Christmas has come and gone. Another year is in the bag. All that’s left are the decorations. Have you stopped turning your Christmas lights on now that the day has passed?
This weekend it all comes down for many – the lights and decorations.
Wal-mart started putting out hearts and chocolate on Christmas Eve day. What? Wait! Why wait? Maybe they thought someone would want to buy their sweetie chocolate for Christmas. Maybe Christmas was just another day in retail for them. I don’t know, but then again, if those Santa shaped chocolates weren’t your fav, those chocolate hearts looked good.
When I sit back and think about the real meaning of Christmas and why all the commotion, the stockings, lights, and matching pj’s are far from the reason.
Luke 2 records the birth of Jesus, and it’s in this story we learn several things that will benefit our lives even more than the trendy tech gadget you received in your stocking this year.
And yes, while Christmas Day has come and gone for another year, the lessons of Christmas remain.
Let’s take a look at a few folks who received a significant gift at Christmas long ago. I believe we can learn some valuable lessons.
Our reading today comes from Luke 2:8-20, so if you have your Bible handy or any matter of I-ness or Samsung, let’s look at the scripture together:
8 And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
- They received a visit from an angel
- They were told not to be afraid
- The news was for all people
- The location is Bethlehem
- The Messiah has been born
- Here’s how you’ll know – he is wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger
In case they doubted the message, the angel was soon surrounded by a great company of heavenly hosts, all praising God.
What did the shepherds do?
They took the information and went to Bethlehem to check it out, and sure enough, they found the baby just as the angel had said.
They did something with the information they received.
Notice this also – in verse 17; it says they “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.”
Not only did they listen to the angel and go, but they also told everyone what they saw. And the Bible says, “and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.”
Jump down to verse 20, “The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.”
The shepherds worshipped God.
Lesson 1 – We are called to worship God.
They went back to their lives, but now Jesus is a part of their lives. Once Jesus becomes a part of our life, we should be worshipping Him. I remember someone once said, “I asked Jesus into my heart. I have my ticket to heaven. I will see you later.” They go about their lives as if nothing happened. When Jesus enters our hearts, it’s a big deal. Worship should be a response to this life-changing event.
Lesson 2 – Jesus should have access to all areas of our lives.
We shouldn’t wait for changes to occur before asking Jesus into our hearts.
For years, I have talked about Jesus and how He has changed my life.
Too often, I get the same responses:
- When I quit doing drugs, I will ask Jesus to come into my heart.
- When my lover and I split up, I will ask Jesus to come into my heart.
- When I quit cursing and drinking, I will ask Jesus to come into my heart.
- Jesus is no fun.
- When I quit smoking, I will ask Jesus to come into my heart.
- Religion is a bunch of rules, and I don’t like rules.
- It sounds like a big commitment. I don’t like commitments.
- It sounds boring. You don’t have any fun.
- My friends don’t believe in God.
- It’s not popular to believe in God.
- How do you know he exists? Have you seen him?
- I was hurt in a church once. I’m not ever going back.
- I believe in God, but not Jesus, so no thank you.
- Jesus was just a man, a good teacher, but nothing else.
- The Bible is a fairy tale book at best.
My point is, while all of these seem like very legitimate reasons to delay or deny Jesus, those people are risking their eternal future.
Once Jesus came into the lives of those shepherds, their lives were never the same again. They were changed. Why? Because Jesus changes everything.
Lesson 3 – When Jesus comes into your life, you will experience opposition.
When we read Matthew 2:13-18, we learn that King Herod wants to kill the baby Jesus. While he pretends to want to worship the baby Jesus, he is lying. Sadly, Herod orders the murder of all boys under the age of two in hopes of eliminating the newborn king. What a sad reality for many that day.
When Jesus comes into your life, the opposition is already here, or it’s coming for you.
Whatever you struggle with will rear its ugly head. John 10:10 says, “The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.”
Jesus also says in John 16:33, “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Let’s wrap this up
My footnote says this, “Finding Jesus may mean that your life must take a different direction, one that is responsive and obedient to God’s Word.”
My response to the folks who give me their reasons for denying Christ is they discount the power Jesus will bring into their lives. If they could have stopped those addicting behaviors on their own, they would have already. Jesus can mend broken hearts. Jesus is the real deal. Don’t discount the power of the cross to change your life. It changed mine.
The Teaching Lady
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Non-Fiction Novel – Bridge to Grace