Christmas – Celebration in the Midst of Evil. Part 1.
As it was, is now. It was the best of times, it was the worst of times (Dickens of course). And nothing much has changed since the meditation below of some 16 years ago. Yes, here in Australia we can still celebrate the Story of the King of Kings. Yes, there are personal contrasts in our families and our friends and society. Yes, we must reach out to those nearby who weep at Christmas and for whom Christmas is empty. Yes, we need to keep in context the millions upon millions of displaced persons and refugees.
And Caesar Augustus really didn’t have a clue that he had a part in the great Story when he ordered a census. And Herod, in his evil, also had his part in fulfilling prophecy.
The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem and the heavens are open to wide-eyed shepherds.
And He is coming again in judgment and glory.
Yes! Let us lift up our heads and Celebrate. Sing, dance, exchange gifts and good wishes. Forgive, be at peace with one another. There is something bigger than ourselves.
Get excited. Tell The Story.
The King of Kings is born in Bethlehem!
Christmas is a time of celebration.
Christmas is a special celebration and remembrance of the time when the story of God coming to Earth became real. The unique events of His coming with their mystery, simplicity and yet grandeur, make this the most incredible event of all time, the significance of which surpasses all else. The angels brought tidings of great and lasting joy – how can we not celebrate?
Let us set the scene and remember history – HIS story, the story that needs to be told over and over, the only story that matters. Let us go back two millennia…
It was a time of terror, of tyranny and treachery in high places, a time when evil appeared to be unfettered, a time of uncertainty, and a despot ruled in the Roman province of Judea.
In the midst of this a baby was born. Amazingly, and in fulfilment of the prophecy, the birth took place in a tiny town called Bethlehem – because Caesar Augustus had ordered a census! Heaven rejoiced, some special people from the East followed a sign in the sky and came to worship.
And some very fortunate shepherds witnessed the rejoicing of the angels and also came to wonder and worship. Herod in his fury killed all the little boys in Bethlehem to be rid of this perceived threat to his throne but Joseph had been warned by an angel to flee to Egypt.
Well, from where we sit here now in Western Oz, things aren’t that bad. But for the world it has again not been a good year with wars and rumours of wars, religion pitted against religion and the threat of holy wars. Despots still rule in various places and terror comes closer to home. May God in His mercy stay the hand of terror and tyrant.
At Christmas we come to remember, to wonder and to worship, as did Simeon and Anna in the Temple as they held and saw the baby Jesus.
Think about it. The most stupendous event in human history – Emmanuel, ‘God with us’ – the Son of God in a manger – an event that even angels wonder at and long to look into. Let us take time to wonder and worship.
Yes, Jesus really is the reason for the season.