Every year without fail around Christmas and Easter time, poorly researched articles come out claiming all sorts of wild things about Jesus, Christmas, and the faith in general. They come from atheist and Christian alike claiming that Christmas (and Easter) is really pagan. Or that Jesus is a plagiarizing of various pagan gods. It’s really kind of sad for when you have actual facts the claims do not make any sense at all so without further ado here are the facts presented in these funny and informational videos.
For the past 28 years, I have had the privilege of putting up the Manger scene every November and taking it down every January. (Sometimes, when it was 5 below zero, or raining or snowing cats and dogs the ‘privilege’ part was a little questionable!) I took-over from my friend and elder-partner, Bob Weber – now home with the Saints in Heaven. Someday, someone will take-over for me. (You may consider that a request for help!)
Once, when we put up the Manger, I lost my wedding ring and we searched the straw for hours, trying to find it, but to no avail. Miracle of all miracles, when we took it down in January, with 12 inches of snow on the ground, we found my ring! God is Good! But, where else would you expect to see a miracle, if not at the Manger of our Lord, Jesus Christ.
When we see that manger, it is a reminder of 2 important truths. It Reminds us that THE BIBLE’S ACCOUNT OF JESUS BIRTH IS LITERAL AND RELIABLE and that CHRIST WILL LIVE WHERE ROOM IS MADE FOR HIM. Here in the manger is visible proof that God does keep his promises, that God loves each of us and all the world. God is faithful and loving! 1 John 4:10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.
O holy Child of Bethlehem, Descend to us we pray!
Cast out our sin and enter in; Be born in us today.
We hear the Christmas angels and great glad tidings tell;
Oh, come to us, Abide with us, Our Lord Immanuel!
I’ll bet you’re wondering what caves have to do with Christmas. Let me see if I can make the connection. Ever been in a cave before? I love caves! When I was in college, I crawled through many caves in Indiana with a carbide light. I’ve been in passages shoulder-wide and shoe-tall! Once, my brother and I spent 3 days underground in a cave! Ever been in a cave when the lights go out? It’s what they call ‘total darkness’ – you can’t see your hand in front of your face – it’s the complete absence of light! Unless you’ve been deep underground, you haven’t experienced total darkness like that before! No words to describe it – utter, total, complete darkness! If you are lost in a cave with no light, there is NO hope of feeling your way out – NONE! Unless somebody finds you – you will die!
That’s the best description I can think of to explain the human condition at the fall of Adam and Eve. A separation from God, so profound, so dark, there can be no hope for survival unless somebody finds you. And God’s promise to Adam and Eve was the promise of a Redeemer, a Savior. In Matthew 4, Jesus, speaking of himself, quotes the words of Isaiah ‘the people living in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.’ Jesus is our Emmanuel – God with Us! Jesus is our light – the Light of the World! He says these words in John 8: “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.”
Just as He is the Light of the world; He has called us to be lights to the world, reflecting His light, just as the moon reflects sunlight on a darkened earth. In this season of Joy, share His love and the Hope that you have! I remember the words of that children’s song we used to sing: ‘This little Gospel light of mine; I’m going to let it shine!
I always enjoy thinking about all those Christmas’ past and all the presents I got. I remember when the delivery man came to the door with that toy that I was just dying to get; only to have my mother tell me it was delivered to the wrong address! I was devastated; but learned on Christmas morning, my Mother didn’t always tell the truth! Or the times my brother and I would sneak peeks at our wrapped presents when mom and dad weren’t around! Or the time my uncle yelled at us kids because we were playing with the big box the toy came in – not the toy! But in all that, it really wasn’t about the toys, it was-and still is- about the people – about kids; about parents and grandparents, aunts, uncles and family friends. They were-and are- what make our Christmas traditions – not the ‘stuff’ we got.
This is a time of joy, of laughter and good cheer; but for many it is a darker time too. Jobs at risk; bills to pay; sickness; friends and family missing from the table – whether out-of-town, or home with the Lord. This is a good time to pick up the phone or send a card to someone and remind them how much they mean to you. There is no better gift you can give someone than yourself. Take the time to tell them how they enrich your life. 1 John 4:7 ‘Beloved, let us love one another, for love is of God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.’ Reflect God’s love this season!
This is also a good time to open the best present of all – the gift of Emmanuel – God with Us! As they say, ‘He is the Reason for the Season’. Luke 2:10-11 ‘And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.’ Remember to give Him the gift of ‘yourself’ – by your worship – and by your service! Romans 11:36: ‘For from Him and through Him and to Him are all things. To Him be the glory forever! Amen.’