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five lessons from the first christmas party

I was recently given the opportunity to write a brief article for the Islands neighborhood paper, and they said I could pick any topic. So, I wrote the following: Five Lessons from the First Christmas Party.

Believe it or not, the first Christmas party didn’t have cookies, eggnog, ugly sweaters, or gift exchanges. Nonetheless, for those present, it was an event to remember. This is because it celebrated the birth of the most influential person in history, Jesus. For us, centuries later, there remain at least five lessons from the first Christmas party (described in the Gospel of Luke) that should never be forgotten:

1. Jesus came for normal people.
Who was invited to the first Christmas party? Not royalty, not celebrities, not important or high class people, but shepherds. Regular guys working their regular jobs. This teaches us that God cares deeply for ordinary people like us.

2. Jesus’ arrival was good news.
The angel who announced this party said to the shepherds, “I bring you good news.” Jesus is news! He didn’t come with advice or self-help plans or expectations of moral improvement. He came to do something newsworthy—rescue those who are far from God.

3. Jesus came to bring great joy.
The angel said that this was “good news of great joy.” The Greek word translated as “great” is “megas.” Christmas isn’t designed to bring temporary joy (like gifts and gadgets do), but long-lasting, deep-rooted, mega-joy. This joy can’t be bought—it comes only through a relationship with Jesus.

4. Jesus came as a baby.
This may seem obvious, but this fact is astounding. Jesus, who made the world, humbled himself and entered his world as a helpless, drooling, crying baby. The Creator entered into his creation and began to walk in our shoes. He didn’t just sympathize with us from a distance—he got involved in the mess himself.

5. Jesus came to rescue and rule.
The angel told the shepherds, “For unto you is born this day…a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” Jesus didn’t come just to be a good moral teacher or example, he came to be Savior—the one who would rescue us from God’s anger at our sin—and to be Lord—the one who would lovingly rule over the hearts of humanity. This rescue mission—launched by the first Christmas party—was expensive because it eventually cost Jesus his life when he died in our place on the cross.

May this Christmas bring you the great joy of knowing and loving the Reason for the Season!

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