Whether youíre following commentaries by prophecy scholars on the
nearness of the rapture or predictions by financial experts on the nearness
of the worldís economic downfall, the message is the same. This could very
well be the last time we celebrate Christmas as weíve come to know it.
And thatís a good thing. Because for most of the world, Christmas
has become little more than an annual exercise in spending money we donít
have to buy things they donít need for the people on our list, some of whom
we donít even like. Add to that the sad fact that millions of American
families are doing this from homes they no longer own, adding to a debt load
they can hardly carry now, and you can see the level to which the world has
sunk. And the saddest fact of all is they arenít doing this out of any
gratitude for what the Lord has given them. Theyíre doing this because
for a brief period of time they can pretend everythingís OK.
For believers it should be a different story, although most of us
are totally unaware that the greatest event in Church history is looming on
our horizon. The coming rapture 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
of the Bible.
Maybe thatís because what little weíve been taught about the
Lordís promise to the Church is such a watered down version of the truth.
Pastors and teachers have lowered our expectations of His promises to match
our experience instead of teaching us that if our experience doesnít match
His promises then weíre doing something wrong. And because we donít
read our Bibles to learn what it says about Christian life here on Earth for
ourselves, these promises simply have not come true for most. And as
for His promises about our future with Him, well theyíre hardly even
What Did You
Get For Christmas?
With a little study we can conclude that the Lord was not born on
December 25th, but more likely in the early fall. Therefore our
celebration in December is more traditional than factual. But since it
is the time weíve chosen to celebrate, letís take a moment to review what
the birth of the Lord really means to us. This wonít be an exhaustive list
but maybe it will help us remember what Christmas is really about.
Think of it as as the gift He gave us for Christmas.
First and foremost, He came to take away our sins. Just for
believing that, weíve been promised that the penalty of eternal suffering we
deserve to pay has been canceled (Colossians
2:13-14) and replaced by eternal blessing in the presence of God (John
Because He suffered in our place, weíve been made forever perfect
in Godís sight (Hebrews 10:14) ,
a new creation (2 Cor. 5:17) as
righteous as He is (2 Cor. 5:21).
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 thatís not all He
did. He came to take away our worries too. He promised that if we believe in
Him, weíll be adopted into the family of God (John 1:12-13) and made joint heirs with him in His inheritance (Galatians
If weíll just focus on seeking His Kingdom and His righteousness,
which is now our eternal destiny, Heíll provide for all our needs in the
here and now. We should never worry about what weíll 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 wasnít 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) while
weíre still here. The more generous we are toward others, the more generous
Heíll be toward us (Luke 6:38).
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 itís
only temporary. Itís the next life thatís permanent and thatís the one we
should always be thinking about (2
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 weíll 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).
All these things are just for this life. But He also came to give
us a future thatís beyond imagining (1
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 thatís 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 Fatherís house (John
14:2-3) where Heíll hide us from Godís judgment of Earth (Isaiah
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 made of gold and precious gems as
our exclusive dwelling place. Weíll live with Him there as members of
his royal family (Rev. 21:9-27).
Weíll be seated beside Him in the heavenly realms so that by what
Heís done for us he can 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 Heís
lavished on the Church.
From the moment of His birth, these and many more promises began
to come true for those who believe. It was such a momentous occasion that
God dispatched a heavenly choir to announce His arrival on Earth.
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. Itís the the gift He gave us at Christmas.