Christmas is supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year; everything and everyone is decked out! There are parties to attend, joyful music on the radio, food and gifts galore. Unfortunately, there is another side to the holidays.
For many of us, Christmas can be a time of deep loneliness and stress and fear. Maybe you’ve lost someone, are going through a divorce, or are worried about how you’re going to keep the lights on, let alone put presents under the tree. The pressure to keep up with society’s version of the holidays can be overwhelming, triggering anxiety and depression.
However, these feelings are not unique to our current culture. Worry and fear have been lurking in the shadows since the very first Christmas. The characters in the Christmas story had everything to be afraid of. Joseph, Mary, the shepherds, and the wise men lived in a scary world filled with uncertainty. God knew this and sent his messenger, the angel Gabriel, to deliver the news of a Savior. Each time Gabriel brought the message, he started with, “Do not be afraid.”
What can we take away from this? First, I’m certain angels are terrifying! Second, even in the most frightening of circumstances, God has a plan. Herein lies the magic of Christmas. Jesus, born in a manger, in the middle of the desert, under the rule of a tyrant, was the hope of all humankind. This is what we celebrate. No matter what is going on in our lives or in the world around us, Jesus is our hope.
Scripture Refrence: And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God.
Luke 1:30 KJV
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luke 2:10 KJV
In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink.
John 7:37 KJV
“Christ: Not a Last Name”
First name. Last name. In our Western society, we are accustomed to this way of writing someone’s name.
As we approach Christmas, it’s important to be aware that Jesus’ parents were not Joseph and Mary Christ. Much to the chagrin of my kids (who have asked this often), Christ is not Jesus’ last name. Christ is an equally important part of his name—a name that is unique to him.
Jesus was fully man—a person with emotions, appetites, and needs, just like you and me. If you’ve ever been frustrated trying to relate to God, just know that he went to great lengths to relate to you. Jesus of Nazareth was and is God’s most empathetic offering.
Christ, though, is just as important. The word “Christ” comes from the Greek term “Christos,” which means “chosen one” or “anointed one.” Over and over again in the Old Testament, there were hints of a coming Messiah or a coming Christ who would not be anointed by an earthly king. Instead, this one who was to come would be anointed by the heavenly King and, therefore, would be the Christ.
As you read in 1 Chronicles 17:11–14, this prophesied Christ would come from God to “establish his kingdom” and would “establish his throne forever.”
According to Isaiah 7:14, he would be “Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Though he didn’t come like we thought he would, he did come. In love, wrapped in swaddling clothes, he showed up.
When he became a man, he began inviting others to follow him. And he invites us as well. In John 1:41, Andrew, one of his earliest followers, said it so well to his brother Simon:
“We have found the Messiah” (that is, the Christ).
As we wait for Christmas, remember that we are not merely waiting for the celebration of a baby who was born. We celebrate the Christ, the fulfillment of God’s promise, the assurance that God’s Word is good, and the certainty that he can still be trusted. Thank God today for Jesus, the man, and Christ, the rescuer sent from God. After all, just as Andrew had, we have found the Messiah (that is, the Christ)!
And it shall come to pass, when thy days be expired that thou must go to be with thy fathers, that I will raise up thy seed after thee, which shall be of thy sons; and I will establish his kingdom. He shall build me an house, and I will stablish his throne for ever. I will be his father, and he shall be my son: and I will not take my mercy away from him, as I took it from him that was before thee: But I will settle him in mine house and in my kingdom for ever: and his throne shall be established for evermore.
1 Chronicles 17:11-14 KJV
Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
Isaiah 7:14 KJV
He first findeth his own brother Simon, and saith unto him, We have found the Messias, which is, being interpreted, the Christ.
John 1:41 KJV