Regardless of who we are, where we live, the color of our skin, what we believe or not, it’s really what each one of us inwardly longs for.
The Christmas Story.
Hard to believe Christmas will be here in less than 20 days by the time you read this in your local newspaper. Perhaps it’d been better to wait on sharing it until the week before Christmas, but I was feeling pretty reflective, so thought I’d share it now.
When you hear the word “Christmas,” what comes to mind?
For some it’s just a time for shopping and gift giving. For non-Christian groups it’s a time for their own observation or celebration. But, for Christians it means something entirely different.
It’s the Night when Heaven came down to earth in a most unusual way. And, in reality, it’s when God would be far-off and unknowable; instead, when people looked into Jesus’ Face they really saw the Face of God.
Now, I’ll be the first to admit it’s hard to wrap one’s mind around the Christmas Story. First of all, our logical, scientific minds say it’s impossible for a virgin to give birth to a baby. Nowadays we know all about chromosomes, DNA, genetic make-up, etc., so Luke’s account of Gabriel’s appearing to Mary and Jesus’ Birth in Bethlehem (Lk. 1:26-56; 2:1-20) seems far-fetched and make-believe.
Likewise, when I read Isaiah’s prophecy of what the coming Messiah would be like and what would happen in Is. 53, I am further perplexed. In fact, when I read how it’d be His own Father Who’d “lay on Him the iniquity of us all…how it’d please HIM (the Father) to bruise Him (the Son)…and how HE (the Father) would be satisfied when He saw the suffering of His (Jesus’) soul” (vv.6, 10-11)…my mortal mind cannot grasp it all. In fact, I inwardly cringe because it sounds like some sadistic, deranged tyrant.
But, that’s where childlike Faith comes in.
Yes, to really catch a glimpse of the true meaning of the Christmas Story you must be like a small, wide-eyed child who’s experiencing his/her first Christmas. But, in the case of a true Christian, we’re not believing in fairy tales about elves, flying reindeer or Santa Claus coming down the chimney to put out your presents on Christmas Eve night.
No, the Christmas Story is all about how the One Who created us wanted to reveal Himself more personally. No longer would He be some mystical Being Who communicated to us through miracles in nature, visions, angelic visitors, prophets, etc.; instead, He would become “one of us” and be subjected to everything we are in life.
That’s why He was born into abject poverty and obscurity. That way He could identify with the down-and-outs in life…those who’ve been abused or abandoned…being hungry and homeless…Whose Name would be “Immanuel” (“God with us”).
Likewise, from the time He was born and for His entire time on earth He was “despised and rejected of men” (Is. 53:3). He knew what it felt like to be falsely accused, have His Face slapped, be spit upon, etc. He also knew the sting of betrayal by those who were closest to Him.
But, still He stayed the course and didn’t look back—knowing His Path would ultimately lead Him to a cruel, excruciatingly painful death on the Cross. Why would He do that?
Simply because He loved us and wants to spend eternity with us.
Yes, He knows we all want to be loved and accepted. He knows we long to belong to a warm, nurturing family where unconditional Love governs all.
Thus, in reality, that’s what the Christmas Story is all about and extends from the cradle to the Cross. Here’s praying you’ve experienced it firsthand and enjoy sharing it with others. God bless you.
NOTE: If you’d like to contact Bro. Tom or receive his daily e-mail devotional, entitled “Morning Manna,” you can write him at P.O. Box 10614, Fort Smith, AR 72917 or e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.