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O Holy Night


The beautiful Christmas hymn – “O Holy Night” was written by a French composer by the name of Adolphe Charles Adam.

In that 1st stanza he invites us to imagine the world before the birth of Jesus.  It is a world that lay in sin and error pining.

The word “pining” refers to wasting away in sin. 

Adam paints a picture of a world that is in darkness without light - a world that is in despair without hope.

But then comes the next 3 words:

     “till He appeared”

When He appeared everything changed

That is exactly why Jesus came

Jesus came to change the world

(Phil. 2:5-11)….

In this passage of Scripture:

Paul does not tell us the STORY of Christmas ... Paul tells us the GLORY of Christmas

Paul tells us why the night on which Jesus was born was such a holy night.


I.       christmas is the celebration of a son

Did you know that there is no recorded birth in Scripture after the birth of Jesus?

The last genealogy or family tree listed in the entire Bible is found in the book of Matthew and that family tree is that of Jesus.  Why?

Because from Genesis to Malachi all pointed to the birth of Jesus.


Paul does not give us any details about our Lord’s birth.  Matthew and Luke look at the birth of Jesus historically.  Paul looks at the birth of Jesus theologically.

   Paul takes us back behind the curtains of eternity and shows us what took place before Jesus was even born.


(VS 6) “Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery [His priority to hold onto] to be equal with God:”

Now the word “equal” means to be equal in size, quality and character.

In every way Jesus Christ WAS and IS God.  Jesus Christ was equal with God.  It was His rightful claim. But Jesus did not cling to His equality with God.


(VS 7) “But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”

Now get this: Even though the Lord Jesus laid aside all of His glory and took on the form of a servant and came as a man, He never, no never ceased to be God.


(1) when jesus became a man there was no subtraction

Jesus remained God in all of His fullness. 

There was a time when Jesus was God but not man.

But there was never a time when Jesus was man but not God.


(2) when jesus became a man there was no division

Jesus did not give up any of His Godhood to make room for His manhood.

Jesus was not part human and part holy.

His deity was not humanized and His humanity was not deified.

Jesus was fully God and fully man throughout His earthly life.


(3) when jesus became a man there was addition

Jesus took upon Himself human nature which He had never possessed. Jesus added humanity to His deity.

You see from the moment Jesus was born; He remained both God and man.

This is the incarnation - Jesus being 100% man yet 100% God.

Incarnation…In Carne (In Flesh)

This is Emmanuel…God with us.


Why did Jesus leave the glory of heaven for the grief of earth?

It was because He was the only one who could come and take the sin of the world because everyone else had the world’s sin in them.

This is precisely why only God could save.

  1. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ the God-man.
  2. I am so thankful for Jesus Christ the Son of God.
  3. I am so thankful that Christmas is the celebration of a Son.


II.   christmas is the humiliation of a savior

(VS 8) “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”

Jesus left heaven and came to earth not only to live among us but to die for us.  He was born to die that we might live!

You see:

   Jesus was in heaven

       That is God for us

   Jesus came to earth to be Emmanuel

       That is God with us

Jesus died on the cross

    That is God AS us

And if we believe

    that is God IN us

We want babies to be born, rather than aborted.  We want them to be able to live.  It’s interesting that it was a fetus that was the first to rejoice at the news of Jesus’ coming!  We want babies to be born, rather than aborted.  We want them to be able to live. 

Jesus did not become a man so He could live.

Jesus became a man so He could die so we could live!

Jesus experienced the pain of death and the wrath of hell so that we would not have to.

God did not send Jesus because He had to; God sent Jesus because He wanted to, and Jesus wanted to…it was love!

(John 3:16)

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son,…”

Jesus did not die out of obligation - Jesus died out of obedience.

(VS 8)  “…he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”


Jesus did not die an ordinary death Jesus died the death of a common everyday criminal.


The Roman system of crucifixion was designed to bring total humiliation and shame upon the person being crucified.

Crucifixion meant “death with great dishonor and public degradation (shame)”.

  • Jesus died an initial death as the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world.
  • Jesus died an official death as the God selected substitute.
  • Jesus died a judicial death, a judgment death for others.
  • Jesus died a sacrificial death, the just for the unjust.

It was as if He had committed my sins.

It was as if I hadn’t.

It was as if He had no righteousness.

It was as if I was righteous.

        Christmas is the celebration of a Son.

        Christmas is the humiliation of a Savior.


III.        christmas is the exaltaton of a sovereign

Paul gives the climax to this great passage of Scripture in (VS 9)

(VS 9) “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name:”

What is that name that is above every name? It is not the name Jesus. Jesus was a very common name in N.T. times.

Millions of Americans are saying the name above every name here lately.  They say it more than ever during this season.  They say it without even recognizing it each time they say CHRISTmas.

The name above every name?  It is not the name Jesus it is the name Christ.

(VS 11) “…Jesus Christ is Lord,…”

Jesus is the name of humiliation. Lord is the name of exaltation.

  • Jesus was born as man so He could relate to us.
  • Jesus died as Savior so He could redeem us.
  • Jesus was raised as Lord so He might rule us.


(1) christmas reminds us to accept his lordship

(VS 10) “That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth;”

To bow is a sign of surrender. It is an act of humility.

Paul makes it very plain that every knee will bow whether by choice or by force.

Every one and every thing will one day accept His Lordship as the Christ.

Every knee above us in heaven

Every knee around us on earth

Every knee under us in hell

Everyone and everything will accept His Lordship


(2) christmas reminds us to acknowledge his lordship

(VS 11) “And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord...”

That word “confess” means to agree with and to openly proclaim.

To proclaim what? To proclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord!


(3) christmas reminds us to acclaim his lordship

“to the glory of God the Father

Paul says that there needs to be an acclamation, a sounding forth to the glory of God the Father that Jesus Christ is Lord.

Christian, the purpose of your life and mine is to bring glory to God the Father and the way that glory is brought to God is when you acclaim that Jesus Christ is Lord.


  • The little baby wrapped in swaddling clothes
  • lying in a manger
  • born in a stable
  • was not just Christ the Messiah of the Jews
  • nor was He just Jesus the Savior of the world but:

 He is the Lord of the universe!

        Jesus is the reason for the season.

Christmas is about SC ... the Sovereign Christ not Santa Claus.

  • Santa lives at the North Pole – Jesus is everywhere.
  • Santa rides in a sleigh – Jesus rides on the wind and walks on the water.
  • Santa comes but once a year – Jesus is an ever-present help.
  • Santa stuffs something in a sock – Jesus supplies all of your needs.
  • Santa comes down your chimney uninvited – Jesus stands at the door of your heart and knocks and enters when you say, “Come in.”
  • You have to wait in line to see Santa – Jesus is as close as the mention of His name.
  • Santa awkwardly makes you sit on his lap – Jesus lets you rest in His arms.
  • Santa doesn’t know your name, all he can say is ‘Hi little boy or little girl.” – Jesus knew your name before you did.
  • Santa has a belly full of jelly – Jesus has a heart full of love.
  • All Santa can do is “Ho, ho, ho.” – Jesus offers help, health and hope.
  • Santa says, “You better not cry.” – Jesus says, “Cast all your cares on me for I care for you.”
  • Santa’s little helpers make toys – Jesus makes new life, mends broken, wounded hearts; repairs broken homes; builds mansions in heaven.
  • Santa may make you laugh – Jesus gives you everlasting joy.
  • Santa puts gifts under your tree – Jesus became our gift and died on a tree.

There is no comparison.

Christmas is not about Santa

Christmas is about a Savior

Christmas is not about gifts

Christmas is about grace

Jesus will always be the reason for the season because Jesus is Lord.

Christmas night was a holy night because on that night the only One in the entire universe who could save us, Jesus Christ the Lord, was born.

When you crown Him as the Lord of your life, that one holy night means every day will be holy for you.

[from sermon by Mike Branch]

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