The Christmas Story:
Luke 2:1-20) (GW) At that time the Emperor Augustus ordered a census of the Roman Empire.
2) This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria.
3) All the people went to register in the cities where their ancestors had lived.
4) So Joseph went from Nazareth, a city in Galilee, to a Judean city called Bethlehem. Joseph, a descendant of King David, went to Bethlehem because David had been born there.
5) Joseph went there to register with Mary. She had been promised to him in marriage and was pregnant.
6) While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have her child.
7) She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger because there wasn’t any room for them in the inn.
8) Shepherds were in the fields near Bethlehem. They were taking turns watching their flock during the night.
9) An angel from the Lord suddenly appeared to them. The glory of the Lord filled the area with light, and they were terrified.
10) The angel said to them, “Don’t be afraid! I have good news for you, a message that will fill everyone with joy.
11) Today your Savior, Christ the Lord, was born in David’s city.
12) This is how you will recognize him: You will find an infant wrapped in strips of cloth and lying in a manger.”
13) Suddenly, a large army of angels appeared with the angel. They were praising God by saying,
14) “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those who have his good will!”
15) The angels left them and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see what the Lord has told us about.”
16) They went quickly and found Mary and Joseph with the baby, who was lying in a manger.
17) When they saw the child, they repeated what they had been told about him.
18) Everyone who heard the shepherds’ story was amazed.
19) Mary treasured all these things in her heart and always thought about them.
20) As the shepherds returned to their flock, they glorified and praised God for everything they had seen and heard. Everything happened the way the angel had told them.
What Does This Story Mean To You and Me?
Colossians 1:12-23) (CEV) I pray that you will be grateful to God for letting you have part in what he has promised his people in the kingdom of light.
(KJV) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
In regards to “which hath made us meet,”
“able, sufficient. To make sufficient, render competent or worthy” [Word Study].
“to enable, that is, qualify” [Strong’s].
“To be partakers of the inheritance of the saints: It is the Father who qualifies us, not our own works. We gain this as an inheritance, instead of earning it as a wage” [Guzik].
NOTE: Paul wants us to be thankful that God has enabled/qualified us to partake in what He has prepared for us; first in this life, then in the next.
13) God rescued us from the dark power of Satan and brought us into the kingdom of his dear Son,
14) who forgives our sins and sets us free.
QUESTION: How did God enable/qualify us to become partakers of the glorious things He has prepared for us?
ANSWER: He rescued us from the devil’s pile of stuff and transferred us to the Lord’s pile of stuff (sanctification). Because we now belong to the Lord we are “holy” unto Him. By virtue of this act of God’s benevolence we have been qualified to participate in His blessings. In this same act of God’s grace our sins have been forgiven (justification).
Romans 3:24) (MSG) God did it for us. Out of sheer generosity he put us in right standing with himself. A pure gift. He got us out of the mess we’re in and restored us to where he always wanted us to be. And he did it by means of Jesus Christ.
15) Christ is exactly like God, who cannot be seen. He is the first-born Son, superior to all creation.
16) Everything was created by him, everything in heaven and on earth, everything seen and unseen, including all forces and powers, and all rulers and authorities. All things were created by God’s Son, and everything was made for him.
QUESTION: Why were we created?
ANSWER: We were created for Christ. We can only realize our true purpose when we are living for Him.
17) God’s Son was before all else, and by him everything is held together.
John 1:1-3) (GNB) In the beginning the Word already existed; the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2) From the very beginning the Word was with God.
3) Through him God made all things; not one thing in all creation was made without him.
NOTE: The Lord Jesus was the instrument that God, the Father, used to create every created thing, which includes everything except God. By the power of the Word, the Lord Jesus Christ, everything is held together.
Concerning “everything is held together,”
“Christ not only creates, but maintains in continuous stability and productiveness. “He, the All-powerful, All-holy Word of the Father, spreads His power over all things everywhere, enlightening things seen and unseen, holding and binding all together in Himself. Nothing is left empty of His presence, but to all things and through all, severally and collectively, He is the giver and sustainer of life…. He, the Wisdom of God, holds the universe in tune together” [Vincent].
18) He is the head of his body, which is the church. He is the very beginning, the first to be raised from death, so that he would be above all others.
19) God himself was pleased to live fully in his Son.
20) And God was pleased for him to make peace by sacrificing his blood on the cross, so that all beings in heaven and on earth would be brought back to God.
NOTE: God has done everything He has done, regarding the giving of His Son, so that you and I could have peace with a Holy God.
21) You used to be far from God. Your thoughts made you his enemies, and you did evil things.
22) But his Son became a human and died. So God made peace with you, and now he lets you stand in his presence as people who are holy and faultless and innocent.
NOTE: This is the purpose of the Christmas story. God sent His Son to die for us so that our sins could be forgiven and we could truly be at peace with God. We are now standing in His presence, as a result of all this, “holy and faultless and innocent.”
23) But you must stay deeply rooted and firm in your faith. You must not give up the hope you received when you heard the good news. It was preached to everyone on earth, and I myself have become a servant of this message.
NOTE: We must now walk out our Christian experience deeply entrenched in these truths.
Colossians 1:12) (KJV) Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
NOTE: Let’s be thankful this Christmas season for all that His gift has meant to us.
Walk of Grace Chapel, Council Bluffs Church