A Christening was planned several years ago by a very wealthy European family. Many guests were invited to their home for the occasion. They came in their finest and most fashionable dress. Each guest was met at the door by a servant. After the usual socializing they were ready for the ceremony and the Priest called the parents, family, and friends together to get started. The nurse was sent upstairs to bring the baby. A moment later she returned in a panic. The baby was nowhere to be found! Several minutes later, someone remembered that the child had last been seen lying on one of the beds. After a frantic search the little baby was found smothered under the coats of the guests. Their primary reason for coming had been overlooked and destroyed.
Read: Matthew 1:18-23
The Christmas story is the story of a baby. That is a part of it's delightful pull on the mind and the heart. But it is also a liability, for a great many people become so focused with the beautiful story of a baby in a manger, that they miss the chief point of the story. They miss the challenge of Jesus the Man. We can become so enchanted with the story of a baby that we grow sentimental about it; the baby does not ask that we do anything except take care of Him. A baby does not demand any vital change in our way of thinking and living - unless you are his parents.
On the other hand the story can be lost altogether in the celebration of "The Season". But the story is beautiful and the drama is overpowering:
- a young, unmarried girl is about to give birth to a child who is prophesied to rule His people
- a man so in love with his betrothed and so confident in God's faithfulness that he defies
- social customs and marries her anyway
- a band of mystics spend years following a star that they believe will lead them to a new king
- a greedy, insecure ruler commits murderous atrocities in a village in order to protect his throne
- a gang of teenage boys working the night shift witness an extra terrestrial worship service
- and a little baby, born in a stable, changes the course of history.
It takes the sizzle out of Miracle on 34th Street for me. It makes you wonder how a show about Rudolph or Frosty could hold interest, when the real story is so compelling. It's amazing that people would tune in to those stories when the Christmas story has so much to offer.
Christmas is the story of God breaking through to the visible world in the person of Jesus to rescue us from our sins and moral failures.
American Demographics says, the average US county resident will spend $365 per child on toys, games, hobbies, tricycles, etc.. However in Provo, Utah, where median income is very close to the national average, those county residents will spend $153 less per child. The magazine says it is because this is a Mormon county and Christmas is more about religion and less about toys. Interesting.
But the main point of the Christmas story is that the baby grew up! He grew up to become a challenge to a world of hard-headed power. Jesus was no sentimentalist; He was a terrible realist! Everything opposed to love and unity in our world, He declared flatly, is damned - reasoning that the center of the universe is a God of holy love.
The important question for you and me is this: Is Christmas still only a story about a baby, or a time to celebrate greed -- or is it the story of a baby who grew into the person who would redeem the world from it's sins, the story of the person who calls you into apprenticeship and partnership with His great and mighty purposes?
You and I must respond to Jesus both as our rescuer and our Master. He is not a helpless infant but the ruler of all creation. You must decide if you are on His side or against Him.
Don't let the baby be smothered by the allure of a romantic story or by the orgy of consumption that takes over our world this time of year. See the baby's full mission.
If you have felt touched by The Spirit or His Word I invite you to come forward for prayer. (Editor's note: If you are a blogger we invite you contact us thru the comment section or Facebook and we will talk to you about the life change that is available to you thru Jesus.)