immanuel, god with us // why should we celebrate christmas

Hey y’all!

Wow, it’s been quite the two weeks. I didn’t have enough brainpower to write a post last week, and because of a shift in my schedule, I didn’t realize I hadn’t posted until that night (I had a chemistry final that morning, so cut me some slack xD). I felt really bad, but it was a crazy day and I decided to just sleep. This was a good choice, on my part.

So where do we pick up? It’s Christmas Eve!

Christmas is one of my favorite holidays. It’s a celebration of the gifts the Lord has given us, not just his son, Jesus. Because of this Jesus, we now have joy! Because of this Jesus, we have an assurance of God’s love and faithfulness. My church has been doing a series about why we celebrate Christmas, stripping away the cultural normality of giving gifts and saying it was from a fat, old, Turkish guy (that’s right, Santa was originally Turkish!) who is everywhere at once. that’s quite a sentence huh

One of the main things that the pastoral teaching team keeps reminding us is that Jesus/Christmas is proof that God loves us. This is mind-blowing when you take the time to really think about it. Christmas is more than a holiday in which we eat cookies and sing songs. The Savior of the earth came as a man. Not like a man, not cloaked in the image of a man; he was literally a human man.

We celebrate because he came into human existence to bear our burdens and put them to death once and for all. We celebrate because the baby that was born that night so so long ago grew up. He didn’t stay a baby.

If we allow this world to define the way we look at sacred holidays like this, we will always be giving away meaning. Like Passover for the Jewish nation, we celebrate what God has done for us. We are free for eternity; given every blessing under the heavenly realms because of an infant. If we let our world replace that with Buddy the Elf (no offense, Buddy. I love you šŸ˜€ ), we will forever be looking for purpose in this season.

I have heard so many people talking about how they don’t really like Christmas. I understand that there may be complications with family and situations that we have no control of, but we do have control over how we respond to the message of Christmas. That sounds super-duper cliche, but seriously. The omnipotent, omnipresent God of the Cosmos and Creation sent his only son into the world by an obedient virgin who submitted herself to the work of the Holy Spirit and a caring carpenter who didn’t understand but he trusted God. This Son of God and Son of Man grew up and died on a cross, “upon the tree that he himself spoke into being” (that’s a line from Immanuel by Beautiful Eulogy).

Because of this miracle baby, we have a choice. We can choose joy. We can choose this because he brought us the option of joy.

In Isaiah 61 (HCSB), it says,

“The Spirit of the LordĀ GodĀ is on Me,
because theĀ LordĀ has anointed Me
to bring good news to the poor.
He has sent Me to healĀ the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives
and freedom to the prisoners;
2Ā to proclaim the year of theĀ Lordā€™s favor,
and the day of our Godā€™s vengeance;
to comfortĀ all who mourn,
3Ā to provide for those who mourn in Zion;
to give them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
festive oil instead of mourning,
and splendid clothes instead of despair.
And they will be called righteous trees,
planted by theĀ Lord
to glorify Him.

This Jesus brings us a taste of what his return will be like someday. No more sadness, tears wiped away. There is freedom where He is. He comforts our wounded and broken hearts. He calls us oaks of righteousness (not in my version I included, but you get what I’m saying). We are planted by the Lord to glorify him.

It continues in verse 6,
6Ā 
But you will be called theĀ Lordā€™s priests;
they will speak of you as ministers of our God;
you will eat the wealth of the nations,
and you will boast in their riches.
7Ā Because your shame was double,
and they cried out, ā€œDisgrace is their portion,ā€
therefore, they will possess double in their land,
and eternal joy will be theirs.

We are blessed because of the work of God that was displayed at Christmas. We have been given every blessing under heaven. The Lord has poured his Spirit out graciously, and we are co-heirs with Jesus himself.

And so, with this in mind, I have made my mindset this season as such of verse 10.

10Ā I greatly rejoice in theĀ Lord,
I exult in my God;
for He has clothed me with the garments of salvation
and wrapped me in a robe of righteousness.

I know this is a message we hear every Christmas. I know that it gets annoying after a while. But don’t let it be annoying. Repetition is a gift. It signifies that there is something here worth hearing. Christmas is a moment in which we reflect on how God has blessed us. Not just with Jesus. Jesus was the opening to every other blessing.

Please don’t let this idea slip by you. Really contemplate it. We so often gloss over this fact. The King was born. There was glorious light and angel choirs. This was big. We choose what we do with that.

So as we enter the final moments of Christmas time, enjoy your family favorite Christmas movies! My personal favorite is The Muppet Christmas Carol. Sing your favorite Christmas songs!! Eat the food that is reserved for only this time of year! REVEL IN THE CALORIC INTAKE. XD But whilst you do so, remember the reality of the holiday.

A young girl gave birth to a son; this son would die and take your sins upon himself because he loved you more than his own life. There is power in the Name of Jesus, Immanuel. God with us. Son of God. Son of Man. 100% human, 100% man. Mind-blowing, but true.

As a parting gift, I’ll leave a few of my favorite Christmas songs for you. ā¤

Now go forth, mis amigos and amigas, and smile. Your day is just beginning. Make the best of it. Don’t procrastinate. Work hard. Make me proud. šŸ™‚

Love you all,

MadeleineĀ 

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