By now, your Christmas tree and Christmas decorations have been taken down and are “neatly” in storage, until you begin preparing for Christmas, 2019. Most likely, the “new” has already worn off those toys that your children and/or grandchildren were so excited about on Christmas morning. And probably, you’re discovering that mysteriously, your clothes have “shrunk” over the Thanksgiving and Christmas season.

Maybe in your mind, Christmas is over and it’s time for you to get back to “real life”. It felt good while it lasted, but it’s over. You loved that, “warm fuzzy” feeling, but it’s time to get back to come back to earth and the “grind” of daily life. The fact that you no longer hear Christmas carols being sung in churches and played in stores or on your car radio, signals that until next year, Christmas is over. The calendar page has been turned, making it “official:” Christmas has ended.

Friends, the calendar may say that Christmas is over but I think it’s essential that you and I come to the realization that truthfully, the powerful message of Christmas doesn’t end with that incredible night, 2000 years ago, in Bethlehem. The message of Christmas doesn’t end with Baby Jesus wrapped in strips of cloth, lying in a manger. The message of Christmas doesn’t end with the honored guests who had the “front row seats” on that miraculous night – the shepherds. And the message of Christmas doesn’t end with the worship of the magi. Truthfully, the best news I can share with you is that the awesome message of Christmas … never ends!

The message of Christmas goes far beyond that night in Bethlehem. The message of Christmas far transcends every event human history, regardless of how significant it might be. The message of Christmas is a message of hope for those who feel hopeless. The message of Christmas is a message of relationship for those who are lonely or have been rejected. The message of Christmas is a message of incredible love for those who feel that God could never love them.

The message of Christmas is that Jesus came on a mission. Jesus came on a mission to set those who are held captive by sin, guilt, and shame, completely free. Jesus came on a mission to free people from the bondage of religion and to invite them into an intimate relationship with the Father. Jesus came on a mission to give a sense of worth to those who believe that they are worthless. Jesus came on a mission to offer acceptance to those who have been rejected. Jesus came on a mission to give hope to those who feel hopeless. Jesus came on a mission to give each of us what we most want, a “rich and satisfying life.”

The eternal message of Christmas had its earthly beginning in a manger, in Bethlehem’s stable. That timeless message continued to echo throughout Jesus’ life, as He walked through the regions of Galilee, Judea, and Samaria, performing miracles of healing and resuscitation and revealing the true character of his Father. That Christmas message reached a deafening crescendo when Jesus was crucified at Golgotha and then raised to life on the following Sunday morning. The Christmas message would continue to be written when Jesus ascended to heaven, where He sits today, at the right hand of The Father. And one day, the final chapter of the Christmas message will be written because on that day, Jesus, the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords, will return in majesty and triumph.

Faron Rogers is the Senior Pastor of Clinton’s First Baptist Church