Christmas is a time of rejoicing

Christmas is a time of rejoicing! God invaded humanity in the form of a babe in Bethlehem. The angels announced the Messiah’s birth with joyous chorus. Shepherds came to worship in amazement at the most unpretentious place, a barn. Joseph was hiding in his heart the news he had received from heaven. Mary held in her arms the Savior of the world. The wonder of it all is the good news about Jesus!

Not everyone was excited about Jesus’ birth. Conniving Herod sought to find the one he considered a usurper to his power. Joseph, Mary and baby Jesus fled to Egypt to avoid the threat. Herod acted in demonic hatred by killing the male children of Bethlehem. 

The first Christmas was a mixture of delight and sorrow. This is a description of many families’ experiences at Christmas. Christmas is bittersweet even to those who know the Lord Jesus. 

A few months ago, Hurricane Harvey struck South Texas. From Corpus Christi to the Louisiana state line at least one hundred miles inland Texans were inundated with wind and water. Over sixty people lost their lives. Hundreds of churches were damaged. Hundreds of thousands of homes were ruined. While Christmas will still come to the affected area, it will be different. 

Last month, a demonically inspired gunman unleased his fury upon an innocent congregation at First Baptist Church, Sutherland Springs, Texas. Precious lives were taken by evil. There will be empty chairs at Christmas dinners this year. There will be no toys under a Christmas tree for some children because those children have gone to heaven. Christmas, which often means interactive family time, will have some families looking at only memories. Christmas will still come but it will be different.

As the years pass, we lose loved ones, see others move away and are forced to change our familiar traditions. Yet, Christmas is not different. Christmas is the good news that Jesus came born of the virgin, lived a perfect sinless life, died a bloody, sacrificial death, and resurrected bodily and literally never to die again. Christmas provides the hope of eternal through repentance and faith. Christmas is about Jesus.

Whatever our circumstances this December 25, when we celebrate Christmas it is about our Lord Jesus Christ. Knowing and loving him does not make the bad go away but it enables us to rejoice in the promise of a better day. Because of Christmas Jesus will walk with us until we get there. That is enough to make you say, “Merry Christmas!” 

Executive Director Emeritus
Jim Richards
Southern Baptists of Texas Convention
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