When Mary asked me speak this morning, she said – “Maybe you could give a Christmas message Olive, since it’s the last Saturday before Christmas break?” I thought that’s a good idea! If Father agrees, that is! AND HE DID!
So I asked Father, if there was maybe a fresh thought/revelation/concept that He wanted me to share with you lovely ladies! And over the next few days, while thinking about this and reminding Father of my question, I had this old hymn going through my mind, almost constantly. I haven’t heard it, sung it or thought about it in a very long time (many years at least)! But it kept going through my head. Then it dawned on me that Father was trying to say something to me. He was actually answering my question, “Did He have some fresh thought/revelation etc!!!
The hymn that was going through my head constantly was – ‘There is a story sweet to hear’ – maybe you know it, or maybe it’s long before your time! Lol!
Here are the words :
There is a story sweet to hear, I love to tell it too,
It fills my heart with hope and cheer, Tis old yet ever new.
It’s old, yet ever new, Tis old, yet ever new,
I know, I feel tis true, Tis old yet ever new.
It tells me God the Son came down from Glory’s throne to die,
That I might live and wear a crown, and reign with Him on high.
It says He bore the cross for me, and suffered in my place,
That I from sin might ransomed be, and praise Him for His grace.
Oh wondrous love, so great, so vast, so boundless and so free,
Lord, at Thy feet myself I cast, my all I give to thee.
So for me, my answer was so very clear! There is no fresh thought/revelation/idea!! This story, the Christmas story, His story is, as the hymn says it so beautifully – ‘Tis old yet ever new!’
Matthew and Luke record Jesus birth and we all know the story so well. But I’m going to read them, just to refresh our memories.
Matthew 1 v 18-23 says – “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows; After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of The Holy Spirit. And she will bring
forth a son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken the the Lord through the prophet, saying; ‘Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a son, and they shall call His name Immanuel’, which is translated “God with us.”
And in Luke 2 v 1-20 it says – “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days we completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in
swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flocks by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Saviour, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign
to you; You will find the Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!” So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marvelled at those things which were told them by the
shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.”
So Jesus was born! Mary gave birth to Jesus in the same way that women have birthed babies, since time began. The wonder wasn’t in the way He was born, but in who He was and is and always will be – the Lord of Glory, our Saviour!
Born in a stable, NOT a five star top notch hospital, not even a midwife or a Doctor about – just Mary and Joseph, and since it was a stable, maybe some animals. Not really what you would expect for the King of Glory.
God does not always do things the way we think He should, or is that just me?
At this time of Christmas, we celebrate the birth of Jesus and we’ve just read how that came about. And I was thinking about how we celebrate that. Giving and receiving gifts! Family celebrations! Etc. And we all get very excited and so we should. But it is also important that we remember the very best gift of all time! God gave His one and only son for each one of us. And as Christians, I think we all have that sense of excitement and celebration, but at the same time always mindful of the fact, that He (Jesus) came to die on a cross for my sin, for your sin and the sin of the world. What a Saviour!!!
We know the story goes on to tell us how He was pursued to be killed, even as a baby, satan wanted Him dead. And although God sent His only son into this world to die, it was not until the God appointed time. After Jesus had completed the work His Father sent Him to do. He had a job to do and Father God would not give up or allow satan to thwart His plans for the salvation of the world including you and I! The fact is, He will never give up on any of His children. He has your name written on the palm of His hand. (I just sense that somebody needs to hear that this morning! He is not going to let you down, it would be against His character. He loves you unconditionally.)
The birth of this Baby was indeed very special, even though it seems very understated, in our way of thinking. Father God had Jesus hidden, if you like, and only revealed His birth to those He wanted to know. The ones He could trust. He didn’t grow up in a palace, He didn’t have loads of earthly treasures, but He came into a family and grew up in real life on this planet. Yes, He was ‘King of Kings’! Yes, He was the ‘Son of God’! Yes, He was all the things the Bible tells us! But He came into this world as a baby, like each one of us and experienced temptations etc,
as we do, to be our Saviour.
In Jeremiah 1 v 5 it says – “Before I formed you in the womb, I knew you; before you were born, I sanctified you; I ordained you as a prophet to the nations.”
Even before God, in the form of Jesus, came into this world to die for each and every one of us, He knew us and had a plan for our lives.
Why? Because He loves us and deems us worth dying for! That makes us very special to Him. Would you agree? So we need to start seeing and believing just how special we are to Him! We actually delight our heavenly Father’s heart, just read Songs of Solomon, if you need proof.
Over this Christmas period (we know it’s probably not the right time of Jesus birth). The important thing to remember is that as we celebrate Jesus birth. It’s also important to remember to celebrate the fact that His birth and death was the doorway for us to enter into life and abundant, everlasting life, at that!!!
We know how important to us Jesus birth was and is and that is how it should be. But I also sensed He was asking us to realise how much He loves us and enjoys our celebrating Him.