Christmas

A Life-Changing Christmas Encounter

[caption id="attachment_1263" align="alignright" width="220" caption="The Nativity Story"]The Nativity Story[/caption]The story of Christmas doesn't begin in a manger, or even with the angel's visit to Mary. It doesn't begin with the prophets and their foretelling of Jesus' birth. It begins with creation and the fall.Neither is the birth of Jesus the climax or the end of the story. Rather, it is the beginning of the climax. It begins the heart, the focus of the Scripture: Jesus and his work.Most people, at least most Americans, are quite familiar with the popular nativity story, in part thanks to Linus' famous monologue. Jesus' birth, him lying in a manger, surrounded by Mary, Joseph, and multiple visitors. But the nativity is more than a story or yard decorations. In the gospels we see something more, something significant. (more…)

By John L. Rothra, ago
Christmas Drama Series

The Christmas Drama, Act 4: The Birth (Matt 2:1-12; Luke 2:6-20)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4o5PXnQyYnkEvery good story includes a climax, and the Christmas drama is no exception. In act one, God set the stage, getting the context and situation ready for this main event, especially through Zacharias and Elizabeth. Then we saw him prepare the people in act two, telling Joseph and Mary that they were going to have a child by the power of the Holy Spirit; the two willingly submitted to God’s will. In act three, God got the people into position, using Caesar to move Mary and Joseph from Nazareth to Bethlehem. The time has come, now, for the long-awaited child to arrive, but the focus is not quite what you may expect. (more…)

By John L. Rothra, ago
Christmas Drama Series

The Christmas Drama, Act 3: Getting Into Position (Luke 2:1-5)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PDAAY1RnNFoGod works in the lives of individuals, and the Christmas drama teaches us how he works. In this drama so far, we learned that God sets the stage, getting things ready for whatever he has planned for us (act 1). We also see that God prepares his people, getting them ready to participate in his plans (act 2). But God is more than a Boy Scout calling people to “be prepared,” he calls us to get moving. This brings us to act 3: “Getting Into Position.”Of the four Gospels, Luke alone records the census called for by Caesar Augustus. This census was not a common occurrence. And unlike in the Unites States, where the census is taken for the purpose of counting the people, Augustus’ census was so he could tax the people. Even at the time of Christ’s birth, the government tried to find ways to take the people’s money. (more…)

By John L. Rothra, ago