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Twas The Night Before Christmas

'Twas The Night Before Christmas

1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. 7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. The Shepherds and the Angels 8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, 14  “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” 15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
Luke 2:1-20

“’Twas the night before Christmas
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Not even a mouse”

Most people are more familiar with this Christmas poem, with Santa Claus and Rudolph than they are the true meaning of Christmas. As a matter of fact, this December holiday is universally celebrated, but the real Christmas of the Bible is practically unknown.

So, what does God’s Word say about “The Night Before Christmas”?

1) It was a night of life and death

“He was wrapped in swaddling clothes.”

Jesus is the God-man. Although He was eternally God, His human life began with His physical birth, just as all life begins. Yet from the beginning of His earthly life, the shadow of the cross with over Him. Swaddling cloths were used to wrap the dead. He was in that moment identified with death. At His birth God was emphasizing to the world, “I have sent my Son to die.”

Our Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins — past, present and future — in a point in time when He died upon the cross. Christmas is not Santa and his gang. It is Christ and His cross!

2) It was a night of good news!

"I bring you good news..."

Though the supernatural appearance of the angels left the shepherds speechless with fear and awe, the good news brought great joy! This incredible news of great joy meant that salvation was brought down to men. When we say to someone, “Merry Christmas,” we are saying, “I want you to know the joy of Salvation!”

It was good news concerning a Savior. All of humanity was under the penalty of death, because “all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). The proclamation made on that first Christmas Eve was to announce a solution to their problem — a substitute had been given.

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
Isaiah 9:6

3) It was a night of heavenly worship

“A multitude of heavenly hosts praising God…”

A precedence was set of praising and singing. Our singing is a personal response to the adoration of Christ. True worship is based on a personal relationship to the Lord. We cannot know the true spirit of Christmas apart from a saving faith in Him.

4) It was a night of potential peace

“…and on earth, peace in whom He is well pleased.”

God is well pleased only with those who are believers. They are the ones who have internal peace which cannot be purchased. “Therefore, since we have been Justified by Faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Romans 5:1).

5) It was a night of reverent seeking

“Let us go now even unto Bethlehem and see this things which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.”

These shepherds were carefully chosen to watch the flocks used for Temple sacrifices. These sacrifices were foreshadows and examples of the true Lamb of God. These shepherds knew the Old Testament prophecies — the angels referred only to the “City of David.” These men went immediately to Bethlehem, just as Micah 5:2 prophesied.

The religious leaders of Israel also knew this prophecy, but they lacked the faith to put their knowledge into action. The shepherds had been put on a rabbinical ban because they could not attend Temple worship. This was because they were working 24 hours each day. Yet, the angels proclaimed good news to them — not the religious leaders. Although faithful in keeping the sheep, they left them for something far greater.

6) It was a night of witnessing

“…they made known about the saying which had been told them concerning the child.”

Their witness was effective because people were amazed and astonished. Their life-changing experience, which resulted in a journey to Bethlehem, gave their testimony believability!

7) It was a night of quiet meditation

“Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.”

Meditation is almost a lost form of worship for modern day Christians. Mary set a patter: to pause and thoughtfully consider this act of grace that fell on man.

Don’t get lost in the festivities, parties and excitement of Christmas without stopping to consider what the Lord has done for His people.

Out of His birthday came His death day. And out of His death day comes our life day.

The night before Christmas was truly a time of rejoicing and singing with great joy! It was probably not a “Silent Night,” but it was a most Holy Night!
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