What are the Essentials of Christmas?

Merry Christmas!!! Notice I didn’t say “Seasons Greetings” or “Happy Holidays!” Christmas is all about Christ our Savior and Lord. Many people are very comfortable with the cute little baby Jesus in the manger who is not threatening and is very docile. It is the adult King Jesus who demands ultimate worship and claims that He alone is the only way of salvation with which people have a problem.  What are the absolute essentials of Christmas? What are the crucial non-negotiables that we must stand firmly upon that define Christmas?

First of all, there is no Christmas without the miracle of the virgin birth.  The prophet Isaiah says in 7:14, “Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” The angel Gabriel announces to Mary the wonderful details of this miraculous birth in Luke 1:35: “And the angel answered her, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy- the Son of God.’”

 There is no Christmas without the incarnation of God coming in the flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ. The beloved apostle tells us in John 1:14, “And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”  God entered into time, space, and human history as the ultimate expression of His Word in the Person of Christ Jesus.

There is no Christmas without Christ being the fullness of God who is absolute Deity. Colossians 2:9 states, “For in him the whole fullness of deity dwells bodily.” Jesus Himself said this in John 10:30: “I and the Father are one.” Christ shares the full attributes of Godhood with the Father. He is neither a created being, subordinate to God, nor inferior to God, but shares absolute deity with Him as God.

There is no Christmas without the sinless, perfect life of Jesus. He obeyed God’s law perfectly in thought, word, and deed as God in the flesh who shares absolute equality and eternality with the Father.  The writer of Hebrews makes this bold declaration of truth in Hebrews 4:15 (speaking of Jesus): “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin.” Christ’s sinless life qualified Him to go to the cross as a perfect sacrifice.

There is no Christmas without the substitutionary atonement of Jesus Christ on the cross bearing the wrath of God for sinners. Matthew 1:21 says, “She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” The name Jesus means “salvation is of the LORD.” Notice the absolute certainty of this statement. Christ Jesus will save His people from their sins. It is not a hypothetical atonement or a potential redemption, but a certainty. Some of the last words of Jesus on the cross were “It is finished!” which means that He got what He paid for—His people. Christ obtained our eternal redemption through His shed blood on the cross.

There is no Christmas without the victorious resurrection of Jesus from the grave. Paul says this in 1 Corinthians 15:13-14: “But if there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, then our preaching is in vain and your faith is in vain.”  There is an empty tomb! Christ Jesus has been miraculously raised from the dead and is alive in heaven seated at the right hand of the Father. Christ has been empowered with all authority, majesty, and glory as the risen Savior.

There is no Christmas without the glorious return of Christ to bring a consummation to all things. There is a Day appointed by God whereby Christ will return and judge the living and the dead. All those who have embraced Christ as Savior and Lord and trusted Him alone for salvation will be granted access into His glorious presence for an eternity in heaven. Those who die in their sins and reject Christ as Savior and Lord will be judged and then experience the eternal lake of fire in hell.

There is no Christmas without John 3:16. God gave the ultimate gift–His very own Son.  Although we are very familiar with this text, let us rejoice afresh at the wonderful truth that Christ came to seek and to save that which was lost. “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.” Have you trusted Christ alone today to save you from your sins? Have you embraced Him as Lord of your life? Have you come before Him in humility for forgiveness? Have you run to Christ to escape the wrath to come on the Day of Judgment? What better time than Christmas to repent of your sins and trust Christ alone for salvation.

 

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