I just spent the last day thinking about what exactly I will write during this Christmas week. Over the last two weeks we have explored three characters leading up to Jesus’s birth: Zechariah, Mary, and Joseph.
Because this week is the one that leads up to Christmas, I have been waiting to share my heart about Him. I thought about highlighting His humble entrance into this world. I thought about calling out Christmas misconceptions. I considered writing about the immediate worship people from many walks of life gave Him.
Yet each time I considered writing a new specific topic, something beckoned toward a much different, much simpler, much needed topic.
Today we are going to dive into the reason this entire season exists. We are going to share the Gospel with one another.
Maybe you know this Gospel story. Maybe you base your life upon it. Maybe you want nothing to do with it. Whatever your story, read on. Read the beginning of the greatest life ever lived. Read how it has changed my and so many lives completely. Then, if you are one of the people whose lives have been changed, share it. Not necessarily by means of sharing this post (although you are more than welcome to do that!), but share it using your voice, your life, and your testimony. This time of year is inherently filled with the name Jesus. We thank Him in times we would not normally. We see scenes of the nativity story on lawns and in parks and in the hears of people we do not expect. Let’s use that accessibility to do what we are commanded to do. Preach the Gospel to ourselves. Share His name. Make disciples.
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In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn. And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.
And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them. And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
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Creation and The Fall
There is a reason that this story is so important. If we were existing on this earth in the intended way, it would not be necessary. But friends, we screwed up. In the beginning, God created all things. We were one of those things and His most precious creation. In us, he placed His image. We knew right from wrong, we were created with a relational tendency, we were given reign over creation. Along with all that responsibility, he gave us one rule: do not eat from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Yet because of our pride and worldly curiosity, we chose to eat of the fruit anyway after being tempted by the evil one, Satan.
While it would be easy for me to say, “well I didn’t eat of the fruit. Why do I fall under that umbrella?” It’s because I choose to eat of the fruit daily. I conciously choose things for my life that He has told me I don’t need. I distort His creation for my own power, popularity, and pleasure. You see, because of the fall, we are born with innate sin. We are separated from God because He cannot reside with that sin. But friends, He still chose to make a way for us to commune with Him once again. That’s where the Christmas story comes in.
When Adam and Eve sinned, God promised their tempter that his head would be crushed. This was the first prophesy toward the coming of Jesus. From that day forward, God gave prophets knowledge of a Messiah who would come to redeem the fallen. They prophesied hundreds of years before Jesus’s birth that the Messiah would be born of a virgin (Isaiah 7), He would be from the line of David (Isaiah 9), and His way would be prepared (Isaiah 40).
Then it happened.
One humble night, a virgin from the line of David gave birth to that Messiah.
He grew up, fulfilling the prophecies foretold. He lived a perfect life. He traveled around for three years winning people over to God and offending many more. He was mocked, beaten, and ultimately killed by the very people he came to rescue.
Three days after His death, His dead body was nowhere to be found. Yet His living body was witnessed by over 500 people. He walked the earth for thirty more days before he ascended into Heaven, having completely defeated death. His good news was this: all you have to do is believe. Believe that we are sinners in need of grace. Believe that He is the son of God who came to rescue us from our sin. Believe that through Him and only Him salvation is given to us. Believe that He is coming back to defeat death completely.
Friends, it is not about working our way up to Him. He came down to us. All we have to do is believe and He will do the rest. He will come into your being and transform the desires of your heart as you seek after Him. He will bring the change. He will save us from the sinful nature of this world. Yet when we choose to neglect His saving grace, we choose eternal separation from Him. If we choose to embrace His saving grace, he holds us for eternity.
If this is the truth that we base our lives upon, let us share it until our voices are gone. Let us lift our hands and point to Him not only in this Christmas season, but in each season of life. This Christmas story is beautiful, but it is just the middle and the means by which the rest of the story plays out. We are broken. He came to heal. He will mold our lives if we let Him.
This week, let’s commit to share the explicit Gospel. The Gospel that bleeds truth and love. The Gospel that not everyone wants to hear, but all need to hear. The Gospel that has overtaken my life.
If this story is something that means nothing to you, or even offends you, thank you for reading all the way to the end. I love that you genuinely want to hear my heart behind not only this season, but each season of my life. If you have any questions or concerns, let me know. My heart wants for nothing more than for you to love this story in the same way I do.
Originally posted 2016-12-20 19:06:16.