What Does Christmas Mean?

Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.

“For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.

“And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, 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, goodwill toward men!” – Luke 2:8-14 (NKJV)

The fact that God made the announcement to shepherds helps us to understand the real meaning of Christmas.

John 3:16 says, “For God loved the world in this way: He gave His One and Only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life,” and He chose to announce that to shepherds first of all.

You must understand that shepherds were at the opposite end of the social stratum from King Herod and all the influential people of the day. Think about it. Shepherds lived in the fields with their animals. They were not respected, they had no power or prestige.  Yet, God’s angel came to them and said, “Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ, the Lord” (Luke 2:11).  Unto shepherds a Savior was born.

In that one simple announcement God made known some very important truths that will help us discover the meaning of Christmas.

So, what does Christmas really mean? It means three things:

1. That God KNOWS YOU and you are IMPORTANT to Him!

2. That YOUR LIFE MATTERS because GOD LOVES YOU!

3. That YOUR FAITH MATTERS because without it, you cannot PLEASE GOD!

1. It means that God KNOWS YOU and you are IMPORTANT to Him!

No matter how insignificant you may think you are, God knows you, and you are important to Him.  All throughout scripture we see God honoring and using people and things that the world often overlooks or ignores.

The Apostle Paul writes, “Brothers, think of what you were when you were called. Not many of you were wise by human standards; not many were influential; not many were of noble birth. But God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things…” (1 Cor. 1:26-28a).

So when God decided to select a mother for His Son, He went past the fashion salons and beauty parlors.  He went past the furs, diamonds, gold, and went to an insignificant village called Nazareth.  There He found a young peasant girl. She did not dress in designer clothes. She did not have a sophisticated education.  But she was pure and God selected her to be the mother of His only begotten Son.

So when the Christ comes, He is not born in Mt. Sinai Hospital in Jerusalem, surrounded by gynecologists, nurses and assistants. But rather, He is born in a stable. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid in a manger.

Now, the world looks down its nose and says, “That’s foolishness.”  But Paul says, “The foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, & the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength” (1 Corinthians 1:25).

When God makes His announcement, it is delivered to shepherds. It is like Jesus saying in the Sermon on the Mount, “If God cares about sparrows and lilies, then He cares about you.”

If God cares about shepherds, He cares about you! We need to hear that, don’t we?  Children, teenagers, and adults need to hear that! Single Moms need to hear that. Unbelievers need to hear that.  People who are lonely need to hear that. Husbands and wives who have lost their spouse need to hear that. Church people who feel useless and empty need to hear that. We all need to hear that!

Christmas comes. The light shines and God says, ” I made the announcement to shepherds, and I make it to you. Unto you a Savior is born, because I care for you!”

2. It means that YOUR LIFE MATTERS because GOD LOVES YOU!

“Unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Savior who is Christ, the Lord”  (Luke 2:11).

I imagine those shepherds must have sat around the campfire many times and wondered if life was really worthwhile or not. They must have thought, “What difference does it make if we watch these sheep or not?”

Maybe we wonder that also. What difference does it make if I get up every morning or not?  Possibly we wonder if life is worth living at all?

When God comes and makes His announcement to shepherds, He is also saying to us, “Your life is worthwhile. This is My gift to you. Therefore live every moment of life, because your life does matter to Me.”

3. It means YOUR FAITH MATTERS because without it, you cannot PLEASE GOD!

Shepherds were men of faith. They probably had more faith than some of the Scribes and Pharisees who went to the synagogue every day. They believed in a Messiah. All of God’s chosen people believed in a Messiah.

When things got especially hard, during times of poverty, enslavement, and exile, they would think about the Messiah and God’s promise that one day the Messiah would come. They prayed over and over again, “Let the Messiah come. Let Him come today!”  They prayed that prayer for hundreds of years, and they must have wondered, “Is our faith worth anything? Does God hear our prayers? Does God keep His promises? Will the Messiah ever come?”

There must have been many who quit praying, and quit having faith. But when the announcement came to shepherds, God was saying, “Your faith matters, and it is not in vain. I am a God who hears and who keeps His promises. Now the Messiah has come, and I have kept My promise.”

How about us?   Sometimes we become weary and we wonder…

  • Is it worthwhile going to church?
  • Is it worth sacrificing for God?
  • Is it worth teaching Sunday school or leading a small group?
  • Is it worth being a pastor?

In John 14 we find encouragement from out Lord when he says, “Let not your heart be troubled: ye believe in God, believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” John 14:1-3.

So, what does Christmas really mean? It means three things:

1. That God KNOWS YOU and you are IMPORTANT to Him!

2. That YOUR LIFE MATTERS because GOD LOVES YOU!

3. That YOUR FAITH MATTERS because without it, you cannot PLEASE GOD!

 

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