Summary: Over thousands and Thousands of years, God has been trying to convey His message of love to mankind. On the first Christmas morning, He did the ultimate on this. Yet, some of us still stay away from the Manger
Breaking Down the walls between us and the manger
We are closing in on yet another Christmas season. The air is already filled with festivities, and people are thinking about cakes, candies, great food, carols, decorations, gifts, new cloths, holidays, travels, family get togethers and everything joyous. At BBF we are thinking about the barbeque evening scheduled for next Saturday. This indeed is a joyous period.
And it the time when you will hear many of the much clichéd sayings like, “Don’t forget the reason for the season”, “Don’t forget the person whose birthday we are celebrating”. Don’t commercialize Christmas”, “Don’t turn this into a pagan festival” etc. This is also the time when arguments about the historical evidence of the date crops up. People start arguing about what is the true and proper Christian way to celebrate Christmas, whether putting up a Christmas tree is allowed or not, whether we should teach little children about Santa Claus or not. The good news is, whether you are a believer or not, everyone has a reason to talk about Christmas.
This morning I want to spend time in guiding us to think about what is God’s message for us through Christmas. What was God telling us?
But first let us take a look at how the world makes sure that we listen to their messages. One of the major sources of income for celebrities is through endorsements. You know it right? We have Aishwaray Rai telling us that “we are worth it” and hence use L’Oreal. We have Sachin asking us to let the Dil Mange more. We have Sharukh asking us all to become fairer. We have Kareena Kapoor selling the stylishness of the laptops, we have Sanjay Dutt telling us that eating chicken is healthy even during the avian flu times. We have Salman Khan promising great discounts only if we will buy tickets and Hotels through his travel agency.
Further more, we have seen Businessmen endorsing causes, chartable and otherwise. We have politicians endorsing views and strategies. There are celebrities asking us to save the tiger, and save wildlife, drive carefully, wear helmets, use bicycles instead of cars, give way to ambulances, fight against AIDS, etc etc. The world around us is all about endorsements, for good things as well as bad things. There are multiple and many times confusing messages out there.
In the midst of all this there is one another person who is trying to talk to us. Another person who has been trying to send us a message for a very long time. For a very long long time. That is God himself. Ever since the fall of mankind, He has been trying to tell us through various means, through various people, at various points in human existence. He tried to reach that message to us through signs and wonders. He sent plagues, which did not touch his chosen people, he parted the red sea right in front of them. He defeated an entire army with just 300 men. He brought fire down on a very very wet bundle of wood and meat (Elijah, 1Kings 18:33-38, also Gideon, Judges 6:21). He healed leprosy in unbelievers (Naaman, 2Kings 5:1-15). He tried to send his messages through multiple people . He used Patriarchs ( Abraham), He used Kings (David), He used a long line of Prophets starting from Moses to Micah , he used Beauty Queens (Esther), he used Macho men (Samson), he used statesmen (Nehemiah), He used Poets (David, Solomon and Asaph), he used thinkers and intellectuals (Daniel), he used Warriors (Gideon, Joshua), He used the rich (Job), He used the Poor (Servant girl in Naaman’s house), He used magicians (Balaam), He used every conceivable type of personality to convey His message to man kind. He even tried speaking through a donkey (Numbers 22:28-30)
And what was the message? Was it a complicated message that he was trying to convey? Was he trying to sell us some thing? This is where we get amazed by the simplicity of the whole thing. Have you noticed in life that some times, the simplest of messages are the most difficult ones to convey?
The message that he was trying to convey was very simple. That He loves us no matter what, and He wants us to be reconciled to Him. His message was clear. In His own words “Because I am GOD, your personal God, The Holy of Israel, your Savior. I paid a huge price for you: all of Egypt, with rich Cush and Seba thrown in! That's how much you mean to me! That's how much I love you! I'd sell off the whole world to get you back, trade the creation just for you.” (Isaiah 43:3-4 (MSG) ) He wanted us back. He wanted to demonstrate His love in manner that we will understand.