Isn’t it funny how it’s often when people are being sarcastic that they finally say the truth… especially when it comes to things against Christians or the Christian life.
You’ll hear things like “Of course God will look after him…” (followed by an eye roll) or “suuuuure God created the Earth” – it’s all things that are made to make us feel bad about what we believe, however the truth is that some of the most intelligent minds argue the facts or intelligent design or evolution. And to be honest I believe in intelligent design because there seems to be more and more evidence being revealled to us all the time, and the more we can see at a micro level the more it seems that there was some sort of thought process that has gone into it… it doesn’t seem to me that it’s all hap-hazzard, but something that was so well thought through… that doesn’t happen by accident.
I mean if the thought of intelligent design sounds crazy… you might want to look at the other option.
People like Richard Dawkins are asking you to believe is that we evolved from a turnip… In his own words from his book The Greatest Show on Earth he says “It is the plain truth that we are cousins of chimpanzees, somewhat more distant cousins of monkeys, more distant cousins of aardvarks and manatees, yet more distant cousins of bananas and turnips”
So let me get this right, we get laughed at for believing that fruit and veges were created… but Richard Dawkins would like you to believe that we’re cousins, before admitting that there could be a chance that God created it, let alone the Earth he’s standing on. It only seems to make the Bible seems even more relevant when in 1 Corninthians 1:27
“Instead, God deliberately chose things the world considers foolish in order to shame those who think they are wise. And he chose those who are powerless to shame those who are powerful”
You see, others will have you try to believe that it’s all about OUR intellect… OUR wisdom… OUR power… however we hardly have enough power, intellect or wisdom to keep our society clean or free of crime… maybe… just maybe we’re not as smart as we think we are… I mean the last time I looked, we still hadn’t been able to create the simplist oranism, the start of a creation.
I went down to get milk from our local gas station, it’s a the place where I always go to get my petrol, so I knew the guy behind the counter pretty well, a
Indian who is now a New Zealand resident… and he looked at me and asked me something that I didn’t expect.
He asked me “Tell me about Christmas?”
Now to be honest I was a little bit confused, I mean we were coming up to Christmas… it’s only a few days away, surely he had to know something about the holiday by now…
So I stumbled out the words “What exactly do you mean by that?”
And he went on to tell me about how he was confused… when he was growing up he had met some Americans who went to Church and prayed… then went home and had a party with the family.
I knew what he was talking about as it was something simliar in my world… maybe not as simplistic however I knew what he was getting at.
“BUT…” he said
I thought “hold on here we go…”
“I’m confused, because everyone these days just wants to party and get drunk… so tell me… what does Christmas mean?”
AT this point I would love to tell you that I came up with the perfect discription of how Christ was born to be the saviour of all mankind… but I didn’t… I froze… I mean seriously where do you start?
All these things went wizzing through my mind at the same time… so I just picked the first one that came to my mind, and blurted out something to do with God coming down to be one of us so that he could make a way for us to be closer to him…
I wasn’t proud of it, and it wasn’t pretty… but I did it.
I went away thinking… why was that so hard?
I could tell you 50 reasons how God changed my life, I can tell you why I believe the Bible is the inspired word of God and I can tell you why you need to make a descision to follow Christ and be born again… but that wasn’t the question.
The question was “Tell me what Christmas is about?”
Christmas is one of the most important points in the Christian calendar, its when God came down to be with us… 2nd only to Easter, when he died to take our place…so shouldn’t we know the story as more than just “little baby Jesus?”
Are you ready to answer the question “Tell me about Christmas?”
Because your answer might be just what someone is needing to here…because Christmas is so much more than presents, and lights and family and decorations and wanting to be with the ones you miss…
Christmas is about God loving us so much that he gave his one and only son, to come down from his place of Glory and come live among us so that he could suffer for our sin, and take the punishment for our sin… so that we could be closer to him.
SO tell me… what is Christmas about?
Hark The Herald Angels Sing (Photo credit: KaleidoscopePhotos)
To say I love Christmas is an understatement…
I LOVE CHRISTMAS…
I even start playing the Christmas Carols a month out… I love it. There are some REALLY cool Christmas carols, but one of my favourites lyrically is ‘Hark the Herald Angels sing’ a song originally written in the 1700’s – I think it’s the simplicity of the words and the fact that the more you look into what they mean the more they reveal.
One of the verses particularly stands out for me:
Mild he lays his glory by
Born that man no more shall die
Born to raise the sons of Earth
Born to give them second birth…
Did you pick that up?
Among the story of a baby born into the world in one of the most unlikely places… there is a future.
But not the future of this baby… a future for us.
Here lies this baby… growing up… to die for us.
“Born that man no more shall die…”
Let that sink in for a while… he died for you…
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is by his great mercy that we have been born again, because God raised Jesus Christ from the dead. Now we live with great expectation, and we have a priceless inheritance—an inheritance that is kept in heaven for you, pure and undefiled, beyond the reach of change and decay.
1 Peter 1:3-4
You see Christmas is more than the story of when a baby was born into the world… this is a story of a rescue, God laying aside his Gloryand putting himself in the place where we should have been… taking the punishment of death for the sins that we did… the punishment that WE deserved.
God was giving us a second chance…
Hark the Herald angels sing.
Refocusing on Christmas
Christmas seems to be getting crazier every year… more things to do… more things to buy… more sales… more tinsel… more… more… more.
And if you’re a Christian like me you hear the same stories over and over again… and while these stories are often well intended or even true after a while they start to sound a bit stale… and that’s sometimes hard to focus on what the real meaning of Christmas is.
For me it’s about one word that translated in English means three words:
Emmanuel: God with us!
Think about it GOD… the creator of the universe and everything in it… someone who is so HUGE that it’s often easier for people to intellectualise him away… to say “I can’t even think of how that would work… therefore it can’t be true” than to think of the vastness of a God who really wants to spend time with you… and that’s part of the irony isn’t it?
A God who doesn’t need us… but wants us, while we desperately and totally need God and yet we don’t really want him most of the time.
God WITH: he wasn’t just God who studied us from afar like some ant farm experiment… he was WITH us.. he came and lived with us… not as a King… not as a person of stature… but one of us… the ordinary… the plain… the broken… and he suffered and he died in a way that none of us would never be able to understand… one commentator calls it the most vicious way any person could invent to kill someone else.
And yet knowing this God came down… to be WITH us… knowing that we’ll reject him.
God with US: You and me… Jesus came to die for us… and he dies on the cross knowing our past sins… and our future sins… and yet he went and died for us anyway… because there was no other way for us to have our sins removed
We can earn our way to heaven… we can’t beg our way to heaven… we can’t even evangelize our way to heaven…
The only way is through Jesus…
Emmanuel… God With US…
When we look at Christmas through the lens of that one word… EMMANUEL… it changes everything.
Why aren’t we telling our kids this all the time… Why aren’t we passing this on?
Don’t we want our kids to experience God’s grace?
Isn’t this the Good News we want them to hear… that there is hope in this world… that there is something to live for in this world… and it’s far bigger than you and it’s far bigger than me… and that’s GREAT… that’s the way it should be… because anything that would be in our control we would stuff up so monumentally that it would never work…
And yes it will be hard – but if life were easy… then we wouldn’t need to rely on God would we?
Emmanuel: God with US… and he’s still with us… so why do you only remind yourself of that at Christmas?