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December 24, 2012
The Color of Christmas
Pastor Philip De Courcy

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Red, The Color of Christmas explains how Christmas and Easter go hand in hand and how Jesus showed us that the real Christmas tree is the cross. Jesus did not simply come to solve the troubles and worries of this world but came to offer salvation to a world at war with God.

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What a night. A night that brought about a new day. The dawning of new hope for those who sat in darkness and the shadow of death. We’re so glad you’re here at our Christmas Eve service. Each year just gets bigger. We’re glad that you’re making this a tradition, a living tradition. We’re not just going through the motions or the routine tonight. This is something that’s very real and joyful to those of us that know the Lord Jesus Christ. Somebody said there is a difference between traditionalism and tradition. Traditionalism is the dead faith of living [inaudible 00:00:41]. Tradition is the living faith of dead [inaudible 00:00:45]. And Christmas has been a time across history that Christians have come together to celebrate the fact that indeed God came in human flesh, in human form and give himself for us, God with us. That’s what we want to think about for a few moments tonight.
For some people this time of the year’s an inconvenience, they have no interest in Christmas. In fact, they want the rob others of the joy of it. It’s a way with the [inaudible 00:01:13] for some people, for others it’s simply a holiday. Something they enter upon. The significance of the season really doesn’t grab them in terms of their own personal experience. Jesus Christ is no more real to them than the Easter bunny, but they like the holiday. It’s a break from the routine. Maybe if anything, it makes us think about things that we all aspire to, peace and good will. And so for some it’s an inconvenience, for others it’s simply a holiday. But for us it’s a defining moment when God came in human flesh, we believe that. We believe that Christmas is real. We believe the biblical record of the gospels are true. James Irwin, the astronaut, said that the greatest moment in history was not when man stood on the moon, but when God walked on the earth.
Absolutely true. What a defining moment that has defined many of our lives tonight for the good. It’s an experience, not just an event. Christ has been born in us by his spirit and so we’re glad you’re here. As we sing these traditional carols, enjoy the ministry of others in music and song. And I want to speak for a few moments tonight on the subject, the color of Christmas. I’m sure your family, like our family, has been enjoying the sights and signs of the season. Maybe you’ve driven out to a mission in and Riverside and stood in amusement that the colors and the lights and the decorations. Just a couple of nights ago, we enjoyed with a couple of families in the church, a night down at Newport Beach. If you’ve been down there, there are three or four nights in the year when all the boats come by there around Balboa Bay and they’re all decked out.
And it’s a fun night, especially if you get down Main Street there and get yourself a Balboa bar. It’s a great night out. And then we take in the sights and the signs. And if you think about that, there are certain colors we do associate with Christmas. If you would think about it, I think there are three primary colors we associate with Christmas, right? Red, white and green. Green to do with the evergreen trees that are in our homes this time of the year. The holly and the mistletoe. I always loved the the mistletoe thing because you got to kiss girls who would never give you a second look the rest of the year. But that’s another story. But we like the color green because there’s a lot of decorations this time of the year. And in fact, the evergreen tree, the pine tree reminds us indeed that it’s one of those trees that survives the winter. And so the thought comes out of eternal hope and a new season, and going through the tough times, and the dark times, and the winter times, and the cold times to a better day.
The color white, we are mostly associate with snow around this time of the year, which often makes us stink of purity and peace. And if anything, perhaps the brilliance and the whiteness of a snow covered field mixes long for a time of innocency for a better day because we live in a world that’s steamed with so many horrible things. White, we associate with Christmas and green, we associate with Christmas.
But I would suggest you tonight that red is really the color of Christmas and not because Santa’s decked out in a nice red outfit, not because Rudolph’s nose is red, not because you hang red bulbs on your tree or wrap your boxes in red paper. I would suggest you tonight biblically speaking that red is the color of Christmas because Christmas is all about the Lord Jesus coming to share his blood for our sins. When you really get down to it, that’s what Christmas is about. I want you to think about that with me for a few moments. I want you to connect Easter with Christmas because they go hand in hand. Christmas is all about Easter.
In fact, in Hebrews 9:26, you’ll read this. At the end of the age, Christ appeared. That’s his birth, that’s Christmas, that’s the advent, that’s the incarnation, that’s the word being made flesh. That’s the invisible God becoming visible. That’s the ancient days being born in time. At the end of the age, Christ appeared for what purpose? Well, there are several purposes. He certainly came to reveal God. No man had seen God and yet Jesus declared him and reminded Philip that when you’ve seen me, you’ve seen the Father. This is God in human flesh.
You know that Jesus came to reveal God in a special way. God had revealed himself in the heavens and in the creation, but he himself now was made a little lower than the angels. The word who made everything had now become flesh. And Jesus came to live a perfect life and sure was what true life is and what true living ought to be. But Hebrews 9:26 tells us something more. At the end of the age, Christ appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. There’s where I get my theology. This is the truth of God’s word. This is what you need to think about. Christmas is about Easter. It’s about Jesus coming to sacrifice himself on a tree, to give himself for us, to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And in fact, we get hints of this even within the Christmas story.
Have you ever thought about the gifts that the wise men gave to the Lord Jesus, gold, frankincense and myrrh? Do you know what myrrh is? It was a spice that was used to embalm people. It was associated with death and burial. It’s a very odd gift to give to a child. It’s like giving a child today a bottle of embalming fluid. But you see there’s something maybe there. There’s a hint there that this child was born to die. In fact, Jesus will say that won’t be in John’s gospel, before pilot with his death impending, with the cross looming for this reason was I born. This is what I’ve come to do. You get a hint of it in the Christmas story that in Luke chapter two in verse 35, Mary is told that someday a sword will pierce her soul, that grit sorrow will visit her because of this child.
And most Christian scholars would argue that supremely happens at the foot of the cross as she watches the Lord Jesus being crucified, the mockery, the spittle, the violence perpetrated against him which teared at the heart of this mother. The Christmas story already gives us hints that Jesus Christ has come to shed his blood. Jesus Christ has come to die for our sins. The real Christmas tree is the cross. Paul tells us that, doesn’t he. In Galatians three verse 13, that Jesus Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law because everyone who hangs on a tree is cursed.
My friend, if you’re here as a visitor, maybe you don’t often come to church. We want you to at least go away with this thought. This is the true significance of Christmas. The culture defines it in so many ways and people have all kinds of ideas about what is its significance. But the biblical text tells us that he appeared at the end of the age to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Red is the real color of Christmas. The true Christmas tree is the cross. The real gift is Jesus Christ, God’s son because God spared not his own son but delivered him up for us all. But with Him, he might freely give us all things.
We can trace that whole idea of Jesus shedding his blood to atone for our sins as far back as the Old Testament. I’ll just give you one example. Interest in first Corinthians five verse seven. Jesus is called our Passover and our Jewish friends will know the significance of the Passover. We can read about it in the Pentateuch. In Exodus 12, when Israel is redeemed out of slavery and bondage in Egypt and God visits Pharaoh in his intransigence and arrogance and belligerence and wrestles the people of God from his iron grip.
God has to do it by force. And one of the plagues of the many plagues he sends, he sends the angel of death and Israel gets wind of this and they’re told by God, hey, shed the blood of an innocent lamb, a perfect lamb, and plaster the blood on the doorposts and the mantle of your home. And when the angel sees the blood, he will pass over. And so the angel of death visits all the homes that are not covered by the blood. And yet Paul says in first Corinthians 5:7, Jesus is our Passover. There you go again telling us what Jesus is all about, bringing us to consider the color red, his blood, his death, his sacrifice for our sin. He is our Passover because you see our issue tonight is sin. Jesus didn’t come to redeem us from a purposeless life. Jesus didn’t come to get us out of a bad marriage. Jesus didn’t come to heal our disease. All of those things are the byproduct, the symptom of the greater disease, which is our sin.
The reason that relationships fracture, the reason that people are sick and die, the reason that this world at times is so messed up that we find no joy or purpose in it is because it’s a world at war with God. It’s a world at enmity with God. You and I have sinned and fallen short of God’s glory, his purpose, his intentions, and Jesus Christ has come to remedy that. He came to put away sin. The sin that produces all the horrible stuff that we go through. Jesus came to put it away by his death on the cross. The just for the unjust, the innocent for the guilty. He came to substitute his life and his death for our life and our death.
The wages of sin is death. But Jesus paid for that. That’s the wonderful news. That’s why the angel says to the shepherd, don’t fear I bring you good tidings of great joy. God’s not done with this. God’s not going to wash his hands off this old world. God’s not going to send us all to hell without redemption, without remedy. He sent his son for unto was born this day in the city of [inaudible 00:12:54], the savior, Christ the Lord. Jesus is more than an example my friend. Jesus is more than a great teacher. Jesus is more than a miracle worker. Jesus is a savior. A savior from sin. That’s your greatest problem. The problem of your heart is the heart of your problem. That’s at the heart of the problems within your home. That’s at the heart of the problems within your body.
This world was once created perfect, but man sinned and fell out a fellowship with God. God cursed the earth. God brought judgment upon man. Death ended the world and that’s the way we’ve being living. But God intends to reverse all that in the Lord Jesus Christ. Red is the color of Christmas.
I don’t know if you’ve been following her career. You don’t need to follow it too closely, but it’s rather sad to see the slide of this young woman, Miley Cyrus, who started out projecting herself as kind of clean, living from her Christian southern roots. But just this year, March of this year, 2012, she started a firestorm of controversy. I don’t know if you noticed it a while ago, she tweeted something. It was the word beautiful and alongside it was the photo of a theoretical physicist by the name of Lawrence Krauss. And on the photo of this evolutionist, this theoretical physicist was this quote, we are all star dust and we wouldn’t or couldn’t be here if stars hadn’t exploded. Forget Jesus. Stars died so you can live. Tweeted by a girl who sometimes likes to wear the label Christian, but there’s nothing beautiful about that statement. It’s a horrendous and ugly statement.
It goes against everything the Bible teaches about Christmas and Easter and the Christian faith. The Bible says that nothing was made that he didn’t make, stars and all. John 1:3, and he who made the stars and everything under them and above them was then made flesh to walk among us. And then he was made sin, according to Paul. My friends, life hasn’t come because stars exploded. Life is a creative act of God and we have turned our back on Him. We have refused Him. We have used his gifts for our own pleasures and purposes, and God has every right to turn his back on us. But God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. We don’t live because stars exploded. We live because God made us and we will live forever because of the one who was made sin for us.
Forget Jesus, never. The greatest moments in history wasn’t when man stood on the moon. The greatest moment in history was when God stood on the earth and he appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. Red is the color of Christmas. I hope you know the Lord Jesus and the hope that we have found in Him. The purpose and peace that we have found in Him. The confidence that we have found in Him. Knowing that things are right with God because Jesus Christ lived a perfect life and offered a perfect sacrifice to make us perfect in the eyes of God, because all his righteousness has been applied to us as a gift and our sins have been removed in his death. That’s the whole intent and message of Christmas. Don’t miss it.
Tomorrow as you open those gifts ravenously and excitedly and you’re dead right to do it. Don’t forget the gift that God truly wants you to unwrap, the gift of eternal life through faith in His son. The wages of sin, death. But someone died in our place so that the gift of God can be eternal life. Amen.
Let’s pray. And maybe as we bow our heads, you have never committed your life to the Lord Jesus Christ. You have never fully grasped that the one who made it all was made flesh and walked among us. He revealed God. He showed us true life, but he did more than that, he was made sin on the cross for our sin. Took our punishment, took our place, so that our sin can be removed. A relationship with God can be established. Heaven can be our home. If you’ve never trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, my friend, it’s a simple act. It’s a profound act. It’s a life changing act. It’s a destiny altering act. But it’s a simple act where you take the gift of eternal life by faith and you unwrap it and you embrace it and thank God for Jesus Christ. Would you do that now in the quietness? And if you’ve done that or you do that, please talk to us before you leave or share the fact that you’ve just given your life to Jesus Christ. And Christmas is more than an event and it’s an experience for you and your family.
Let’s pray. Father, we thank you that you spared not your own son, but delivered him up for us all. We can hardly comprehend the reality that he who made the stars, came beneath the stars, was born under the stars and one day would hang on a cross, when neither son or star could be seen in the darkness as he bore our sin, took our shame, carried away our guilt and paid for our sin in his blood. Red is the color of Christmas and we thank you for our Lord Jesus, his death and resurrection and the message of the gospel that each of us can embrace and enjoy and experience tonight by faith in Him. For these things we pray in Jesus name. Amen.