THE FACES OF CHRISTMAS
The Christmas story has many faces. Firstly the angels. Heavenly beings appeared to Mary. They appeared again to the shepherds. One foretold the conception of Jesus and persuaded Mary to be the divine vessel. The other “forth” told His birth and urged the motley bunch in the night to search for a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger! The first was a solo-encounter, the second proclaimed a divine decree to the world with a heavenly choir thrown in! There were at least two other angels in the story. What about the angel that spoke to Zechariah that his wife’s barrenness was at an end? And the angel who warned Joseph in a dream to flee to Egypt? Angels fill the Christmas story! Their job was to tell. Reverently and enthusiastically! That hasn’t changed. This Christmas, we too, must tell!
Then there were the visitors! Wise men came from the East. How many? We are not told though tradition suggests there were three, simply because they brought three gifts: gold, myrrh and frankincense. The shepherds came too but being poor and in a hurry they arrived empty-handed. What was common about these visitors? The Wise Men came to worship and the shepherds to adore the baby. It seems that nice as gifts were, they were incidental to Christmas. In our home, we have long dispensed with the tradition of presents. It has made the season so much less stressful and lots more meaningful! But one great thing we must do, don’t forget to have guests and visitors to your home -family, friends and strangers- that like the past, we too, may worship Him!
Then there is the face of the God at Christmas in the miracles that happened. The star led the Wise men to Bethlehem, to the child! Everyone knows stars are good only for direction not location. But that night it shone precisely over where the baby was! The birth of Jesus also miraculously fulfilled a prophecy spoken 500 years earlier. Jesus missed being massacred by Herod after his birth because of angelic intervention. Old Simeon and Anna both saw the baby before they died in fulfillment of God’s promises to them. Coincidence? Miracles! Yes they happened at Christmas. They happen today. Look out for yours. Christmas, you know has many faces.
2016 YEAR OF STRENGTH
Ps Dr Philip Lyn