For unto you is born this day . . .

The most amazing thing about writing  this blog is how after writing things again and again. Sometimes you get breakthroughs in awesome ways. I was watching “A Charlie Brown Christmas” for the umpteenth time.  I’ve watched and enjoyed it time and again, laughing at all the jokes in the same places.  
I always [frequently] get goosebumps when Linus quotes parts of Luke chapter 2 informing Charlie what the real meaning of Christmas is.  He got to the verse 11 and I heard it new for the umpteenth time again.  
       11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.


This is the Christmas message, a presentation for the world.  An announcement, a proclamation from the voices of angels, it is veritable truth yet written upon the page may miss your scrutiny and fail to boggle your little mind.  Clearly someone reads it in our hearing every year.  The problem for me and many I know is that we have been reading the King James Version all our lives yet we barely understand what is meant by the words on the page. Let’s take this verse apart bit by bit.


For unto you – This was spoken by the heavenly host, a huge number of angels summoned and sent to the shepherds to proclaim the debut of the kingdom, announced by John but delivered by a newborn. 
is born this day in the city of David – context for the announcement and specification that this is the offspring of David and fulfillment of the prophesy concerning where he is to be born
a Saviour, – one who will live up to his name, and deliver his people from destruction
which is Christ – affirmation that he is the Messiah but not only that . . . 

the Lord – an oft used old English word that has not been well translated to modern English because there is no equivalent word.  Lord means ‘owner’ and it has other connotations including one having authority, or influence.  It means Master.   He owns the world and all of us.  He had authority and wrest all other authority from death and the grave. 
The angels declared it and we wait until the world discovers the truth proclaimed that fateful night.  May you revel in that revelation again and again!  Merry Christmas!

. . . and we beheld His glory

My wife calls me a grinch after the children’s story of the gremlin that tried to steal Christmas.  I’m not against Christmas.  I am against 1) the commercialization of Christmas and 2) the ongoing secular takeover of the Christmas holiday and subsequent separation of the “baby Jesus” from the beaten, scorned and betrayed Savior who arose triumphant from the grave.

Christmas does have it’s own joy and life as it embodies the hope of genuine reconciliation to God.  But this was kept secret until after His death and resurrection.  So much of the story was was kept hidden such that there may have been many thousand people who saw the young Jesus but had no idea that he was indeed the Christ [ the prophesied, anticipated and heralded Messiah].  The context of the story was that four hundred years had passed since a prophet had transmitted a word from God.  After such a long time, it would seem that God had forsaken us, that we were forlorn and lost.

But there were indeed “Good tidings of Great Joy” that the foretold Savior had come.  Isaiah declared “His name would be called Wonderful, Counselor, The Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  Of his Kingdom there would [will] be no end.”  [Isaiah 9:6-7a]

But only a few people actually celebrated the first Christmas.  The marvelous virgin-birth of the God-man, King of Kings was only REVEALED to a few as told by Luke the physician.  First were the shepherds watching their flocks.  Next the devout Simeon, who prayed for a chance to see God’s fulfillment of the promise.  Because he sought to see the Messiah and vigorously followed the leading of the Holy Spirit.

Anna the prophetess was at the temple also.  She saw the child and began an anthem of praise, declaring to everyone how the child would bring Jerusalem out of bondage.

The Magi were the last.  I wrote about them last year {http://www.phatonfruit.net/2015/12/25/the-faith-of-the-magi/}.  They traveled far to worship the coming King.  They arrived bearing gifts and were overwhelmed as they saw him.  They like those mentioned above, saw him for who he is.  He was not hidden in plain sight, He was revealed for who He is . . . and they beheld His glory.

Not Just a Baby . . . (Christmas 2013)

How amazing it is that Christ, after spending eternity with the Father took on this frail flesh and suffered the outright humiliation of being born not only with the limitation of being a human, but in the primitive ancient town of Bethlehem.  It is imperative that while we celebrate His being with us, that we contemplate the sum of his work.  It is true that we may not know the whole sum of his work for some time to come, but the revelation of what his work of salvation means is still staggering.  
 
So when we get enticed to consider his birth (and coinciding celebration) outside of the context of his life, ministry and creation of the Kingdom. We are missing it.  We are told he was slain before the foundation of the world so when he was born, his work of salvation was already complete!!
 
His architecture and creation of Kingship and Kingdom are masterful and profound.  As we learn minuscule portions of his creation and how minute changes in DNA create everything we see.  How the his spirit permeates the entire world at this time of year and unwittingly even those who refuse to accept him are affected.  These are the absolute shadings of how Great He is and that he is not just a man and he was not just a baby.  As the songwriter said: Sweet Little Jesus Boy, we didn’t know who you were . . . 
 
I have been in worship enjoying Fred Hammond’s song “Not Just A Man”  that says it better than these few words:
 
Merry Christmas All!!