The Joy of Christmas – How Can I Have It?
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14)
It can be interesting listening to children give their take on the Christmas story. Here is what some children had to say:
“There was an angel called Gabriel, whose favourite thing was to fly around all day.” - Zoe (6 years old)
“Jesus was born in a stable a long way from here – in Bethlehem. It’s in England.” - David (4 years old)
“Jesus was a king and he wore a crown even though he was a baby. It was a very small crown.” - Lisa (5 years old)
“The wise men followed a special Christmas star. It only comes out at Christmas time.” - Jacqueline (7 years old)
“The wise men brought gold stuff for Jesus but I think a lego set would have been better.” - Rob (6 years old)
“The three wise men brought Jesus gold, silver and scent – but no real presents. I really feel sorry for Him.” - Suzie (5 years old)
I have a question:
Have you ever asked yourself: “Why all the fuss over Christmas?” Well, imagine if you can a world without Christmas. A world without Christmas would be a world without joy.
The angel said: “I bring you good tidings of great joy!”
• What’s so joyful about Christmas? … and …
• Why did the angel describe it as great joy.
The joy of Christmas is tied to the message of Christmas … because … without the message of Christmas there are no grounds for joy! Why? Because men and women and young people all across the globe suffer from the same dilemma – the dilemma of sin.
There are two parts to the Christmas message:
GUILT by Association
Ever since the first man Adam sinned, we have all sinned and fallen short of God’s standard – we have mimicked our first parents, Adam and Eve. We are therefore guilty by association. Sin robs us of joy because sin separates us from God Who is the Source of all joy. The Bible assures us that the wages of sin is death. Guilt by association is bad news indeed because it separates us from God.
GRACE by Association
God saw our dilemma and acted on our behalf. He sent His Son as a baby to live and die as a man on your behalf and mine to take the punishment for our sin. All God’s grace is available to you and to me by virtue of our relationship with Jesus Christ. We can enjoy God’s grace by association. Little children can have a hard time understanding the significance of Christmas. This was illustrated in a cartoon about Christmas:
In the first frame a young mother has just finished reading the Christmas story to her young son.
The little boy has a puzzled look on his face as he sorts it all out.
Then he thinks to himself, “Let me see if I’ve got this straight … Christmas is baby Jesus’ birthday, but I get the presents?”
The final frame shows him with a satisfied grin as he says to himself, “Is this a great religion or what?!”
Grace by association is good news indeed because it restores us to God.
The angel said, “I bring you good news of great joy!” This is the Great Exchange - the great exchange of grace – offered to us because of Jesus Christ:
• He takes my sin – I take His righteousness.
• He takes my guilt – I receive His grace.
• He is forsaken – I am forgiven.
• He takes my punishment – I am given a pardon.
Think of it this way: there is more grace in God than there is sin in ME! There is more grace in God than there is sin in YOU! I cannot earn it! Neither can you! It is credited to my account and yours when we receive God’s gracious gift by faith. The angel was correct! This is very good news that ought to bring us GREAT JOY!
How does it work?
God saw our problem – and chose to reveal His love and forgiveness to us. He became a man so He could communicate His love to us in a language we could understand. He came as a baby and grew to be a man – and died in your place and mine on a cross of cruelty and shame. He offers you forgiveness – and a restored relationship with God:
• A cleansed conscience.
• Pardon, Peace and Joy beyond description.
• The promise of eternal life.
What do you need to do if you are still guilty by association with Adam’s original sin and have not yet received God’s grace by association with Jesus Christ?
1. Acknowledge your sin and ask God for His forgiveness.
2. Turn away from sin.