Summary: We all know the story but what is it we forget about Christmas?
Christmas, it’s probably the most celebrated holiday in the world. If you were to stop your average man on the street and ask him about Christmas, I’d be willing to bet that you would hear all of the essential ingredients of the Yule time. The virgin birth, Mary and Josephs trip to Bethlehem, the full inn, the manger in the stable, the shepherds and angels, the wise men. All of those elements would be present, even in the most unchurched person. Our entire society proclaims Christ’s birth whether wittingly or unwittingly. Every time they write Merry Christmas they write the name of Christ. While they are shopping they are listening to the story of Christmas in song and because of that they have the Christmas story down pat.
The story is first told in the Bible in the book of Matthew, the first book of the New Testament, and it’s fitting that we should be starting the New Testament during the Advent or Christmas Season, because really what better place to start then the beginning?
The book was written by Matthew who was one of Christ’s 12 Apostles. You may recall that Matthew was a tax collector and Jesus literally called him from the booth where he was collecting taxes, as tax collectors were wont to do. Immediately Matthew had a party and invited all of his grotty friends over to meet Jesus. Now there is an interesting concept.
The Gospel of Matthew, the word Gospel simply means “Good News”, was written primarily for Jewish readers. That’s why more then any of the other Gospels Matthew points his readers back to the Old Testament to show how Jesus fulfilled various prophecies. It was written around 70 AD although some believe it could have been written up to 20 years earlier then that. Why was it written? To offer proof that Jesus was the long awaited Messiah.
And it is here the story of Jesus begins a very familiar story that will be proclaimed in shopping malls and on secular radio stations for the next three weeks.
And because we have become so familiar with the entire story, the emphasis is now on the play rather then the main character. We all remember the play but what are some of the things we forget?
1) In the comfortable warmth of the manger scene We Forget Why God chose To Become A Human.
Ever since we have been little kid’s we’ve been taught to be self sufficient, told to “Learn how to do it yourself.” And that’s a pretty noble goal, that self sufficiency thing. It works well for learning to tie your shoes, doing your homework, eventually earning a living, providing a home and raising a family. After all as nice as it may seem people can’t do everything for you all of your life. And so we learn to “Do it ourselves.”
The one area that this fails in is trying to get to heaven. Throughout history man has tried to be good enough and moral enough to measure up to God. And it just hasn’t happened. No matter how hard we try the words of the prophet Isaiah 64:6 rings true We are all infected and impure with sin. When we proudly display our righteous deeds, we find they are but filthy rags. Like autumn leaves, we wither and fall. And our sins, like the wind, sweep us away.
For two thousand years in the history of the Jews God sent his prophets to the people of Israel, and they were ignored in some cases, persecuted in other cases and sometimes just plain killed. And so God decided to take drastic action, after all in His word the Bible it is written in 2 Peter 3:9 (NIV) The Lord is not slow in keeping his promise, as some understand slowness. He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.
All through the Old Testament God tried to explain through His prophets and servants the way to Him and yet because we were either unable or unwilling to seek Him God decided to make Himself one of us, Paul writes in Philippians 2:6-7 Though he was God, he did not demand and cling to his rights as God. He made himself nothing; he took the humble position of a slave and appeared in human form.
We forget that the child in the manger was none less then Almighty God. That He was the one who created the heavens and the earth, and that the was the one who created each one of us. The Bible says in the book of Colossians 1:16 Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things we can see and the things we can’t see—kings, kingdoms, rulers, and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him.