TITLE: Is Your Character Affected By The Christmas Story?
By Preacher Johnson
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One would be hard pressed to find someone in America that has not heard the general gist of the Christmas story, the facts of the story. Those that are followers of Christ know the significance of the story: The facts that God became man, that Christ was born of a virgin, that He came to save a lost and dying world from their sins.
Can we, as Christians, go beyond the significance, can we go beyond the good feeling of emotion the story gives us and allow it to affect our lives, the way we live each day, our vary character? I’m not talking about salvation alone, I’m talking about going deep into the examples given us in this story and having them change who we are.
There are several things we can learn here that could change us in a large way.
GOD IS WORKING
We see how Mary was “with child of the Holy Ghost.” It is the miracle of the virgin birth, but all births are a miracle and come from God (Ps 139:14). God compares the miracle of birth with His everyday working in our life, look at Ecc. 11:5, “As thou knowest not what is the way of the spirit, nor how the bones do grow in the womb of her that is with child: even so thou knowest not the works of God who maketh all.”
Whether you have had one good thing happen after another or if it seems like nothing goes right and the troubles are piling up into a mountain that seems too high to overcome, God is working in your life. God is constantly doing one of three things (or a combination of the three) in a person’s life. 1. He is allowing us to go through a trial that are no fault of our own in an attempt to make us closer to Him, either bringing us to salvation or making us more like Him after salvation. 2. As His children He is giving us a spanking, again to bring us closer to Him (Heb12:6-7). 3. We go through the blessing and the hard times to benefit someone else, to help them move closer to God.
In all that happens to us God is working, we might not know what He is trying to do but He is working nonetheless.
WE SHOULD SHOW CHRIST
Once again, Mt 1:18 tells us that Mary “was found with child”. Mary had gone to visit Elizabeth for three months, when she returned she was beginning to show. Now everyone can she that she is with child. As Christians the Holy Spirit lives within us. Do we show? Can people tell Christ is within you? Do people see Him in the way you act, in your Character? As Christ was the fruit of Mary’s womb do you show the fruits of the Spirit that dwells in you? Gal 5:22-23 “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.”
A woman with child shows more as the pregnancy progresses. Do you show more of Christ as you progress in your Christian life? Are you more like Christ today than you were yesterday, a month ago, a year ago, ten years ago? If not you have an unhealthy “pregnancy” and you faith may be dead (James 2:26).
CHRIST GETS ALL THE GLORY
Mary and Joseph we “espoused” to each other (v18). He had not yet taken Mary has his wife (v 20). Because of this Mary was going to suffer some persecution. She was “highly favoured” (Lk 1:28) by God but she would be looked low upon by those around her. She was poor, of the low social class; now she is with child and not yet married. However, we never read of one complaint or a circumstance of her trying to defend herself. It appears that she does not even tell Joseph that it is God’s Son in her womb. He is told by the angel. She knows that God is in charge. Mary understands that God’s will, will be accomplished, therefore, no need to complain, gripe or mummer. She graciously takes God’s will and lives with it. She is only God’s tool and her life shows it, her response to the things in her life and the people around her show her faith in God. Does yours?
LOVE AND COMPASSION
Our example of love and compassion comes from Joseph. V19 tells us that he was “a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.” Joseph had every right to have Mary stoned to death (Deut. 22:23-24). We can see that Joseph has a warm heart; he tosses and turns all night over this. He is perplexed; he does not know what to do. Think of what is going through his mind: “Mary, she would never do this, but she is with child, I am not the Father. I love her, I do not want her killed, and I’ll just divorce her privately (Under Jewish law, once couples were engaged, even before the actual marriage, they must obtain a legal divorce to stop the wedding from proceeding).
There are people in our lives that have done us wrong, as it appeared to Joseph that Mary had done him wrong, and we have every legal right to have them punished but should we? Joseph loved Mary enough to have this done privately, not to bring her to shame. Does our heart enjoy rubbing it in? Getting revenge? Humiliating someone that “deserves it?” Our hearts should have the compassion that Christ has for us, as Joseph had for Mary. God is the one who gets revenge (Rom. 12:19) not us. Our hearts need to love our neighbors even when they treat us will disrespect and hatred. Christ does it for us at the cross and here “a just man” shows that his heart is one of love and compassion. How is your heart toward others? Don’t leave this thinking “Well, they deserve it.” It is not a matter if they deserve it or not it is a question of how our heart loves them.
Hardly any Bible story can be told without some reference to how God delivers. First in the story is how God delivers Joseph from his troubles. The man is perplexed and God sends an explanation by way of the angel to calm Joseph’s woes. He sends to us deliverance every day. One fact that should not be overlooked is that Joseph was a just man. God send help to all His children but those who are closest to Him receive it with more of an open hand and therefore, receive more comfort.
V21 tells us that Christ came to “save his people from their sins.” All of mankind is lost in sin. Only through the blood of Christ can anyone find salvation. Christ came for the purpose of dying on the cross and washing our sins away. He came to deliver mankind from the eternal punishment and earthly torment of sin. He is the Saiour.
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