The True Meaning of Christmas
This being the last issue of the Hallelujah Acres Health Tip before Christmas 2011, we are going to deviate from our regular Health Message to bring you a Christmas message from the founder of Hallelujah Acres, Rev. George Malkmus:
Before founding Hallelujah Acres in 1992, I had been a pastor for nearly 20 years. As a pastor, I always brought a Christmas message regarding “The True Meaning of Christmas” to the congregations in the various churches I pastored.
Shortly after Hallelujah Acres had its beginning in 1992, and staff began to be added, an annual Christmas celebration for staff members and their families was initiated. Early on in these staff Christmas celebrations, there would be a time when I would share “The True Meaning of Christmas” with those gathered.
Also, while my four children were still growing up, every Christmas morning, after breakfast and before presents were allowed to be opened, the family gathered around the Christmas tree with their Bibles and the “True Meaning of Christmas” was shared.
Following is the written version of the “True Meaning of Christmas” I have been sharing through the years with my own family, later in the various churches I pastored, and most recently with those at the Hallelujah Acres Christmas celebrations.
The True Meaning Of Christmas
“Twas the night before Christmas when all through the house, not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse; The stockings were hung by the chimney with care, in hopes that St. Nicolas soon would be there; . . . .”
No my friend, that is not the “True Meaning of Christmas!”
Now let me say right up front that I am not against the celebration of Christmas, Christmas trees, decorations or colored lights, the giving of gifts, the family get-togethers, or the enjoyment of a Christmas dinner with family gathered around the table.
I am not a scrooge! Rhonda and I appreciate these traditional times also.
But in the hustle and bustle of this Christmas celebration 2011, let us not lose sight of whose birthday we are celebrating. Let us not allow Jesus, whose birthday we celebrate, to be missing from the party.
If we allow Jesus to be missing from the party, and remove Him from the celebration, all we have left is “X”mas.
I grow so weary of the merchants wishing us “Happy Holidays.” I realize that many are trying to be politically correct, but what is wrong with wishing each and everyone we come in contact with at this very special season of the year, a great big “MERRY CHRISTMAS?” Let’s keep CHRIST in CHRISTmas!
To that end, I want to share with you “The True Meaning of Christmas”. In order to do that, I am going to use numerous verses from the Bible with occasional thoughts from this preacher added for clarification and continuity:
In The Beginning
“In the beginning God created the Heavens and the earth. And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters”
The word “God” used here is translated from the Hebrew word ‘Elohim’, a uni-plural noun denoting more than one. Note also that the “Spirit of God”, the third person of the God-head was present “in the beginning” also.
“AND GOD SAID, Let US make man in OUR image, after OUR likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God [Elohim] created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
Someone is obviously there with God in the “beginning” – Who could this person be? Let’s see if we can find out Who it was that was there “in the beginning” with “God”.
“In the BEGINNING was the Word, and the Word was WITH God, and the Word WAS GOD, The same was IN THE BEGINNING with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not anything made that was made.”
It will be exciting to learn just who this “Word” is that “was with God IN THE BEGINNING” and who also made all things. In the following verse we learn the identity of that person.
“And the Word was MADE FLESH, and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”
Here we learn that this “Word” who “was God”, and was “with God”, and who created “all things”, and “was made flesh”, was none other than Jesus Christ, whose birthday we are about to celebrate.
The original Hebrew rendering of Genesis 1:1 reads “In the beginning, God.” What’s the significance? The word “God” in that first sentence is spelled with two letters in Hebrew: aleph and tav. Aleph and tav are the first and the last letters of the Hebrew alphabet.
In Revelation 22:13 Jesus uses the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet to explain who he is: “I am alpha and omega, the beginning and the end, the first and the last.” So in both the Hebrew and the Greek, Jesus is saying that before anything was ever created I WAS THERE.
Now let’s move on to a few other portions of Scripture to see what else we can learn about this “Word” whom we now know was Jesus.
A Virgin Shall Conceive
“Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.”
These words were spoken by the prophet Isaiah over 700 years before the birth of Jesus. Now let’s go to the New Testament and see what else we can learn about this “virgin” who the prophet Isaiah said “shall conceive, and bear a son . . .”
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused [engaged] to Joseph, before they came together [as husband and wife], she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.”
Before Joseph and Mary were married she was found to be pregnant, not by Joseph’s seed, but by the seed of “the Holy Spirit”. Now Joseph is in a dilemma. He is engaged to a woman who is pregnant. What action should he take?
“Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
In those days, being pregnant before marriage was dealt with by exposing them to public humility, so Joseph being a “just man” and not wanting to make her a “public example” decided to not humiliate her.
But obviously he was in a quandary trying to understand how Mary could be with child when he knew he was not the father of the child she was carrying. In his dilemma, an angel comes to his rescue.)
“But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.”
The Angel tells Joseph, everything will be alright, the seed that impregnated Mary is “of the Holy Ghost.” Here we learn that the Holy Ghost of God was not only in the beginning with God and took part in the creation of this world (Genesis 1:2), but now it is this same Holy Ghost that impregnates Mary.
Note also that the words “Holy Ghost, Spirit of God, and Holy Spirit” are used interchangeable throughout scriptures. They are one and the same.
“And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.”
Here we learn that this child Mary is to bear is to be given the name “Jesus”, and please note the purpose for which Jesus came into this world: “for he shall save his people from their sins.”
God With Us
“Now all this was done, that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet [Isaiah 7:14] saying, Behold, a VIRGIN shall be with child, and shall bring forth a SON, and they shall call his name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, GOD WITH US.”
Now all the pieces begin to fit together. This “virgin” Isaiah the prophet prophesied would “bear a son” some 700 years before Jesus comes on the scene, becomes fulfilled prophecy when the virgin Mary gives birth to a son, Jesus, in Matthew 1:22-23.
And Isaiah’s prophecy of his name being called “EMMANUEL” we learn the interpretation of: “GOD WITH US.” Yes, God took on a fleshly body and was born of a virgin.
Next we learn more details of Jesus’ birth as well as why God took on a body of flesh and came down to this earth.
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And as it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over the flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to ALL PEOPLE. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord.”
More Than A Baby
Jesus was more than just a baby born in a manger and whose birthday we celebrate on December 25th each year. Jesus was “God with us”! Yes, God took on a body of flesh so that He could die on an old rugged cross and there shed His own precious blood in order to “redeem” mankind from his sin.
“But when the fullness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To REDEEM them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons.”
“The BLOOD of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from of all sin.”
(1 John 1:7)
Dear friend, we are all sinners: “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) Because we have sinned, we deserve eternal separation from God? “For the wages of sin is death, but the GIFT OF GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Romans 6:3)
“For God so loved the world, that He GAVE His only begotten son, that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish, but HAVE everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be SAVED.”
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:11). “And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall SAVE HIS PEOPLE FROM THEIR SINS.”
My Personal Encounter With Jesus
I was raised in a home that celebrated Christmas. I had to be in bed early Christmas Eve because Santa would be coming and I needed to be asleep if he was going to bring me presents.
Christmas was always an exciting time of the year, celebrated with gifts, family, lots of food, etc. But I was never taught who Jesus, whose birthday we celebrated each Christmas, truly was.
I was brought up in a protestant home, raised in Sunday School, and had perfect attendance pins to prove it. I was baptized in that church, joined that church, and was married in that church. I had been a pretty good boy, hadn’t gotten into too much trouble growing up, and thought for sure because of all my good works was going to heaven when I died.
But I didn’t know Jesus, or even who He was, until…
On May 29, 1957, while attending a Billy Graham Crusade Rally in Madison Square Garden in New York City, I learned: “There is none righteous, no, not one . . . . there is none that doeth good, no, not one.” (Romans 3:10-12) That night I realized for the first time in my life that I was a sinner, separated from God, and in need of a Saviour.
That very same night, when the invitation was given to receive Jesus as Saviour, I went forward along with hundreds of others, was greeted by a counselor who shared some of the above scriptures, and asked me if I would like to receive Jesus as my personal Saviour.
I said “yes”, and right there in Madison Square Garden in New York City, kneeling beside a folding metal chair on a concrete floor, I asked Jesus to forgive me for my sins, come into my heart, and save me.
“That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation . . . . For whosever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.”
(Romans 10:9, 10, 13)
As we celebrate Christmas 2011, do you know Jesus only as a baby born in manger? Or do you know Him as Saviour?
This Christmas, let’s not only keep Christ in Christmas, but let’s also make sure we know Jesus Christ as our own personal Saviour.
“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a SAVIOUR, which is Christ the Lord.”
If you do not know Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour, or would like to know more, please let us know and we will be glad to send you information to help you know the joy of sins forgiven and that a home in heaven awaits when your earthly journey has come to an end.
Rhonda And I Wish You And Yours A Very Blessed Christmas!
Next week, the good Lord willing and if the creeks don’t rise too high, we will bring you another exciting and informative Hallelujah Health Tip. Next week’s Health Tip will be the last for the year 2011.
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