For Unto You is Born…..
Well, the shopping is pretty much done and the presents are wrapped. And chances are that I won’t be writing to you again until early next week, so first of all, I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and a joyous time with your family this week-end. And in the midst of all the celebrations, I hope that you will remember the “reason for the season.” It has been a pleasure for me to write almost 250 posts so far detailing various types of “transitions” by the Book, and I hope that it goes without saying that we are fast approaching the celebration of one of the most significant events that has ever happened on this earth. I thought about writing about childhood memories or plans for the day, but the teacher part of me is screaming for equal time tonight, so please bear with me while I engage my passion for sharing the Bible with you.
Because, as I said yesterday, without Christ there is no Christmas. And is occurred to me that although most of us have read the Christmas story, and have at least a passing familiarity with the Bible, we don’t really understand the magnitude of the event that happened in Bethlehem that night more than two thousand years ago.
The truth of the matter is the God sending his Son, Jesus, to live among us for approximately 30 years paved the way for us to re-establish a direct relationship with God and to spend eternity with Him. The story of the battle between good and evil, Christ and Satan, began all the way back in Genesis 3:15, when God addressed the serpent who had tempted Adam and Eve; telling the creature that although Satan would bruise the heel of Christ, Christ would prevail and eventually crush the serpent.
Since that time, the Old Testament prophets foretold of a Savior who would sit on the throne forever and would redeem the people of God. The storyline is woven throughout the entire Scripture. After what we call the intertestamental period, that time after the Old Testament but before the New Testament, the world went almost 400 years without hearing from God, at least in any form that was recorded in the Bible. And then we heard from John the Baptist, announcing that the Kingdom of God was near. Of course, John baptized Jesus and the ministry of our Lord commenced in earnest – eventually leading to the cross and the grave – and the resurrection.
In fact, the resurrection is what sets Christianity apart. The other major religions of the world profess the teachings of their leaders; and while that is admirable, and many would submit that Jesus was a great teacher, what sets the story of Christ apart is not what He said, but rather what He did. And that’s a huge difference. In fact, many of the world religions rever the teachings of their “founders”, but none of these other people ever rose from the dead. And without that special fact, unique in all the world, Christianity wouldn’t have survived.
Who would have cared if Jesus had been crucified if He hadn’t risen from the dead? But I’m getting ahead of myself – that’s the Easter story. My point here is that Good Friday and Easter would never have happened if God had not decided to send His son, in human form, to dwell among us in the flesh. And the beginning of that journey started in a manger in a stall in Bethlehem. In the form of a baby, born of a woman and her husband as they were obeying the law and returning to their homeland to be recorded in the census.
The story is a remarkable one, ably told by Luke, a doctor who wanted to make sure that the reader of his Gospel understood the authenticity and honest recounting of the story of the Savior. In fact, Luke tells us that his Gospel is accurate and that it was told by eyewitnesses who knew Jesus firsthand. So we can believe what we read. After all, Luke was well educated, and wanted to be sure that he accurately recorded the story of Christ.
From the arrival of the “wise men,” to the teachings of Jesus in the temple as a young boy, to His earthly ministry following his baptism, one can’t help but be in awe of all that He accomplished. And then, of course, God’s ultimate sacrifice of His son and the ability for anyone to spend eternity with God through a saving relationship with Jesus Christ.
But this fantastic story all started with the birth of a baby….. which brings us to tonight’s verse, from Luke 2:11, “For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” My encouragement this evening is to let you know that it’s not too late for you to make a profession of faith and get the greatest gift you could ever receive this Christmas – eternal life. And if you have already done that, then my encouragement to you is to spread the story around your circle of influence so others may come to know the love and grace of Jesus. My prayer is that you will spend time in communion with God, thanking Him for his gift and asking Him to become an even stronger influence in your life next year.
In the meantime, grace and peace, God’s peace, to you and your family this Christmas as we celebrate the joy of the birth of Christ the Lord. Hallelujah! Praise God….. Amen…. Merry Christmas!