Is the Christmas Story True? Does it Still Matter Today?
The story is old and has been told well many, many times. The story of an inn, a pregnant virgin, a stable, a manger, a star and a king. It’s a story that never grows old that Someone with a very creative mind and loving heart planned thousands of years ago when things didn’t work out in the garden. It’s an unlikely story with humble beginnings.. and what seemed like a sad ending instead ended miraculously.
For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6 NIV
For thousands of years the Israelites expected their Messiah to come in kingly fashion. But, instead of being born in a castle this king chose just a manger… the humblest dwelling. The king the Jews expected would be heralded on front page news, require trumpets, a large audience, a banquet, fireworks and honor guard. Surely, no Jew, no reporter would discover a king in the shape of a tiny new-born in a stall surrounded by animals and straw. And no one could imagine how this one life could change the world.
Not what they were expecting
Instead of announcing this birth of the King to the prominent citizens and politicians of the land angels proclaimed it to a few lowly shepherds. Can you imagine being one of those shepherds? One night, you and your friends are watching over your sheep, it’s dark and cold. Suddenly, you are engulfed by a bright light and see what could be a spirit or an angel (you’ve never seen one so, you can’t be sure). Fear overwhelms you as you hear the angel proclaim:
“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Then, another company of heavenly host appear with the angel, They are praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.” Luke 2:8-15
Rushing off to Bethlehem to see this thing that has happened you and the others find Mary and Joseph and the baby, just like the angel said, lying in a manger. Why would angels come to shepherds? Shepherds were not important or powerful people, they didn’t make much money, they weren’t fancy dressers. And yet these were the people that were the first to hear that Jesus had been born. Titles, degrees, status, finances — none of these impress God.
How did the world respond to the king who started out in a manger?
He came into the world that He created but, the world did not recognize Him. Though Jesus performed miracles, fulfilled predictions made of the Messiah, healed the sick, raised the dead, claimed to be God and took authority that only God could take, many chose to reject Him. Even some of His followers left Him. But, when He asked Peter, “will you also leave me? Peter said, “Lord, to whom will we go? You have the words of life.”
Jesus still touches lives today.
“Throughout the Christmas season, we recall that God’s love is found in humble places, and God’s peace is offered to all of us. It is the story of a quiet birth in a little town, on the margins of an indifferent empire. Christmas has carried the message that God is with us–and, because He’s with us, we can always live in hope.” George W. Bush
One woman wrote to me about her experience in finding Jesus: “Well, I had to check out everything before accepting Jesus into my heart. With intensity, I sought God everywhere — the Baha’i faith, Quaker meetings, Catholicism and more. And, I turned to the Bible, because I love to read.
About this time, someone said to me, “If Jesus came here for our sins and was crucified and rose again — for us — why can’t that be enough for you? Why isn’t Jesus enough for you?” This question really shook me up. I had to ask myself why isn’t Jesus enough for me? Why isn’t what he did enough?
Is Jesus enough?
Maybe that question “Is Jesus enough for you?” challenges you as well. Can you really trust Him with your life? Is the forgiveness He offers enough for you? Is His offer of eternal life something you can count on? Is this Jesus powerful enough to change your life today and give you courage to face tomorrow? Hear what Jesus says in the New Testament:
“I am the way, the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father but, by me.”
“I am the resurrection and the life……he who believes in me will live.”
Jesus came to save the world from their sins. His death paid the penalty for the sins of the world. He proved His deity through many miracles, through fulfillment of messianic prophecies, by rising from the dead. All this from Jesus – a humble baby born in a dirty manger.
Jesus, the King, promises hope in our despair, help when we hurt, purpose in our journey, comfort and blessings in our suffering. Do you believe this?
This story of Jesus is a humble story with humble beginnings, the greatest miracles ever witnessed, the greatest claims and promises ever told, the greatest rescue of mankind from the snare of sin and death ever made in history and the greatest hope and display of supernatural love for all who choose to believe. John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life.
Where is your faith?
Have you placed your faith in Christ and His work on the cross alone for forgiveness of your sins and reconciliation with a holy God? Or are you relying on good works, baptism, catechism, the sacraments, going to church or being a good person to get you into heaven? Jesus says, “No one comes to the Father but by me.” Won’t you put Jesus on the manger throne of your heart today? This humble Savior won’t demand to reside on the throne of our lives….. but, He made it so we’ll never be happy unless He does.
Is this Jesus enough for you?
He is the wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, Prince of Peace, Everlasting Father. He is God, able to comfort you in your suffering, give you courage to face the future, free you from your guilt and sin, help you overcome your circumstances.
Take a look at your life. How would you describe it? Contented? Rushed? Exciting? Stressful? Moving forward? Holding back? For many of us it’s all of the above at times. There are things we dream of doing one day, there are things we wish we could forget. In the Bible, it says that Jesus came to make all things new. What would your life look like if you could start over with a clean slate?
Living with hope
If you are looking for peace, there is a way to balance your life. No one can be perfect, or have a perfect life. But every one of us has the opportunity to experience perfect grace through a personal relationship with God through His Son, Jesus Christ.
You can receive Christ right now by faith through prayer. Praying is simply talking to God. God knows your heart and is not so concerned with your words as He is with the attitude of your heart. Here’s a suggested prayer:
Lord Jesus, I want to know you personally. Thank you for dying on the cross for my sins. I open the door of my life to you and ask you to come in as my Savior and Lord. Take control of my life. Thank you for forgiving my sins and giving me eternal life. Make me the kind of person you want me to be.
Does this prayer express the desire of your heart? You can pray it right now, and Jesus Christ will come into your life, just as He promised.
Is this the life for you?
If you invited Christ into your life, thank God often that He is in your life, that He will never leave you and that you have eternal life. As you learn more about your relationship with God, and how much He loves you, you’ll experience life to the fullest.