The hidden meaning of Christmas
Why do I say hidden ?
Many today would be pushing it …to find the real meaning of Christmas!
It’s all so confusing …..
..there are Christmas lights, sweets , decorations, santas etc
Christmas trees..bells…..reindeers snow… holly…
You listen to the radio or TV and find all sorts of Christmas programmes about Santa etc….
You could alternatively conclude Christmas to be about family gatherings ?
When children ,parents and grandparents come together
As nice as it is to have family together at Christmas time …but is that what Christmas is all about?
There was a programme on TV entitled “should we have Christmas”
Because can easily be no different than any secular celebration days such Valentines day
…or Australia day when people gather together for Bar B Q’s even Halloween day
It largely seems like just a season ..in which all the retailers have a field day
Many get so frustrated that when Christmas day actually appears it is an anti-climax and you wonder,, what the fuss was all about.
Come boxing day and its all forgotten
What then is it about Christmas…. that we celebrate it?
Why celebrate it at all ?
and some commentators and even pastors will not have anything to do with it!
Especially so when you realise that……..the early Church did not celebrate Christmas at all!
They celebrated Easter ..the passover but not Christmas .
Do you realise that the early Church did not celebrate Christmas !
Christmas took the place of a heathen celebration
The nation was in turmoil
with drunkenness and orgies etc to celebrate the return of Summer
it all happened at the shortest day of the year the winter solstice .
At the time of intense darkness to celebrate the coming of the light .
It all started in the 4th Century.
All from a pagan festival which celebrated the return of summer.
the Nation went wild morally
and the church tried to stop it unsuccessfully
The then cardinal in total frustration wrote a letter to the Pope for advice
and the Pope suggested replacing it a special day and with a mass celebrating the Nativity
with Christ’s .. Mass from which we get the word Christmas.
And it gradually turned from the secular into a Christian celebration
And because it is creeping back to the secular.
You will find little content about the meaning of Christmas
And you could be justified in saying Christmas is about Santa and his elves
and the real meaning of Christmas is hidden
And that we are in the dark about Christmas
And more and more we have been sliding back to what it was like before
and many would say today that Christmas by and large is now a pagan festival.
The message of Christmas may well be hidden today
The true meaning of Christmas
is similiar to why people felt the need to celebrate something that was happening
when at the solstice …there was ..
………..the coming of light
…….in the midst of darkness.
It all started 500 years earlier before the birth of Christ during a time of intense darkness
people had turned their backs on God
And it was led by the wicked King Ahab
and at that time Isaiah the prophet prophesied
In Isaiah we read that Is. 9:2 ¶
The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.
He prophesied this ….at a time of the greatest wickedness …of great darkness
when people wondered what would happen
They were crying out for a leader who would rescue them
And He prophesied that God was going to do something about this world’
A light was coming to lead people out of darkness
A world that God described as being dark
and with people groping in the dark and stumbling against each other.
An era of darkness.
like a scene in a play.and.. era that will eventually pass away .
The scene is dark
Where people are grappling around looking for answers but never finding any………
A place of folly …people work hard to do things with no rewards
or they get things without any lasting satisfaction ………
A land with no purpose .. you are born.. you get married .. or into a relationship… you have children … they grow up .. they leave home … you retire and then you die!
A world of corruption ,bribery
A world where no one will take responsibility where they blame others especially politicians …many blame God
A world full of wars…
with multiple refugees
where countless die in meaningless wars .that could cure starvation …if it only stopped spending on wars
a world full of injustice
where the rich were getting rich and the poor were getting poorer
Where there is talk but with very little action!
Where people don’t know how to live.
Where families and relationships often break down
Where children are brought up in dysfunctional families
Man does not know how to relate to man
And people are killing themselves because they cannot handle life.
So much like our world …..
Look at the middle East
Look at those who are dying due to wars or starvation
as a result of wars!
Look at the Millions are displaced from their homes !
The ways of peace are not known
The lawlessness all around the world and even in Australia
And World leaders shake their heads
what can they do?
They try but are frustrated at every turn
They look at the future and they look at the environment and they shake their head .
They look for answers and they look for reasons
For the environment …if only we can fix that it will mean happiness
If we can only find out how we came into being
and they look into all the wrong places and instead of spending Billions of dollars into research finding out how we were created
they could spend a few dollars in a book store and read the bible and find out why we were created
They are grappling in the dark
There is no light no clear vision !
Many blame God for the mess we are in
But do you know God didn’t make this mess
He gave us this perfect world
and He said keep it this way
and what happened
We messed it up !
We decided to do our own thing our own way
We told our creator what to do and we thought we could do better!
The world needs a real leader
We have two sorts of leaders in the world
A leaders who admits he/she cannot be perfect
A leader who thinks he is God….. like the roman emperors
And so God seeing the mess we created… decided to do something about it !
500 years before it actually happened God told the prophet Isaiah
that there was going to be a light that was coming into the darkness
The people walking in darkness
have seen a great light;
There is going to be a solution to the world’s problems
There is going to be an answer to our dilemma
It will be like a light in the darkness
In the Northern hemisphere there was that festival that celebrated the sun coming to bring back the light once again .
It was significant because depression is rife in the Northern Hemisphere winter because of lack of Light
many cannot cope with the long dark winters....
..some countries get no light at all and it is a relief to them when the sun comes back
…many will go berserk and sit outside and bathe in the sun even though it may still be cold!
And when the light came people often started to feel better
So Christ came as light
Listen to what happened …….
The first real Christmas came ..
Jesus was born and this is what the bible tells ….who He was and how He was going to rescue us! through the prophet Isaiah
He was going to be a light
The bible calls Him the light of the world ..the saviour of the World!
To those who come to him out of darkness who are sick of the dark ..who want something better in their life ..He a light to follow
He saw us struggling in the dark
bumping into walls and each other
Never getting anywhere
and so He embarked on a rescue mission
To show us the way
and when He came He said to all who were in darkness
“I am the light of the world …..he who follows me will not walk in darkness but will have the light of life”
The light that Isaiah predicted 400 years before…..had come into the world !!
and there He is …even today ..shining in the darkness .. offering the way
Let me explain a little further because many get the wrong idea how this happens
Many see this light as if you are in a dark room and somebody comes and switches on the light switch and the whole room is set alight
but that is not the analogy …….
It is like being in a dark place and you can see a light but the place is still dark all around….
and you have to make that decision
Am I going to stay here ….or am I going to move towards that light
You see many see the christian life ….like to stay as they are….
doing the same as they were doing before …except that you now go to church …
Believing there is a light
Some even believing that all now is light
But that’s not what is meant here
The world is still in darkness
We are meant to walk in the light not to stay in darkness
If you stay in darkness you will stumble
Christ wants followers more than pew sitters
That doesn’t mean followers don’t sit in pews
Christ wants us to follow Him
To dwell in His light
The light will lead us to places
and it implies action
But It isn’t static
To let His light shine in you
will only happen if you decide to cease living in the darkness
It involves a total surrender to Christ
It involves a changeover in who runs your life
But light isn’t always well received to those who live in darkness
So most will stay in the darkness
To hide from their sin
and if exposed to light they would rather scatter like the creepy crawlies when you remove a rock in daylight
1) He is was to be and is now a wonderful counsellor
so many people today are seeking a counsellor
A Marriage guidance counsellor , a school counsellor with limited knowledge , a social worker , a chaplain, a stress counsellor… all aiming to counsel
.But a counsellor has to talk to you for hours to find out what you are like
And then give you an opinion
which may /may not work
very much limited to his/her field
But not with Christ
He came to be a counsellor in your life through the Holy Spirit
He doesn’t need to talk to you for hours to see what you are like
He can see through all motives
Before you even seek Him
He can see your problems whether they are money …hypocrisy …pride
And so He can pinpoint the problem and bring about healing
He is a wonderful counsellor .. a wonderful counsellor
When you turn to Him for counsel
He knows just what to tell you
and if you listen to Him
His advice in unbiased
Enabling you to live your life to the full
He will help you in the most difficult of problems
Things you would be too scared to tell any counsellor
What’s more a normal counsellor can only give advice
yet He can give you the advice and solve the problem.
The trouble is that so many take their own lives because they cannot see any way out …..if only they would seek Him for guidance
The way out is with Christ
2) He is A mighty god …
Then it seems like a contradiction a helpless little baby in a manger is a mighty God
You can miss the Christmas message if you think of Him only as a baby
He came as a baby but He was the mighty God
The kind of man we are looking for
who can do miracles for us
Because this world is in such a mess it needs a miracles to get us out of it .
But when I look at the baby in the manger
I can’t see a helpless babe in a manger
I say Mighty God ….Mighty God
and when that baby grew up and they brought Him problems that were beyond human comprehension He performed miracles
He controls nature..
he can feed the 5000 with a few loaves and fishes
He made the blind to see the lame to walk
and the lepers to be cleansed
He can raise the dead He healed the sick
Mighty God….. Mighty God
Then added to this light ..wisdom and power
3) He is an everlasting Father
Everyone in this Church needs a Father
Some of you still have an earthly one …most of us don’t
Now there are fathers and fathers
some of you may not have known your father at all
some of you lost your father early in life
All through your life you needed a father
but you need to be independent and grow up and stand on your own feet
But when you do that….. you need another Father
You will always need someone you can look up to for love for protection for discipline
And Nations need a father figure
and nations rise and are buoyant when they have a father figure leading them………..thats part of the problem of life
But nobody can keep a father for too long
And so fathers die and fathers of nations die
The thing we need most is a leader a Father figure who can be a real father to us
Who can love us and discipline us
And who will be an everlasting father
The world needs a father
And here is the third title given here ….the everlasting father
And the 4th thing we look at a man to govern the world is that He will know how to keep the peace.
Most Kings had to be warriors and Fighters
we know that in the last 4000 years there have only been 300 years of peace
And almost every national leader has found himself leading a nation to war
Once again Australia is sending troops and planes to the middle East
we pulled out of Afghanistan only to be back in Iraq
We have terrorism occurring all over the world
And ..When there is peace
The trouble is that peace is only a stalemate between power .
And peace can only result if there is justice
We need a person who can so build justice in the world …that there can be peace
Such fairness of distribution of food and resources
That trillions spent on weapons ..will be put to food and resources
And justice between man and man that there will be peace
4)And the 4th Title is that He is the prince of Peace and that He will bring justice to the nations
Until you have total Justice in this world you cannot disarm
you have got to keep the peace by balance of power
it is the only way to keep it in a world where 1/5th of the world’s population uses 3/4 of the world’s resources
Then they will form their swords into ploughshares and there is only one who is capable of this and it is a boy who was born in Bethlehem
You know we are familiar of this …..
We hear about it every Christmas we hear them in Handel’s Messiah , at carols and Christmas services.
We are too familiar with them
I want you to go back to a dark situation 2700 years when people thought this was the end
and listen to Isaiah saying
“ for unto us a child is born unto us a son is given and the government will be upon Hid shoulders and his name shall be called wonderful counsellor Mighty God everlasting Father the Prince of peace”
Wisdom… Power …Love ..and Peace
Isn’t that what the world is looking for this Christmas
But we must be completely honest and say I know perfectly well it hasn’t happened
We feel it could but it doesn’t
Every Christmas these qualities seem to come true
and people are cheerful and more at peace with each other
But it Doesn’t last beyond boxing day
In world war one they left their trenches and sang Carols with each other
and then the next day trying to blow each other into eternity again
But it happens
It’s as if we see what happens even if Jesus is given a tiny place
The reason we can’t keep it up after Christmas is
…that the government is not on His shoulder
We build a fine United Nations and put in one room which is supposed too be a Chapel
and then comes the debate in the UN and some say shall we put a cross and other say no no.. and other say shall we put flowers
And so in the heart of the UN there is an empty room
And I tell you until Jesus is in that room and the Government is on His shoulders
we can’t have all this …that’s the tragedy for all of you
You know this is true already
If You have accepted Jesus as your Lord and saviour and follow His light you have found that counsellor
You have found that He can work miracles in your Life !
You have found a Father figure through Jesus Christ and you will never feel orphan again
Jesus said I will not leave you orphan
And you have found a harmony and peace in your relationship
even in your relationship with yourself that you never thought you could have .. you have begun
And you can cheer yourself up with the fulfilment that Isaiah had 700 years before and that may be another 700 or 7years from now.
Because the complete fulfilment hasn’t happened yet
A child has been born.. a son has been given
He already has the 4 titles
but the fulfilment will come when this Child ….who is now a man …returns to planet Earth and takes over the government of our world
And Isaiah could lift the spirits of his contemporaries with the news that would be another 700 years coming
and they celebrated Christmas if you can call it that
And I don’t know when He will come
and when every knee will bow before Him and every tongue will confess but I know that every bit of Isaiah 9 will come true
And one day the world will have someone reigning who has every bit of those four qualities
Have you discovered this… this Christmas?
Or has it all been covered with wrapping paper and tinsels
This hidden message of Christmas
Are you still grappling in the dark with santa Claus and his elves
In the darkness that even rudolp can not illuminate
perhaps you have never experienced the light ?
Why not come to Him today
His light is there today beckoning for you to follow
Let Him be that wonderful councillor that everlasting Father the one who gives you peace.