Don’t Stop at the Crib

Soon Christians will celebrate the birth of Jesus. The Christmas season is an emotional time of year. What joy for the newlyweds who are celebrating their first Christmas together or for the new parents who just had their first child! On the other hand, for some the Christmas holidays are difficult. Perhaps a loved one is gone and it’s not quite the same without them. It’s tough.

Yes, Christmas can be an emotional time of the year.

We find the Christmas Gospel is found in Luke 2. Whether you are reviewing the story or the Holy Spirit is using it to make an impact on you for the first time, know this: On that night in Bethlehem, God came into the world. That is the basic truth of the Christian faith. When you become a Christian, this truth becomes a focal part of your faith.

I love to read this paragraph from Tom Wright, the British theologian. He writes, “The birth of this little boy is the beginning of confrontation between the kingdom of God and the kingdom of this world.”

Augustus never heard of Jesus of Nazareth, but within a century or so his successes in Rome had not only heard about him, they were taking steps to obliterate him and his followers. Within three centuries, the emperor himself, Constantine, became a Christian. Since then the message of Jesus Christ has been going into this world, millions of people have received him as their Savior and their Lord, and their lives have been changed as Jesus entered into their very being.

Kingdoms of this world have fallen, and we know not how many more will fall in the future. But this we do know: the kingdom of our God, which began in Bethlehem’s manger on that first Christmas, continues to be among us. People of every nation and walk of life claim Jesus as their Savior and Lord. The kingdom of God was brought into this world in the babe of Bethlehem’s manger.

The verse that catches my eye right now are these words: “Do not be afraid, for behold I bring you good news. There is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior who is Christ the Lord.”

Wouldn’t you admit that it’s difficult to not to have moments of real fear? However, our Lord says, “Do not be afraid. I am with you. I will not spare you from these difficulties, but I will walk with you.”

That is the message that comes from that Christ child as he grew up. It is also the message we talked about during the Advent season. He came to seek and to save that which was lost. He came to give us life and have it abundantly.

Television brings some terrible things into our homes on a daily basis. We see the results of the drug culture. We learn about a mother who decides to kill herself and her two small children. The depravity of man is all around us.

We thank God for medical science and all they are able to do. Many of us live on into our 80s and some into their 90s. Often we spend must those last days in a home for the aged. Does that thought make you afraid?

I go in and out of one of those homes daily to see my wife. As I walk among the residents, I see some poor souls just waiting to leave this world. Selfishly I can’t help but ask if that the way that I will end. It can put fear in your heart. And in the middle of all this, Jesus says to us, “Don’t be afraid. I will take care of you. I will take care of your loved one. I will not remove these tedious days, but I will be with you.”

That is the Christmas gospel. It comes from the lips of that little child who was born in Bethlehem’s manger. And so we can join with the angels of old and say, “Glory be to God in the highest.” Our life may not be exactly what we want on this earth, but it can be mighty good for we have a Savior who walks with us.

This is the message that has been given to the Church to take to this world. May the Church be anxious to get this great message out, that God has come to this world. May our nation realize that only Christ is the final solution. And may that also be true in our lives.