Pastor Scott L. Harris
Grace Bible Church, NY
December 21, 2014
Reasons for Rejoicing at Christmas
Joy and rejoicing are words commonly associated with Christmas. According to Webster, the words convey “1 a: the emotion evoked by well-being, success, or good fortune or by the prospect of possessing what one desires: delight b: the expression or exhibition of such emotion: gaiety 2: a state of happiness or felicity: bliss 3: a source or cause of delight.” The Oxford dictionary simply describes joy as meaning, “a feeling of great pleasure and happiness.” Those are certainly understandable terms to describe the emotions and wishes of Christians as they celebrate during Christmas. I found that joy, rejoice and glad occur in half of the Christmas carols in our hymn book. I also found that these words and sentiments are also common in the secular world. It is still common to see joy, rejoice, and glad used in advertisements of holiday sales. The politically correct secular greeting for this time of year is “Happy Holidays.” That got me to thinking about the reasons different people have for rejoicing at Christmas.
Secular Perspective of Christmas
I will begin with the secular perspective since that now dominates in our nation. The term secular came into English from the Anglo-French “seculer” in the 14th century derived from a Latin term meaning generation, age, century or world. It was used to refer to what was worldly or temporal and quickly took on the meaning of what was not overtly or specifically religious (Webster). It is now most commonly used to refer to that which is not religious, sacred or spiritual (Oxford). When it comes to Christmas, most of what now goes on in our society is no longer tied to its sacred meaning and so would properly be termed secular. For example, a local radio station that calls itself the “Christmas station” very rarely plays any song that actually mentions anything about Jesus, so it is more properly described as a secular Christmas station which in a previous generation would have been an oxymoron. So what reasons are there to rejoice at Christmas from a secular perspective? Quite a few.
First, there is the gathering of family and friends. Distant family members make special efforts to travel and be with the rest of the family at Christmas. That is a good thing and many of you here today are looking forward to such reunions in the next week. Those who cannot return to be with family members send their sentiments and dream of being home for Christmas. The still popular song, “I’ll Be Home for Christmas,” was written during World War II to express the desire of military men who were still stationed far, far from home. Fiends send greetings to one another at Christmas even if they do not communicate any other time during the year. Sometimes a Christmas card is the only evidence that a relative or a past friend is still alive. To these can be added being together with a sweetheart. Romance plays a big part in most “Christmas” movies and is a common theme in secular Christmas songs.
Related to being able to meet with friends and family is getting a day off from work and often with pay. That may not make the employer happy, remember that the complaint of Scrooge in Charles Dicken’s A Christmas Carol was that his pocket was picked every 25th of December, but for the common working man, this is a great reason to rejoice. Even for those that do have to work on Christmas, they rejoice that they are getting paid holiday rates, which is a good thing to the secular mind.
A second category of reasons for secular rejoicing at Christmas are the many fun traditions that have developed. These include not only winter activities such as building snowmen, sleigh rides and snuggling with your honey by a fire, but also all the Santa Claus mythology that has been created over the last two hundred years. The fat man is fun. He is jovial and surrounded by an increasing cast of characters that are used to create all sorts of creative and humorous tales.
A third reason for secular rejoicing is gift giving. Christmas is when many businesses make a profit and turn the red ink in the books to black – hence the name “Black Friday” for the start of the Christmas shopping season after Thanksgiving. Certainly there are those that complain that Christmas marketing campaigns have turned the holiday increasingly materialistic, but those same people do not seem to complain about receiving gifts themselves. Who does not like receiving gifts regardless of the reason?
Has the secular view of Christmas become dominant in America? There are several things that give very strong evidence that it has. First there are the many businesses that are so afraid offending anyone (other than Christians) that they have removed any direct reference from Christmas in their advertising. Many of them will not allow employees to say “Merry Christmas” which has been replaced by the politically correct “Happy Holidays” which supposedly includes all Christian, non-Christian and secular celebrations including some that are fictional and others that do not actually even occur this time of year.
Second are the efforts by government entities to block any references to Christmas from occurring in the public square. Every year there are plenty of political fights and lawsuits about this issue. There are the schools that ban the use of the word Christmas. The kids get a week or two off from school for “Winter Break.” Their “Winter Concert” may not include any song that gives reference to any of the events surrounding Jesus birth. Many government entities will not allow decorations that have a religious theme on their properties sometimes including personal work areas and wearing such jewelry.
Those who do these things use the fallacious argument that they are only trying to keep a separation between church and state. However, that phrase does not occur in the U.S. Constitution or any state constitution. It is a reference to a phrase used by President Thomas Jefferson to the Danbury Baptist Association that the state cannot interfere with the church, not the opposite which is how it is now now used by the intolerant Scrooges that give Christmas a big Bah! Humbug! The truth is that these people follow a very religious philosophy, secular humanism, that is vehemently anti-Christian. Other people are sucked into following it out of their own ignorance and then it gets very bizarre in pursuing political correctness. Both Fort Worth, TX and Cambridge, MA, and I understand a local school here too, have banned Santa Claus from being included in any celebrations during school hours or at their Winter concert as if the mythological man from the North Pole is a religious figure.
A third evidence for the dominance of the secular view of Christmas is the way in which professing Christians themselves celebrate it. I am not referring to gatherings of family and friends nor giving gifts to one other. We do those things because of the religious significance of Christmas. Neither am I referring to the fun traditions of the season. Christians are free to enjoy fictional stories as long as they do not become substitutes for truth or promote what is evil. The most disgraceful evidence of the dominance of the secular view among Christians is what did not happen in many churches the last two times Christmas has fallen on a Sunday.
The problem arose when leap years caused an eleven year gap between 1994 and 2005 without Christmas day falling on a Sunday. Normally it is only five or six years between this happening. There were many men who had become Christians and then pastors during this period that had not experienced what a church normally does when Christmas falls on a Sunday. In addition, during that same period of time, there was increasing pressure on churches to accommodate so called “seekers” – non-Christians who were attending church services – and make them feel accepted. The result was that many churches, including those that are supposed to be evangelical, cancelled their worship services that day because it was Christmas. I was told by a couple from one of those churches that visited here that Christmas Sunday that their pastor told the congregation the previous week that he was cancelling the services because he did not know what he would tell his children if they had to go to church on Christmas day. The secular view of Christmas dominated the real reason for celebrating it.
There are many secular reasons for people to rejoice at Christmas, it is just that from a secular view, none of those reasons actually have anything to do with Christmas itself. They only occur because of long held traditions that have lost their real reason and meaning to the secularly influenced mind.
Religious Perspective of Christmas
There are also religious reasons to rejoice at Christmas, but these also do not necessarily reflect the true meaning of Christmas since they arise out of a romanticized version of Jesus birth. I do not necessarily have a problem with the common manger scene even though it puts the wise men in the wrong place and much, much too early. The shepherds came that evening to see the baby Jesus in the manger, but the magi did not arrive until a long time after, even up to two years later, and by then Jesus’ and His family were living in a house.
The problem comes when the scene is romanticized to the point that the reality of what occurred is lost. Sometimes the manger scene is presented in such away that it looks attractive. Wouldn’t every mother want to be like Mary and love to give birth in a barn and use a feeding crib as a cradle for their newborn baby? Wouldn’t every dad be proud like Joseph to provide such a setting for his wife and her baby, and marvel at the animals wandering in to be near the child? – I didn’t think so. The reality can be lost in the romanticized version.
The same thing can happen with many church traditions of the season which can be wonderful. The danger is in losing the meaning and purpose of them. There is a severe problem if the reasons for the traditions are forgotten. For example, Christmas concerts and plays are great traditions in many churches, but the message of Christ must not be distorted. Performance for performance’s sake or to gain popular acclaim could still be religious, but not glorifying to God.
Then there are the church celebrations that differ little or not at all from a secular Christmas party. The celebration of joy over the incarnation is exchanged for just having a good time with other people. Socialization and Christian fellowship are not the same thing.
Christmas is also a time when people tend to be more generous to those who are not as well off. For many charities, this is the time of year in which they receive the bulk of their donations. There can be reasons to rejoice on both ends of this spectrum. Those who give rejoice that they have the means to give to others. Those who receive rejoice that their needs are being met. If these are tied to religious work, then there are religious reasons to rejoice. If not, then they could still be reasons to rejoice, though from a secular perspective.
All these things can be nice and reasons for there to be joy and gladness. However, they may not have anything to do with the real reason for Christmas. For that, you must understand Christmas from the perspective of those who believe in Jesus Christ.
Believer’s Perspective of Christmas
True Christians, those who have placed their faith in the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ to save them from their sins, are the only ones that can rejoice at Christmas for the right reasons. Because true Christians understand the truth, they can also enjoy with deeper meaning the same or similar activities that give joy to others for secular or religious reasons.
The Christian’s reasons for rejoicing at Christmas arise from what God reveals in the Bible. Let me begin by pointing out that the caivrw / chair word group used in the Bible is well translated into English as joy, rejoice, glad, gladness for it means to have or express a state of happiness and well being. This joy is not just inward, but has a cause and so finds expression. There is a desire to share true joy. Another word, ajgalliavw / agallia is usually translated as a synonym but is slightly stronger meaning, “to experience a state of great joy and gladness, often involving verbal expression and appropriate body movement.” When both words are used in the same verse, this one is translated as gladness.
We find that these words are used a lot with reference to the coming of Jesus, His life and ministry. In tracing the use of these words for joy we can discover many of the reasons for rejoicing at Christmas. This actually begins before Jesus is born.
Zacharias & Elizabeth – Luke 1. In the New Testament, the first reference to this joy is given in Luke 1:14-17 which records the angel Gabriel telling Zacharias concerning the son he would have in his old age, 14“You will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth. 15 “For he will be great in the sight of the Lord; and he will drink no wine or liquor, and he will be filled with the Holy Spirit while yet in his mother’s womb. 16 “And he will turn many of the sons of Israel back to the Lord their God. 17 “It is he who will go as a forerunner before Him in the spirit and power of Elijah, TO TURN THE HEARTS OF THE FATHERS BACK TO THE CHILDREN, and the disobedient to the attitude of the righteous, so as to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.” There was much rejoicing by the friends and relatives of Elizabeth because “the Lord had displayed His great mercy toward her” in giving her a son in her old age, but Zacharias understood that the real reason to rejoice about this child is that he was the forerunner of the soon coming Messiah.
It was when Elizabeth was six months pregnant with John that the angel Gabriel also visited Mary and told her that she would also bear a son, but His father would be the Holy Spirit and she would remain a virgin until after He was born. This was more frightening to Mary at the time than a cause of rejoicing. Not only is it unsettling to see an angel, but the news he brought put her in a very difficult situation. A single woman who became pregnant would immediately be considered a fornicator and become an outcast in that society. She was betrothed to Joseph and this would be cause for him to break the engagement.
Mary went to visit Elizabeth who was her relative. If Mary had still been unsettled, that changed after she arrived. Luke 1:41-45 records that as Mary greeted Elizabeth upon her arrival, the baby in Elizabeth’s womb leaped and she was filled with the Holy Spirit and she cried out with a loud voice saying, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43 “And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44 “For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45 “And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord.”
Amazing enough, John the Baptist is the first one recorded to express joy over the incarnation, and it occurs when both John and Jesus are still babies within their mother’s wombs. The word used here is skirtavw / skirta which means to leap, bound, spring as a young horse does as it gallops across a field, and so is used figuratively to “leap for joy” as it is in this passage. This is a strong passage that supports the truth that a baby in the womb is fully human even possessing a soul that can recognize the presence of other souls.
Notice that Elizabeth is filled by the Holy Spirit as she speaks and she specifically refers to the baby in Mary’s womb as her Lord and then commends Mary as blessed because she believed what the Lord had revealed to her through Gabriel. There is joy because the incarnation of the Lord has already taken place within Mary’s womb.
Mary. Luke 1:46-55 records Mary’s response. It is referred to as The Magnificat and it is a psalm of the incarnation. 46 And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, 47 And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. The word for rejoice here in verse 47 is the stronger word, ajgalliavw / agallia , a state of great joy and gladness. Her exultation and great rejoicing of her soul is caused by what God her savior has done for her as expressed in verses 48-49, 48 “For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. 49 “For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name.”
It is obvious from her statements that the fear she had when she first saw Gabriel is gone. Any trepidation she had about his message and being with child and not yet married has been replaced with the miracle of what had occurred and the blessing that would be upon her because of it. In that society it was very important to the status of any woman to bear children and especially sons, but that is not what Mary is commenting about. She is referring to the dream every righteous woman in Israel would have had to be the mother of the promised Messiah. That is the blessing that she is receiving. The miracle of now being with child without having known any man assures her that all Gabriel said is coming true. She is humble and has placed herself completely in the Lord’s hands as His bondslave.
The rest of what Mary says makes it even more clear that the rejoicing of her spirit is centered in whom she will give birth to and what the Lord will accomplish through Him. She is grateful for the role she will play in this, but her soul is exalting in the Lord fulfilling His promises according to His holy character. Notice in verse 47 that she references God also as her Savior for that is the purpose of the coming of the Messiah. In the rest of what she says she paraphrases two Psalms and alludes to many, many more Scriptures.
50 “And His mercy is upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him. 51 “He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52 “He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53 “He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. 54 “He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, 55 As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever.”
Mary takes comfort in God’s character. He is the almighty One who does as He desires. God has shown Himself to be merciful and provide for those who are humble, but He is opposed to the proud. The history of the nation of Israel going back to His first promises and actions toward Abraham demonstrate this. Mary rejoices because she is carrying the Messiah who would fulfill God’s promises to Israel.
The Shepherds. Luke 2:7-20 records that Mary gave birth to Jesus in Bethlehem and laid Him in a manger because there was no room in the inn. That same night some shepherds where in the nearby fields watching their sheep when the angel of the Lord suddenly appeared with the glory of the Lord shining around them. They were greatly frightened by this just as you or I would have been if we saw such a sight. The angel immediately calmed them down saying, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” The shepherds were already overwhelmed by this scene, but to this was added the sudden appearance of a multitude of the heavenly host praising God saying, “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased.”
After the angels left, the shepherds responded by quickly going to Bethlehem to see what the Lord had made known to them by the angels. They found Mary and Joseph and the baby lying in the manger just as they had been told. They then told others what had happened and caused them to wonder before returning to their sheep in the fields all the while “glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” Certainly the shepherds’ response was in part due to the miraculous things they had just experienced, but more specifically, the supernatural revelation given to them was centered on the message of great joy because of the identity of who had been born – “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Remember that Christ is simply the Greek term for Messiah, the One the prophets said would come to redeem mankind.
Again we find that the joy is far beyond the normal human joy related to the birth of a baby. It is far beyond the scene of Joseph and Mary watching carefully over Jesus lying in a manger. The joy is even much greater than having angels appear with great glory to declare an announcement from God to men. The joy is over the identify of this child and what He would do. Multiple prophecies had been fulfilled. Immanuel, God with us, had been born (Isaiah 7:14). The child whose name would be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, and who would eventually reign on the throne of David was given (Isaiah 9:6-7). Hope had arrived for the nation of Israel which was currently oppressed by Rome, but more importantly, hope had arrived for mankind that God was implementing His plan that would solve the sin problem and allow sinful men to be made righteous in His eyes.
The Joy of the Magi. Matthew 2:1-12 records the joy of another group of people that were not Jewish and lived very far away from the events that were occurring in Bethlehem. Without going into all the detail, the Magi were very influential religious and political figures in the Persian empire. They were in a real sense “king makers” in that empire. They would have been heavily influenced by Daniel when he had been made their chief during the Babylonian empire and so they would have been familiar with Jewish prophecies. Because they were also influenced by Zoroastrianism with its emphasis on astrology, it makes sense that they would have been especially mindful of Balaam’s prophecy in Numbers 24:17 “I see him, but not now; I behold him, but not near; A star shall come forth from Jacob, And a scepter shall rise from Israel. . .”. When Jesus was born there was some sort of special star that appeared that they noticed which then set them on a quest to find the one who had been prophesied to come. It would take them some time to prepare and make the journey. When they finally arrive in Jerusalem, they start inquiring “Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him.” By this time they expected that the child born King would be in the capital city of Jerusalem. They are directed instead to Bethlehem according to the prophecy of Micah 5:2. When they resumed their journey, Matthew 2:9-12 records, “and the star, which they had seen in the east, went on before them until it came and stood over the place where the Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. 11 After coming into the house they saw the Child with Mary His mother; and they fell to the ground and worshiped Him. Then, opening their treasures, they presented to Him gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”
The description of their joy in seeing the star again is interesting. It could be literally translated as “they rejoiced with the apex of joy that is great.” It would be hard to figure out a way to describe joy that could be greater. Why were they so joyful? Because the star indicated to them the location of the child who was the reason for their quest. When they arrived, they fell down and worshiped Him. While the text does not indicate whether they understood that Jesus was the Messiah, their act of homage to Him and gifts indicate that these Gentiles understood that Jesus was more than just a king.
Christians can enjoy a lot of the same activities that are part of the secular and religious views of Christmas, but our motivations for them are very different because they arise out of our joy for the true reason for rejoicing at Christmas which is the same as those who first experienced it. Jesus Christ, the second person of the eternal Godhead became a man in fulfillment of the many, many prophecies concerning it. God’s plan of redemption of man from his sins had begun.
However, our reasons for rejoicing go beyond what was experienced back then because we also have the rest of the story. Jesus also fulfilled the rest of the prophecies of His being the Savior. He lived a sinless life and then willingly died as the substitute payment for our sins. He fulfilled God’s plan in redeeming man so that we could be forgiven our sin. Jesus then rose from the dead proving all of His claims and assuring His promise to give eternal life to those who believe in Him is true. He is now ascended to the right hand of God the Father where He makes intercession for us, and one day He will return to receive us to Himself and set up His millennial reign on earth which will fulfill all of God’s promises to His people, Israel. Christians also rejoice at Christmas because our Savior completed His work of atonement which has allowed our names to be written in the book of Life and for our citizenship to be in heaven from where our Savior will return.
We rejoice in getting together with family and friends, but we do so because the joy we have needs to be shared. We want them to rejoice as we do. We like to give gifts, but not for the purpose of getting something back, it is because we want to reflect the graciousness of our God who has given us the greatest gift there can be – Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.
I pray these will the reasons you rejoice this Christmas, and if you do not already know Jesus as your savior, that you will not leave here today without getting right with God and placing your faith in Him. According to Luke 15:7, that would be the cause of a lot of joy in heaven!
Sermon Notes: Reasons for Rejoicing at Christmas
Joy: “a feeling of great _______________ and happiness.”
Joy is a common theme in both Christian and ______________ versions of Christmas
Secular Perspective of Christmas
Secular = of the world = __________ religious, sacred or spiritual
Rejoice over the _____________ of family and friends
Rejoice over a holiday _______________
Rejoice over getting a _____________work – or getting holiday pay
Rejoice over fun winter activities, seasonal __________________- including the creative mythologies
Rejoice over _____________- both giving and receiving
Evidence of the ___________of the secular view: 1) Avoidance of mentioning Christmas – Happy Holidays!
2) Government entities that __________ references to Christmas in the public square
(The state is supposed to be blocked from interfering with the free exercise of religion, not the opposite)
3) The __________of professing Christians – who favor the secular celebrations over the worship of Jesus
Religious Perspective of Christmas
The ______________scene (the danger is romanticized version losing sight of the reality of what occurred)
Christmas _______________ (the danger is forgetting their purpose and meaning)
Church _________________ (the danger is socialization replacing fellowship)
Charitable __________(the danger is for religious organizations to forget the gospel as part of their purpose)
Believer’s Perspective of Christmas
Believers can enjoy the same or similar activities as anyone, but they have ___________meaning in the truth
caivrw / chair = inward __________ with cause often finding outward expression and a desire to share
Joy of Zacharias & Elizabeth – Luke 1:8f. – Gabriel tells __________that he and Elizabeth will have a son
Luke 1:41-45 – _____________in Elizabeth’s womb leaps for joy over Jesus in Mary’s womb
__________recognizes Jesus is Lord though still in Mary’s womb – rejoicing the incarnation has taken place
Joy of Mary. Luke 1:46-55 – her soul exalts in the Lord, her spirit rejoices in God her _____________
Luke 1:48-49. Mary rejoices that God has chosen her to be the ____________ of the Messiah
Luke 1:50-55. Mary rejoices over _____ character, fulfillment of prophecy & what He will through Messiah
Joy of the Shepherds. Luke 2:7-20 – nearby shepherds are startled by an __________ and heavenly host
The shepherds go see Jesus in the __________- then return glorifying & praising for what they heard & saw
They rejoiced over the __________ of the child in the manger – “a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”
Multiple _________________were fulfilled in Jesus’ birth which brought hope to Israel and all mankind
The Joy of the Magi. Matthew 2:1-12 – Religious and political king makers from the ______________empire
Due to Daniel’s influence in the sixth century B.C. , they would have known Jewish _______________
Numbers 24:17 – They noticed some sort of special ________ that appeared in conjunction with Jesus’ birth
They arrived in _________________ looking for “He who is born King of the Jews” for they saw His star
As they traveled to ________________, they saw the star again and “rejoiced with exceeding great joy”
These Gentiles worship Jesus and brought Him gifts indicating they understood He was more than a ______
Christians rejoice at Christmas is because God became a _______in Jesus and the plan of redemption began
Christians also rejoice because Jesus fulfilled the rest of the prophecies and ________the plan of redemption
Christians rejoice because our names are written in the book of _________- and Jesus will take us to heaven
We rejoice with friends and family because we want to _____________ our joy
We give gifts in reflection of the greatest gift ever given – Jesus Christ, our Lord and _____________
Parents, you are responsible to apply God’s Word to your children’s lives. Here is some help. Young Children – draw a picture about something you hear during the sermon. Explain your picture(s) to your parents at lunch. Older Children – Do one or more of the following: 1) Write down all the verses mentioned in the sermon and look them up later. 2) Count how many times Christmas is mentioned in the sermon. Talk with your parents about the reasons your family rejoices at Christmas
THINK ABOUT IT!
Questions to consider in discussing the sermon with others. What do the words joy, rejoice, glad, gladness mean? What does the word “secular” mean? Give examples of how you have seen non-Christians rejoice at Christmas for the following reasons: Gathering with family and friends; A holiday romance; A day off of work – or higher pay for working; winter activities; seasonal traditions; creative stories; Gift – both giving and receiving. What evidence have you seen of the secular view of Christmas being dominate in our society as a whole – of being dominate in the lives of professing Christians? Do you think Christians should gather for in church to worship if Christmas falls on a Sunday? Why or why not? What is the blessing and what is the danger of modern creche scenes? Give an example of how a church Christmas tradition has / could lose its purpose and meaning. What is the difference between socialization and fellowship? How should that difference be manifested in a Christian Christmas party? What is the blessing of charitable giving? When does such giving lose any value with God? Look up the Greek words translated as joy, rejoice, glad, gladness and write out a definition for each. In Luke 1 – what reasons did Zacharias have to rejoice? Elizabeth? How did Mary initially respond to Gabriel’s appearance and message? How did Elizabeth know that John within her womb had leaped for joy over the presence of Jesus in Mary’s womb? What does this reveal about the sanctity of human life? What does Elizabeth say that reveals her reasons to rejoice? What personal reasons would Mary have to rejoice over being pregnant with Jesus? What does her response in Luke 1:47-55 reveal about her greater reasons to rejoice? In Luke 2: What was the initial response of the shepherds to the angel? What was the message of the angel and of the heavenly host? What did the shepherds do in response? Why did they glorify and praise God? Who were the Magi? Why were they looking for Jesus? Why was the star so important to them? What did they do when they found Jesus? List out as many of the prophecies fulfilled in Jesus’ birth as you can. What are some of the primary reasons Christians should rejoice at Christmas? Which of these are beyond what could have been experienced when Jesus was born? Why should Christians want to gather with family and friends at Christmas? What reasons do Christians have to give and receive gifts at Christmas? Have you received God’s greatest gift?
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