The events of Christmas after Jesus’ birth are anything but festive for Jesus and his family…
Murder, escape, hardship…It’s all there
Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Speaking of the shepherds, how did they know where to find Jesus? The angel tells them, You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
What is a manger? It is a stone feed trough used for animals. We saw real mangers from the time of Jesus when we visited Israel. Since I saw a real manger, I still know wooden mangers are here to stay. But there’s nothing like the original.
Last Christmas I talked about this and my friend from church secretly made me a replica stone feed box manger and gave it to me for my birthday!
Anyway, we picture Jesus in the manger, but where is the manger located?
The Bible doesn’t say, only mentions the feed trough. Animals in Bible times either slept in the home along with people or outside in caves. Caves were convenient and made it possible to keep them safe by penning them off. There is no such thing as wooden stables or barns in first century Israel. But, again I still like wooden stable looking buildings in Christmas manger scenes. But, knowing Jesus is born in a cave is another important contrast God gives us.
Does it matter if we authentically represent things from the Bible like a stone feed trough? How about images of Jesus?
The events of Christmas are contrasted to the death and resurrection of Jesus…All in God’s plan
Thanks to He Qi (heqiart.com) for the art used in this message
We are in the final act of God restoring his creation…It’s about Jesus and his followers
I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy.
The reason God has come to us in Jesus is to let us know how glad he is to be with us. How glad he is to be our God. Our adoring Father in heaven. This is a definition for joy. Gladness. Joy is about relationship. Glad to be with God relationship. Glad to be with each other in relationships.
When we are glad to be together we share joy.
How do I know “joy” is the reason God sent Jesus? Because God says so. Or at least the angel he sends says so.
Christmas Eve. Middle of the night. An angel from the heavenly dimension appears to the shepherds. The veil between heaven and earth is lifted. God’s light shines on the shepherds and weighs them down with his power. The angel speaks…
“Don’t be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy, which will be for all people…” (Luke 2)
The good news is that great joy has come. God is glad to be with us and is choosing to live with us as one of us. Jesus is here!
“… Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is the Messiah, the Lord.”
How else do we know the reason Jesus comes to us is to bring joy?
Because Jesus says so. He gives joy as the reason he teaches.
I have told you these things so that you can have the same joy I have and so that your joy will be the fullest possible joy (John 15).
But wait…Joy is the reason God comes as Jesus? I thought it is for forgiveness of sin. It is. Are you glad your sins are forgiven? I sure am. But, joy is so much more than simply forgiveness of sin. Joy is why we are created in the first place and why we live and why we will live with God forever.
For God so loved the world…
We are created to have the same joy Jesus is experiencing right now seated on the throne of heaven.
How do I know this? Because the Bible says we are with Jesus right now.
Your old sinful self has died, and your new life is kept with Christ in God (Colossians 3).
If we are glad God is with us and if Jesus wants us to be filled with gladness, how did Christians get stereotyped as so somber?
When we bring Jesus into the world, it is as a baby. We carry him…