Dear Pastors, Missionaries, Chaplains and Friends,
Steve here…Are you ready for Christmas? Purchased all your Christmas presents?
I hear of two women standing in front of a department store window with a large display of the manger scene. All the figures were there including the baby Jesus. One of the ladies looked at her friend and said, “Look at that—the church trying to hone in on Christmas, now!”
Despite all the busyness, preparations and vast commercialism surrounding the season…some forget Jesus was the one who started it all. I wonder what Jesus thinks about the way we celebrate the Christmas season. All the rich, good chocolate and racing through the shopping malls. So different than the first Christmas.
Our Saviour was born in a cattle stall, an animal feeding trough in very humble circumstances. Does He have any relevance today? Well, let’s think about that.
He was born to an unwed mother in a violent regime like half the world’s population today.
He was born in Asia like half the world’s population today.
He became a refugee in Africa as a child where we find half the world’s refugees today.
He actually has a lot in common with much of humanity today.
He was born under Emperor Caesar Augustus during a peaceful time in Rome’s violent history. The peace was largely due to the very able, and sometimes ruthless, leadership of Augustus. He [Caesar] borrowed a Greek word to describe this “Pax Romana”: the word was “gospel” or “good news”. He believed he was ushering in a new world order. An era and reign that would spread the light of justice and the Roman way of life. He believed his enlightened empire would last forever.
Meanwhile, in an obscure corner of his empire, a little baby was born without much notice at all.
The historians missed his birth completely, except for four wise astronomers visiting from Iraq. All other politicians and dignitaries missed the birth announcement altogether.
We know about this baby because of four books written about Him years after His death. These same four biographers also borrowed the Greek word, “gospel” to describe the story of this baby. And, like Augustus, they used the term to describe the new world order this baby’s birth would inaugurate. Not a kingdom of this world, but a spiritual Kingdom that would reign in the hearts of humanity itself.
And it all began from the very humble beginnings of a baby, in a manger, in the little town of Bethlehem.
Everyone loves a good story, so let’s go tell it to everyone who will listen. Let’s never forget how good the “Good News” really is. Merry Christmas!
Have a blessed week,