Merritt Seventh-day Adventist Church

Part XLV

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Part XLV



The snow. The lights. The cold. All of these things put one thing in mind....Christmas. But, let us look back approximately 2000 years and see what the first Christmas looked like.

The Romans made a decree that all should be taxed but they were to go to their place of birth to be taxed. So it was that Mary and Joseph, Mary great with child, made their way from Nazareth to Bethlehem to be taxed.

It was likely a beautiful fall day as they went, Mary riding a donkey and Joseph leading it. Joseph may have carried a big pack on his back with things that they would need for the birth of Mary's child, who was due any day.

As they neared Bethlehem it became sure that Mary would have her baby that night and so they tried every street and every inn to find a place. Always the same answer, “Sorry, all full.” and who really cared. Nobody suspected or even thought that the child was special. She carried God's child.

When there was no other place they found a barn with an empty stall. There, Joseph, with what he carried, made a bed on straw where Mary could rest in comfort and give birth to who they knew would be a special baby.

On the hills above Bethlehem, shepherds brought their flocks together into a common enclosure to protect them from predators. As they sat around a fire they talked about the prophecies of Daniel and the time he had given was about fulfilled. They wondered how that would come about. The priests and rulers who were always looking for power and importance said the child would be born in Jerusalem, the centre of wealth and power.

Suddenly, an angel appeared and scared the shepherds. The angel told them not to fear for he was bringing them good news. He then told them what had just taken place in town in a barn. The choir of angels who had waited for the right moment broke out in beautiful angelic singing. As they moved about and sang the shepherds were thrilled.

The angels disappeared and the shepherds started out in the moonlight down the hill to see what the angels had told them. At the bottom they came to a stable and there they found Joseph and Mary and the dear, little baby boy. How excited they must have been to look into the beautiful face of God. How happy Joseph and Mary must have been when they heard the message of the angels from the shepherds. The shepherds brought no gifts for the baby Jesus but they brought the news that God probably valued most. Down the steep hill they made that special effort to come and see the baby. That is the greatest gift that Heaven had and wants us to make a special effort to find and worship the king of Heaven.

We might ask the question, “Why did God, the owner of the universe, have His unborn son ride a donkey and be born in a animal barn, on a bed of straw no less.” In a manger the baby was placed to sleep.

God could have provided the very best; a nice, clean hospital or a beautiful well furnished home somewhere where their were important people, newspaper people would make Him front page news!

God wanted His Son to be born in an environment where nobody would ever say 'He doesn't understand me' or 'I am not good enough to come to Him.' Among the lowest of earth, He wants us to know that He is our God and Savior. God did not choose a nice home with beautiful furniture, expensive painting, or other things to catch the attention of people. He wanted His Son to be the centre of attraction (who He was, what He left) to be there among them NOT the clutter of material things.

When the shepherds had seen the baby Jesus and talked to Joseph and Mary they went back up the hill to where they had left the sheep. They talked about the events of the evening: the angel's announcement and song, the baby and His parents.

The record says they told everyone they met of the beautiful event but most people did not believe them for they had other ideas of the Messiah. The story was true and is still true but the story of the baby is much bigger today than it was then. The baby is in Heaven next to the Father and is now preparing for the biggest event the earth or universe has ever heard. Jesus is coming back, not to the barn as a babe but as the King of Kings and Lord of Lords to give all as their works shall be.

The shepherds saw Jesus face to face, we can see Him in His word and in the daily things of nature. Important in these days is the fulfillment of Bible prophecy that are being shown in the things that are going on today. This Christmas would be a good time to look away from things that are very short lived to things that last. The home Jesus has promised and prepared for all who love and obey Him.

Have a good Christmas.