PASTORAL POINT – “The Essence of Christmas”

Matthew 1:18-25 (NIV) This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came
together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit.  Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.   But after he had 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 fulfill what the Lord had 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 had 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. 

Christmas is best enjoyed when it isn’t centered on decorations, gifts, or
festivities, but when love is at its core. Love is the essence of Christmas.
It’s about cherishing and celebrating the love you share, Jesus. The Bible tells us that the birth of Christ was something that was planned even before the world was created. God’s Word tells us that the little infant that was
lying in a manger was actually the love of God that had come in flesh, and the essence of Advent and Christmas is to believe in on the fulfillment of God’s love in our lives.

The Christmas story and the meaning behind it are both filled with amazing claims, impossible promises, things that seem too good to be true. But the story the life and ministry of Jesus assist us to see with light and
understanding the fulfillment of the amazing claims of salvation and how God gives courage to ordinary people to overcome doubts and fears and face the future and fulfill in Jesus Christ the promise of salvation.

This baby born just a short while ago, as we celebrated Christmas, He will save the world from sin. “All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet.” The story about the virgin birth was pronounced 700 years earlier through the prophet Isaiah, when he wrote “the virgin will be with child, and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel, which means, ‘God with us.”  In the midst of the story of the miraculous birth of Jesus, we find an ordinary man and woman, Joseph and Mary chosen by God to nurture His Son who will fulfill God’s promise of salvation. Joseph and Mary were like any human being who had problems, fears, doubts and worries, yet God used us to fulfill His purpose of salvation. As God gave courage to ordinary people like Mary and Joseph, so He continues to give us courage to overcome our doubts and fears.

God gives us courage to face the future. In the case of Joseph, he was given a vision, a dream to help reinforce his faith. Joseph knew  speaks to you in a dream, sometimes He will lead you to a verse in the Bible and show you how that verse applies to your situation. God will never, leave you or forsake you. He will always be there with you and for you.

The essence of Christmas is to believe in the realization that the virgin gave birth to a child, believing that this helpless infant is God’s Son, believing that this child takes away the sin of the world. So when we face doubts, when we face fears, when we face an uncertain future or if we are approaching an area of unknown, let us turn to God in faith and trust. God gives courage to ordinary people like you and me. God gives courage to face
our doubts and fears. God gives courage to face the future. That is the essence of the love of God.

Happy New Year and God’s blessings.

Amen, Pastor Baptista

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