“On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh” – “Matthew 2:11”
“So, they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger” – “Luke 2:16”
I wonder today, as you have come across this article if the meaning of it is in anyway relevant to our or situation and circumstances – We will only know as were engage in it further.
Christmas, is to all intents and purpose a very strange time, everything changes, everybody spends far more than they can normally afford, everybody eats, and drinks considerably more than they need, and the whole period of about 12 days, is characterised by mad rush to get everything, but why?
We’ll it would be easy to say, it’s because we celebrate at this time of year the birth of Jesus Christ Gods Son into the World. I guess that is there at the basis of all that goes on, but as it is with most buildings today, the foundations bear no reality to the structure. In like manner, the Christmas celebrations that for the most part are engaged in, bear no resemblance, to the real meaning of Christmas, that of the gift of Gods Son Jesus Christ, to be the Worlds Saviour.
As is the way with mankind, that which starts out simple and beautiful, so often becomes complicated and corrupted out of all recognition, and the real original meaning is lost, and Christmas is not dis-associated with this.
Christmas is a time of “togetherness” a time when families forget the squabbles and make an effort to be together. It is a time of “closeness” where families visit their friends and acquaintances, forgetting the wedges that have come between them. Christmas is also a time of “forgiveness”.
There are countless thousands today, either as Nations, Cities, Family and Friends, who are divided by those things that have crammed in upon their lives, and like some cancer, has eaten away all the love and goodness, and devoured the finer tender aspects of unity, leaving only squabbles, bitterness, hatred, and division in its wake.
The two portions of Scripture that I commenced with, are perhaps familiar to you, especially if you are a Church goer or have been a visitor at Carol Services or Nativity Plays being held. Why? Because they convey the crux around which the whole episode of Christmas is placed.
If you notice from the stories surrounding the two portions of Scripture at the outset there are two very different scenes that are provided. Two sets of people groups are involved – There are the Shepherds and there are the Wise Men. Both groups come from totally different backgrounds, both originate from different classes of the society of their day. One thing however levelled them both, and it was the common aim and purpose of finding the promised Saviour and Messiah.
Now I wonder what they were expecting to find. The Shepherds were the first on the scene, and they found the baby Jesus in a filthy animal stall, a scene of total impoverishment. Jesus with His parents were the homeless of the day, finding whatever shelter they could, to bring themselves some comfort. Maybe the Shepherds were expecting a glamourous scene, one that would have portrayed in a better manner, the coming of the expected King of Israel, if so, they were disappointed by what they found.
In like manner the Wise Men who had travelled from the East, I wonder what they expected after two years of travelling. They obviously thought that it would be that of pomp and ceremony otherwise – Why go to the Kings Palace first? They then found Jesus with His Parents in a very ordinary house.
Both Shepherds and Wise Men alike discovered that the Jesus / Messiah did not meet with their expectations.
When Children get their Christmas presents, I’m almost sure that they are opened in size and glamour priority, i.e., the biggest and shiniest first. There is an imaginative expectation that the biggest and the shiniest are almost certainly going to be the best, and what disappointments are left in the wake of that way of thinking.
Do we in like manner expect Jesus God’s Gift to the World to be wrapped up in glossy paper and to be presented in a larger-than-life way? If so, like the Children, the Shepherds, and the Wise Men, we will be most certainly disappointed. The Bible says in “Hebrews 2:9” – “But we do see Jesus, who was made lower than the angels for a little while, now crowned with glory and honour because he suffered death, so that by the grace of God he might taste death for everyone” and also in “Isaiah 53:2-3” we read of Him again and this is not the sort of Christmas present that most would expect, but it was the best the World ever had or will ever receive, for through it, comes Love, Joy, Peace, Healing and Success and all the other good areas of life that Men and Women are seeking for.
In order to remind us once again of the meaning of Christmas, and to give an opportunity to all that are engaging with this article let me say that this time in life could be the start of a real, new, exciting, and fulfilling life.
Let me centre our thoughts for a few moments around the reason Jesus Christ, the whole reason for Christmas came.
In the thousands of years before Jesus the babe was born in that animal stable in Bethlehem His coming into the World was prophetically anticipated. Literally, millions had been anxiously awaiting His arrival because they knew that in the coming of Jesus Christ a new age would be ushered in.
Indeed it was, it was a time when mankind would discover how to drag itself out of the mess it had gotten itself into. It was a time of new hope and strength for the future, a time when sickness and death would be conquered and a time when love and forgiveness could be the ruling factors.
However, why did God the Creator give this gift to the World? Let’s take a look at a couple of reasons.
With Jesus is the Gift of Real Love
“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” – “John 3:16”
I want to tell you today that lives that have been committed to Him and have trusted or believed in the report of Him, have truly found, that they have been changed. I’m sure that there would be many today who if asked to testify of the fact that trusting in Jesus Christ, had radically changed them for the better.
Today so many lives are being ruined by a lack of love in its truest form in their experience. Children are growing up as “Latch Key Kids”, and they are left to one side whilst the Parents go out to work. This isn’t in any way a condemnation of Parents who have to do this, it is merely a comment on what it produces in the experience of many Children. In the long term, a sense of desolation and difficulties in being able to relate to love in a meaningful way.
Many are homeless at the moment. Yes! It’s true that many are in that situation through their own doing, but at the same time many are not. Either way though Gods Love is shown to them initially by Jesus coming into the World and also through the efforts of those who know Jesus as their Saviour.
There are literally thousands around us who can only see love and understand it in its physical way, but the love that God offers in the acceptance of Jesus Christ is a love that excels above all earthly love, and at the same time lifts earthly love into something far greater, producing a unifying force, which brings balance and support into the lives of those who experience it.
With Jesus is the Gift of Eternal Life
In “1 John 4:9” we read “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent his only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through him”
Now what does that mean? sure it is a fact that I won’t elaborate on now, that one day we all have to die, at which time we will have to face our maker and judge, but right here and now God desires that we might really experience life to it’s full. To experience life with a Capital L, and have a life bubbling up within us, that isn’t like the bubbles in a pop bottle – there one minute and gone the next, but a life there always and into eternity.
Life is made up of so many things, and the things I’m referring to a such as Joy, Peace, Tranquillity and Love are all part and parcel of the life that can be ours. How? By the acceptance of God’s Gift Jesus Christ, and by letting Him come into our lives and circumstances. It will not make us into religious nuts or such like, it will simply provide a balance and be accompanied by a life that never experienced before, and a life that will be cherish as the most prized possession ever owned.
I wonder today how we find ourselves. Are we one of those people who say within ourselves as you engage in this message, “Oh! It’s not for me” or “I’m not the sort of person that needs such an experience that is being spoken off” or perhaps “I’m too bad and far gone for it to make any difference.” Well! if so note that the verse spoken of earlier said that God sent His Son as the Saviour of the WORLD, and it thus means that you are not left out.
Jesus Christ is the Saviour of the Black/White or Yellow. He is the Saviour of the Muslim, Hindu, or Sikh. He is the Saviour of the Buddhist and Communist. In fact, He is the Saviour and only Saviour of all mankind, and thus today, this present from God the Father is equal to all people everywhere.
Let me ask you today a question, and in light of it and what we have looked at together, what have you decided to do with Gods Christmas present, will you take it or reject it.
It could be today that you have heard the Gospel Story of the coming of Jesus many times before, and on many occasions done nothing about it in a positive manner, well let me recount the following story to you.
You may say, “Oh I’m not rejecting the gift of God, I’m just thinking about it” well if so, imagine that you are at a Wedding and there are the Bride and Groom at the Alter. The Vicar says to the Groom “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded Wife?” he declares “I do” The Bride is then asked, “Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded Husband?” and she answers, “Well, I’m not saying Yes and I’m not saying No at the moment. However, don’t think I’m rejecting you”. What would you contend from this, it’s obvious isn’t it? So, today what will you do with Christ?
Will you accept God’s Gift today?