1998-12-24 - Perspectives
Christmas Eve 1998
Luke 2:10-11 And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (NAS)
Tonight is a night that even the people who shoot at each other actually put down their guns and stop shooting. There is a sense of quiet anticipation. Whether you are 10 years old and hoping for that new bike, or 90 years old and looking forward to being with family again, when it is so hard to get out yourself, there is anticipation. We may not all remember why the gifts are given. But there is usually some thought put into what gift goes to whoever is on your Christmas list. Things that are considered important get more time in the heart and mind on days like this. These days are too few and too far between.
Many scholars place Jesus birth in another part of the year. They have their reasons, and some of them make a good deal of simple sense. It is fairly well known that the Emperor Constantine dictated that everyone in his realm would be Christians. He manipulated and merged pagan and Christian holidays, or holy days, together to help move the transition along I suppose. Christmas trees are indeed a Norse/Germanic tradition. All this and more is true.
But what is important tonight? A friend of mine and I were discussing Armenism vs. Calvinism. He is much more versed in the subjects than I am. But at the end of the evening we decided that all that mattered was that salvation works. Not how it works, or why it works, but simply that it works. Without that one point, we are all lost and separated from God with no way to make the connection.
Rom 5:6 For while we were still helpless, at the right time Christ died for the ungodly. (NAS)
So what is important? The important thing is that Jesus came. He loved us enough to come. He left glory and splendor in Heaven that we can not even begin to imagine to come to a stable. He was worshiped in perfection and came to live among imperfection that would eventually crucify Him in contempt. He came from where He was known as the Creator, to those who had almost stopped looking for His coming. When He told the leadership plainly they would not believe He was the Messiah, but rather they protected their little fiefdoms.
Micah 5:2 "But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of eternity." (NAS)
The Wisemen from the east knew what was important. These were the Court Magicians and Councillors of the descendants of the men Daniel taught. The knew of the star, they knew its meaning. They believed it enough to travel probably a years journey at the risk of their lives. They may not have understood all the implications, but they had the wisdom to know that a prophecy of a King 900 years in the making was not to be taken lightly.
Mary's baby resting quietly in the manger that night long ago, sung of by angels, visited by shepherds, and marked by a star had finally come. He had come to live a perfect, sinless life and to die in our place on the cross. He would show us the heart of God: mercy, grace and compassion. He would be tempted and battled by the enemy of our souls. But the outcome of the battle was never in doubt. Victory had been assured since before time began (Rev 13:8). The important thing was that He came.
Lord Jesus, thank You for never giving up on us. You loved us enough to come, and enough to die for us when there was no other way. You could have turned Your back and walked away. You could have brushed this creation aside with a thought and started over. But you didn't. At the right time, you stepped out of eternity and into time to save us. Show us what is important, so that our grateful hearts will burst and tell others of your love. Amen.
Grace & Peace,