Archive for December, 2010

Luke chapter 2 is read in most churches around the country at some point during the week of Christmas. I remember many times as a child hearing my father read this chunk of Scripture either on Christmas day or on Christmas Eve. I would like to suggest during this Christmas season that you don’t just read the Scripture but respond to the Scripture.
There are four responses I would encourage you to pursue as you go through the holiday season. Three of these responses are things we see from the shepherds and one of them is from Mary.
Response #1 Make seeing Jesus a priority

“Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and SEE this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us.” –Luke 2.16

I am sure you recall how the shepherds were out tending sheep only to be treated to a heavenly choir concert. This concert completely freaked them out. Scripture tells us that the shepherds were terribly afraid. In fact the angels coming with a message of the birth of the Messiah start not by talking about the Messiah but started their message with “Do not be afraid”.
After the initial shock that they had a visit from heavenly hosts, the shepherds digested the message they had just received: “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” They had heard the message and they even believed the message but that was not enough. Scripture tells they started talking amongst themselves and they wanted to see the baby with their own two eyes.

Not only did the shepherds want to see Jesus but they were in a hurry to see Jesus.
This Christmas season I would encourage you to make it your priority to see Jesus. Don’t let your vision get clouded. The hussle and bustle of Christmas seems to blind us to what Christmas is all about. We get so consumed with getting the right present, with decorating, with baking cookies, church services, and all the other hoopla that comes with Christmas in America that we fail to see Jesus. So slow down and see Jesus. You’ll be glad you did.

Response # 2 Make sharing Jesus a priority

“When they had seen this, THEY MADE KNOWN the statement which had been told them about this Child.” –Luke 2.17
Not only did the shepherds have an encounter with the Christ Child but they had to share it with others. They could not help themselves. Jesus had so impacted them they wanted to share this special thing with others.

They literally went running from the stable and started telling everyone they could find about the message they had heard and about the baby they had seen. Why? Because being in the presence of Jesus and God changes people and instills in them a desire to share Him with others.

This holiday season I would encourage you to look for opportunities to share Christ with the world. I personally believe it is one of the best times to share. It is hard not to go into a store like Walmart and at some point not hear a Christmas hymn on the radio that is about our Savior. Share Christ not just gifts this Christmas. You’ll be glad you did.

Response # 3 Make Meditating A Priority

 
“But Mary treasured all these things, PONDERING them in her heart.” Luke 2.19

After the visit from the Shepherds we find the verse above dedicated to Mary. As I looked at this verse I had to wonder to myself if it was at this point that Mary actually began to develop a fuller understanding of her part in God’s plan. I mean think about her life over the past nine months.

Mary had to announce to her family that she was pregnant. This was a religious family in a religious society. This was downright unacceptable! I can imagine her mother sitting there crying and her father angrily demanding to know who the father of the baby was. I imagine it was quite the conversation as she tried to tell her parents that the baby was from God and she had seen an angel. I mean really Mary? Can’t you come up with a better explanation that? We all know where babies come from.

After her family talk Mary had to once again explain her pregnancy. Only this time she had to do it to her fiancé. I just can’t imagine that talk went very well either. Scripture tells us that Joseph wanted to run!

So what did Mary ponder? Well, she had gone from trying to explain an unacceptable situation to her family, to giving birth to a child. Now she had people come and worship her child. They ranted and raved over this little baby who would be the Savior of the world. I wonder as she sat holding Jesus after the shepherds left if she wasn’t thinking about how she had gotten to that place. She remembered the first time she was told she would give birth to a son. She remembered all the details up to this point where her son was being worshipped. I wonder if she paused and thanked God for allowing her to be part of His plan.

So I would challenge you this Christmas season to ponder all that God has done for you. Thank Him for allowing you to be part of His plan and for giving your life meaning and purpose. Ponder not just what He did in the past but what He has promised He will do in the future. You’ll be glad you did!

Priority # 4 Make Worshipping Jesus a Priority

 
“The shepherds went back, GLORIFYING AND PRAISING GOD for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.” Luke 2.20

After the shepherds had their heavenly encounter with the angels, had seen the Christ-child, and had proclaimed Jesus throughout the village they worshipped! They returned to their neglected herd of sheep and worshipped! They couldn’t help themselves. They were different because they had been in the presence of a king.

Do you remember the story in the Old Testament when Moses went up on a mountain and was in the presence of God? Well, when he came back down the mountain the people couldn’t even bare to look at Moses because he was glowing! The presence of God affected him in a very real and noticeable way.

The shepherds were also affected in a real and noticeable way. They saw Jesus, then they shared Him with anyone they could find, and ended their evening with a rowdy worship service on a hillside.

When you truly make it your priority to see Jesus you can’t help yourself. You have to praise your Savior! So in this Christmas season set aside some time just to worship and praise your Savior’s name! You’ll be glad you did!

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earthPeace among men with whom He is pleased.”
Luke 2.14

Merry Christmas!

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http://sports.yahoo.com/nfl/blog/shutdown_corner/post/video-cushing-gets-called-for-penalty-after-fig?urn=nfl-297945

Check out this link.  Unfortunately it reminds me of how many Christians live their lives.  They forget about the game (their mission) and about the opponent (Satan and the world’s systems) and instead spend their time fighting with each other.  Then they wonder why people call them hypocrites. 

What do you think?