Summary: A Christmas Eve service looking at the Manger Scene and the significance to our lives through those that we see within it.
God’s Christmas Card
Here we are once again celebrating Christmas in troublous times. We hear the phrase, “Peace on earth, goodwill to men,” yet see very little of it.
• We are still fighting the war on terror, which finds our soldiers fighting around the world, and we’re still facing nuclear threats from some pretty unstable regimes.
• We are also fighting battles within our own country with rival gangs killing each other as well as innocent bystanders. And then there is the increased violence within our schools.
• Violent crimes are also on the increase as well as an overall increase in natural disasters, famine and disease across the globe.
These pictures really don’t make Christmas card photos you’d want to send to your family and friends. These are not the scenes of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, nor is it Bing Crosby’s “I’m dreaming of a white Christmas.”
But maybe we can get a glimpse through these images of what was going on in the world and in the land of Israel on that very first Christmas. The Roman military ruthlessly controlled the nation of Israel. Acts of terrorism by religious zealots were commonplace with the Romans retaliating with ruthless savagery. And religion was making rules with sever punishment if these rules were broken.
The people were weary and oppressed. And it was to this world that Christmas came, and of God breaking through into a world filled with turmoil.
And it is this same story of Christmas that God breaks through into our world as well. In this world filled with turmoil and chaos, Jesus can break through and bring the peace promised by the angels into the lives of those who will believe.
God sends to this earth a Christmas card with the same pictures that He has sent every year since that first Christmas. It is a picture designed to bring hope and peace to all who will embrace it. It is the picture of Jesus’ birth.
The unfortunate part of this picture is that people have become a little bit too familiar with it. They’ve seen it year after year on the mantle places in homes, on the Internet, in postcards, in front yards, and on TV commercials hawking all sorts of merchandise.
Because of all this exposure the nativity has lost its true meaning and has faded into the background of the world’s consciousness.
But it is this Christmas card that God is still sending to all humanity saying that in the midst of the horror, chaos, trials, and tribulations, the promised peace and hope is still available for all who put their hope and trust in that baby lying in a manger.
Let’s take a closer look at this wonderful picture.
The first thing that captures our attention is the Star.
It is the light that guided the Magi to the child Jesus. What this star represents is our receiving directions for our lives. This was no ordinary star. It was a divinely commissioned light.
• Maybe you’ve been wandering around in spiritual circles making little if any headway, and you’re wondering if anything’s going to change?
• Maybe you’re feeling more confused about the meaning of life; that life somehow isn’t adding up the way you thought it should? and