The Last Christmas?

Whether you're following commentaries by prophecy scholars on the nearness of the rapture or predictions by financial experts on the nearness of our economic downfall, the message is the same.  This could very well be the last time we celebrate Christmas as we've come to know it. 

And that's a good thing.  Because for many, Christmas has become little more than an annual exercise  in spending money we don't have to buy things they don't need for the people on our list, some of whom we don't even like.  Add to that the sad fact that this year millions of American families are doing this from homes they no longer own and you can see the level to which the world has sunk. 

For believers it should be a different story, although most of us are totally unaware of the indescribable events looming on our horizon.  These events should be energizing the body of Christ and causing a massive reorientation of our priorities and yet current polls indicate that over 90% of us are still focused on the secular world and the fading illusion of happiness it offers, rather than the incredible promises the Bible describes.

Maybe that's because what little we've been taught about the Lord's promise to the Church is such a watered down version of the truth.   Therefore much of what the Bible says about Christian life here on Earth has simply not come true for most.  And as for its promises for the future, well they're hardly even mentioned anymore.

                   What Did You Get For Christmas?

Since it appears that we'll still be here for this Christmas, let's take a moment to review what the Lord really promised us.  This won't be an exhaustive list but maybe it will help us remember what Christmas is really about.  Think of it as as reminder of the gift He gave us for Christmas.

First and foremost, He came to take away our sins.  Just for believing that, we've been promised that the penalty of eternal suffering we should have to pay has been canceled (Colossians 2:13-14) and replaced by eternal blessing in the presence of God (John 3:16). 

Because He suffered in our place, we've been made forever perfect in God's sight (Hebrews 10:14) , as righteous as He is (2 Cor. 5:21). He came to set us free (John 8:35-37).  The law of sin and death no longer has any claim on us (Romans 8:2).

That alone should make us jump for joy, but that's not all He did. He came to take away our worries too. He promised that if we believe in Him, we'll be adopted into the family of God (John 1:12) and made joint heirs with him in His inheritance (Galatians 4:4-7). 

If we'll just focus on seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness, He'll provide for all our needs. We should never worry about what we'll eat or drink or wear because He promised our needs will always be met (Matt. 6:31-33).

But more than just meeting our survival needs, He came to give us an abundant life (John 10:10).  He promised to make everything work together for our good (Romans 8:28) and that nothing could ever separate us from Him (Romans 8:38-39 and John 10:27-30).

Although He was rich He made Himself poor for our sakes, so that through His poverty we could become rich (2 Cor. 8:9).  But He wasn't speaking only of spiritual wealth.  He promised that we could be made rich in every way so we could be generous on every occasion (2 Cor. 9:11)

He came to give us hope in times of trouble (John 16:33) and told us to not be so concerned about this life because it's only temporary.  It's the next life that's permanent and that's the one we should always be thinking about (2 Cor. 4:17-18).

He promised to answer our prayers (John 14:13-14)  forgive our sins (1 John 1:9) and heal our diseases (James 5:14-15).

He promised that if we stay connected to Him we'll bear much fruit (John 15:7-8) and will perform miracles even greater than His.  He said the only limitation on the things we could do in His name would be our faith in His promises (John 14:12).

                   But Wait, There's More!

All these things are just for this life. He also came to give us a future that's beyond imagining (1 Cor 2:9).

He promised to rescue us from the time and place of the coming wrath (1 Thes. 1:10), to separate us    both by time and distance from the hour of trial that's coming upon the whole world (Rev. 3:10).  

To accomplish this, He promised to meet us in the air (1 Thes. 4:16-17), to change us from mortal to immortal (1 Cor. 15:52-53) and take us to His Father's house (John14:2-3) where He'll hide us from  God's judgment of Earth (Isaiah 26:20-21).

He promised to make us into a royal priesthood (1 peter 2:9), kings and priests who will rule and reign with Him (Rev. 5:10), and to create an entire planet of gold and precious gems exclusively for us.  We'll live with Him there as members of his royal family (Rev. 21:9-27).

We'll be seated beside Him in the heavenly realms so by what He's done for us he could demonstrate the incomparable riches of His grace in ages yet to come (Ephesians 2:6-7).  No other group of humanity ever has or ever will enjoy the blessings He's lavished on the Church.

These and many more promises began to come true from the moment of His birth.  It was such a momentous occasion that God dispatched a heavenly choir to announce His arrival. Hundreds of Old Testament prophecies were fulfilled to confirm the validity of His promises. All this and more is ours to a greater degree of certainty than anything else in our life. It's the the gift He gave us at Christmas. Selah 12-24-10