It is the season that we celebrate the birth of Christ. It, along with Thanksgiving, is probably the time of the year that most prompts us the think back to seasons past, and of course, during this season to the amazing account of the birth of Jesus.
I have found that the more I try to get a hold of the birth of Christ, the more I realize that God’s ways are so very different than that of man. I’ve been thinking about the Old Testament where we find some pretty remarkable people. I immediately think of Moses, Elijah, Daniel, Joseph, of the dozens that stand out in the Old Testament. I think of some of the extraordinary things that God did to get the people to worship, serve, and obey Him. And they did for a while, but sometimes after just a few days they would stop and even worship idols.
The incident of Israel’s forgetfulness and faithlessness that absolutely astounds me the most and yet of which I believe I could have been a willing participant is when God called Moses up to Mount Sinai to give to him among other things, the ten commandments. Moses remained on the mountain for forty days (Exodus 24:18), but the people got impatient because Moses hadn’t returned and Aaron agreed to make a calf of the gold jewelery that the people brought to him.
And when the people saw the golden calf they cried out,
“O Israel, these are the gods who brought you out of the land of Egypt!”
How grieved God must have felt, to have all that He had done ascribed to a golden idol made by the very people that He had delivered and called to Himself. His people.
What we read and see here unfortunately seemed to often be a pattern for Israel. God would manifest His power and love through some amazing feats and Israel would serve God. Soon, though they would forget what God had done and they would turn away to other gods. God would punish them and they for a while would obey God, but soon they would turn from Him again. Clearly what God wanted Israel to know and understand didn’t stick and this is largely the case throughout the whole Old Testament.
God had another plan. He wasn’t through; He would send another to tell of His great love for mankind. And as is the often the case I feel baffled by God and what He did and who He sent to let the world know of His love. This may sound crazy, but the Christmas season makes me think of baseball: Two outs, bottom of the ninth, bases loaded, behind by three. I’m not thinking that you would send your weakest batter up to the plate, no you will send your best.
God in the Old Testament sent some heavy hitters, and yet the people largely didn’t obey Him or receive His messengers. And so now who would He send? An even more impressive heavy hitter? Perhaps a Moses/Elijah combined in one? Makes sense to me. He now would send His best.
Ross King in Rise Up, from his CD: The Christmas Stories, sings of that day,
When a baby saves the day.
God didn’t send an Abraham, a Joshua, an Elisha, a Moses, no He sent a baby. How crazy or better put, how like God that is, to do what would never occur to us. Yikes, a baby!
These were the angel’s words to Mary,
“You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
Imagine, God’s best coming into the world as an infant. And then take several moments to consider that God has entrusted the message of His great love, this Good News of Great Joy, the message that a Savior has been born, to you and me. How crazy is that? We are commanded to bring that message to the world.
The angel, in Luke 2: 10.11, said to the shepherds,
“Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.
And so one of the primary reasons that we exist is to share this Message of Good News of Great Joy with a world that needs the Savior. Often, people will talk to me about how they are praying and looking to God for His will in their lives. I suggest that while that are looking to God for His will that they don’t neglect to do His will by not telling others about the Good News of Great Joy wherever they are. This message, the angel says, “will be for all the people.”
Wherever you are today, you don’t have to look far to find people who have yet to receive, in their hearts, the Christ, the Good News of Great Joy. Tell them for it is truly Good News for all people.
Joyous Good News of Great Joy Season
Port au Prince, Haiti