2The Meaning of Christmas Christians hold as true that:There is a God.“He that cometh to God must believe that he is and that he is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him.” (Hebrews 11:6)God made man in his image.“So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Genesis 1:27)This image is rational, moral, spiritual, volitional, social.God made us to have a personal relationship with him.“Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ.” I John 1:3b)
3The Meaning of Christmas God is a TrinityThere is one God (Deut 6:4)The Father is God (Gal 1:1)Jesus is God (John 1:1, 14)The Holy Spirit is God (Acts 5:3-4)They are distinct from each other (Mark 1:10-11)Conclusion: There is one God revealed in three persons: Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.
4The Meaning of Christmas God is holy--perfect in every way.“Be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” (Matthew 5:48)God gave the first human creatures an opportunity to demonstrate that they loved him. They were given a single command to obey, but they chose to disobey (Genesis 3).Because of God’s holiness, the result of that first sin was spiritual and physical death (separation from God, and eventually separation of the soul from the body.)
5The Meaning of Christmas The whole human race was impacted by the sin of Adam. All are born with a bent toward evil, and easily fall into sin, rebellion against God. (Romans 5:12)The earth was also brought under a curse, and now awaits redemption. (Genesis 3:17-18: Romans 8:22-23)“Because you have listened to the voice of your wife and have eaten of the tree of which I commanded you, ‘You shall not eat of it,’ cursed is the ground because of you; in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you; and you shall eat the plants of the field.”
6The Meaning of Christmas Every person on the planet is in need of redemption (salvation) because of his/her sin against God.We are all called to be reconciled to God after breaking a relationship with him. (II Cor 5)God loves us and does not want any of us to perish. (John 3:16; II Peter 3:9)“God so loved the world…”“God is not willing that any perish but that all come to repentance.”
7The Meaning of Christmas But the only way we can be reconciled to God is through a divine/human sacrifice.The Old Testament sacrifices are pictures of the ultimate sacrifice that had to be made.Atonement must be made; a death had to occur to satisfy the holiness and justice of God. A price had to be paid. We needed a substitute for the punishment that we deserved.The one making the sacrifice had to be both God and man.
8The Meaning of Christmas Why did the Savior have to be man?If he were only God, then he couldn’t die; since God can’t die. He had to be in the flesh.He had to be man in order to represent man to God legally. The Savior would be a mediator between God and man, and as such had to represent both sides.He had to be part of the human race to be a “second Adam,” to reverse the “curse” on the human race and on the world.He had to fully identify with the human race.
9The Meaning of Christmas “For if, because of one man's trespass, death reigned through that one man, much more will those who receive the abundance of grace and the free gift of righteousness reign in life through the one man Jesus Christ.” (Romans 5:17)
10The Meaning of Christmas Why did the Savior (the Mediator) have to be God?Only an infinite sacrifice could atone for sin against an infinite God. Our sin deserves immeasurable punishment, so we needed an infinite sacrifice to atone for that sin.The sacrifice had to be freely offered by someone who was perfect; sinless. No human since the beginning was ever sinless. (Romans 3:23)As mediator, the Savior had to represent God before man, and man before God, so he had to be God and man at the same time.
11The Meaning of Christmas So, God had to become a man (and a member of the human race) to atone for our sins.How would he do it?“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
12The Meaning of Christmas All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: ‘Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel’ (which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.’ (Matthew 1:18-25)An angel previously had gone to Mary with a message about this, and she had consented to be the God-bearer. (Luke 1:26-38)
13The Meaning of Christmas Why a virgin conception? It was the only way for the Savior to be fully God and fully human at the same time.This was not to be a Spirit-filled human being, but an actual incarnation.“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God…And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten Son of God, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:1, 14)
14The Meaning of Christmas If there were Christmas, there would be no Good Friday.If there were no Good Friday, there would be no Easter.If there were no Easter, we would have no hope of eternal life and our own resurrection from the dead.So that is the meaning of Christmas.It’s the celebration of God becoming one of us in order for us to become one with God.
15The Meaning of Christmas “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him would not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16)
16The Meaning of Christmas What do gifts have to do with the meaning of Christmas?We celebrate God’s gift to us (Jesus) by giving gifts to others.Christmas trees point upward to God.Lights represent the light of the world--the Son of God.