All 3 lessons
What this season of Christmas means to us
Introduction: On the 2nd Sunday after Christmas we have an opportunity to think through the basic meaning of Christmas. The rush and the roar of Christmas festivities are over. Now we can quietly contemplate what took place at Bethlehem. What in fact did take place close to 2,000 years ago in Bethlehem? The basic fact is that the Word became flesh for the ultimate purpose of reconciling us back to the Father. What does Christmas mean?
I. Christmas means that we are children of God by faith. In the Gospel lesson for today we are told that the Word is incarnate in Jesus Christ. The eternal Word of God became flesh in Jesus. We have seen His glory the glory of God is found in Jesus.
John will begin his gospel by putting it in the perspective of eternity. Before Jesus was born the Word existed and created the universe. In the fullness of time that Word comes in the person of Jesus who brings light, life, truth, grace and a perfect revelation of God in Jesus. He is the light that lights up everyone in Christ. John the Baptist was only a witness to that light that light up everyone in Christ. John the Baptist was only a witness to that light which the darkness of sin cannot extinguish. Those who believe in this Incarnate Word become children of God by the will of the Father. Believers receive this power through Him who is full of grace and truth.
Transition: Because of Christmas we are children of God by faith. But what kind of children? We are adopted into God’s family.
II. Christmas means we are children of God by means of adoption. In our Epistle lesson Paul reminds us that in Christ God blessed us with spiritual blessings making us sons and daughters through grace.
Paul tells us we are “destined” (v.5) God has a destiny for us. He predestined us not to condemnation but to life through Christ. It is God’s will for all of us to be saved, to have life, and go to heaven. This has been God’s will even before the world was created. To accomplish this, He sent His Son to the world to die for us that we might become a people of God by faith. This is your destiny in Christ.
Transition: Christmas means we are children of God by faith. Christmas means we are children of God by adoption. Christmas means we are children of God by grace.
III. We are children of God by grace – In the Old Testament lesson Israel rejoices that God has clothed him with righteousness and salvation. Isaiah says, ”rejoice” (v.10) Christmas is a merry time but are we happy for the right reasons?
Christmas can be the most miserable time of the year if we are happy for the wrong reasons. If we can have a happy Christmas only because we receive gifts we wanted or because we had family and friends with us we have missed the true cause of Christmas gladness. Christians rejoice at Christmas not because of gifts and friends but because we “greatly rejoice in the Lord,” who came to earth as a human being to reveal to us God’s grace and truth. We rejoice in having a God so great and wonderful.
Conclusion: What is the meaning of Christmas? It’s children – children who celebrate and the children we have become – children of God by faith, children of God by adoption, children of God by grace.