The Last Christmas?


 

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 mentioned anymore.

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 3:16).

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 4:4-7).

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 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 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).

But Wait, Thereís More!

All these things are just for this life. But He also came to give us a future thatís 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 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 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 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. Selah 12-03-11