Christmas 2005 How Do You Deal With The Christmas
How do we deal with the Christmas Message?
-- Michael Card in The Promise.
All we could ever imagine, could ever hope for, He is. ... He is the Prince of Peace whose first coming has already transformed society but whose second coming will forever establish justice and righteousness. All this, and infinitely more, alive in an impoverished baby in a barn. That is what Christmas means--to find in a place where you would least expect to find anything you want, everything you could ever want.
There was an absent-minded man who could never remember in the morning
where he had put the things he would need for the next day. One night, he
hit upon the idea of writing down exactly where everything was. Sitting in
bed, he wrote: "My keys are on the night table. My wallet is in my pants
and my pants are hanging on the chair next to the bedroom window. My shoes
are under the bed. My jacket is hanging in the closet. My address book is
in the inside pocket of my jacket. My watch is on the mantle piece. And I
am in bed."
When he awakened in the morning, with his notes guiding him he
found his keys on the night table. He found his wallet in his pants
hanging on the chair. He found his shoes under the bed. He found his watch
on the mantle piece. He found his jacket in the closet. He found his
address book in the jacket.
Then he went over to the bed to find himself,
but he wasn't there. He searched hard, but he just couldn't find himself.
That man's dilemma is far from unique these days.
we all have a need to deal with an "Identity Crisis": the question of how
to get in touch with our real self.
"Who am I?" "Why was I born/Why am I living?"
· If we want to "get it all together" and experience abundant life,
we must take these questions to heart.
In six days…The celebration of Christmas…has the answer to these questions!!!
Having once again relived the events of the Christmas story, hopefully
many of us are pondering all these things in our hearts.
Perhaps some of
us have been thinking about Mary & Joesph
Ø First, the
nine months of expectation.
Ø Then, the long, hard journey to Bethlehem
where the baby is born under the most difficult conditions.
Ø Then comes the
morning after. With a newborn baby to take care of and the need to get her
strength back, they discovers that she cannot go home again.
Ø To protect the
Baby from the murderous King Herod, she and her family will have to leave
Nine months before, she had known that she was going to give birth
to a very special Baby. She didn't understand it fully but, in a beautiful
expression of obedience,
She had said, "Let it be to me Lord, according to
Put yourself in Mary's place.
How do you deal with it? How do you get hold of it? How do you make any sense of it? What is it all about, Lord?
In one of the most beautiful verses in all the Bible, the Gospel writer
tells us that "Mary treasured all these things and reflected on them in her heart" (Lk. 2:19).
In earlier translations we find the word
"pondering." "Mary kept all these things, pondering them in her heart."
In the original Greek the words which we translate into "pondering" literally
mean to "cast together."
Ø A time to ponder them in our heart.
Ø A time to begin
getting it all together.
How do we deal with the Christmas story?
What's it all about?
How do we make sense of it?
What does it mean for our life?
John R. W. Stott once admitted the truth that many of us have felt but failed to confess:
"The thing I know will give me the deepest joy -- namely, to be alone and unhurried in the presence of God, aware of His presence, my heart open to worship Him -- is often the thing I least want to do."
From Mrs. Lettie Cowman's wonderful book, Springs in the Valley comes this interesting tale from African colonial history:
In the deep jungles of Africa, a traveler was making a long trek. Coolies had been engaged from a tribe to carry the loads. The first day they marched rapidly and went far. The traveler had high hopes of a speedy journey. But the second morning these jungle tribesmen refused to move. For some strange reason they just sat and rested. On inquiry as to the reason for this strange behavior, the traveler was informed that they had gone too fast the first day, and that they were now waiting for their souls to catch up with their bodies.
This whirling rushing life which so many of us live does for us what that first march did for those poor jungle tribesmen. The difference: they knew what they needed to restore life's balance; too often we do not.
I smiled recently when I read about an angry church member who blustered up to his minister, saying, "I phoned you Monday, but I couldn't get you." The preacher explained that it was his day off. "What? A day off? The devil never takes a day off!" exclaimed the member with holier-than-thou indignation. "That's right, " said the minister, "and if I didn't take any 'time out,' I would be just like him!"
Yes, we do need to rest. As Vance Havner used to say, "If we don't come apart, we'll come apart!"
Several years ago, newspapers told how a new Navy jet fighter shot itself down. Flying at supersonic speed, it ran into cannon shells it had fired only a few seconds before. The jet was traveling too fast!
You are also traveling too fast, if you don't have time to worship God in regular church services, if you don't have time to read the Bible, if you don't have time to pray.
If you're neglecting any of these, you're probably traveling too fast to hear the sound of God's voice.
You can't tell whether you are in the center of His will. Better slow down before, like the jet, you shoot yourself down.
One morning, early in her career, a teacher arrived at school early and
was surprised to see a youngster anxiously waiting at the door. "It's
locked," the student said as the teacher tried the door. I began to fumble for my keys, and the child immediately brightened.
"You're a teacher," he said enthusiastically. "How do you know that?" I
asked. He hesitated for a moment, then said with respect, "You have the
If, you're still going around in circles trying to
find your real self, then you have missed the overwhelming statement of
the Christmas Event: The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a son, and they shall call Him Emmanuel, a Name that means "God is with us"
"You have the key!" You have the key!
Ø Christ is the key to the riddle of your identity crisis!
Ø Christ is the key to the real you!
Ø God is with you
in Jesus Christ and He wants to release you from the drudgery of mere
Ø He wants to open you up to new possibilities: a new birth; a
new year; a new life!
Down deep at the center of each one of us there is a longing to be whole;
to be complete; to get it all together in our life.
The problem is, we
have so many things pushing in on us, barricading us against God's Loving
But God doesn't give up on us. He is calling us now.
He sent to the shepherds of old hasn't changed: "You have nothing to fear.
I come to proclaim good news to you -- tidings of great joy to be shared
by the whole people ... a Savior has been born to you (Lk. 2:10, 11).
Hearing this message, the shepherds "went in haste and found Mary, and
Joseph, and the Baby lying in the manger; once they saw, they understood
what had been told to them concerning the Child. All who heard of it were
astonished at the report given them by the shepherds" (Lk. 2:16-18).
The God who gave you life is for you, loves you infinitely---------
----------wants you to
find the real you in His Kingdom of Love.
Emmanuel: God is with you in
The Christmas season gives us an opportunity to turn on the light of God's Word and reveal the true meaning of Christmas to those around us.
- Don't conform to the world's behavior and customs. Consumerism reaches an annual high, and holiday decorations abound for all to see and enjoy, yet Jesus is almost nowhere to be found.
** It is important that during this busy season you reserve time to honor Christ by the regular reading of Scripture, time spent in prayer, and allowing your commitment and love for Him be evident in all you do.
- Be aware of the spiritual struggle.
Keeping Christ out of Christmas is part of Satan's strategy.
Ø He doesn't care how you celebrate the holiday as long as Jesus is not the main focus of your attention.
Then he's got a foothold by which he can subtly influence your thinking in other dimensions of life. Don't let Jesus be just a part of your Christmas holiday - make Him the reason for the season.
Every time you see yourself losing focus, repeat 2 Corinthians 9:15 to yourself: Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift
- Give God first place at Christmas.
Seek first His kingdom and His righteousness and all these things will be given to you as well (Matt. 6:33).
To give God first place in your life means to turn to Him first for help,
- to fill your thoughts with His desires, and to obey Him in everything. *
So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God (1 Cor. 10:31).
The Prophet Isaiah uses the marriage figure in his poetic prophetic
foreshadowing of the blessed Christmas event.
"The Lord delights in you
... as a bridegroom rejoices in his bride so shall God rejoice in you," he
says (Isaiah 62:4,5).
And in Matthew's Gospel we find the following quote
from the same Isaiah: The virgin shall be with child and give birth to a
son, and they shall call Him Emmanuel (Mt. 1:23).
"Emmanuel," Matthew immediately adds, means "God is with us."
selfless lover who commits his entire being to the beloved in the marriage
union of two-in-one-flesh, God is with us in the Person of our Lord and
Savior, Jesus Christ.
Ø In season and out, in sickness and in health, for
better or for worse, God is with us in the Body of Christ.
not unlike a time of renewal of marriage vows between the Blessed
Bridegroom and His people.
"Look for the one who comes after me," said John the Baptist. "I am not
worthy to unfasten the sandals on His feet" (Acts 13:25).
Look no further,
brothers and sisters. Our Model of *****Perfection has come!
*****Christmas has come!
*The time has come for us to seek our perfect fulfillment in the Lord Jesus.
Are you getting the message, treasuring all these things and
pondering them in your heart this morning?