Friday, December 17, 2010

The Christmas Story as you may not have heard it.

Each year as the Christmas season draws closer I look for different ways to present the story of the Good News, the Glad Tidings of great joy. Many of us only look at the story of the birth of Jesus as being the entire story which is really only the beginning as I hope you will see.

Matthew27:35-54:  35He then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and went away on a journey. 2 At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. 3 But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. 4 Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. 5 He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed. 6 “He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’ 7 “But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ 8 So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

As I was reading this passage thinking of Jesus coming into his Father’s vineyard 2000 years ago on that first Christmas, one phrase jumped off the page at me. It was the father’s statement – surely, if I send my son, “They will respect my son.”

It made me think of our celebration of Christmas in this country. You see what has occurred is political correctness has taken over and just like in the parable, we don’t respect the Son.

Of course we know the
Christmas as presented in the Four Gospels and they tell that beautiful story so well. Indeed it is the “Good News” that we read in each account and yes we indeed celebrate that “Good News”. But the “Good News” goes on beyond the manger, the Shepard's, the Wise Men. It surpasses the Heavenly Angels announcing the birth of our Lord.  You see that was just the beginning!

Refresh yourself and rejoice in the reading of the account of His birth:

Luke 2:1-20: 1 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.
4So 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. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and 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.
8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."
15When 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."
16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

We know this child, Jesus, grew into manhood, and people were drawn to Him by His Spirit and His compelling message. Many who heard him teach and saw the miracles that he performed followed Him. This displeased those who were in power, especially the Jewish leaders.  And that dear readers is what lead me to the story in the introduction.  Indeed He was sent , not to collect from the tenants in the manner some may see but to collect the “hearts” of those  who would hear and accept His message .
The story of the one who goes to the vineyards is little different . The result was the same for indeed He was rejected, beaten, and then killed (crucified).

And so we come to the Cross:  

Matthew27:35-54:  35 Then they crucified Him, and divided His garments, casting lots that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophet: “ They divided My garments among them, And for My clothing they cast lots.” 36 Sitting down, they kept watch over Him there. 37 And they put up over His head the accusation written against Him: THIS IS JESUS THE KING OF THE JEWS.
38 Then two robbers were crucified with Him, one on the right and another on the left. 39 And those who passed by blasphemed Him, wagging their heads 40 and saying, “You who destroy the temple and build it in three days, save Yourself! If You are the Son of God, come down from the cross.”
41 Likewise the chief priests also, mocking with the scribes and elders, said, 42 “He saved others; Himself He cannot save. If He is the King of Israel, let Him now come down from the cross, and we will believe Him. 43 He trusted in God; let Him deliver Him now if He will have Him; for He said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 Even the robbers who were crucified with Him reviled Him with the same thing.
45 Now from the sixth hour until the ninth hour there was darkness over all the land. 46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, “Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?” that is, “My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?” 47 Some of those who stood there, when they heard that, said, “This Man is calling for Elijah!” 48 Immediately one of them ran and took a sponge, filled it with sour wine and put it on a reed, and offered it to Him to drink. 49 The rest said, “Let Him alone; let us see if Elijah will come to save Him.”
50 And Jesus cried out again with a loud voice, and yielded up  His spirit.
51 Then, behold, the veil of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom; and the earth quaked, and the rocks were split, 52 and the graves were opened; and many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised; 53 and coming out of the graves after His resurrection, they went into the holy city and appeared to many. 54 So when the centurion and those with him, who were guarding Jesus, saw the earthquake and the things that had happened, they feared greatly, saying, “Truly this was the Son of God!

I have attempted to take you on a journey of celebration, a celebration not only for this season but for every day of the year. I have taken you from the manger to the cross, but I must continue for the story is not complete, and the reason for real celebration is not finished.

We know from the accounts in the Gospels that Jesus was taken from the Cross and buried in a borrowed tomb, but then, on the third day, He arose from the grave, triumphant over death and the grave. And that, dear friends, is a wonderful reason for celebration.

There is yet another reason to celebrate but not all will do so because like the workers in the vineyard they will reject “The Son” and their story will have no glorious end. But for those who chose to claim Him as their Lord and Savior the story has no end. For we read in the Scripture that He indeed will come again, this time as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and all those He calls his own will reign with him Forever and Ever.

Now that is a reason for celebration!

You can make it a reason for celebration but the choice is yours.  It is as simple as ABC.  
Admit that you are a sinner, the one He came to earth to die for.
Believe that He indeed died for you sins on Calvary's cross.  

Confess that Jesus is (your) Lord.

The scripture says:
 Romans 10:10 For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.

And that my friends is the real message of the Christmas Story.

I wish each of you a Blessed Merry Christmas and a joyous New Year.   



Always On Watch said...

And that my friends is the real message of the Christmas Story.


The Story that never grows old -- the Story that matters most of all stories as this Story is the Story of eternal life.

I keep my Nativity set up year round, behind glass. This particular Nativity set dates from my childhood. Never mind that my parents bought the set piece by piece from the local Five and Dime: the message is that of the birth of our Savior.

A blessed Christmas to you, Ticker.

Debbie said...

Excellent. The Birth of Christ is a beginning, but his death is also a beginning of sorts. The birth would mean nothing without the death and resurrection.

Merry Christmas!

Right Truth

Ticker said...

Thanks AOW . I know that Nativity scene is very special and the way it was given to you epitomizes the Christmas Story. It was certainly given in love and with that message behind each piece. A blessed Christmas to you and Mr. AOW.

Debbie, it is the beginning and for those who "know" him there is no end.

Merry Christmas to you and yours. May the spirit of Christmas always live within.