Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The price of Christmas

I thought this was an insightful message from an ACTION missionary that I wanted to share with you…  Merry Christmas to you all!

THE PRICE OF CHRISTMAS

by John Richard, ACTION Missionary

 

 Scripture Readings: Matthew 1:18-21; 2:16-18; Luke 2:33-35

 

 Since we are called to celebrate a Christian Christmas, we need to remind  ourselves of an important truth, namely, that there was a price to be paid by those connected with the Christmas event.

 

 Nine Observations:

 1. The parting that the Father underwent

 2. The poverty that the Son embraced

 3. The condescension that the Spirit showed

 4. The shame that Mary endured

 5. The stigma that Joseph carried

 6. The anguish that the Bethlehem homes suffered

 7. The interruption that the shepherds experienced

 8. The trouble that the wise men took

 9. The sword that Mary anticipated

 

 1. The parting that the Father underwent

 Of His own accord did God, the Father, part with His only begotten Son, the  Son of His love. There was no other way to rescue fallen man. That was Christmas.

 

 2. The poverty that the Son endured

 God, the Son, had to vacate the richest place in heaven, even the bosom of the Father. Though He was rich, yet He became poor. How poor? Not as a king born in a royal chamber did He come. In lowly birth He came. So lowly that His cradle was the manger. His curtains were the cobwebs, and His companions, the oxen and the donkeys.

 

 Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,

 When Thou camest to earth for me;

 But in Bethlehem homes was there found no room

 For Thy holy nativity;

 The foxes found rest and the birds their rest

 In the shade of the forest tree;

 But Thy couch was the sod

 In the deserts of Galilee.

 

 That was Christmas.

 

 3. The condescension that the Spirit showed

 God, the Holy Spirit, condescended to come upon a virgin, who like every  other human, was stained with original sin. He had to purify her womb and  make it meet to bear the Holy One, the sinless Son of God. That was Christmas.

 

 4. The shame that Mary endured

 Mary made her body available for the incredible thing to be performed in her and through her. An event that set wagging tongues cast aspersions on her chastity. That was Christmas.

 

 5. The stigma that Joseph carried

 Joseph fared no better than Mary. Undoubtedly, he had fathered Jesus ! It could not be otherwise. This palming off the responsibility to the Holy Spirit. Whoever can swallow such a story? Don’t you see Joseph could not  after all put away Mary? That was Christmas.

 

 6. The anguish that the Bethlehem homes suffered

 The Bethlehem mothers had to witness the awful spectacle of seeing their two-year old baby boys slain under their very eyes. Screams of anguish arose from Ramah. Rachel was weeping for her children unrestrainedly. That was Christmas.

 

 7. The interruption that the shepherds experienced

 The shepherds had to act on the angelic announcement. For them it meant leaving their flock and going with haste to seek out the Babe wrapped in swaddling clothes. They were prepared to have their normal pastoral life disturbed. That was Christmas.

 

 8. The trouble that the wise men took

 The wise men, too, took a long arduous journey. All the way from the East led by a star to a place they knew not where. More than that they presented the Babe with their choicest treasures: gold, symbolic of Christ, the King; frankincense, symbolic of Christ, the priest; and myrrh , symbolic of  Christ, the prophet. That was Christmas.

 

 9. The sword that Mary anticipated

 Remember Simeon’s message to Mary at the Jerusalem Temple: “A sword shall  pierce your soul, for this child shall be rejected by many in Israel …” That  was Christmas.

 

 What does Christmas mean to you?

A voluntary giving up of a prized darling?

 A willingness to quit the comfort of security?

A willingness to be ridiculed and reproached for the sake of Christ?

A willingness to soil our hands with unlovely things?

A willingness to give of our sons and daughters to defend the cause of Christ?

A willingness to have the daily pattern of our lives disturbed?

A willingness to take hazardous duties?

A willingness to part with our material wealth?

 

If these be evidenced in you, then Christ’s coming is not in vain.

 

 Christmas is really paying the price of Christian discipleship. And  discipleship is an affair of great cost. It may cost a man his life; it may cost him lifelong separation from his nearest relatives; it may set him at

 variance with his loved ones; it may require him to pack up and go wherever Christ may send him; it will require of him the sacrifice of ease and self-indulgence; it will make demands upon his time, his money, his talents.

 

 In short, he has to give his heart to Christ and make himself available to  do His bidding according to His good pleasure.

 

 “Tho’ Christ a thousand times

 In Bethlehem be born,

 If He’s not born in thee

 Thy soul is still forlorn.” (Angelus Silesius)

 -- John Richard

 

 

 

Steve Allen

Action Zambia

www.aliveinafrica.com

 

“Amen! Blessing and glory and wisdom and thanksgiving and honor and power and might be to our God forever and ever! Amen." Revelation 7:12

 

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