In my lifetime, almost half a century of Christmas days have come and gone. As the season looms once again, there is excitement and everywhere is buzzing with pre-Christmas activity. You could feel a sense of anticipation as young and old eagerly wait for the special day to come.
Then the day finally arrives. Depending on the standard of living and tradition of the family, you either find children trooping to a specified location, usually under the Christmas tree to pick their presents or in the case of the less privileged, expecting to eat something specially cooked by their parents or given by neighbours and friends.
Time flies fast and it is all over and we soon start looking forward to the New Year where the cycle of waiting begins all over again.
One can therefore be tempted to ask the question, ‘what do we learn from Christmas? Is there any point waiting for a day to eat and have fun especially when we could have done this any other time during the year? Is Christmas all about the anticipation of eating a good meal with family and friends and exchanging gifts?’
In answering that question, one has to go to the very beginning. What is the basis for celebrating the birth of Christ? The answer lies in the nature of God and His love for us.
God made man as a special creature, with all the attributes of His very own self (Genesis 2:7) Man was not created like a robot to move mindlessly under God’s control. God made man with a free will - the ability to choose to walk in God’s plan and purpose for him.
Unfortunately, mankind got caught up in the lies of the evil one known as Satan and from that moment, lost fellowship with God and began living a sentence of death as dictated by God’s divine law (Ezekiel 18:20)
Fortunately for man, God was not finished yet. He knew that the odds were in favour of man turning his back on his Creator. If God were a man, He would have been very disappointed and would have turned His back on mankind. This however was the opportunity God was looking for – the opportunity to let man know how much God loved him.
While God passed judgment on mankind for disobeying the divine law, thereby effectively sentencing man to eternal damnation, He made this pronouncement to the Satan the snake, ‘And I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers. He will crush your head and you will strike his heel’ (Genesis 3:15)
Let us examine this pronouncement. It is highly unlikely that someone would die if he were struck in the heel. However no one could survive a crushed head! Effectively God, while sentencing Satan to an irreversible judgment, was giving man hope. Man was going to survive! The striking of the heel would come, figuratively depicting the death of the Lord Jesus on the cross but that encounter would crush the head of Satan and he would have no power to rise up against Jesus anymore!
This is my first lesson of Christmas! That God loved me enough not to excuse my sin but to pay the price for my sin by sending His sinless son to take my place on the cross of Calvary. It also means that when I hit what looks like a certain end to my progress in life, God always has a plan to take me through to the other side!
The second lesson I have learnt is that God keeps His word. Many had waited for the birth of the Saviour with so much anticipation. Books had been read and scriptures studied to pinpoint the exact time the King would be born.
No doubt, history of Kings would have been studied to know which royal family would produce this coming king and many would have wondered in which palace he would be raised in.
When the King was born, it caught everyone unawares. He did not show up in the palace or grand mansion. He showed up in a manger – living quarters, not for human beings but for animals. God did not work according to man’s expectations but He kept His word. This was confirmed by the priest Simeon as he prayed, ‘Sovereign Lord, as you have promised, you may now dismiss your servant in peace. For my eyes have seen your salvation..’ (Luke 2:29)
As we celebrate yet another Christmas, let these lessons that I have learnt give you cause to celebrate with thanksgiving. And these lessons are summarized below;
God loves you so much and He always keeps His promises.
Steve Popoola is the editor of Biblepraise Newsletter and the founder of the Biblepraise Fellowship Online at http://www.biblepraise.org. He lives in Kent, United Kingdom, where he works as an IT Professional. He currently serves as a Worship Leader, Home Group Leader and Bible Teacher in his local church. He also speaks at invited events. He can be reached through His email address, firstname.lastname@example.org