“I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.” Luke 2:10 (NIV)
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This may come as a shock to you, but God really likes parties. God is into parties; God likes to party; God is constantly throwing parties. In fact, the Bible says that God’s angels throw a party every time a single person trusts Jesus as the Lord and Savior of his or her life. They party for joy whenever someone turns away from self-centeredness and turns toward Jesus.
Christmas is a party; it’s a birthday party for Jesus. It’s why we say “Merry Christmas.” Yet, we often leave the guest of honor out of our Christmas parties! Thinking about this irony, I started asking people, “What are you celebrating this Christmas?” This is what a few of them told me:
· “What am I celebrating? Not a lot.”
· “The blessings that we’ve had in our family this year.”
· “Just the Christmas spirit.”
· “Being home and not being on the road for the holidays.”
· “This Christmas? I’m celebrating the birth of Christ.”
· “Nothing. I just want to get through it.”
This last comment is true for a lot of people. Christmas may be a season of celebration, but they feel they have nothing to celebrate. Perhaps that’s true of you, too. You’re thinking, “I just want to get through Christmas. I just want to survive it. I’ve got nothing to celebrate.”
But God, through his angel, tells us that embedded in Christmas is good news of such great joy that, if we believe it, we won’t be able to contain the celebration within us.
But we get so frustrated in our circumstances or so busy simply getting ready for the celebration that we lose sight of the joy. The good news turns into the fact that your in-laws aren’t coming this year or you managed to keep within the Christmas budget.
God’s good news is so much more than that! The joy of Christmas is based on three things: (1) God loves us; (2) God is with us; (3) God is for us. Can you hear the celebration in that?!
© 2008 Purpose Driven Life. All rights reserved.
Rick Warren is the founding pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., one of America’s largest and best-known churches. In addition, Rick is author of the New York Times bestseller The Purpose Driven Life and The Purpose Driven Church, which was named one of the 100 Christian books that changed the 20th Century. He is also founder of Pastors.com, a global Internet community for ministers.