Is there anything better than the Christmas story or has the secular world invented or made available a more pleasant day? Can they replace it with a movie, a reality show or sitcom, how about a Nascar race or sporting event? No, Christmas has stood the test of time and is the one day in which even those who profess other religions are glad to see so much joy and laughter.
The birth of Jesus Christ as written in the New Testament has to be the greatest story ever told. If it were not already written it would be inconceivable for a writer to make it up, it's that big of a story. Who but God would think that he could write such a story and billions of people would believe it. The bible is the biggest selling book of all times being read by one third of the world's population. In numbers printed and money invested it stands as the world's all-time greatest best seller, year in and year out it is the bestselling book in America. In the U.S. it is estimated that twenty five million bibles worth half a billion dollars are bought annually.
So what does the bible have to do with Christmas? Everything really, for without the bible we would not have a picture of who Jesus really is and how he was born. The fact that it might not be December 25 is really not important; it's the spirit of the occasion that matters. Some would argue that it was written by men, and that is true, they were holy men guided by the Holy Spirit. Some of these men had been with Jesus from the very start of His ministry and had seen firsthand what they were writing about. Had this been just an ordinary book it could have fooled some people but not two and half billion people, people are not that stupid, if you think they are trying selling them something.
The gospel of Matthew starts out by showing us who God would use for this scared event. He chose a young girl by the name of Mary to be the mother of Jesus and God himself would be the Father. How can this be some would ask? God said that the Holy Spirit would come over her and she would be with a child. Since God made man he could do whatever he pleased with what he created. He also chose Joseph to represent the earthly father, but in name only. Jesus was born in Bethlehem during the time of King Herod who wanted to put him to death because he feared that he would lose his throne to this new King. Three wise men from the east had seen the star and recognized it as the star of the King to be born. They searched until they found Jesus and gave him presents of gold, incense and of myrrh, then they returned to their own country, but Jesus was taken to Egypt because his parents feared Herod.
In the gospel of Luke we have a more detailed description of the birth of Jesus. Here it tells us how he was born in a manger because there was no room in the Inn. Shepherds who were tending their flocks at night saw angels who told them of the good news that a Savior had been born that night in Bethlehem. They in turn went to see what it was all about and found the baby Jesus just as the angels had said in a manger. From these verses we get the manger story with all the animals, shepherds, and angels singing along with the baby and his mother and father. It's a story of love and hope for a world which like today was in chaos and despair.
In the religious world they have many doctrines about the tradition of gifts; the Christmas tree to some is seen as a pagan ritual and all the decorations as unbiblical. But in a world that seems as if it has gone mad with violence, greed, and perversion, why lose faith in the only thing that seems right and brings some joy and peace. To children the holidays are about Jesus and Santa Clause, I'm sure the Lord is not bothered about all this as some legalist are, after all those trees are not slandering or being envies of their neighbor and I'm sure there is no discrimination among pine trees. To an unbelieving world the holidays are about drinking, eating and mocking those who believe that Jesus came to save the world of its madness. But they have nothing to take the place of the gospel and the love and joy which the Lord makes available to those who come to him with all their burdens. They sneer at the sight of people singing Christmas Carols then go back home to live out their misery in a bottle. Merry Christmas to everyone.
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