It's during Advent I’m reminded of the duality of waiting—remembering the Hebrews who waited eagerly for the birth of their Messiah, but also the waiting we endure for the second coming of Christ.
The problem with an often-told story is trying to hear it the way it originally unfolded and affected people. The Christmas story is a prime example…familiar and predictable. But the events surrounding the birth of Jesus were anything but expected! So much so that most of the Jewish people who were eagerly waiting for their Messiah totally missed His arrival!
Insight for Living offers a number of helpful resources that can help you see the Christmas story from a fresh, new angle. See this wondrous event through the eyes of the ordinary, everyday people whom God chose to involve. You’ll come away with a better understanding of the original meaning behind it all and with a heart bursting with gratitude for the incarnation of the Son of God.
“Do not be afraid.” We see this phrase recur throughout the Christmas story and it’s easy to gloss over without fully comprehending it.
When a baby comes into our lives as parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, brothers, or sisters, we rejoice in the magnificence of God’s gift of life. But how much more did the family rejoice in wonderment when the child was Emmanuel, God with us? When God took on human flesh at the birth of Jesus, He brought a wonder to the world that had yet to be seen.
When done well, one’s family becomes a sacred shelter of consistency and connection in a world of flux and change. At its best, home develops into the safe place where we can always go and be accepted for who we are.
Sometimes cast aside as a minor player in the retelling of the Christmas story, Joseph’s story mirrored that of his wife in many ways. He sat with her marvelling at this baby. He wondered about the baby’s origin. And yet, Joseph was forced to make a choice that not even Mary had to make. Where Mary carried the baby within her, Joseph had to choose to stay, to involve himself in the baby’s life.
Traditions are nothing new. In fact, it’s because they’re not new they hold any value whatsoever.
Perhaps you never realized that it was Jesus’ attitude of unselfishness that launched Him from the splendour of heaven all the way down to a humble manger in Bethlehem…and later to the cross of Calvary.
The doctrine of the virgin birth, or perhaps more accurately the virgin conception, is important for many reasons. On it hang the doctrines of original sin, the inspiration of Scripture, who Jesus was, and what Jesus did in salvation.
Unless we view Bethlehem from the perspective of the cross, most of what we sing and celebrate at Christmas amounts to glorying in the cradle, not the cross.