Hearing the Message
What is it about Christmas that holds your attention? All year there is an anticipation building. We sing the songs, decorate our houses, have special foods we enjoy, and get together with family and friends, but what is it that makes it so special? I think partly it’s because it’s a shared experience. We don’t enter Christmas all alone, even if we are alone. We share great memories of the past with family members and close friends. We share the truth of the Christmas account of the birth of the Savior, and it continues to revive us when we read about and hear about it. There are times, however, when we get so wrapped up in the business of life that we hear the message but we aren't really listening. In the Biblical account of the Nativity, there are a number of principles that hear a particular message from God but react very differently. Some, like Zacharius, hear but have doubts. Others like King Herod, hear what is being said but want nothing to do with it. Mary on the other hand believes the message but needs help understanding how it's going to work. Joseph hears but needs more convincing.
Every Christmas Season a variety of sounds enter our ears. The question is what we do with what we hear. We hear messages in church, but do we believe them? We hear songs and carols but do we believe what we have just sung? Sometimes our lips just move because of the familiarity but our minds often don’t connect. I think we can all relate to the characters of Christmas in some way. Some people are like Zacharius, they hear and deny it with statements like, "that’s impossible - God wouldn’t intervene in my life like that. That giant in my life is way too big…" And they live with the results. Others like Joseph hear and struggle through a series of events in life. Perhaps a loss of some kind, or a reality check where the message of the angel has broken through the hard way. I am most concerned with the Herods who are so prideful they can’t recognize their need. If that's you listen carefully. Because of Bethlehem, we have a Savior in Heaven! He is all the provision you will ever need. Jesus is offering Himself to you as a gift. You’ve done nothing to deserve Him and you certainly could never afford Him. He offers Himself to you because He loves you. Christmas ultimately comes down to a choice. Will you receive Him? Will you accept what He did for you on the Cross, when He died in your place, paying the full penalty for your sins? It is the one gift that you will never regret! Press On, Pastor Brian Richard