Five Timeless Lessons of Christmas
by Lynn Austin
The first Christmas celebration took place in the skies above Bethlehem when an angel announced the Good News to a group of shepherds. The celebration swelled, and the angel was joined by a heavenly host of angels, praising and glorifying God. Their joyful message provides us with some timeless lessons for our own Christmas celebrations.
1. “The angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid.’”
Whether we’re worried about finances as Christmas approaches or fearful of all the unsettling things that are happening in our world, our anxieties are very real, even at Christmas. The angel reminds us that we don’t need to fear because Immanuel—God with us—is here. He will never leave us or forsake us. Because of the child in the manger, you can “Give all your worries and cares to God, for he cares about you” (1 Peter 5:7).
2. “I bring you good news of great joy.”
The angels rejoiced at Christ’s coming and so should we. People around us celebrate Christmas in one way or another, even unbelievers. Yet anxiety has dampened much of their joy as the pandemic spreads fear and keeps families apart. But for those of us who know the true meaning of the holiday, our joy should explode like the angels’ did, setting an example of a faith-filled life. Writing from a prison cell to persecuted believers, Paul said, “Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice!” (Philippians 4:4). No matter how we celebrate this year, let’s remember to make our joy visible.
3. This good news “will be for all the people.”
More than any other time of year, Christmas is a season when people may be receptive to the message of God’s love. Among all of our other Christmas plans, let’s include plans to reach out to those who don’t know this child in the manger. The good news is for all people. God “does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent” (2 Peter 3:9). We can spread the news that anyone who comes to Christ has a place in His family and is no longer standing on the outside, gazing at the holy family from a distance.
4. “Today . . . a Savior has been born to you.”
We need look no further than the daily headlines to see that our world and its people are entangled in sin and brokenness. We all need someone to rescue us. The good news is that “we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One” (1 John 2:1). The message at Christmas is that we can be made new and begin to live a new life of hope and promise. Most importantly, because of Jesus, our Savior, we can have a relationship with the Creator of the universe, who loves us as His dear children.
5. “You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
If you were a great and powerful ruler, living in splendor and wealth in a lofty palace, how far would you stoop to show the common, ordinary people under your reign that you care about them? The almost-unbelievable story of Christmas is that the Creator of the universe—a universe so vast that it’s beyond our comprehension—became a baby wrapped in homespun cloth, with a humble manger for His bed. This holy child would ultimately die a horrible, shameful death to show His love. “How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!” (1 John 3:1). Let’s loudly proclaim this timeless message with every Christmas carol we sing and in every place that we gather this Christmas season.
Lynn Austin has sold more than one and a half million copies of her books worldwide. A former teacher who now writes and speaks full-time, she has won eight Christy Awards for her historical fiction and was one of the first inductees into the Christy Award Hall of Fame. One of her novels, Hidden Places, was made into a Hallmark Channel Original Movie. Lynn and her husband have three grown children and make their home in western Michigan.
For more information about Lynn, visit her website or follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest.
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