Summary: Keeping Christ in the middle of your Christmas focus and letting God finish the picture of your perfect Christmas...
Filling in the Background: God Can Get it Done
Well, we’re getting closer and closer to Christmas. Things are getting busier, our calendars are full and our wallets are empty. Some are preparing to travel, some are preparing to entertain. Some of you have all of your shopping done, and I’ll see some of you in Wal-Mart on Christmas Eve when I’m finishing my shopping. We’ve looked, these last two weeks, at how to prepare ourselves for the Celebration of the coming of Christ to Earth. How to stop and reflect on what’s really important this Christmas and how to refocus our thoughts and attention back to the center of it all, the Christ child in the manger. This is the time when we really focus in on the amazing miracle of the Word becoming Flesh, of God becoming one of us, to save us. This is the time of year that we celebrate that birth and everything about it.
We all know the story. We sing about the angels and the wise men. We hear the stories of the shepherds and of the crowded inn that was too full for Mary and Joseph. We see the Nativity scenes of the new mother leaning over the crude manger as her child sleeps amidst the cows and the sheep. We’ve heard Christmas messages preached on every last detail and from every perspective. I know a pastor who did an entire Christmas series from the perspective of a cow in the stable! We have heard it so many times and from so many different angles that we sometimes forget the magnitude of the event. At no other time in history has God intervened like this. There is nothing found even in legends and myths that can compare to the reality of the birth of God, here on Earth. The moment the world had been waiting for, the event that the prophets had spoken of and foretold, the fulfillment of God’s plan of salvation, the ultimate act of humility and sacrifice was taking place in the little town of Bethlehem, the city of David.
God became man. Paul puts it this way:
PHP 2:6-7 Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.
The One who was, in all ways, God, was to become, in all ways, man. The creator had become like the very masterpieces that he had created. As we continue to look at this Christmas story, we see that God is bringing each piece of the puzzle into place here to make this first Christmas look the way that He had planned it from the beginning.
Growing up in my house, with my mother, there was one thing that you could be sure of whenever there was a holiday or a family get together, there was going to be a puzzle present. She’s a big fan of Charles Wysocki puzzles and there was always a card table set up with a puzzle that needed to be finished. Puzzles are a great way to bring people together. I can remember sitting and listening to my aunts and uncles talk and laugh and tell stories as they worked on the puzzle in front of them. I can also remember being so excited, as a kid, when I would get a piece to fit or I would finish a certain part that I was working on. As a general rule, with puzzles, you want to get the outside finished first. You do the perimeter, all of the straight edges, first. From there, you move onto the major aspects of the puzzle, the main focus. You pick out things that are unique, that you can find the pieces for and you put those together. The last thing that you do is the background. The background can be incredibly frustrating. Usually, the background pieces all look pretty similar and it can be hit and miss when it comes to finding the piece that you need.
We had a puzzle when I was little that was a monopoly board. Someone with a very twisted sense of humor had decided that this should be a puzzle. I’m not sure that we ever finished it and if we did, it was only after weeks of tedious, frustrating labor to get it done. Have you seen a Monopoly Board? The puzzle was a breeze at first, the colors were easy to match up and the picture of the old man in the middle took no time at all to finish. Then we got to the background. The background was all the same color. We had about half of the puzzle left and every piece was the same color with no distinguishing characteristics! Now to some, that may sound like fun, a challenge even. I’m not one of those people. For me, the stress of trying to figure out the background ruined the whole puzzle for me and I would never want to try something like that again.