The Greatest Story rarely told
Greetings precious people, I hope that you are enjoying the Goodness of our Lord this wonderful time of year. I would like for us to take a one week break from our study of the Fruit of the Spirit to consider a story that is rarely told any more. Iíve entitled it the Greatest Story rarely told. It is more than just a story though, for a story can be either fictional or factual. Though it is a factual story, it is much more for it concerns the Creator of Heaven and Earth responding to manís greatest need, Salvation. It is a story that is no longer permitted to be mentioned in our public schools or many public places. Scenes depicting this story have been banned from public display. Songs that were written years ago describing this event have been banned from being sung in our public schools "Winter" programs. It is no longer known as Christmas time or Christmas break, it is now known as winter break or the Holidays. This story is rarely told in homes today, instead stories like "The night before Christmas" are read to our children so that visions of sugar plum fairies can dance in their heads.
My thirteen-year-old son Jonathan and I just returned from Israel, the land in which this story took place. There in Israel, there is little mention or recognition of the Greatest Gift ever given to man. In the town of Bethlehem where this gift came into the world, there is so much turmoil that it is in a state of "lock down", it is a real hot bed of trouble. Interestingly, many of the stores and shops have decorations of Santa Clause and his helpers. How ironic for in the land where this event took place, to have the real replaced with the fictional.
I would like for us to look at the account of this event that is given in the Bible, Godís Holy Word, and then also look at its signifigance from the Bible also. It is an event that should not only impact our lives Christmas Eve and Christmas Day but each day, each moment of our lives.
In Luke 1:26-38 we have recorded the events leading up to the birth of Christ. "Now in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent by God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. The virgin's name was Mary. And having come in, the angel said to her, "Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!" But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. Then the angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end." Then Mary said to the angel, "How can this be, since I do not know a man?" And the angel answered and said to her, "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible." Then Mary said, "Behold the maidservant of the Lord! Let it be to me according to your word." And the angel departed from her."
Space does not permit us to print the entire account here, but I do strongly encourage you to read the entire account in your own Bible. If you do not have one and would like one, let me know and we will send you one at no charge.
Letís pick up with the rest of the account of the birth of Jesus. In Luke 2:1, "And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger." And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!" So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, "Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us." And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them."
This was no ordinary occasion of a baby boy being born. There had been many born before Jesus and since. But the birth of Jesus Christ was the fulfilling of Godís promise of a Savior made back in the Garden of Eden. God had given over 300 prophecies in the Old Testament concerning the first coming of Jesus.
I would like to close by showing the signifigance of this baby that was born in a manger over 2,000 years ago. In Titus 3:4, "But when the kindness and the love of God our Savior toward man appeared." 1 John 4:9-10, "In this the love of God was manifested toward us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him. In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins." Galatians 4:4-5, "But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons." John 1:14, "And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth." 1 Timothy 3:16, "And without controversy great is the mystery of godliness: God was manifested in the flesh, Justified in the Spirit, Seen by angels, Preached among the Gentiles, Believed on in the world,
Received up in glory." Hebrews 2:14, "Inasmuch then as the children have partaken of flesh and blood, He Himself likewise shared in the same, that through death He might destroy him who had the power of death, that is, the devil."
Dear ones, this is the true story of Christmas. I do hope that you have a blessed Christmas. That you give Jesus Christ the Lord His rightful place in your life.
Next week we will continue our study on the Fruit of the Spirit. Until then, may the Lord richly bless my beloved.
If you have any questions, comments, or prayer requests you can contact me at: Calvary Chapel of Alpine, P.O. Box 1528, Alpine, Ca. 91903 or call 619-445-2589, or firstname.lastname@example.org
Drew Macintyre is pastor of Calvary Chapel of Alpine