Summary: Contemplating the timeless truths of Christmas
Most likely every one of us who have come together on this special morning have, in the past several days caught at least a glimpse of a familiar scene… that is, THE NATIVITY SCENE… some form of representing the birth of Jesus, God the Son… the savior of all creation.
- Perhaps in your neighborhood, on a church lawn, on a Christmas card, on a television ad… or maybe in your home.
- Like any representation … sometimes the picture can get a little mixed up.
· Our 2 year old son Travis… was telling us the story with a set of characters. Was surprisingly correct until… picks up the shepherd and flies… “superman.”
· Kindergarten class asks to draw the Christmas scene…one kid perfect… except one short fat man.
“Jimmy, that isn’t Santa Claus is it ?”… Of course not… it’s “Round John Virgin.”
But perhaps the greater challenge is simply not having time to stop and look… If you’re like me perhaps its a scene that is often given just a glance.
> This morning I want to invite you to spend some moments with me in which we can stop a bit… and stare a bit.
We must understand that what we see are TIMELESS TRUTHS of a TIMELESS EVENT.
This scene changed human history forever. …literally dividing our dating of human life..
2,000 years later …year after year… our major news magazines feature cover stories about this figure.
No one has ever touched the world like Jesus Christ. No one has ever reformed human history with such radical and lasting power.
And from the beginning there have been men who have tried with all their power to silence him….which leaves historians amazed at hw one born in such obscurity could be ever increasing in influence.
How could this little scene known as the “nativity scene” change the world forever ?
Because it represents not only God who acts IN history.. but is OVER history.
The divine drama is still in progress.
The scene we see is timeless in it’s truth about God’s relationship to us.
So what do we see in Christmas ?…. in this Divine Drama ?
> There are many elements… each rich in meaning. Let use the zoom lenses of our minds to focus on just a few. (Each of which were a part of the account which was read at the start of our worship this morning… and likely familiar to most.)
Let’s begin with…
1. The Wise Men and Star
Look closely at these travelers. They are not kings but rather.. …. Magi…a tribe of Medians frm the Persian Empire in the East. Wise Men…served as counselors/advisors to the king…men of wisdom, skilled in philosophy, medicine and the natural sciences.
They aren’t those familiar with what God has made known of Himself to the people of Israel whom He had chosen….. In fact they represent those farthest away.
> But they were willing to look beyond themselves… They were willing to truly seek…. And they were willing to find. They were true seekers.
And to such seekers a star arises that they recognize as a source of guidance.
> God provides guidance for those who truly seek Him.
My friend Shourie in India. Successful engineering student… wandered out into the desert from his campus and spoke his heart. “God if you are the unknowable god or countless gods my people fear.. then it does me no good to know you. But if you really exist and I can know you… I want to know you.” Given a vision of a cross… but had no idea what it meant. Went back to the campus and shared his vision with a friend who suggested that a Christian student they knew might know… and there he learned of what the cross he’d been shown meant. He was too honest for religious ritual… wanted to know… wanted relationship… and God heard.
> God provides guidance for those who seek Him.
And most often it involves people in that process.
Perhaps you found that personal relationship years ago. Can you think what your life would be like… who would you be….. what you would be doing, had it not been for some form of guidance God used in your life.
But perhaps you feel a lot more like one still seeking than one who’s found. Perhaps you even sense you’ve been wandering in spiritual circles…. Finding principles but not the real relationship you long for.
> Let me encourage you… chances are God may have already provided you with a source
Maybe sitting next to you even now.
> God provides guidance for those who seek Him.
(2. The Stable)
Now refocus your zoom lens a little bit and look at the stable itself, the rough-hewn hut that stablemakers always construct in a quaint, Christmasy style. Have you got the stable in focus? I can assure you the stable that Jesus was born in was anything but quaint. It was just like a thousand other stables, crowded with smelly animals, dark, damp, and rodent-infested. It was an all-around rotten place to birth a baby. Which makes a thinking person ask, “If God could commandeer a star to serve as a travel guide, why couldn’t He commandeer a suite at the Bethlehem Hilton or at least a private room in the local hospital? The star is a much bigger feat than a suite would be.” The answer is that