F.M. Sciutto III

By His Free Grace Alone, To Be Treasured Alone, & For His Glory Alone

Posts Tagged ‘Christmas

More Than Just a Birthday Celebration

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While on break, an older woman with whom I work was talking to me about a Christmas tradition that her and her family do each year. She explained how she has a nativity scene, which was described as a nativity scene you could find in the majority of American homes around this time of year. However, the only piece missing in the scene is Jesus in the manger. He is left out until Christmas Eve, which then one her grandchildren carries Him out and places Him between Mary and Joseph.

So far, none of this sounds strange or out of the ordinary, does it? That is because it is not strange or out of the ordinary. Well, not yet anyway.

After Jesus is placed into the scene, she proceeded to tell me that her and her family then begin to sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. That is what struck me as very odd. A song that is usually song during a child’s birthday celebration is sung at the time the celebration of the birth of Jesus takes place. After that, I just nodded my head and smiled. I had nothing to say to that. I was perplexed just as much as I was shocked.

Now, this is not a rant against the traditions that one may preform during Christmastime. My hope is to have people reflect on what they are celebrating during this time of the year and why. Christmas with no attention to the God who sent His Son into this fallen world to be an atoning sacrifice is shallow and, frankly, meaningless.

Christmas is more than just a birthday celebration for Jesus (considering He probably was not even born around this time of the year). A lot more. Yes, Christmas is a time in which family and friends are brought closer together, and those things are great, but that is not the reason and purpose of Christmas.

We should not forget the reason why we even celebrate Christmas in the first place. It is because God the Father, in eternity past, made a plan with God the Son to redeem His fallen creation by taking on flesh because of His immense grace and love toward His creation. The Son then took on flesh by being conceived by God the Holy Spirit and born of a virgin. Being born of a virgin, a sin-nature was never passed to Jesus, and being conceived by the Holy Spirit, God the Son took on flesh. Jesus had to remain sinless in order to accomplish full atonement for His people’s sin by sacrificing Himself on the cross for His people’ sin; raising from the dead, thereby defeating sin and death; delivering His people from the bondage of sin, death, and hell; and presenting them as righteous before the Father. We must remember how the glory of the incarnation of the Son leads to the glorious cross where our innocent Savior was crucified for our crimes against God’s holiness, and then praise God for it!

We should not forget the purpose of Christmas, which is to look forward to Christ’s second-coming to Earth, His judgment and redemption of this fallen world, and when we, who are His, dwell with Him in the New Heavens and New Earth for an infinitely joyful eternity.

But do not overlook this one fact, beloved, that with the Lord one day is as a thousand years, and a thousand years as one day. The Lord is not slow to fulfill his promise as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance. But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed.

Since all these things are thus to be dissolved, what sort of people ought you to be in lives of holiness and godliness, waiting for and hastening the coming of the day of God, because of which the heavens will be set on fire and dissolved, and the heavenly bodies will melt as they burn! But according to his promise we are waiting for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.

(2 Peter 3:8-13 ESV)

It can be so easy to get swallowed up in the consumerism of the holiday and forget about the God who sent His Son to save us. We need to be deliberate in how we celebrate during Christmastime.

Praise God for sending His Son to satisfy God’s just wrath against our sin! Praise God for promising to send Christ again to finally bring His sons and daughters to glory and have them dwell with Him forever!

This Christmas, we need to share the wonderful Truth of the Gospel by presenting it with our words and deeds to our family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers.

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Written by sciuttfm

December 24, 2010 at 2:12 AM

“He is coming for His bride, washed and cleansed by the Word, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish”

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From Rollin Grams of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary:

In 2 Th. 1:11-12, we find the prayer of Paul, Silvanus and Timothy for believers living between Christ’s first and second advent: that God would work powerfully in their lives so that he might (1) count them worthy of his calling and (2) bring to completion their every good purpose and work of faith (vs. 11):

Note, first, that God’s calling is all about what we are called to be: worthy. God chose us to be holy and blameless before him in love (Eph. 1:4).

Second, faith is more than belief: it produces its own work. Faith works itself out in love (Gal. 5:6).

Third, this is God’s work in us. Given the task of working out our salvation in fear and trembling, we discover God at work in us to will and to do his good purpose (Phil. 2:12- 13). The marks of being God’s chosen people are belief in the truth and sanctification by the Spirit (2 Th. 2:13).

When Jesus returns, he is not coming simply for an elect people with faith in him (cf. Mt. 25:14ff). He is coming for his bride, washed and cleansed by the Word, without spot or wrinkle, holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:26-27). The gospel is to be obeyed (2 Th. 1:8) so that the name of our Lord Jesus might be glorified in us (vs. 10, 12).