Why Christmas?
by Greg Hanson
Sunrise Wesleyan Church
December 16, 2007

 

Main Passage: Luke 1:26-38 (NLT)


VIDEO – BLUEFISHTV.COM – WHY DO WE CELEBRATE CHRISTMAS?


Why do we celebrate Christmas? It would appear we celebrate Christmas for several reasons. In that video, you heard people talking about how Christmas is all about the food, about the children, about tradition, about the food, about the decorations, about the family, about the food…

Many people celebrate Christmas because of the gifts. Giving them and getting them. 97% of us buy Christmas presents. And of course, some people also say that Christmas is all about Santa Claus. In fact, according to U.S. News and World Report, 9% of adults really believe that Santa actually lives at the North Pole.

Some of the people in the video even talked about how Christmas is about the birth of Jesus, and they talked about reading the Christmas story from the Bible and going to a Christmas Eve service at church.

But can I suggest to you this morning that Christmas isn’t really about any of those? Oh, sure, they all play a part in our celebration of Christmas, but they’re not really why we celebrate. Or at least, why we should celebrate. Not even saying that it’s the birthday of Jesus really does it.


“Why Do We Celebrate Christmas?”

You see, we don’t just celebrate Christmas because Christ was born. No, we celebrate Christmas because...

Christ THE SAVIOUR was born.

And those two words make all the difference.

Without those two words, then the birth of Jesus is just a nice story about something that happened a long time ago. Oh, I guess it could still inspire you and move you, but it’d still be just a story. Just because Jesus was born is certainly no reason to go on celebrating for 2000 years. The fact that this Jesus who was born is also our Saviour is why we go on celebrating.

Do you remember what the angel told the shepherds in the fields on the night of Jesus’ birth? These shepherds where out in the fields taking care of their sheep, minding their own business, when all of a sudden an angel appeared right there among them, and there was a bright shining light radiating around him… so much so that the shepherds were terrified of this angel. But then what did the angel say?

Luke 2:10-11 (NLT)
“Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!”

For the past few weeks, Shera and I have been going to pre-natal classes on Thursday evenings. You know… sitting around on mats on the floor and learning how to breathe. Really exciting stuff.

This past Thursday, our class took a trip to the hospital to get a tour of the birthing rooms and get acquainted with all the equipment there.

Now, here at the QEH, there are only two birth rooms. One of them was occupied, so we had our tour in the other one. And while we were there in the room, we suddenly heard this squeal come down the hall. And we immediately knew what had happened… the mother in the other room had just given birth.

Well, we went on with the tour, and about 20 minutes later while we were checking out the nursery, the new dad came down the hall carrying the newborn baby. And it was really exciting. We were outside the nursery looking through the window, and all the people in the class—particularly the mothers—crowded around the glass to watch as they got the baby settled inside.

Now, I’m glad I was there. It was exciting to see and hear the jubilation of the family. And it was pretty neat to see this baby—even though I didn’t have a clue who it was—just a few minutes after its birth.

But you know, if I were home that evening and somebody called me to say there was a new baby born at the hospital, I wouldn’t have hopped in the care to go down and see the baby. Sure, I guess I’d be happy for the family. But I wouldn’t go out of my way to go down to the hospital to see the baby.

So I got to thinking… what if these shepherds were out in the fields and the angel showed up and just said… “A baby’s been born.” What do you think their reaction would have been? I’m sure they’d still be frightened by the appearance of the angel, but I’m not sure that the announcement would have carried the same weight. I’m not sure that they would have left the sheep alone in the field in order to stumble their way through the darkness to the town of Bethlehem in order to find the baby and see Him for themselves. I’m not sure the announcement would have changed their lives.

But you see, it wasn’t just the fact that a baby had been born. It was the fact that Christ the Saviour had been born. And He was born to be the Saviour of all people—including those shepherds. And so they left their sheep and went to find this Saviour.


Now, what does a Saviour do? Well, a Saviour saves. Makes sense, doesn’t it? Jesus came to save us. But to save us from what?

Well, we’ve got a lot to be saved from… particularly at Christmastime. In fact, a few years ago in the UK, the Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents issued warnings about a whole range of dangers that are just waiting to happen… all of them arising from what you thought were innocent, Christmas-related activities or accessories. On a typical Christmas, more than 6,000 people in the UK would be taken to hospital, and over the full 12 days of Christmas the number of casualties surpass 80,000.

What are these casualties? What’s going wrong? Well, the most common accidents are:
People stabbing themselves with scissors while trying to wrap presents, or open them, too hastily.
Then, there are all the bruises and broken limbs resulting from children falling off their new bike or rocking horse.
And then a fascinating series of decoration-related accidents, from being stabbed by tree needles or holly, to falling while putting up Christmas cards.
Even tinsel is not as harmless as it looks as it causes a good many trips and falls.
And of course, there are the Christmas tree lights accounted for some 350 emergency admissions to hospital each year.

It appears that maybe we need to be saved from Christmas itself! But that’s not the kind of saving that Jesus came to bring. Let me show you exactly why Jesus came… We’ve already looked at what the angel told the shepherds; now let’s take a look at what the angel told Joseph…

Matthew 1:20-21 (NLT)
“Joseph, son of David,” the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

What did Jesus come to save us from? He came to save us from our sins.

This is very basic—as a race we had rebelled against God. That’s what sin is… it’s a rebellion against God and the ways of God. We had turned our backs on Him and had decided to go our own way. We had done that as a race, and we’ve all done that individually, too, in one way or another. The Bible says…

Romans 3:23 (NLT)
For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.

We have all sinned. And no matter how good you are, you can never live up to God’s glorious standard. God is completely holy and perfect, and when measured by His standard, our imperfections just shine right on through.

Now catch this…

Romans 6:23 (NLT)
For the wages of sin is death…

That’s what we’ve earned. The wages of our sin is death… physically and spiritually. That’s what we deserve because of our rebellion against our Creator. But God took mercy on us…

Romans 6:23 (NLT)
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.

That’s why Jesus came. That’s why Jesus left His throne in Heaven to come to earth as a baby on that first Christmas. He came to be our Saviour. He came to save us from our sin. He came to remove the penalty for our sin so that we could be reunited with our Creator and enjoy eternal life with Him in Heaven. That’s why He came. That was His mission. That’s why He came, and that’s what He accomplished on the Cross.


Jesus did everything He could do. But you know, the thing about saving is that people need to want to be saved. He offers you saving, but you need to accept it. And I know that most of you here this morning—perhaps even all of you—have done that already. You’ve experienced the saving work of Jesus in your life and you’re looking forward to spending eternity with Him.

But for some of you, perhaps you haven’t experienced that yet. Perhaps you haven’t accepted that Jesus came to save you. Perhaps you’ve never placed your faith in Him and chosen to trust Him and follow Him. I want you to know that you can do that today. You can choose to trust Him as your Saviour and to follow Him from this day forward. You can choose to experience His forgiveness in your life, experience His cleansing, His purpose… you can experience a new hope… for today and tomorrow.

If you’d like to do that today, then even right now, in the quietness of your heart, you can pray something like this…

“Jesus, I accept that what you did you did for me. You came to be my Saviour, and I want to experience that saving today. I ask you to forgive me and rescue me from my sinfulness. I choose to place my trust and my faith in you. Help me to live for you from this day forward. Thank you.”


If you’ve just prayed that prayer, then you need to let someone know about it. If you came with someone this morning that can pray for you and support you, then let them know. Or you can let me know. But tell someone so that we can encourage you and help you along the way.

Okay, we’re going to sing a song right now. We’re going to sing a couple verses of Silent Night. And then when we’re done, the children from Sunrise Express are going to come upstairs and put on their Christmas Presentation. And as you watch and listen, and probably do a bit of laughing, too, remember that the story they’re telling is not just a story about the day a baby was born… it’s the day that Christ the Saviour was born.


 

 

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