Thursday, November 30, 2017

The Baby in a Manger: God Sent His only Son

The days are filled with excitement as Christmas season arrives. People are scrambling for various things and events with families and friends. Everyone is becoming focused on finding the best gift for one another. Some, along the way, share with those in need in the spirit of the season. All of these running here and there are good. However, when we remove the real concept of Christmas apart from Christ, we missed the whole message altogether. Laura Hooker provided this insight of what occurs
during Christmas:

What is the thought of Christmas? Giving.
What is the hope of Christmas? Living.
What is the joy of Christmas? Love.
No silver or gold is needed for giving,
If the heart is filled with Christmas love,
For the hope of the world is kindly living,
Learned from the joy of God above.

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Simply put, the Christmas message is primarily about the coming of the promised Messiah and God’s love for fallen humanity through the birth of Jesus Christ. Most importantly, God gave His Son for our salvation. Luke wrote: “And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger” (2:12).  Somebody said, “Christ was content with a stable when he was born so that we could have a mansion when we die.” His birth is a paradox to many because everyone thought of his birth happening in a palace and not in a manger.

There are various realities shown regarding His birth demanding close attention. First, the helplessness of humanity is expressed in Jesus becoming a baby. Second, the humility of Jesus became evident because He became like us: God became like us (Philippians 2). Jesus went through the process of humanity to become our Savior and Lord. Lastly, the hope of humanity’s redemption from the power of sin came because the Messiah Jesus was born. The Promised Messiah arrived at the perfect time of God’s timetable, not ours (Galatians 4:4). Joel Pankow explained,

God became man - born in the manger with one mission. He had to take on our flesh - born of a virgin - so that he could fulfill God’s will - and save us. He fulfilled his mission of dying for you. He fulfilled His mission of making you holy. That’s the reason for Christmas.

Why did Jesus come? What’s the message of Jesus’ birth in our time? There are three things to consider. It begins with obedience. Jesus’ birth as a baby showed His obedience to His Father’s will without questions. Next, His birth signified servanthood. And Jesus, in being wrapped in swaddling cloths, affirmed His intention of associating with the poor people of the world. Finally, His birth revealed the mission-mindedness of Jesus and a clarity of purpose in what He wanted to achieve, i.e., salvation of humanity.

God expects everyone respond to His Son with a simple acknowledgment of our need of a Saviour. If we don’t see Jesus this way, then the message of Christmas is lost in translation, i.e., “She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus because he will save his people from their sins” (Matthew 1:21, NIV). Let’s put everything in the right perspective. Someone asked this question, “What shall I give Him, poor as I am?” The answer comes in this way:
If I were a shepherd, I would give a lamb;
If I were a wise man, I would do my part;
But such as I have I give Him,— Give Him my heart.

Christmas is a significant event for everyone whether people believe it or not. Also, it doesn’t change the fact of Jesus’ birth and its value for everyone needing a Saviour. He gave His life, and we reciprocate in the same way by acknowledging Him in our life. It becomes our greatest gift to Him as we remember and celebrate His coming. Think about it for a moment. No other person of great importance in human history claimed what He did, and other founders of religion never declared of being the Messiah except Jesus alone.

Therefore, when people asked, “Why do we celebrate Christmas?” Give them a simple answer: It is the celebration of the coming of Jesus as the Saviour of the world.

Let’s talk again!