Christmas Parties! Yes tis the season of gathering people together, eating great food, enjoying the lights on the tree, friends, family, gifts and Jesus... I have so many wonderful memories of Christmas and it seems each year I gain a new perspective of the celebration. I don't know if it was a misunderstood perspective from childhood, or maybe to make it easier we create "myths" that become tradition around the Christmas celebration. For instance, we see manger scenes with shepherds and wisemen gathered around the babe in swadling clothes with his parents nearby. But in reality, the wisemen didn't see baby Jesus until he was about 2 years old. Then Joseph was warned in a dream to flee to Egypt to escape Herod's edict to kill all children younger than two years old.
There was also scandle around Jesus' birth too. Young Mary becoming pregnant and unmarried at the time. Joseph having to make a decision to either divorce her quietly or still marry her. But again God warned Joseph in a dream and told him to marry her, and that this child was from the Holy Spirit. What obedience these two expressed toward God! But the first Christmas wasn't some warm, intimate religious experience in the sense that we celebrate today. It was awkward, fearful, inconvenient, dirty, smelling, crowded and uncertain for Mary and Joseph. Even though they headed to Bethlehem, the place of Joseph's family hertitage, and no doubt Joseph had several family members there, they had no other place to stay but a manger. Shouldn't some family members have been open to letting pregnant Mary stay in their room? Didn't the realize that this was no ordinary baby, that this was the Christ!? What would we have done?
Then there is the jealousy factor of King Herod. What!? A king, other than me is born? Well, he will take care of that problem. Can you imagine such jealousy moving a person to murder toddlers in the whole region? Here is baby Jesus entering the world, Mary and Joseph dedicated and obedient followers of the one true God and they experience such hardships in the first several years of Jesus' life. They may have even questioned, how could this be? However, God led them at the exact time and way that they needed it. Nothing is impossible for God, no matter what the circumstance. Mankind thinks that they are in control, and their sin does lead them to make decisions apart from God's desires for us - but nothing is outside of God's control. He indeed works out everything to the good of those who love him and are called according to his purpose.
What is your view and picture of Christmas? Have you taken the time this Christmas to actually read what the scripture says?
Matthew 1:18-2:23 Luke 1:26-2:52 John 1:1-18 Isaiah 9, 11
May the Joy and Knowlege of Christ be your celebration this year!
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