- ABOUT US
- Calendar and News
- READING PLAN
- The Chosen
God’s Christmas Card
Here we are once again celebrating Christmas in troublous times. We hear the phrase, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men,” yet see very little of it.
These pictures really don’t make Christmas card photos you’d want to send to your family and friends. These are not the scenes of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, nor is it Bing Crosby’s “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”
But maybe we can get a glimpse through these images of what was going on in the world and in the land of Israel on that very first Christmas. The Roman military ruthlessly controlled the nation of Israel. Acts of terrorism by religious zealots were commonplace with the Romans retaliating with ruthless savagery. And religion was making rules with sever punishment if these rules were broken.
The people were weary and oppressed. And it was to this world that Christmas came, and of God breaking through into a world filled with turmoil.
And it is this same story of Christmas that God breaks through into our world as well. In this world filled with turmoil and chaos, Jesus can break through and bring the peace promised by the angels into the lives of those who will believe.
God sends to this earth a Christmas card with the same pictures that He has sent every year since that first Christmas. It is a picture designed to bring hope and peace to all who will embrace it. It is the picture of Jesus’ birth.
The unfortunate part of this picture is that people have become a little bit too familiar with it. They’ve seen it year after year on the mantle places in homes, on the Internet, in postcards, in front yards, and on TV commercials hawking all sorts of merchandise.
Because of all this exposure the nativity has lost its true meaning and has faded into the background of the world’s consciousness.
But it is this Christmas card that God is still sending to all humanity saying that in the midst of the horror, chaos, trials, and tribulations, the promised peace and hope is still available for all who put their hope and trust in that baby lying in a manger.
Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful picture.
The first thing that captures our attention is the Star.
It is the light that guided the Magi to the child Jesus. What this star represents is our receiving directions for our lives. This was no ordinary star. It was a divinely commissioned light.
But God has given and commissioned for each person such a light, and it’s just as bright today as it was back then. And that light is the divine light of God’s word, the Bible.
The Psalmist says,
“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” (Psalm 119:105)
And so, as we read God’s word, God’s light will shine in our hearts and in our minds and will dispel the dark curtain of confusion.
Next we see the Stable where Jesus was born.
Now, when our eyes move from the star to the stable, the first thing we notice is the inherent inconsistency of the whole thing. Here God divinely commissioned a heavenly light, but couldn’t provide a suite in the Bethlehem Hilton.
But the stable is as divinely commissioned as the star.
What the stable is saying is that Christmas is all about Jesus becoming one of us so that He would know exactly what we go through. The stable is saying that God sent His Son to experience the full force of this sin filled and dominated world in order to defeat it through His death.
What the stable reveals is that when we are going through the pain and disappointments of life, we can know that we have a Savior who completely understands, because He’s already been there, done that, and cares for us.
Next we see the Wise Men, which tells us Christmas is all about searching and finding the truth.
We really don’t know a whole lot about these Magi, that is, who they are or how many of them made the trip. What we know is that they were educated and wealthy. They are sort of a combination of many different fields of science: a little bit astronomer, astrologer, and philosopher.
Today we might call them truth seekers, and when they saw this star, they were willing to do whatever it took to find the answer.
Very few people, however, make this sort of commitment to search for the truth. But if they do, then God promises they will find Him.
The Lord said,
“And you will seek Me and find Me, when you search for Me with all your heart.” (Jeremiah 29:13)
Next we see Joseph and Mary, which reveal that Christmas is all about God using ordinary people for His extraordinary purpose.
God’s chose them because they trusted in Him. There is a truth here that God uses people who desire to do His will.
And then there are the shepherds, which are kind of like a combination of both Joseph and Mary and the Magi, but with one difference. They communicated the Good News they witnessed.
As God sent Jesus into this world, Jesus says that He is then sending us.
“As the Father has sent Me, I also send you.” (John 20:21)
And so, God uses ordinary people like you and me who seek after His truth to tell the world the Good News of Jesus Christ.
The last thing I want us to focus upon is the Manger. It was into the manger that the baby Jesus was laid, who is none other than the Lord God, creator of heaven and earth.
But it wasn’t a cute little baby cradle, nor was it the nice wood one we see in the picture with clean hay. It was a cold hewed out rock. It was smelly, cattle saliva, chewed food that filled the feeding trough that they laid clean hay in.
The Manger reveals that Christmas is about God’s transforming power. It is symbolic of what can happen to ordinary people when Jesus Christ, God’s Son, resides within them.
We are all mangers, that is, standard run of the mill ordinary sinners full of all sorts of gunky re-chewed up stuff. But when we make that choice to accept Jesus into our lives, He makes us brand new creations in Him and part of God’s divine family.
Tonight allow Jesus to bring such a transformation in your life? Accept Him as your Savior, and you will experience the promise declared by the angels, peace and God’s favor.
Just as Jesus broke through the confusion and chaos back then, He wants to break through the confusion and chaos and be born anew in every life. Where “Unto you, this day, a Savior who is Christ the Lord can be born.”
So into this troubled world, God sends the same Christmas card with the picture of Jesus’ birth. Will you accept it, open it up, and receive the truth of what it represents; and that is a new life?
The fundamental message of Christmas isn’t peace on earth good will towards men, rather
Wednesday Evening Bible Study