The best gift ever
Have you heard the words to the song Happy Birthday Jesus by the Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir?
Happy Birthday Jesus
I'm so glad it's Christmas
All the tinsel and lights
And the presents are nice
But the real gift is you
When my husband Nick and myself took our first Assembly of God church in Wading River, NY, we put on many Christmas plays and skits on during those first years we Pastored there. This song was sung by our eldest daughter Delilah during one of our Christmas specials when she was just a little girl. Christmas in the DeRosa household was by far the best time of the year for us. Not only was it enjoyed with our Church congregation we pastored, but it was for us also as a family. The excitement on our children's faces Christmas morning was priceless, and we have many of those memories caught on video. Though we ourselves as a family enjoyed, and still do enjoy, all our family gatherings, the food, fun, laughter and so many memories past and present, we made sure our children knew the true meaning of why we celebrate Christmas. The story of Messiah's birth is the most beautiful story ever told.
The real reason why we celebrate Christmas is a true gift from our Heavenly Father.
John 3:16-17 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only son , that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his son into the world to condemn the world , but to save the world through him.
For unto us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be upon his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace there will be no end. He will reign on Davids throne and over his kingdom, establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever. The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.
Mary the mother of Jesus and Joseph were both from Nazareth, which was a city in the Northern region of Galilee. They were engaged to be married to each other. Mary was specifically of the tribe of Judah and a descendant of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob. Mary was also descended from King David, Boaz, and Nathan.
Luke 28-33 The angel went to her and said, "Greetings , you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you." Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob's descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.
Joseph's lineage traces back to the Tribe of Judah and King David.
Isaiah 11: 1 And there shall come forth a shoot from the stump of Jessie ( David's father) and a branch shall grow out of his roots.
Although Mary and Joseph are both descendants of the line of David, Mary through Nathan and Joseph through Solomon, there was a curse placed on Solomon's line that God had placed.
Jeremiah 22:30 Then God pronounces a curse : "Record this man as if childless, a man who will not prosper in his lifetime, none will sit on the throne or rule anymore in Judah."
The right to rule on David's throne was passed onto Jesus through his mother Mary's line and conceiving him through the power of the Holy Spirit. When hearing of Mary's pregnancy Joseph did not want to marry her .
Mathew 1:19-25 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law , and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. But after he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins." All this took place to to fulfill what the Lord has said through the prophet: "The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel" (which means "God with us"). When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.
Luke 2:1-7 In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own hometown to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem to the town of David, because he belonged to the line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to Married to him and was expecting a child. It would have been about a 90 mile journey to Bethlehem (called house of Bread) which was a city in the central west bank of Palestine south of Jerusalem. Bethlehem is identified as the city of David where he was crowned King of Israel. while they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her first born son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room available for them.
Luke 2:8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.
The Passover took place during the lambing season. Sheep are seasonal breeders and Lambs were mostly born in the spring. The lambs born and raised in Bethlehem were used for the temple sacrifices. After the lambs were born they would be wrapped in swaddling cloths (just trips of cloths from clothing). It is said that those lambs would then be laid in a manger for calming reasons and to protect them from being trampled. The job of these shepherds was to raise animals that were healthy and without blemish for sacrifice. During the Feast of Passover, the lambs that were to be sacrificed had to be one year old and without blemish. The feast was one of the main Jewish holidays and was celebrated to remember God's deliverance of the Israelites from bondage in Egypt. When the Lamb's blood was spilled for all our sins, it was said that the priest then would turn to the people and proclaim that, "it is finished" or "It is accomplished."
Luke 2:9-19 An angel of he Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you: he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Lets go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told to them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
How beautiful it is that our Heavenly Father sent us his one and only Son as the True Lamb of God. He is the true and ultimate sacrifice for our sins. He came, bled, and died to pay the penalty for our sins for all those who believe in him. Christ was raised again on the third day and holds the keys to death, hell and the grave.
John 10:17-18 Jesus says, "The reason my father loves me is that I lay down my life-only to take it up again. No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down and take it up again. This command I received from my father."
When Jesus died, he died according to his own timing, when he gave up his spirit". Christ was raised again on the third day and hold the keys to death, hell, and the grave.
Revelation 1:18 Jesus says, "I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive forever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades." Possessing the keys of death" means that the risen Christ has control and authority over death.
May we focus solely on the the true meaning of Christmas and the precious gift our Heavenly Father has given us!!