Ooooh Christmas I just love Christmas, don’t you? I mean celebrating the birth of our Savior, and every year it just feels like everyone’s heart is just in a different place around Christmas. I love the Christmas songs right? O Holy Night, Silent Night, Away in the Manger, and The First Noel. I love the story itself; faithful and scared Mary and Joseph, giving birth in a manager, (ok that doesn’t sound so glamorous), the angels singing and praising His name, the bright shining star to show everyone the way, the shepherds and kings, and garland, and Christmas lights, and mistletoe, and presents, and Frosty the snowman, and Rudolph and of course Santa. Alright I might have added a little there, but isn’t that how it is each year. We always start with such good intentions about celebrating Christmas right, with Christ as the center. But we get sucked in by all the beautiful decorations and food and trees and stockings and to-do lists and parties and shopping and traffic and driving and traveling and and and. Before we know it were sitting at the Christmas Eve Service, if we even make it and we find ourselves convicted that once again this Christmas season was like every other. I want us to make these year different. My prayer is that God breaks our heart to see what Christmas is really about. I pray we fall on our knees and remember why this night was so important.
I hear so many of us refer to the birth of Christ as the beginning of the greatest story of told. That statement is false, Christmas is not the beginning of the greatest story ever told. After all let’s see where the Christmas story is found in the Word. Ah Ha right here in the middle, but wait if this event is the beginning of the story then what about all of this. What about the Old Testament, is it just a fancy introduction written by some other authors? A little bit of the Israelite’s history or maybe some would say it is the history of Jesus’ descendants. Ha we have been studying these books for months now and I believe that they are so much more. I believe that when we started this study in Genesis that that was the true beginning of the greatest Love story ever told.
Some have trouble connecting the two books. When we say that the same God who destroyed generations for disobedience is the same loving God who gave His son for all of humanity to some it makes no sense. Many don’t like the God of the Old Testament, we instead love the stories of the gracious, forgiving, merciful, sacrificing, God of the New Testament. It is hard for some of us to see the God of the Old as the same God of the New. I know that I had struggled with this.
Let me be honest the God of the Old Testament scared me at times, I mean destroying cities, killing his people with snakes, punishing generations for sins of their fathers, a man being eating by a fish, the list goes on. There are times where I just go huh? What we see in the Old Testament many times is the holiness of God. Holy is a hard word to define, how would you define it? Belonging to or derived from or associated with a divine power is the way the dictionary tries to explain it. But even after reading that definition, I go what? Holy is God. It is his character and his being. It is just God.
Then we have the God of the New Testament, still of course the same one and only God. But we get another picture of him. We get his “love”, the love that is willing to sacrifice his only son. I picture the moments I had when I first gave birth to my sons and let’s just be honest, there is no way. There is no way I could sacrifice my baby boys for a bunch of sinners, who may or may not accept me. But God did. His love for us is so big that he was willing to do just that. He is love and is willing do anything for my love.
So how do we wrap our little minds around a God who is Holy and a God who loves us so much. Some don’t want to know a God as Holy as He is. Some are not willing to accept the amount of love God is willing to give. And yet God made it so easy to see the perfect picture of His Holiness and Love together. He gave us Jesus. Jesus, that cute little baby we celebrate every year is the key. He is the Holiness of God and the Love of God, together as one! So here we are this Christmas trying so desperately to keep Christ as the center of it all. Well it starts here. It starts in our heart. It is impossible to think that we phase out all the distractions in our everyday life when our hearts are not right. So I challenge you today, to take a heart check. Where are you and God? Were there times this year where you didn’t believe in the depth of God’s love? Were there times this year you made God small and minimized his true Holiness?