldiers. He died on the cross. He was buried and the tomb securely sealed. On the third day he arose from the grave and came out alive after a powerful earthquake broke through the sealed entrance to the tomb! By his life, Jesus Christ offers and gives new life to anyone who would listen, trust and obey him. Dear friend, you can be one of that great company as you read this message and respond with gratitude.
Come to God through Jesus Christ today, as you read this message. If you shall confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. And believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead on the third day according to the Scriptures, you shall be saved. With your heart you believe and you are made righteous. With your mouth you confess and you are saved. Whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. Romans 10: 9-13.
For God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son that whosoever believes in him should not perish but have everlasting life. John 3:16.
Jesus said:

For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through him might be saved. John 3:17.
To reject Jesus is to reject peace and everlasting life. That in essence, is self-condemnation. It is worse than suicide!
Indeed, Jesus Christ came into this world with the joint plan of his Father, the Almighty God. His mission was to rescue the whole of mankind. The rescue mission was accomplished. By his substitutionary death for every human being, Jesus Christ effected peace and reconciliation between God and mankind through his death on the cross. That was why he was born at Christmas. He was born as an obedient servant of God; born as willing spotless sacrificial lamb; born as a high priest; born as a king; born as the final judge of all the earth. Jesus Christ brings you and me peace from God. He enhances peace with God. Come to Jesus now. The other part of the angel’s message to Mary shall be fulfilled soon, when Jesus shall return to the earth as King of kings and Lord of lords. Jesus Christ is coming again, very soon. Embrace him, so that you may have everlasting life and peace.
Jesus Christ Is The Reason Behind This Season Of Celebration Of Christmas. Come To Him Without Any Delay. Have you been to Jesus? Do you know his love and guidance? Keep yourself pure and holy; growing in the love of God. Keep looking for the blessed hope; the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Have A Blessed Jesus-centred Christmas And A Happy New Year, 2019. Shalom.

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