How many people have told you that they’ve thought a lot about Christmas? I mean seriously taken the time to delve into the meanings behind all the aspects of the original event that is Christmas. That’s what I thought, the time of year that surrounds the holiday becomes so busy that we hardly have time to breathe, let alone think.
I hope the last twelve posts have rekindled your imagination about this most blessed event. You’re probably wondering why I’m still writing about Christmas in February. Welcome to the world of a writer. Our calendars aren’t as cut and dried as the one that hangs on the wall. If I submit an article to a magazine now it won’t publish until April at the soonest, and that’s a small local magazine. A larger, national one probably wouldn’t appear until next fall sometime.
When I began this series after Thanksgiving I originally thought it would consist of six posts, just enough to fit by Christmas. As God brought more ideas of the season to my mind I knew this was much grander than I first thought. I stayed the course until the end of each character’s part of the story to complete the entire portrait as it’s laid out in the Bible. I now think this has a real possibility of becoming a book by this year’s holiday.
I want to wrap a bow on this journey with some concluding thoughts.
Why did God paint Himself into such a tight corner with all the predictions about the Messiah? Let’s look at a few of them: He would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7:14-Matthew 1:23), He would live in Nazareth (Matthew 2:23), He would be born in Bethlehem (Micah 5:2-Matthew 2:6), and He would be called out of Egypt (Hosea 11:1-Matthew 2:15). That’s quite a list of qualifications for the Chosen One, and that’s not an exhaustive one, either. The first one should have been enough. Right?
The reason God was so specific about His coming to Earth as a baby was to show that this One was THE Promised One. With each promise kept came assurance that God is, indeed, in control of all history. Even that not yet written? That’s right, He knows the future as well as the past. Since God was so spot on about the predictions of His Son’s first coming to Earth, shouldn’t we take comfort that He is just as accurate about Jesus’s second coming?
I think about that often when I’m approaching an intersection in a semi. The light has just turned red for me. I’m down-shifting to help slow the rig, I know the traffic crossing in front of me will be thick. The thought that crosses my mind in those moments is usually: This would be an interesting time for the rapture to take place. You see, I’m confident that will be the next big event in God’s course of history.
Why did God allow the massacre of innocent children? That’s such a hard question that most people shy away from it. But, since you asked, I’ll give you my answer. The formula for a good story involves: 1) a protagonist, the hero; 2) an object or person the hero could lose; and 3) an antagonist, the villain. The hero in this story is Jesus, the sinless Son of God. We are the real reason He came to Earth, He wants to save us from sin. Satan is the ultimate enemy for our souls, he is embodied in Herod.
The killing of innocent children shows the ultimate depravity we are being saved from. Herod’s paranoia of being the king overtook his sense of compassion and decency. Left to our own devices we would be just as ruthless and uncaring. The perfection of Jesus was countered with the most heinous event imaginable to display the extremes we are faced with to show us the choice we need to make.
Why did God choose a carpenter as Jesus’s step-dad? Why not somebody with more education? Why not an earthly king, I mean, He’s to be of the line of King David? Go back to 1 Samuel 16:7 to see how God judges those He chooses. It’s not the outward appearance, or education, or station in life, but the heart condition that matters most. God knew David had the best heart of all of Jesse’s sons. The Jewish kings vanished when the nation was sent to captivity in Babylon; Israel was under the authority of another nation from that time onward. So, a king from Israel was impossible at the time of Jesus’ birth.
Jesus gives us the best answer to this question when He is comforting His disciples in John 14. He tells them He is going to prepare a place for us, the King James calls it mansion, the NIV says rooms; either way it sounds like Jesus is constructing our Heavenly dwelling in preparation for our arrival. Perhaps Joseph is now taking orders from Jesus as to where to place each brick, board, and nail. We’ll find out soon enough.
Is your name written down in God’s address book for one of these dwellings? It should be. It’s quite simple to get it there. All you need to do is admit that there is nothing you can do to deserve to be there because you have sinned. No amount of good works, tithing, or prayer to a saint will atone for your inability to overcome this sin nature you were born with. God doesn’t grade on a curve, either. The only people allowed to move into Heaven’s neighborhood are those who accept Jesus’s death on the cross as the ultimate payment that satisfies God’s qualification of residency. You see, Jesus died a death He didn’t need to so you could live in Heaven with Him.
If you think the beginning of Jesus’s life on Earth was filled with a lot of surprise visits by angels, and people doing things out of character, just wait. You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.
Easter is coming!
I’ll see you later. Wade