Christmas reflection # 4

I don’t like the way to story unfolds. I just don’t. I wouldn’t have written it that way. In Luke 2, the Emperor calls a census and heads of households have to relocate to their hometowns to register with the government. John makes a big deal about the pre-existence of Jesus. Mark begins his gospel story with a conflation of OT quotes. Matthew begins with a genealogy and Luke begins with an elderly couple unable to have children. Luke and Matthew both tells us of the greatness of this child that Mary is carrying. His name is to be Jesus, he is the Son of God. It is after all, great news of joy for all people. The Roman world was used to proclamations of good news, at the birth days of the Emperors or at news of great military victories. So, the gospel writers borrowing terms from their own culture, announce the good news of God’s coming. But, his arrival is anything but glorious. Jesus, the king of Kings, the Immanuel is wrapped in cloths and placed in a manger. I don’t like it.

Shepherds are the first to pay homage. Do, they fully understand what they are witnessing. Here is a young couple having traveled from back water Nazareth to Bethlehem, and they aren’t able to find a proper setting for the night, let alone the birth of a child. As far as we know, Joseph plays the part of mid-wife and now shepherds arrive to see what the Lord had announced was going to turn their world upside down. If I had the pen in the story, there would be a grand castle and a royal guard, surrounding the newborn king. There would be a contingent of soldiers preparing for battle, and shepherds, who wants shepherds at the waiting room?

I am glad that the pen wasn’t in my hands. I say I don’t like the story. I am only partially telling the truth. I don’t like the way to story is written, because it’s not the way I would write it. I don’t like story because it isn’t powerful or meaningful or one of the most life changing moments in all of human history. I don’t like the story because many miss the significance of the birth of Jesus. The shepherds were told that his birth would good news for all people. Rich and poor alike would share in the blessing of this new birth. There is no need for a detachment of guards or angels to keep people away. Even from his birth, Jesus was accessible to the overlooked and looked down upon. Jesu’ birth is the turning point, it is a time of joy and change. I don’t like the story because I can’t read it and not be moved to want to be different. I love the story and how it is for all of us. It is not just a nice tale, it is an invitation to something bigger than ourselves.

I found this on sermon central and wanted to share it here:

“What Jesus Means to Me!”

He is the First and Last, the Beginning and the End!
He is the keeper of Creation and the Creator of all!
He is the Architect of the universe and the Manager of all times.
He always was, He always is, and He always will be…
Unmoved, Unchanged, Undefeated, and never undone!
He was bruised and brought healing!
He was pierced and eased pain!
He was persecuted and brought freedom!
He was dead and brought life!
He is risen and brings power!
He reigns and brings Peace!
The world can’t understand him,
The armies can’t defeat Him,
The schools can’t explain Him, and The leaders can’t ignore Him.
Herod couldn’t kill Him,
The Pharisees couldn’t confuse Him, and the people couldn’t hold Him!
Nero couldn’t crush Him,
Hitler couldn’t silence Him,
The New Age can’t replace Him, and talk shows can’t explain Him away!
He is light, love, longevity, and Lord.
He is goodness, Kindness, Gentleness, and God.
He is Holy, Righteous, mighty, powerful, and pure.
His ways are right,
His word is eternal, His will is unchanging, and His mind is on me.
He is my Redeemer,
He is my Savior,
He is my guide, and
He is my peace!
He is my Joy,
He is my comfort,
He is my Lord, and
He rules my life!
I serve Him because His bond is love,
His burden is light, and His goal for me is abundant life.
I follow Him because He is the wisdom of the wise,
the Power of the powerful, the Ancient of days,
the Ruler of rulers, the Leader of leaders,
the Overseer of the overcomers, and the Sovereign Lord of all that was and is and is to come.

And if that seems impressive to you, try this on for size…

His goal is a relationship with ME!
He will never leave me, never forsake me, never mislead me, never forget me,
never overlook me, and never cancel my appointment in His appointment book!
When I fall, He lifts me up!
When I fail, He forgives!
When I am weak, He is strong!
When I am lost, He is the way!
When I am afraid, He is my courage!
When I stumble, He steadies me!
When I am hurt, He heals me!
When I am broken, He mends me!
When I am blind, He leads me!
When I am hungry, He feeds me!
When I face trials, He is with me!
When I face persecution, He shields me!
When I face problems, He comforts me!
When I face loss, He provides for me!
When I face Death, He carries me Home!
He is everything for everybody, everywhere, every
time, and every way.
He is God, He is faithful.
I am His, and He is mine!
My Father in heaven has whipped the god of this world.
So, if you’re wondering why I feel so secure, understand this . . .
He said it and that settles it!
God is in control, I am on His side, and that means all is well with my soul.
Everyday is a blessing for GOD Is!

I love the Lord and thank Him for all that he does in my life. Yes, I do love Jesus.
He is my source of existence and Savior. He keeps me functioning each and every day. Without Him, I will be nothing. Without Him, I am nothing.
But with Him I can do all things. Philippians 4:13*

Tony Abram, What Jesus Means to me! Philippians 4:13-4:13.


About Jason Retherford

The random musings of a youth minister.
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