December 3, 2009
Marie Jon, RA analyst
As the story goes, it was about this time of the year when police officers received complaints about an apartment at the edge of the city. When they went to investigate, they came upon a flophouse. What they found inside was dank darkness. The sight that met their eyes was a bit atrocious. At one time, the place had been a dance hall. The sparkling globe lights were still clinging to the dilapidated ceiling. Inside, people were strewn across the filth and squalor. They were sleeping off their chosen substance-abuse hangovers. The stench was overwhelming.
The police quickly rounded everyone up. When the case finally came to court, an astounding story came to the surface. One of the derelicts said to the judge, “Your honor, I am an upstanding citizen of the community. I don’t use any type of drugs or alcohol. I was in that house merely to take care of others.”
The judge investigated the man’s claims and found them to be true. His name is of no importance to this story, but the people from the other side of town called him “Father God,” because of his compassion and kindness. He paid the rent so that these drug addicts and derelicts would have shelter. However, the man they so admired looked just like everyone else who had been thrown into the slammer.
The law-abiding citizen chose to appear like the others so he could better take care of their needs. And when you give it some thought, that’s the same message behind the birth of Christ — “the greatest story ever told”:
“Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men” (Philippians 2:5-7).
The Almighty God was willing to give up all the magnificent glories of heaven to become just like you and me. The reason is obvious. God did so to be able to identify Himself with us while paving the way so that one day we too could experience the glories of heaven. (See John 14:3.)
God’s way of “tugging at our hearts”
Throughout the world of Christendom, people are counting the days while looking forward to celebrating the Christmas season. There is no other time of the year like it, with its shorter days and cold, blistering weather. Yet most believers, and even non-believers, have a twinkle in their eyes and a new sense of hope and confidence about the future. They feel jubilant and content. God’s holy angels are drawing close to us, and the “Spirit says come.” The Lord in His mighty wisdom takes this special time to gather all mankind near to Him. One might say He has His ways of tugging at our hearts.
The message of the birth of Christ is amazing. Christians look upon this season in reverence because it marks the birth of Jesus Christ. With joy, they hurry about preparing for this day.
The biblical account
It is a custom in our home to gather around the beautifully-decorated Christmas tree and read the story of Christ’s birth. We use the words right out of the Bible:
“And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that the entire world should be registered. This census first took place while Cyrenius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered everyone to his own city.
“And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth into 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 wife who was with child.
“So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered and she brought forth her first-born son and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
“Now there were in the same country, shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over the flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shone around them and they were greatly afraid.
“Then the angel said to them, ‘Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day, in the city of David, a Savior which is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you. You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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 good will toward men.’” (Luke 2:1-20)
Our greatest need: a Savior
The Word says that all the world was being taxed by Augustus Caesar at the time Christ was born. However, the biggest story of the day had nothing to do with governments, Caesar, or taxes. In actuality, it had to do with a little baby boy who didn’t have a proper place the night that he was born. To this day, Christ’s birth is the most important event in the history of our planet. Besides Mary and Joseph, however, only a handful of shepherds were aware of it.
The angels in heaven were rejoicing while the human race slept. Mankind was unaware that the Creator God had just stepped into their midst, and thousands of years of heavenly promises had come true.
As the Savior of the world was being born, many people were caught off guard and surprised. Some were confused. Many were expecting a great political leader to arrive on the scene who would throw off the yoke of Roman oppression and set the nation of Israel free.
The religious leaders at the time were looking for someone who looked just like them. They expected he would take a seat within the great Sanhedrin. However, that’s not who God sent us, because that is not what the world needed. Our greatest need was forgiveness from sin, so our Father sent us a Savior.
The greatest gift you can give
The night Jesus was born, the Lord Almighty became both human and God. He took on our image. Close your eyes and imagine seeing Him asleep in a manger, as helpless as any other child. Because Christ was someone special, wise men came from afar to bring their precious gifts.
Throughout this joyous Christmas season, remember that the one gift that would put a smile on the face of Christ is you. The whole reason “Jesus came was to seek and to save that which was lost.” Christ humbled Himself the way He did for no one else but you.
Take five minutes over the holidays and ask yourself why Christ came into this world. As you think about the baby in a manger, dwell upon His abiding love. Since the beginning of time, God was thinking about all of humanity while offering up prayer and supplication in the courts of heaven.
Please listen to His voice and don’t say no to Him any longer. Prepare with happiness, for He is coming again. His Second Coming could be very soon. (See John 14:1-3.)
Christmas time is almost here, and I wanted to share with you a wonderfully true and uplifting story that is the reason for this joyous season.
RenewAmerica.com wishes you and yours a very blessed Christmas Day.