And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. (Luke 2:16)
We’ve all heard it, most of us have said it.
“Remember the reason for the season, the true spirit of Christmas”.
Recently, as I was reminding my grandchildren of this very thing, I found myself thinking “what exactly is the true spirit of Christmas”? I figured the best way to find out was to read again the story of the first Christmas. Here is how Luke recorded the event in the second chapter of his gospel~”
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. (Luke 2:7-19)
It should not surprise us that the true spirit of Christmas is right there for all of us to see.
The Spirit of Humility
The first bed Jesus ever knew was a borrowed manger.
And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
By his own words, during His ministry, He didn’t have a place of His own in which to sleep.
And Jesus said to him, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” (Luke 9:58)
And when He died, He was laid in a borrowed tomb.
This man [Joseph of Arimathea]went to Pilate and asked for the body of Jesus. Then he took it down and wrapped it in a linen shroud and laid him in a tomb cut in stone, where no one had ever yet been laid. (Luke 23:52-53)
From the cradle to the grave Jesus’ life was one of total humility.
If I then, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I have given you an example, that you also should do just as I have done to you. (John 13:14-15)
The King became a servant, He set for us the example of humility that we are all to follow.
The Spirit of Promise
The promise of The Light that was sent to destroy the darkness.
And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. (Luke 2:9)
My how things have changed! Nowadays birth announcements come in many ways. More often than not, they are pre-birth announcements and the parents often go to great lengths to make the announcement as exciting as possible. One thing is for sure, no amount of expense or extreme presentation can come close to the announcement of the birth of Jesus. The very glory of God filled the heavens as He sent His angels to announce His coming Son.
I was listening to a message on the book of John and the speaker talked about Jesus’ proclamation that He is the Light of the World. The speaker made the point that light is not the opposite of darkness, light is the enemy of darkness.
Again Jesus spoke to them, saying, “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” (John 8:12)
When Jesus, the Light of the World, came and lived among us He destroyed the power of sin and death, He destroyed the darkness for all who walk in His light.
The Spirit of Joy
Jesus’ birth would be for joy for all the people. Not only the Jews but for the Gentiles as well.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. (Luke 2:10)
It was over 2000 years ago when the angels proclaimed the birth of the Christ child with their glorious songs of joy, and still today our songs of joy continue throughout the season in celebration of His coming!
“Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” “O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant.” “O tidings of comfort and joy.”
This is indeed a season for rejoicing! As we sing the songs of Christmas, let’s remember why we sing – the Lord has come and brought us a great gift.
These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full. (John 15:11)
The Spirit of Peace
We live in troubled times. It’s hard, if not impossible to find peace anywhere in our world.
And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:13-14)
Jesus said “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. Not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your hearts be troubled, neither let them be afraid” (John 14:27). While we may never have peace throughout our world, we can know peace if we will only seek it in the person of Christ.
The Spirit of Worship
The promised Messiah has come. Emmanuel, the One who is worthy of all glory and honor and praise came to earth and lived among men.
And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. (Luke 2:20)
The shepherds recognized that the babe in the manger was the Promised One of God and they rightfully worshiped Him.
As the day of celebration arrives, let’s not be so caught up in the shopping, and cooking, and preparation that we forget what it is we’re supposed to be celebrating. Let’s vow to make this the year of rejoicing in the true spirit of Christmas. It shouldn’t be that hard now that we know what it is.