Quick Christmas thought here.
How many times have you heard the Christmas story? Probably many, if you’ve been in church for any length of time. Everyone seems to hear it year after year and everyone is fairly familiar with it, so each year there’s some sort of secret contest in many churches to try to tell it in some new and interesting way.
Some people tell it from a bizarre perspective. I once heard a monologue from the perspective of Mary’s donkey. *facepalm*
Some people try to mine out some gory or fascinating details. I’ve heard probably a dozen different versions of how many wise men there actually were and where they really came from…most of which were simply guesses based on incorrect facts. (Roman philosophers? Indian Mystics? Chinese Astrologers? Are you kidding?)
Some people try to integrate video, or music, or tell the story via a funny animation involving Facebook.
Very few actually unpack the narratives of Matthew or Luke and actually explain the stories.
I’m not going to do that here, but I will give some simple thoughts.
When you look at Matthew and Luke, you have to remember that the narrative is driven by the direct discourse (stories are driven along by what people say and the reactions to what is said).
In the narratives, there is divine revelation:
Angels explain the immediately coming Christ, and they explain various details about Jesus to Zechariah, Elizabeth, Mary, Joseph, the Shepherds, the Wise men, and (indirectly) to Herod.
Then, there is only one of two reactions by every group:
1. Worship (everyone but Herod)
2. Warfare (Herod)
The Christmas story sets up the initial coming of Christ and the 2 reactions to that coming. Either people come to worship him, or people come to wage warfare against him.
The next Christmas that I’m in front of a pulpit, I’m going to preach the Christmas story.
At Christmas time, it’s the time to proclaim to all those who wage war to turn from their rebellion and wage worship.
I am so utterly sad that so many churches think Christmas time is the time to do anything but call warriors to be worshipers.
Just a few minutes of rambling thoughts from a man who hasn’t slept much in 2 days due to a gassy baby.
Until Next Time,
Lyndon “Praise God that I Praise God” Unger
P.S. – This Christmas, if you are a worshiper, stop and give thanks for that. That’s a divine regenerating work that God did in your rebellious heart.