As the Christmas carol says: “Let every heart, prepare Him room.”
Red is the color of Christmas—not because Santa suits are red or because we wrap packages in red or because Starbucks and Wawa sell coffee in red cups this time of year. Red is the color of Christmas because of the blood of Jesus Christ that was shed on the cross.
This is a TRUE story. You get to choose whether to believe it or not. But that doesn’t decide whether it is TRUE.
He was born in an obscure village, named Bethlehem, the child of a peasant woman. On the night of His birth, there were shepherds tending to their flock in the fields. Suddenly, there was an angel. A REAL angel. It scared the daylights out of the dudes (but it was dark…so that was cool…see what I did there?). Anyway, the angel announced to these guys that a savior had been born and they could find him in a manger just outside the town. Then a “great multitude of heavenly host appeared and announced his birth and sang praises to God.” Then, sure enough, the shepherds found him just as they were told.
Two years later, when the wise men arrived in Jerusalem, it created quite a stir. These were strange men with a strange question, asking for the King of the Jews. They couldn’t have said a worse thing to King Herod. In effect, they were saying, “We’re looking for the King of the Jews—and clearly you’re not him.” King Herod lost it. Talk about insecurity. Side note: For two years there was a bright star shining in the east just five miles away from Jerusalem. King Herod never went to check out why it was there….and it was right in front of him and he missed it. Anyway, the wise men found Jesus, by following the star. The wise still seek him. See Jeremiah 29:13. TRUE story.
Until Jesus was thirty, he worked in a carpenter shop and then for three years he was a nomadic preacher. He never went to college. He wrote no books. He held no political office. He never owned a home. He was never in a big city. He never did any of the things that usually accompany greatness. In his thirties, Jesus began his public teaching and display of recorded miracles, yet still never travelled more than 200 miles from his birthplace. Over a three-year period, despite his efforts to keep a low profile, Jesus’ reputation spread nationwide. The Roman governors and rulers of Israel’s provinces and the leaders of the Jewish people (the religious counsels) took note of him. Jesus’ key messages included:
- Your past does not predict your future ~ Luke 19:1-10
- The way to God is by faith not good deeds ~ Ephisians 2:8-9
- Good news: the kingdom of God has come to earth ~ Matthew 13
- Reality of judgment to heaven or hell ~ Matthew 25
- God forgives those who ask. ~ Mark 2:1-12, Matthew 7:7
The authorities condemned his teachings. When the pressure came and all the negativity on social media started (not really, but you get the point), his friends deserted him. One betrayed him to his enemies for a paltry sum of money. One denied him. He went through the mockery of a trial. Then, Jesus was brutally tortured and then hung by his hands, which were nailed to a horizontal wooden beam (cross) overlooking the town dump. This method of execution restricted the airflow to his lungs, killing him in three hours. During that three hours, he suffered the weight of the sins of humanity. His executioners gambled for the only piece of property he owned on earth: his coat. When he was dead, he was taken down and placed in a borrowed grave. However, according to more than 500 witnesses, Jesus returned from the dead three days later, and over the next 40 days, journeyed in both the southern and northern provinces of Israel. To those who believed, this was conclusive proof that Jesus’ claims to be God were real. Then Jesus returned to Jerusalem, the city where he was recently executed, and according to witnesses, he left the earth alive by rising up into the sky.
Nineteen centuries have come and gone. All the empires that have risen and fallen, all the mighty armies that have marched, all the powerful rulers that have reigned – combined – have not affected the life of man upon this earth so profoundly as this one man, Jesus. His life was lived, his death was required, and his resurrection occurred so that you and I could be redeemed for eternity.
That’s the story of Jesus. We’ve rebelled and fought hard as a society to rid ourselves of the true reason we celebrate this time of year. We’ve rejected the gift that has been given to us for eternal salvation. But we can make it ALL right by simply accepting his perfect plan.
“There is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to people by which we must be saved.”” ~ Acts 4:12 (The Bible)
Merry Christmas, everyone!
What’s your Story?