Friday, January 01, 2016
It's been way too long since I last blogged anything, simply because I have been way too busy doing other things. But, here goes. Here is a thought about Christmas Day... On Christmas Day What God Did for One Day Luke 2:1-20 Dec 25, 2015 AM Christmas Day Pastor Craig Ledbetter Bible Baptist Church, Ballincollig, Cork, Ireland www.biblebc.com On that day, that we call Christmas, a lot of things were happening; And they were happening on a world wide scale! Luke 2:1-5 And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. Caesar Augustus had come up with a new tax for everyone to have to register for and pay. That one act, mobilised the entire world into mayhem. They had a mandatory deadline to get back to their ancestral homes to register with the Roman Government. It was a huge undertaking. And NO one was exempt. So on that very first Christmas Day, even in the small towns and villages, like Bethlehem: There were crowded streets; Visitors were calling; Houses and hotels were full; Kitchens were bustling with activity; Family reunions were taking place everywhere; And as usual, Problems and pressures were crushing. None of the things going on were easy to handle. It was driving many a man to drink, and many a woman to give up. But none of it was Christmas. That was just normal life. But, in the midst of all that “normality”, ‘Christmas’ happened. On Christmas Day… There was a Baby born (Luke 2:6,7) It was absolutely Marvellous! Miraculous… An impossible reality! A virgin woman had actually conceived, and now had born a Son - The very Son of God! Just like prophesied in Isaiah 7:14, “Behold a virgin shall conceive and bear a son…” And there He was, lying in a manger, in the city of David, just as was prophesied in Micah 5:2. If nothing else, THAT was and still is CHRISTMAS! So, Forget all the family – SERIOUSLY! Forget all the gift-giving Forget all the food and fun of the holiday Because, That Baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, born to die for all of mankind… THAT Baby, is Christmas! On Christmas Day… There was Singing and Announcing (Luke 2:8-14) First just one angel, Then more, Then all of heaven opened up, and sang like only heaven can! As they announced that GOD had stepped down from heaven to save us all. Who did they announce the news to? Shepherds. God likes shepherds. Israel’s greatest king, David, was a shepherd. This little Baby named Jesus would grow up and become the Good Shepherd, who would lay down His life for the sheep. So, to the shepherds were the angels sent, to announce the birth of Jesus. They were not the wealthy, the powerful, the important… They were the least of society. And yet THAT is where God began his Gospel – at the bottom, so that ALL would hear! On Christmas Day… There was Rushing, Panicking, Hasting (Luke 2:16) As the angels disappeared, the shepherds began to panic, began to run: Not to buy more things; Not to get to grandma’s house; But to get a glimpse of the new born Messiah! Oh what a need there is to seek to see for ourselves if God actually HAS come to earth, and if He actually HAS kept His promise to save us from Satan’s power. Thank God for all the effort it takes to get to church, and to open our Bibles and to see for ourselves what God has done in Christ Jesus! On Christmas Day… There was Worship Something happened to everyone who ever got near to that Manger. They worshipped! Wonderful, simple, powerful worship. Not of Mary, or Joseph, or the angels, or the cows! Just worship of Jesus! “Unto you is born this day… a Saviour… which is Christ the Lord” (11) “Ye shall find the babe” (12) “found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe” (16) And believe me, this worship never stopped. Even 2 years later, when the wise men came, when they approached the presence of this little child, they bowed their knees, and presented their gifts, and worshipped HIM! Oh, on Christmas Day, let’s worship Jesus only! So again, Forget about the family; Forget about the gifts. Forget about everyone; Even forget about the past. Just sit in awe of the Son of God, who loved us, and came into this world to save us! On Christmas Day… There was Joy (Luke 2:10) It means excitement – like children on Christmas day! GREAT joy even. Not because of a house full of people, or a tree full of gifts… But because of the greatest gift ever given and received by anybody A Saviour - A Forgiver - A Justifier - God now WITH us! That Baby brings joy better than any gift, or hug – if you will let it! But some of you are so bitter you NEVER WILL enjoy Christmas. YOU above all people need to bow you knee and surrender your hurts to the Lord of lords, who will make you whole again! On Christmas Day… There was a lot of Pondering and Thinking (Luke 2:16,19) Notice Joseph! Joseph was not the father of this Baby. He was still only engaged to Mary – espoused. So he just sat there and watched as everything unfolded. And truly, that is all any of us can actually do – just watch GOD do something marvellous And then there was Mary. Yes she had given birth to Jesus, but she did NOTHING but carry Him in her womb. And now, as Shepherds came and went; As the weight of all that was happening started to hit her; She just stopped and pondered, meditated – she stored up all the good things that were happening. Because those memories would one day be needed. On Christmas Day… There was Confusion (Luke 2:17,18) As those shepherds ran through the streets, compelling people to come see the Babe, to come discover the Messiah, the people “wondered.” They asked “What? What could be so important about a poor baby, born in a barn? What could be more important than all the family I have around me this day? What could be more important than all the cooking and eating? What could be more important than paying bills, taxes, dealing with problems and pressures? Who do these lowly shepherds think they are, running through the streets interrupting our evening with something about a Baby?” I think so many stayed in their homes, and went back to their “normal” life, simply because the real event of Christmas wasn’t what they expected. Wasn’t about THEM! What a shame. If there is anything the same with Christmas THEN and Christmas NOW, it is that there is ONLY confusion that some BABY has been born! But On Christmas Day… God was glorified (Luke 2:20) The entire rest of the planet was busy doing other things. But there, in that little barn; Amongst just a few people, and shepherds, and village folks; God was glorified. And it was enough! An Invitation On THIS Christmas Day… Let’s Remember, There was a Baby born. The very Son of God. Wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, born to die for all of mankind… THAT Baby, is Christmas! On THIS Christmas Day… Let’s Do Some Singing and Announcing Ourselves. Let’s make sure the whole world hears! On THIS Christmas Day… Let’s Rush, Panic, Haste… Oh what a need there is to seek to see for ourselves if God actually HAS come to earth, and if He actually HAS kept His promise to save us from Satan’s power Thank God for all the effort it takes to get to church, and to open our Bibles and to see for ourselves what God has done in Christ Jesus! On THIS Christmas Day… Let’s Worship. Wonderful, simple, powerful worship of just Jesus. And let’s make sure it never stops. If you have no family, or only a messed up one. If you have no gifts, or a bus load. Just sit in awe of the Son of God, who loved us, and came into this world to save us! On THIS Christmas Day… Experience REAL Joy – of Salvation from Sin, Death and Hell. Have you been born again? Or are you still struggling just to be religious, thinking it is enough? Well, it never can be. Ye must be born again, Jesus said! On THIS Christmas Day… Do a lot of Pondering and Thinking about the goodness of God. On THIS Christmas Day… IGNORE the Confusion. So that On THIS Christmas Day… God can be glorified AGAIN!