Thinking about Christmas
In September I answered a telephone questionnaire. One question started me thinking.
“What is the most important thing to you about Christmas? Is it:
(a) time with the family
(b) time off work
(c) time of giving and receiving gifts
(d) the parties and revelry, or
(e) something else?
What would your answer be?
I looked at the Bible for details about the first Christmas. I believed this would help me answer the question. So I read Luke Chapter 2 and Matthew Chapter 2 for more details.
It was a family time … the birth of the first child in the family. I’m sure Mary and Joseph were excited about the event! So much had been happening of late.
It was time off work … for the shepherds who came off the night shift to visit Jesus in the food trough (manger)!
It was a time of giving gifts … as the wise men demonstrated with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
It was a time of revelry… the shepherds were so excited about the event they went round the town singing and praising God, and the local residents were amazed!
It was something more than these things though.
Why was Jesus placed in a communal animal feeding trough? This was a public open place where this new born baby was placed. No mention in the Bible of a stable for shelter.
When my youngest brother was born our family was in transit and there was no cot, so Tim’s first bed was a bottom drawer. My parents didn’t close the drawer. Neither did God close the bottom drawer… this was a public demonstration of God’s love!
It was obvious why shepherds had to be told. They knew where all the communal mangers were for miles around. They’d be able to find the baby and then spread the news. Carpenters, innkeepers, fishermen, tax collectors and any other type of folk wouldn’t know where all the mangers were situated.
The angel’s message had been, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.”
This was a message for all men and so God ensured that when Jesus was born he was placed in a public place. God was demonstrating that this peace was available to all mankind. Jesus would be available to all. God emphasised that this was an event that was not only for the select Jews. The other visitors mentioned in the Bible were the wise men who came from the East and arrived about two years later. These were very definitely gentiles (non-Jews).
So right from the start of the Christmas story we have a message that God declared publicly that he wanted all people to know peace. God wanted all people everywhere to benefit from the birth of Jesus, Jews and Gentiles alike.
I wonder what your answer to the initial question is. Maybe, like me, you will stop and think.