Welcome to the final edition of the Take Five Advent series. I hope our various styles and viewpoints have been a blessing to you. Over the last four weeks we have been preparing our hearts for Christmas and the birth of our Savior, Jesus. Today, I’d like to wrap up the entire series with some words of encouragement and hope. Let’s see if we can discover the true meaning of Christmas and receive the greatest gift of all. Jesus.

Christmas has many meanings to different people. To some, Christmas is about family and friends. Christmas signifies an opportunity to gather with loved ones, have a wonderful meal, and just spend time together. Unfortunately, the year 2020 has put a damper on the majority of the festivities. The company Christmas parties and large gatherings have been deemed unsafe and cancelled. Even the large family dinners have been discouraged. The traditional means to celebrate Christmas will be challenged for sure.   Despite all the restrictions, I want you to know that Christmas will still be a joyous time. I encourage you to utilize technology like Zoom and phone calls to keep in touch with those we can’t gather with. Although family and gatherings mean a lot, it is not the true meaning of Christmas.

To others, Christmas is all about the presents.  Christmas is the time of year when the tradition of gift exchanging takes over. Everyone spends their free time thinking about what present to buy or what present they would like to receive.  The kids make out a Christmas list and send it to Santa. Grownups have to answer the tough question served up by their loved ones simply stated, “What do you want for Christmas?”  The whole world shifts their attention and energy to picking, giving, and receiving the perfect gift. Despite the good intentions behind the gifts of generosity, this is also not the true meaning of Christmas.

The true meaning of Christmas is derived in the life of Jesus Christ.  There are some of you who may be asking, “Who is Jesus and why is He so important?” I’m glad you asked. Jesus is the only begotten Son of God. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us’” (Matthew 1:23) (NLT).

The birth of Jesus was the culmination of God’s plan to save the world from our sins.  Sin entered the world as soon as the forbidden fruit was consumed by Adam and Eve. The result of their sin was separation from God. There was a wedge formed between the world and God the Father. At first, God gave the people a system of sacrifices and burnt offerings to resolve their sin issue. This system however was only temporary and offered no long term solution to the separation from God. There needed to be a more permanent solution and that solution is Jesus

God decided from the very beginning that the first Christmas night was the perfect night to give the world the greatest gift of all, Jesus. Jesus was born of the Virgin Mary. He lived a sinless life to become a sacrifice for our sins.  “And you know that Jesus came to take away our sins, and there is no sin in him” (1 John 3:5) (NLT).

Jesus died on the cross and rose from the dead three days later. This perfect sacrifice restored our relationship with God and gives us a way to eternal life. “Jesus answered, ‘I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me’” (John 14:6) (NIV).

On that first Christmas when the baby Jesus was born in a manger in the town of Bethlehem, it was the beginning of the salvation of the world. God sent His Son to give us life. To me, that is the true meaning of Christmas.

Friends, I’d like to conclude this entire series with an invitation to receive the greatest gift of all: the gift of eternal life through Jesus. If you don’t know Jesus as your personal Lord and Savior, I’d love for you to pray this prayer with me.

If you just prayed that prayer with me, I’d like to welcome you into the community of believers. I would also like to congratulate you on accepting the greatest gift ever given.  You now possess eternal life though belief in Jesus Christ. I pray that this series has touched your heart. I pray that this Christmas has a meaning unlike any other Christmas you have ever celebrated.

On behalf of the Take Five team and Go Scatter Ministries, I would like to wish you a very Merry Christmas filled with the love of Christ.  May the true meaning of Christmas resonate in your heart all year long and may the peace and joy fill you each and every day.

Blessings

Dave

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