On this day, that we celebrate the birth of Jesus, according to the gospel of Luke.
"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. And there ere shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom His favor rests." When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about." So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
Often times we get caught up in the hustle and bustle of preparing for this day so much - getting a tree w/decorations on it up, or we might be worried about getting that special last minute gift item for someone dear to us, or sending out a Christmas card to each of our family members ... all of these material things that we lose sight of the real and true meaning of Christmas. And this is mostly due to the fact of how our culture has been changed slowly ever since the sixties and even long before the sixties ... During the eighteen-hundreds it would have been against the law for the simple fact that it is a material symbol, symbolism of the world that distracts us away from the true meaning of Christmas, that of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ; who came into the world to save a lost and dying world. More than ever, people need Him now!
Many also use the story of Jesus without looking into it, and understanding the whole
picture - the difficulties that were present, and the many dangers that Joseph and Mary were in; the very long journey of 70 miles from Nazareth to the Judean village of Bethlehem. There was political turmoil. Herod, like a dictator, was trying to dominate the whole country.
So many many people start things that really were never specified within the Scriptures - like, that Mary rode a "donkey" on her journey. I have searched the gospels and can find no where where it says that a donkey was used for the journey.
We also many times miss the true nature of Christ in all of this day, due to the distraction of all material things that has surrounded this special day - and the truth is ... that Jesus could have chosen to be born in the finest of mansions there within in Bethlehem, yet, He chose the lowliest of places, in a stable with animals, in the cold air of the night. And do you know why He chose to be born in a lowly place? It was that He did not care more of Himself, because it didn't matter to Him, He wasn't suiting Himself, but the will of His heavenly Father who reigns. He came not just to serve His heavenly Father; but to serve others.
That is the truth, and profound significance of this day - that it's our duty to be Christ-like, devoting our time and service to others as Jesus Christ did, and not ourselves.
My, what a world it would be, if we did not have the kind of example and saving grace, and humility that our Lord and Savior came to provide us with!
May God richly bless you all ... and may you always remember that - Jesus, indeed, is the reason for the season!! 'Because He lives, we can face tomorrow!'
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