12-24-17 – “Celebrating the Gift!”

Celebrating the Gift….

G – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.   He gave us THE gift of Love, Forgiveness, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Eternal Life! He gave Himself

I – The Incarnation of Christ.  God with us! He gave us the “greatest” gift that could be given… Himself!

F – God gave so we could experience Forgiveness and Freedom from our Sins!  

T– God gave so we could be ‘Transformed’ to become more and more like Christ as we Trust and Obey Him. 

Don’t just celebrate the “birth” of Christ at Christmas…  Celebrate the GIFT of God in Jesus Christ!!

The Christmas Story:

Luke 1 – 2:1-20

26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, (John the Baptist’s Mother) God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David.28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean.30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!”34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”

35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month.37 For the word of God will never fail.”

38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.

Mary Visits Elizabeth – 39 A few days later Mary hurried to the hill country of Judea, to the town 40 where Zechariah lived. She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth.41 At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit…

56 Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then went back to her own home.

Matthew 1:18-25 – New Living Translation (NLT)

18 This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. 19 Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.

20 As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “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. 21 And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:

23 “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.’”

24 When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. 25 But he did not have sexual relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.

The Birth of Jesus  – Luke 2:1-20 –  At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire.(This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census.And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child.

And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger (a feeding trough for animals, in a stable) because there was no lodging available for them.

The Shepherds and Angels – That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified,10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

 

The Birth of Christ.  The Gift of God in Jesus Christ was and still is the GREATEST Gift that’s ever been given to mankind! 

Celebrate the Gift of God! 

G – For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son.   He gave us THE gift of Love, Forgiveness, Hope, Peace, Joy, and Eternal Life! He gave Himself

I – The Incarnation of Christ.  God with us! He gave us the “greatest” gift that could be given… Himself!

F – God gave so we could experience Forgiveness and Freedom from our Sins!   We experience His Forgiveness and Freedom when we:

– Acknowledging Him as the Savior

– Confessing our sin

– Trusting in Him thru Faith and repentance.

T– God gave so we could be ‘Transformed’ to become more and more like Christ as we Trust and Obey Him.  

Have you accepted the GIFT of God?  Embraced it, put it on, are you living in the Gift!    

Today as we celebrate the GIFT of God in Jesus Christ we remember… Jesus was born to die.  He died that we may live!   Just as HE was resurrected to New life we also should live resurrected lives in Him!

Merry CHRISTmas!