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Summary: The hidden messages and deeper meanings of some of the Christmas story’s most enduring images. It is formatted in antiphonal fashion with Christmas carols interspersed throughout.

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MESSAGE IN A MANGER

Christmas Around The World—Part 2

This week Sarah and I are celebrating our 20th wedding anniversary. A few years back Sarah gave me one of the most thoughtful gifts for our anniversary. In fact it was several gifts. And I had the fun of opening several gifts throughout the day. What I didn’t know was that each gift was symbolic of a favorite memory of our years together. I was simply having a great time opening gifts.

She had come up with a list of favorite memories from each year of our marriage, she then individually packaged a gift that represented each of those memories. So at the end of the day I had about a dozen presents. She then asked me to think about each gift and what memory it represented from our life together. Each gift was great, but each gift had a deeper message from Sarah’s heart.

I wonder if sometime God doesn’t do those kinds of things with us. Most assuredly he did that during the first Christmas. When everything was said and done…the baby was born, the angels appeared, the shepherds paid homage…when everything was said and done. The bible tells us that Luke 2:19 (NIV) But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

I wonder what she was thinking. I wonder if she understood the hidden messages—the deeper messages of that first Christmas.

In 1984, Mark Lowry was asked to write a script for a church Christmas play. Lowry wrote a series of questions that he would like to ask Mary, the mother of Jesus. These questions were used as filler in between the scenes of the play. Six years later, Buddy Greene wrote the music; thus, the Christmas play script became the song.

Mary Did You Know?

DID YOU KNOW THE TIMING’S TALE?

The Fullness of Time Had Come

Luke 2:1-5 (NIV) In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. [2] (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) [3] And everyone went to his own town to register.

[4] So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. [5] He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.

I wonder if Mary knew that Jesus was born right on time, in exactly the right spot. The timing was important. Paul declares in his epistles, ‘the fullness of time had come.” Did Mary know that? Was she aware that all the maneuvering, the machinations, the census, the journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem was precisely timed in God’s plan millennia before?

Jesus came, in fact, at exactly the right time. Even those who are not believers will say that it was the best of times for the gospel of Jesus Christ to be disseminated across the western world and beyond. Pax Romana, the Roman peace, had brought nations under the rule of a single emperor. People could travel on the Roman roads. There was a common language. But even those outside the Roman Empire saw a star that moved across the sky from the east, and they too came. It was the very best of times for the Son to come.


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