Christmas A to Z

The story of christmas is the central and main part of a very much longer story.

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. After 5 days of creating the universe and on earth the plants, fish, and animals on the 6th day God said “Let us make man in our image as a very special creation. In the image of God created he them. Male and female created he them.

On the 7th day he rested and saw that everything was very good.

God gave some very simple but important instructions to Adam and Eve, the first man and woman. They disobeyed and so humans became separated from God. All sin separates us from God. But this was not Gods intention that we would be separated from him. He wants us to share forever with him and to enjoy being in his company. The rest of the bible is about the history of humanity and God trying to get people to obey him. But they refused. So something else had to happen. Between 400 and 700 years before Jesus came various prophets told the people of Israel that a Messiah would come from heaven to bring salvation to the people. The prophets said he would be born of a virgin – a miraculous birth, he would be born in Bethlehem, a small village in Israel about 7 km from Jerusalem. When the time was right the bible tells us God sent his son into the world to be “God with Us” so lets learn the A to Z of christmas and what happened tin Bethlehem.

A. is for Angel.

The angel Gabriel began the story by telling Mary. “You are highly favoured by God. You have nothing to fear. God is with you and God has a surprise for you. You will become pregnant and give birth to a son and call his name “Jesus”

B. is for Bethlehem

where our story takes place. People travelled from all over Israel to get to Bethlehem, which was not a very big village. Joseph and Mary were living in Nazareth and had to travel by walking or on the back of a donkey about 150 km

C. is for Census

which means an official counting of all the people in a country. In Israel 2000 years ago everyone had to return to their home town to be counted. Joseph was from Bethlehem.

D. is for Donkey.

A donkey carried Mary, and possibly Joseph on their long journey which would have taken about 5 days.

E. is for Exhausted.

That is how everyone must have felt when they arrived. Mary was pregnant at the time and it must have been especially hard for her.

F. is for Family

Mary and Joseph and their new baby Jesus created a new family, one that would bless the whole world.While they were there, the time came for Mary to give birth. She gave birth to a son, her firstborn, She wrapped him in strips of clothand a blanket, and laid him in a manger where animals are kept because there was no room for them in the hostel.

G. is for Good News

about to be shared with all the earth. This is what the angel said There were shepherds in the fields caring for and protecting their sheep. Suddenly, God's angel stood among them and God's glory blazed around them. The shepherds were terrified. The angel said, “Don't be afraid. I'm here to announce a great and joyful event that is for everyone in the world: A saviour has just been born in Bethlehem, who is the Messiah, Christ the Lord. This is what you are to look for, a baby wrapped in a blanket lying in a manger.”At once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God's praises:

“Glory to God in the heavenly heights.

Peace on earth to all those with whom he is pleased.”

H. is for Hope.

Hope is knowing the good news that Jesus loves us and came to earth for us and wants to be with us in this life and us to be with him in the next life.

I. is for Imagine and Invitation

Close your eyes and imagine the beauty and wonder of the nature and scenery in the world that God created. But there is much sadness and pain among the beautiful scenery. That is why Jesus came to the world to bring us the good news that a world with no sadness, sickness, pain, or violence is coming and to give us his invitation to be in it.

J. is for Joy.

Joy is a special very deep happiness that comes from God. The birth of Jesus gives us joy. And when we are joyful its good to sing.

K. is for King.

Jesus was called the King of the Jews but he was not the kind of king people were used to. Most kings are born in palaces surrounded by servants. Jesus was born in a manger among the animals. Most kings rule with power and fear. But Jesus rules with mercy and love.

L. is for Lost.

When Jesus grew up he told a lot of stories, and three of them were about lost things that were found, pearls, sheep, and a person. Jesus came to find people who are lost and save them. He is the good shepherd, and the perfect father.

L. is also for Love.

Jesus said the most important and greatest rule for life is“Love God with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength and love your neighbour as you love yourself”

M. is for Magi.

This is the name given to wise men from the Middle East. Some followed a star to visit the baby Jesus while he was in Bethlehem

N. is for Noel.

Noel is another word for Christmas. It means new birth and thats what happened in our story. The most important baby ever born was Jesus. He was born as a boy but he was also the Son of God.

O. is for offering.

The wise men from the Middle East brought Jesus gifts of Gold, (to show he was a King), Frankincense (used in burning incense in worship to show he was God), and Myrhh (used as perfume, anointing oil, and embalming dead bodies).

Jesus wants us to offer our lives as an offering to Him for His service.

P. is for Peace.

Jesus is the Prince of Peace. He wants to bring peace to us, to our families, our nations, and the world.

Q. is for Question.

The most important question we all have to ask, and answer, is whether there is a God or not. If so who is he and why did he make the world. It is good to ask questions and try to find God.

R. is for Revealed.

Revealed means “showing us something that was once hidden”. Jesus revealed God to us by showing us what love looks like in coming to die for us.Jesus is love, and he answers our questions and shows (reveals) us the way to love one another.

S. is for Salvation.

Mary was told to call the baby Jesus, because he would save his people from their sins and open the way to heaven for us.

T. is for Time.

At the right time God sent Jesus into the world to live, to teach, to die, to rise and go back to heaven. At the right time he will come back and take his people to be with him for ever. The world as we know it will end. Jesus wants us to use our time for him.

U. is for unconditional and unlimited.

The kind of love God wants to give us. We cannot earn it.We just have to receive it and thank him for it.

V. is for Victory.

When Jesus died and came back to life he showed he had victory over death and can give us eternal life if we ask him.

W. is for Wonder and Wisdom.

Like the wise men we stand in awe and wonder at the new-born King, and worship him. The bible tells us that coming to know God is true wisdom.

W. is also for Word of God – the Bible.

The bible is the most amazing book in all literature. It is God's message for us – his instruction book for life and death. We should read it daily.

X. is for Christ.

X is the Greek letter Chi, the first letter in the word “Christ”. X is one of the most ancient symbols of Christianity. Sometimes we refer t Christmas as Xmas.

Y. is for all of You.

From many nations and backgrounds Jesus calls all of you to come and follow Him.

Z. is for Zeal.

Zeal means great energy and enthusiasm. Jesus wants our Zeal for him to burn brightly and bring His light and love, and strength to people who are hurting, lonely, confused and sad. God is light and this is why we often use candles and lamps to show Gods light taking away the darkness in our hearts.

 

I invite you to join me on 4th April 2020 for a comprehensive 15 day tour of Israel and Jordan. (My 17th visit to Israel) and visit:

JERUSALEM, BETHLEHEM, GALILEE, NAZARETH and much more. See my website www.nztours.nz Email: steve@nztours.nz                               Stephen Greenfield

 

THE TRUE MEANING OF CHRISTMAS

6,000 years ago

Before the universe existed there was no time, no earth or stars, no fish, birds, animals or humans. But there was God, angels, and heaven.

The timeless God is Love and he wanted people to love who would choose to love him in return so

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.             Genesis 1 v 1

In 6 days God created all living things in their species and on the seventh day he rested. The final act of creation on the 6th day.

God created human beings in his own image. In the image of God he created them, male and female he created them.      Genesis 1 v 27

God gave the first humans, Adam and Eve some simple instructions to keep, but they disobeyed and sin came into the world. Sin causes death and separation from God. The rest of the Bible is the story of how God reaches out to us – and how we usually turn our back on him. But God is very patient and loving and wants us to share heaven with him.

4,000 years ago

God chose Abraham to start a new nation, Israel, and the Jewish people.

3,000 years ago

King David, the 2nd king of Israel established Jerusalem as his capital city. David was originally a shepherd boy from the town of Bethlehem about 7 km from Jerusalem. King Solomon, his son, built a beautiful temple in Jerusalem as a reminder that God was with them and where the people could worship. But it was not a love relationship.

God knew that he had to do something much more to show people how much he loved them and open the way for us to love him back and share heaven with him forever. He had to remove the death penalty that all we humans have.

So God decided to send his Son, Jesus, to earth to die for us and take the death penalty that was ours on himself.

2,500 years ago

God gave this message to Israel through the prophets Isaiah, and Micah.

Look, a virgin shall conceive and will give birth to a son and will call hi Immanuel, which means God is with us.        Isaiah 7 v 14

The Lord says, “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are one of the smallest towns in Judah, but out of you I will bring a ruler for Israel. Micah 5 v 1-2

There are many more promises about Jesus birth, death, and resurrection They also came true. When promises are made 500 – 600 years before they happen, and they come true, we should take notice.

2000 years ago

Just over 2,000 years ago a young man named Joseph lived in the village of Nazareth in northern Israel. He was engaged to a young lady named Mary. One night an angel appeared to Mary and told her she was going to have a very special child. It was to be a miraculous birth – no man was involved. He would be called the Son of the Most High God, and given the earthly name Jesus (saviour). The angel also appeared to Joseph and told him that he was to marry Mary and look after her and the child.

The emperor ordered a census of all the people and every male had to go to their home town. Mary and Joseph had to travel about 150km to Bethlehem, When they they got there it was time for Mary's baby to be born. There was no room in the guest house so Jesus was born in a stable and laid in a manger (feeding trough).

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared, They were terrified, but the angel reassured them,

“Don't be afraid!” he said.“I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The saviour – yes, the Messiah, the Lord - has been born today in Bethlehem.!

“Glory to God in highest heaven and peace on earth to those with whom he is pleased.”       Luke 2 v 1-14

Joseph, Mary, and Jesus went back to Nazareth to live. When Jesus was about 30 years old he began to teach the people the ways of God. He healed many sick people to prove that he was both God and Man. When he was about 33 years old he was crucified on the cross and died but 3 days later was raised to life again, appeared to his disciples and many others, then went back to heaven 

205 years ago

Samuel Marsden was the first missionary to bring Christianity to New Zealand. His first sermon on Christmas Day 1814 in the Bay of Islands was from the Gospel of Luke chapter 2.

“Don't be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news thatwill bring great joy to all people. The saviour – yes, the Messiah, the Lord – has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!"

The missionaries settled among the Maori people and developed the first Maori written language, started the first schools, printing press, hospitals, and farms, translated the Bible into the Maori language, and taught the way of peace that Christ taught. Maori were often fighting each other before the British came and it took about 10 years before most Maori became Christians and the fighting stopped opening the way for the development of this country and the signing of the Treaty of Waitangi in 1840
 

 

 

 

For more information on the Good News from Jesus Christ read the bible or email me on steve@nztours.nz or my websitewww.nztours.

The Present

Jesus coming into the world marked the centre of our calendar B.C. (Before Christ) and A.D. (After Christ)

It is almost certain that Jesus was not born on the 25th December, year zero. The middle of winter has been celebrated in the Northern Hemisphere for centuries as the shortest day was over and people looked forward to longer days and warmer weather. The Romans celebrated a festival on the 25th December and this was made a celebration for Christians around 400 A.D. and called Christmas. Christians celebrate new life and hope in Jesus Christ..

The actual date is not important.

The fact that Jesus Christ came to earth, lived, died, and went back to heaven is the most important event in human history.

Christmas for most people now has just become a holiday. Tragically, for most people, Jesus is forgotten.

But Jesus is very patient and loving. He invites everyone to come to him. But one day the invitation will be withdrawn. We do not know when.

The Future

Jesus Christ will come back to earth again! This time he will come as Judge and King. He will set up his eternal, perfect, kingdom with all those who have chosen to follow him. There will be no more sin, suffering, hatred, anger, greed, lying, or death This world as we know it will not continue for ever.. He is waiting to come back again and establish his new perfect kingdom

Jesus gives you the invitation to follow him and be in His Kingdom.

Will you accept?

 

Read the full story of Jesus life on earth in the Bible, the world's best selling book. The Gospels of Matthew and Luke. provide the most details about his birth, life, teachings, death, resurrection, and ascension. The Book of Gensis (First book in the bible) tells us how it all started. Revelation (the last book in the bible) tells us how it will end.

 

 

 

 

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