Summary: Christmas came at the appointed time, in the appointed way and for an appointed purpose. How specifically, and what difference does that make?
ILL Narnia - no Christmas
the Lion the Witch and the Wardrobe is a story of four children who are transported into the land of Narnia, where they are confronted with adventures and the ultimate ruler of the world, the lion Aslan. But when they arrive it is ruled by the White Witch.
In describing the White Witch to her siblings, Lucy says: “She has made an enchantment over the whole country so that it is always winter here and never Christmas.”
The picture that is drawn is that it is a dead, evil and fearful time.
But then Aslan comes to Narnia, and although the children haven’t yet met him, they know that things are changing This is evident with the arrival of Father Christmas.
Father Christmas says, “I’ve come at last. She has kept me out for a long time, but I have got in at last. Aslan is on the move. The Witch’s magic is weakening.” Soon after the snow begins melting, flowers bloom.In Narnia, the fullness of time had come. Winter was breaking. There was hope of new life.
In the same way, Christmas signals hope for mankind.
2000 years ago the people of Israel had experienced a "prolonged winter" of sorts -- invaded and ruled by one empire after another
Rome was now ruling. They imposed their laws and chose the governors for the Jews.
To make things worse, a census was taken to tax the world . This required that each person had to go to his town of ancestral origin in order to register. They had no choice!
ALSO: No revelation from God for 400 years! -- since the writing of Malachi.
SUM: From the Jews’ and Earth’s perspective, the world and destiny was controled by someone else; nothing could be done; no end in sight.
Can you relate? Sometimes it feels like something else is controling our lives, and we are powerless to do anything about it:an employer or boss, the economy, the government, an abusive spouse or parent; a stigma or label given to us at childhood that somehow stuck and gives a negative impression on those we meet or associate with; a past mistake or trauma that keeps our present always imprisoned.; an addiction, depression
From the Earth’s perspective: House of commons is shaping our destiny; your employer or company owners; pawns of the stock market, parents, university faculty, coach, spouse, minority rights groups, majority, environment, cancer/disease, media, weather, etc.
Something else is in control; things out of our hands -- social status, lack of opportunities; consequences of parents’ decisions
Result: frustration, anxiety, despair, helpless/powerless -- "winter" but no Christmas
But Earth isn’t the only perspective! What we see and experience isn’t all that there is. There is a much bigger picture
From Heaven’s perspective: Everything happening according to Divine Plan; under God’s control. The stage is set for an event in history that would change the course of history -- every age and nation as well as every person -- forever
I. THE MESSAGE UNDERLYING CHRISTMAS: GOD FULFILLS HIS PURPOSES.
Christmas didn’t happen by chance or fluke or at the wrong time or place.
4But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law, 5to redeem those under law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. (Gal.4:4-5)
That is a description of Christmas. It was something that happened at the appointed time, for an appointed purpose in an appointed way.
Q: Why was the census taken? (according to what we read in Luke 2)
Earth: Because Augustus decreed it.
Heaven: Because God decreed that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem, and it was time for the Messiah to be born.
"But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." (Micah 5:2)
Prior to this Mary was in Nazareth, 80 miles away.
Q: Why did Mary and Joseph go to Bethlehem?
Earth: Because Joseph was from the family line of David, and that is where that family was to register.
Heaven: Because the Messiah would be from the family of David.
"The LORD declares to you that the LORD himself will establish a house for you: 12 When your days are over and you rest with your fathers, I will raise up your offspring to succeed you, who will come from your own body, and I will establish his kingdom. 13 He is the one who will build a house for my Name, and I will establish the throne of his kingdom forever. 14 I will be his father, and he will be my son. (2 Sam.7:11-14)
ie. it wasn’t only that Augustus issued the decree of the census, because if Joseph would have been from a different ancestry, he would have gone to a different town.