KINGDOM PRIORITIES IN THE CHRISTMAS STORY
by MIRIAM JACOB
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The child in the manger is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. God has come to live in our world. 'Christ-mas' means 'Christ Celebration'. "When God brought His Son into the world, all the angels worshipped Him" - (Hebrews 1:6). The angels celebrated his birth like no other in history. Christmas is about Jesus Christ. It is His birthday. As Christians, we must celebrate Christ's birth in our hearts all the time.
Jesus is God's only Son. God sent Him to earth to save us. Our faith is based on the birth, life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. He is the embodiment of God. The Trinity is Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Christianity is about a Person and a relationship. It is about our relationship with God, who sent His Son to earth to identify with us. When we accept Jesus into our hearts, it is the start of a new relationship with God. We are transformed into His likeness. "God has set eternity in the human heart" - (Ecclesiastes 3:11).
Jesus Christ is God's greatest gift to man. At Christmas, God blessed the world with Christ's love. "We because He first loved us" - (1 John 4:19).
"God so loved the world that He gave His only Son, that whoever believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life" - (John 3:16). God is our Father. We are His children. When we receive Jesus into our hearts, we become children of God.
Christ is God's gift to us at Christmas. After a supernatural conception by the Holy Spirit, Jesus was carried in Mary's womb and born as a helpless, vulnerable, newborn baby. God personally supervised every single detail of His birth, so He was never at risk. “God created perfect seed for the conception that took place in Mary’s womb, thus producing a perfect man of flesh and blood untainted by sin.”
God sent Jesus into the world in a most humble way. Christ's lowly birth was a personal reflection of God's selfless character and tender, compassionate heart. Jesus humbled Himself for our sakes. Christ convicts the human heart. He did not stay in the cradle. He pressed on to conquer.
Both Mary and Joseph had great sanctity of character. They submitted to the Will of God. They obeyed God selflessly and wholeheartedly. Joseph was a just and upright man. Mary was a virgin - pure and chaste. God holds purity in high esteem because He is pure and holy. The mother of our Lord had to be pure. Only an untainted, chaste and pure woman could bear God's child.
Mary was alarmed at the words of the angel but she submitted obediently to the Will and Word of God. She agreed to a divine assignment, a royal commission. She said yes to God. Nothing else mattered to her. Mary was pliable in the Hands of God, ready to do His bidding at any cost.
When Mary submitted to God's Will, she had to endure much pain. In the ninth month of her pregnancy, she had to travel from Nazareth to Bethlehem on a donkey to be enrolled and registered in the national census of the whole Roman empire.
When the time came for Mary to give birth, there was no room for them to stay at the inn. She had to deliver her baby in a stable. There, in the most humble and lowly of places, Mary gave birth to her Son, her Firstborn. She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in a manger.
Joseph was confronted with a terrible crisis and unimaginable dilemma. Imagine his utter shock and great distress on hearing the unexpected news! God sprung a divine surprise on him, one that would shake the core of his very being. God did not get his approval before He conceived Christ in Mary's womb. The Creator did not require his permission to do so.
Joseph sacrificed his interests for the work of God to be fulfilled in their lives. He was far more concerned about Mary's reputation than about the deep, personal hurt he had to endure on account of the virgin birth. Both Mary and Joseph persevered against all odds and endured great hardship and difficulty as they selflessly and sacrificially fulfilled their divine commission of delivering the Son of God to the world.
Joseph was a devout, humble man of simple faith and of a kind and gentle nature. He was obedient and submissive to the Will of God. He was very self-effacing. Not a single word of his is recorded in the Gospels. He gently fades into the background. Joseph was a man of impeccable character and sterling qualities. The exemplary way in which he treated Mary with the utmost kindness, gentleness and delicacy, in the most trying and difficult of circumstances, clearly indicates a man of high moral standards.
Such a man was Joseph, compassionate and considerate, just and upright, with a deep, innate sense of justice, who walked in the paths of righteousness and mercy, as revealed in God's law. Only under the deep scrutiny of the most severe stresses and strains of life does the true character of a man emerge. Joseph did not fail his greatest test. He believed God against all odds. That is why God entrusted him with the greatest treasure this world has ever seen, a treasure infinitely more precious than the human mind can ever conceive.
Mary was the humble recipient of God's favor, chosen to be the mother of heaven's greatest gift to mankind. God partnered with her in an unprecedented act of creation, unique in the history of the world. It was a rare honor of unparalleled distinction, never bestowed upon anyone else.
The Magnificat, Mary's hymn of praise, glorifies God for what He has already done, and for what He is about to do. Her glory is humbly reflected in the glory of her Son. She seeks nothing for herself. Mary is the faithful witness and spirit-filled singer of the astounding deliverance God wrought through the fruit of her womb - Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.
© Miriam Jacob
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