Showing posts with label MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ CHRIST IS BORN!. Show all posts
Showing posts with label MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ CHRIST IS BORN!. Show all posts

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ CHRIST IS BORN!


MERRY CHRISTMAS! ~ CHRIST IS BORN!
Making Connections:
 
Whether on A Charlie Brown Christmas or a manger scene on the lawn of a local church or even stars used in decoration, Jesus' birth is present amidst the crowded holiday. Year after year, we may decorate the house, shop for Christmas presents, send Christmas cards, & hear this familiar Christmas story. Sometimes this repetition makes us overlook the real impact of the incarnation.
 
Today let's slow down & think deeply on some of the truths revealed in these passages. Consider them in light of the passages we have read for the past few weeks - the birth, life and identity of Jesus the Messiah. Read these statements a few times & ask God to let the reality of the Christmas story really sink in again, as though for the first time.
 
- Mary became pregnant while still a virgin, by the power of the Holy Spirit.
 
- God announced the coming of Jesus through prophecy & in the natural world through the sky, visible even from far off. Surrounding His birth were supernatural events like prophetic dreams & visits from angels.
 
- The birth of the great Messiah, God in flesh, took place in a stable. His first cradle was the trough from which animals ate their grain.
 
- Even as a baby, physically limited & helpless, Jesus was worthy of worship.
 
The story of Christmas involves miracles, which seem so out of touch with our present tangible reality. We read these accounts & because of their familiarity, we can accept the miracles - because they are from the Bible, not in front of our eyes this day.
 
Can you imagine for a moment being outside & a host of angels thundering down, filling the sky with announcement & praise? Can you imagine being Mary, told that you are going to have a child by the Holy Spirit? Can you imagine being Joseph, told that your betrothed is pregnant by the Holy Spirit? Can you imagine the Savior of the whole world, God in flesh, the very Word of God, wrapped up in a blanket in the manger of a stable?
 
This day we celebrate the great works of God - works that were announced in so many ways & times beforehand, brought to culmination in God's perfect time. We cannot forget as we read the Christmas story the why... Why was there a need for a Messiah? Why did He come as a man? Remember that the story began in the garden, when man first disobeyed & blood was first shed in his place. Jesus was born, God in human form, so that He could be our perfect substitute: living the life of holiness that we are unable to live, and dying on the cross the death we deserve. He transfers His righteousness to us & takes our unrighteousness upon Himself.
 
What did we do to earn this? Nothing. What motivated God to do this? His great love. How can we accept this? Not by works, but by belief that He was resurrected so that we might also have new life & life everlasting.
 
For God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, born in a stable that He might go from the manger to the cross, taking us from the garden through the very gates of heaven.
 
 
Questions for Reflection:
 
- What strikes you most from these accounts of Jesus' birth?
- How do the Scriptures we have been reading all month enrich your understanding of the Christmas story?
- How do these prophecies strengthen our belief in Jesus the Messiah?
- What is most meaningful to you personally this Christmas Day?
- What do you remember most from the past few weeks about who Jesus is?
- What is your favorite part of the Christmas story & why?