The C-H-R-I-S-T-M-A-S Story

As a pastor I’m always looking for new ways to communicate the timeless truths of Scripture in a way that will help God’s people remember them and apply them into their lives.
This morning I would like to attempt to do that very thing by using the word “Christmas” as an acrostic which I hope will help you to remember what the Christmas story is all about.
Of course, Christmas is about the birth of the Christ-child—something that has gotten lost in all the hype and commercialism that has come to characterize the Christmas season.
The birth of this special Child was foretold in numerous places in the O.T.—one of the prophecies that we’re most familiar with comes out of Isaiah 9:6—
Isaiah 9:6 (NKJV)
For unto us a Child is born, Unto us a Son is given; And the government will be upon His shoulder. And His name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
This Messianic prophecy was given through the prophet Isaiah 700 yrs. before the birth of Christ.
Of course, prophecy is an important part of the Christmas story—it proves that Jesus Christ is the One and only Messiah of Israel—the promised One of God.

Herod the Great was one of a number rulers in the Herodian line that were in power before, during and after the time of Christ.
The title Herod the “Great” refers not to Herod’s greatness as a man but to the fact that he was the eldest son of Antipater.  History records that Herod the Great was extremely paranoid of his power being taken away from him—this led him to murder his first wife and two of his sons who he suspected might be plotting to overthrow him.
Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the reign of Herod the Great. When the wise men came to Jerusalem several months after the birth of Christ asking, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?”—this aroused Herod’s paranoia.
According to Matthew’s account, Herod tried to eliminate Jesus by having all the male children two years old and under of the Bethlehem region put to death (Matt 2:13-16). But God warned Joseph in a dream to take the child and flee to Egypt—there they hid safely until Herod died (Matt 2:13-15).
You see Herod was King, not only of Judea—but also of his own life. He was determined not to let anyone or anything remove him from that place of absolute rulership over his life.
There are many like Herod today who reject Jesus because they are not going to turn over control of their life to anyone—they alone are going to reign over their life. But to be a part of God’s kingdom you have to step down off of the throne of your life and crown Jesus as Lord of all.
Not for a person, but for an ‘action’.
You see Christmas is also about a gift—not the gifts we give to each other but the Gift God gave to us—
John 3:16 (NKJV)
For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.
But for God’s gift to be of any benefit to you it has to be received by you—
John 1:11-12 (NKJV)
He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name:
Isaiah 7:14 (NKJV)
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.
Immanuel means “God with us.” This prophecy tells us that Messiah would be no mere man but that He would be God in human form—
John 1:1, 14 (NKJV)
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God… And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.
We call this the “Incarnation.” But why would God become man?—well the next letter in the word “Christmas” explains that—
After Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant, he decided to put her away (divorce her) quietly, but we read in Matthew’s gospel—
Matthew 1:20-21 (NKJV)
“But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.  And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.”
The greatest gifts satisfy the greatest needs—our greatest need was for forgiveness—so God gave us a Savior.
We are living at a time when human opinions and philosophy dominate the minds of many—a time when “truth” has become relative and subjective, a time when everyone is doing whatever seems right in their own eyes.
John 14:6 (NKJV)
Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.
John 1:9 (NKJV)
[Jesus]…was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world.
In a world of darkness and deception Jesus is the only truth that can light our way back to God.
Luke 1:26-38 (NKJV)
Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin’s name was Mary.  And having come in, the angel said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!”  But when she saw him, she was troubled… Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God.  And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David.  And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.” Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”  And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God… For with God nothing will be impossible.”  Then Mary said, “Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her.
As Herod is held up by the Holy Spirit as an example of a heart that is hard and rebellious against the will of God—Mary is held up by the Spirit as the supreme example of a heart that is tender and submissive to the will of God.
When you realize that Mary was only 15 or 16 at this time—you really come to understand and appreciate what a remarkable young woman Mary really was.
The word angel means, “messenger.” These spirit-beings are the messengers of God.
Listen to the message they announced that first Christmas—
Luke 2:8-14 (NKJV)
Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.  Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.  For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”  And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying:  “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”
Skeptics often read these words and scoff at them by saying, “Peace on earth!? What peace on earth?”
And certainly that is true—we don’t see peace on the earth right now. So why then did the angels say, “Peace on earth”, when Jesus was born?
It was because at Jesus’ first coming He came to bring peace between God and man—at His second coming He will come to bring peace on earth between man and his fellow man.
Luke 2:15-18 (NKJV)
So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child.  And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
Shepherds were considered to be one of the lowest members of society at that time. They were considered “unclean” by the rabbis. They were notoriously immoral and dishonest— no self-respecting person wanted anything to do with shepherds.
Even though they appear last on our list—God singled them out to be the first to hear the good news of the Savior’s birth. This was God’s way of telling us that Jesus didn’t come to save “good people”—He came to save sinners, especially those that are despised and rejected, the social outcasts of society that nobody wants to associate with.
This was God’s way of saying that He loves all people and wants to adopt them into His family through His Son.
So, there you have the story of Christmas—each letter giving us a different piece and perspective of this wonderful event that we celebrate each year—the birth of our Savior!
May the reality of the Christmas story fill you with joy, peace and hope this Christmas season.