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HAPPENINGS: The true meaning of Christmas

Christmas is almost here. Are you prepared? Are the cards mailed, the packages wrapped and the baking finished? Is your house clean and ready for guests should you be hosting Christmas? Do you feel frazzled?

Quite simply, Christmas was not meant to be a time of hectic activity. God desires peace for us and at Christmas we should spend time contemplating the wondrous gift God sent the world through his Son, Jesus. 

Yes, it is a wonderful time of year to gather with family and friends and spend time with them. It is fun to buy gifts for one another, but let's not forget the true meaning of Christmas is Jesus. Jesus was born as a baby and came to Earth to redeem humankind from their sins in order that we can live eternally in heaven with God, the Lord Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit. 

We have heard the story of Jesus' birth. The angel Gabriel came to a young woman named Mary and told her that she would conceive a baby and that he would be the Son of the Most High God. The angel continued that God would give Jesus the throne of his father David, that Jesus would reign forever and there would be no end to his kingdom.

 Mary asked how could this happen as she was a virgin and the angel answered and told her the power of the Holy Spirit would come upon her. (Luke 1:26-38) Mary replied that she was the handmaiden of the Lord and that his will be done.

One can imagine the surprise Joseph had when Mary told him she was having a baby. He knew the child wasn't his and I'm sure was hurt that Mary was pregnant. Being a good and righteous man, Joseph didn't want Mary stoned to death (the penalty for adultery) so he sought a way to privately send her away. An angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and told him to go ahead and take Mary as his wife as the baby she was carrying had been conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit. 

The angel further told Joseph the baby would be called Jesus and that he would save his people from their sins. Then the angel quoted Isaiah 7:14, "Behold, the virgin shall be with child and bear a Son, and they shall call his name Immanuel." So Joseph did as the angel requested and took Mary as his wife. (Matthew 1:18-25)

What an amazing story is the birth of Jesus Christ. Mary was probably a young teenager and Joseph may have been a few years older, but here is this young couple and the Lord allowed them the honor and privilege of being the earthly parents of his Son. I am certain they took this responsibility seriously.

Caesar Augustus, the ruler of Rome, decided to conduct a census and wanted everyone to go to the town of their ancestors. So a very pregnant Mary, along with Joseph, set out for Bethlehem to be counted. There were no rooms available for this couple and Mary was going to have a baby, so they found a stable and she gave birth among the animals. A lowly stable was the birthplace of our Savior who had come from heaven to be born as a human baby and would eventually die for our sins.

No one on this Earth has ever been more royal than the Lord Jesus Christ, yet he was born in a stable into very humble circumstances. He was sent to the world, not just the rich and powerful. The first people to worship the newborn King were the shepherds from the field. The religious leaders of his day rejected Christ Jesus, but the poor and everyday citizens accepted him. We all have a choice. Do we accept Christ Jesus as our Savior, or do we reject him? We need to choose wisely.

"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men," Luke 2:14.

Have a Blessed and Merry Christmas as we celebrate the birth of Christ.

Janice Lynn Crose

Janice Lynn Crose, a former accountant, lives in Crestview with her husband, Jim; her two rescue collies, Shane and Jasmine; and two cats, Kathryn and Prince Valiant.

This article originally appeared on Crestview News Bulletin: HAPPENINGS: The true meaning of Christmas