Thursday Thoughts for Parents | "Jesus' Birth"
This post is based on C.J. Mahaney's sermon, Jesus' Birth, given on December 25, 2016.
Christmas is a time where we often grow sentimental. We hear the story of Jesus’ birth and think thoughts shaped by years of tradition. Our stories and songs put in our minds images of a silent peaceful night, stoic shepherds, and a helpless babe in a manger. It is time to rethink our image of Christmas. As we take an honest look at the text, we find that Christmas is serious, troubling, and at the same time, wonderful.
Read Luke 2:1-7
The story begins with irony. Caesar Augustus issues a decree demanding everyone go back to his hometown to register for a census. By the force of his will he moves millions of people like pawns all over the Roman world. From a human perspective, Caesar is in utter control.
But Luke makes sure that we know that Augustus is just an unwitting actor fulfilling a 700 year-old prophecy that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. This birth is just the culmination of a plan that God had been unfolding for millennia. The one who is in control of all these events, indeed all of human history, is the baby lying in the manger.
- Why do you think it is so easy for us to believe that human beings, such as Augustus, current world leaders, or even people more directly in our lives, are in control of what is happening around and to us?
- How would your mindset be different this week if you remembered each day that the baby in the manger is now reigning in heaven and is in control of every moment of your life?
Read Luke 2:8-14
A careful reading of this text shatters our romanticized images of a “Silent Night”! Angels burst onto the scene. Shepherds are overwhelmed with fear (despite the well-meaning words of the angel!). Even the announcement of the Christ reminds us that the purpose of Jesus’ being born was so that He might die. C.J. quoted William H. Smith who said, “When I look into the manger, I come away shaken as I realize again that he was born to pay the unbearable penalty for my sins."
- Why should we be shaken when we look into the manger?
- What do we miss if we think of Jesus’ birth only in sentimental terms, without also realizing it’s troubling nature?
Christmas is troubling, but it is ultimately a time of wonder. The angel announced, “For unto you, is born this day in the city of David a Savior.” Don’t miss this. It isn’t enough to know that Jesus is born, you must also fully grasp that He was born “a Savior”… for you.
- How does it affect you to know that Jesus was born to save you?
- How should your life be lived differently in light of this amazing truth?
[post written by Rich Humphrey]