Last year about this time I did a Christmas post. The message I hope was loud and clear … Jesus is God’s gift to the world. It was through Jesus’s sacrificial death of Calvary’s Cross that salvation came to all those who call upon His name. This year I would like to share with you just how important the message of salvation is.
But, I would like to begin by thanking my wife Amy Wade and our two little girls, Emma Grace and Ella. They are the reason for this week’s post. A week into the month of December, Amy said, “Honey, I think we should do a family Bible study on the birth of Jesus leading up to Christmas Day.” Well, I was all for the idea, in fact I wished I had thought of it myself! I guess, in a way I did, after all she’s my wife and Jesus is making us more like-mined everyday! In fact the word of God calls for Christians to be like-minded in Christ.
So several weeks ago we decided to set aside some family time to study
the Book of Luke leading up to the birth of Jesus. What we discovered
as a family was that there was a time when God used Angels as His messengers. But now, we have God’s Holy Spirit indwelling in us. It is a precious gift from God as result of Jesus’s sacrificial death on the cross for our sins.
The Book of Luke recounts the amazing true story of God’s mercy and favor upon two households. The first house is that of a married couple, Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth. The second household is of a virgin named Mary who’s betrothed to a carpenter named Joseph.
Now both Zechariah and Elizabeth were both old and past their years for having children. They were descendants of the priestly line of Aaron, who was Moses’s younger brother.
One day The Angel of Lord appeared to Zechariah while he was performing his priestly duties of burning incense in the temple. When The Angel Gabriel appeared to Zechariah he was shaken and overwhelmed with fear at the sight of this messenger who was sent from God.
Luke 1:13-17 But the angel said, “don’t be afraid Zechariah; your prayers have been heard, your wife Elizabeth will bear you son and you shall name him John”. His son would bring joy and delight others would also rejoice at his birth. This child will be great in the sight of God, he will be filled with the Holy Spirit even from birth and will not drink wine or any other strong drink. He will turn many of the Jewish people back to their God and he will go forth in the Spirit of Elijah, turn the heart of the fathers to their children and the disobedient to the wisdom of righteousness – to make read a people prepare for The Lord.
Zechariah’s reply is recorded in the following scripture.
Luke 1:18-20 Zechariah asked the angel, “How can I be sure of this? I am an old man and my wife is well along in years”. The angel said to him, “I am Gabriel. I stand in the presence of God, and I have been sent to speak to you and to tell you this good news. And now you will be silent and not able to speak until the day this happens, because you did not believe my words, which will come true at their appointed time.”
Luke goes on to record that the people were waiting and concerned for Zachariah because he was in the temple so long. But, when he came out and was unable to speak they thought that he had seen a vision for he kept motioning signs to them and was unable to speak.
When Zachariah returned home to his wife Elizabeth, she does indeed conceive a child. And she goes into seclusion for five months. I can only imagine what was going through her head being what today’s society calls a senior citizen and pregnant. But, listen to the words of Elizabeth, her message is loud and clear. Luke 1:25 “The Lord has done this for me,” she said. “In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.” Yes! You heard right, society looked down upon a woman if she couldn’t have children.
UNTO US A CHILD IS BORN
As Paul Harvey, a famous ABC radio broadcaster use to say, “Now! for the rest of the story”.
Luke 1:26-38 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”
Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”
“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”
The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month. For no word from God will ever fail.”
“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.
HOW WILL YOU RECEIVE THE MESSAGE OF CHRISTMAS?
When you’re celebrating Christmas this year and years to come remember a message is being given to you … a message from God. The message is the gift of Life through Jesus. I have come to realize that these fragile minds of ours cause us to fear the unknown and even the known. Don’t allow fear to keep you from receiving God’s message of salvation. Just like in this story from Luke, there are two ways to receive a message from God. One is with an unbelieving heart and the other is by faith through a believing heart. Which one will you have? The best gift you can give back to God this Christmas, and every day, is a believing heart … A heart that trusts without questioning … A heart that believes the impossible.
Wishing you and yours a Very Merry Christmas!