Ep.1157: How Do We Keep Jesus at the Center of Christmas?
Gifts we share with key individuals from the time of Jesus' birth
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Theme Scripture: Isaiah 9:6
Christmas has changed. While the holiday has always had many non-Christian aspects it seems as though the Christ based pieces of the tradition are ever fading. In its place we have Santa, reindeer, trees, gifts, lights, ornaments, food, family and for this year, social distancing. Now most of those things are not bad, with the notable exception of the social distancing. In fact, they do tend to bring a cheerful sense to our lives. Putting Christ in Christmas is about much more than good cheer – it is about a message of glad tidings of great joy, and it’s for all people! How do we get back to focusing on bringing joy to the world instead of just a moment of emotional excitement?
Gifts are a great way to bring Jesus back to the center of Christmas, but not in the way you might think. Let’s focus in on some of the key individuals surrounding Jesus' birth and observe the gifts they were given. We will find their gifts are bigger and more important than we can imagine. We will also notice these gifts were not given without the massive responsibility to care for them.
Let’s touch on Mary, for example. She was young, not of noble birth, and not counted in any social circle as significant. On the contrary, she was a simple woman who was betrothed to Joseph, a humble carpenter. He was from the city of Nazareth. And everyone knew that not much good came from that city. Mary and Joseph did display one outstanding feature: They were both humbly dedicated to serving God by following the Jewish Law to their best ability. Their humility and drive to serve God must have been profound, for they were chosen of God. He chose them to be the people through whom the world’s salvation would be nurtured. For Mary, this would begin with a miraculous, fearful and life-changing event.
Not many people in Scripture were ever visited by an angel.
Fewer were given tasks by those angels. Only Mary was told by an angel that a miraculous human life would be conceived in her, and that she would be the mother of the long-awaited Messiah! It is mind-boggling to think of how to process the news of such a gift. It is beyond imagination to think about how you manage the responsibility of such a gift!
Mary’s gift from God was to serve Him in a very unique way. As footstep followers of Jesus, our gift is also to serve God in a unique way. While the differences are obvious, the similarities are profound. Check out our December 21, 2020 podcast, “How Do We Keep Jesus at the Center of Christmas?” for more. We detail both Mary and Joseph’s gifts and responsibilities as well as the gifts of a few others. What we find are examples of our gifts from God, and how to glorify Him as we accept them. Don’t miss this opportunity to keep His son Jesus at the center of Christmas!