It’s Christmas Time. Woohooo!!! My favorite time of the year. You ask why?
I have always loved all the colours that come out during this season. There is so much of red and green and red (yeah I know I already said red- you editorial know-it-alls! But my favourite colour deserves a second mention 😀 😀 😀 ). Everything is so bright and shiny and full of bling. Now c’mon which girl doesn’t like something that glitters.
To top it all, the weather is sooooo cold !! So come on out the sweaters (the ones you bought back in the summer and being dying inside to wear them and have been unknowingly cursing the sun) , scarves and winter hair dos.
Though my family and I do not follow the Christmas gift-giving tradition, I love to give someone something special for the season. After all. who doesn’t love presents !
But between all this fun and frolic, there are times I feel, that the true meaning and essence of Christmas is being lost.
Let’s go back to where it all began.
We celebrate Christmas in memory of the birth of Jesus Christ, Our Saviour- when God had entered the earth as a baby. That is the bottom line. But there’s so much more about Christmas.
A year back I had read Max Lucado’s blog on An Angel’s Story. Beautiful read- https://maxlucado.com/read/topical/an-angels-story-christmas/. It was about what Angel Gabriel could have experienced at the birth of Christ.
So we know how it goes. There was Mary, Joseph, the angel, shepherds and the manager.
The Bible says that Mary was just a teenager when the angel of the Lord appeared to her to give her the good news. The good news that she was pregnant.
Right ! Good news?? Really???
Mary was, say, 14-16 years old. She was unmarried, in fact engaged to be married to some one (which do you think is worse!)
You can imagine how frightened she or any ordinary girl would have been. After all that she heard of what the angel had to say, she replied back saying, “I’m the Lord’s servant. May His word be fulfilled”- Luke 1:38. She didn’t ask back what would happen, what she had to do, how her future is going to change. She fully accepted that God was in control of everything.
She was filled with peace.
How many of us can accept God’s ways without questioning Him? Don’t we stress out about even the tiniest irregularity in our life? I can only speak for myself. I remember when I was giving my ACCA exams, I would stress out everyday- wondering how the exam would be. When I couldn’t take it anymore, I would run to the room and open my bible. That was the only way I would get some peace.
But think about it. Mary received peace when she heard God’s word. Lets look at Luke 1 again. Verse 37: For no word of God will ever fail.
Has God promised you something? Are you tired of waiting in your misery? Does it seem like everyone around you have their lives together except you? Take heart from the verse above. God was, is and will always remain faithful. Your breakthrough is coming, He just preparing you in the meanwhile to handle what He’s going to bless you with. Open God’s word when it seems like you can’t handle what life throws at you. He will give you HIS peace.
Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.- John 14:27
Now let’s take Joseph. Imagine the anger and betrayal Joseph must have felt when he heard this news. He could have embarrassed and insulted Mary in front of everyone. But instead he resolved to divorce her quietly, because he was unwilling to disgrace her publicly. The same verse also states that Joseph was a righteous man- Mathew 1:19.
How often do we lose our temper and take our anger out on others when they wrong or hurt us? I don’t think I can count on my fingers the times I’ve behaved that way in the past. Next time someone angers you, follow Joseph’s example. Take a deep breath, ask God for His peace and calmly speak to the person, correct him/her of their ways with the love of Christ.
I’m pretty sure that Joseph was heart-broken as well. But he was going to confront Mary with all the love he had for her.
Be slow to anger !
Next we have the actual birth of Christ. Though Joseph and Mary were residing at Nazareth, they had to go to their home town Bethlehem to register his family for census. But, this was also to fulfill what was prophesied by God through Micah:
“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
though you are small among the clans[b] of Judah,
out of you will come for me
one who will be ruler over Israel,
whose origins are from of old,
from ancient times.”
Bethlehem was a small, insignificant town but God had chosen the Savior of this world from such a place. Once again proving here that God remains faithful, He will open doors, make way, even change rules of the Governments that rule the nations to bring His plan to fruition.
It was a long way to Bethlehem and most certainly a very difficult journey for Mary. But she held on in faith, she knew she would been taken care of and trusted God to be in control.
“Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promises to her!”- Luke 1:45.
Did you know that it brings great joy to God when you trust Him wholeheartedly? And when God’s overjoyed, there’s nothing that can stop Him from pouring out His blessings. The strength that He provides you with will be so immense, that the people around you will wonder what the secret behind your joy and hope is.
Now after they reached Bethlehem, they had to find a place to stay. Okay, so you would think the God who had everything figure out would have prepared an extravagant place for His son to be born. But what actually happened was: Joseph went from inn to inn for a room to stay. Being the loving husband he was, I’m sure he would not have given up until he knocked on every door for his wife to rest.
At the end, frustrated and tired Joseph got an innkeeper to give them his stables for the poor family to spend the night.
The Son of God, King of kings, Lord of Lords be born in a manger????
We crib when the hotel rooms we stay in aren’t big enough or isn’t more accommodating ! PFT !!!
What would Joesph had been thinking. “This isn’t the way I planned it, God. Not at all. My child being born in a stable? This isn’t the way I thought it would be. A cave with sheep and donkeys, hay and straw? My wife giving birth with only the stars to hear her pain?”
But THIS was again God’s plan. He wanted His son to be born in a manager inside the stable where all the cattle lay to portray the humbleness of His Son. He did this to show that God didn’t send His son for the rich, influential people but for even lowliest of mankind.
Ravi Zacharias, the apologetic, once said; “There is room for me in the heart of the One who didn’t have a room to be born”.
Check out another thing! Let’s go down Jesus’ genealogy.
This is the genealogy[a] of Jesus the Messiah[b] the son of David, the son of Abraham:
2 Abraham was the father of Isaac,
Isaac the father of Jacob,
Jacob the father of Judah and his brothers,
3 Judah the father of Perez and Zerah, whose mother was TAMAR,
Perez the father of Hezron,
Hezron the father of Ram,
4 Ram the father of Amminadab,
Amminadab the father of Nahshon,
Nahshon the father of Salmon,
5 Salmon the father of Boaz, whose mother was RAHAB,
Boaz the father of Obed, whose mother was RUTH,
Obed the father of Jesse,
6 and Jesse the father of King David.
David was the father of Solomon, WHOSE MOTHER HAD BEEN THE WIFE OF URIAH,
7 Solomon the father of Rehoboam,
Rehoboam the father of Abijah,
Abijah the father of Asa,
8 Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,
Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,
Jehoram the father of Uzziah,
9 Uzziah the father of Jotham,
Jotham the father of Ahaz,
Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,
10 Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,
Manasseh the father of Amon,
Amon the father of Josiah,
11 and Josiah the father of Jeconiah[c] and his brothers at the time of the exile to Babylon.
12 After the exile to Babylon:
Jeconiah was the father of Shealtiel,
Shealtiel the father of Zerubbabel,
13 Zerubbabel the father of Abihud,
Abihud the father of Eliakim,
Eliakim the father of Azor,
14 Azor the father of Zadok,
Zadok the father of Akim,
Akim the father of Elihud,
15 Elihud the father of Eleazar,
Eleazar the father of Matthan,
Matthan the father of Jacob,
16 and Jacob the father of Joseph, the husband of Mary, and Mary was the mother of Jesus who is called the Messiah.
Now the names that I have highlighted are of four different women with different backgrounds.
The first one is Tamar. Tamar was the daughter-in-law of a man named Judah. Tamar committed incest with Judah. And she gave birth to twin boys (Genesis 38). Jesus in heaven saw this and decided to come through this line.
The second one is Rahab. Rahab was a well known prostitute in Jericho. But she helped the men of God and one of the men, Joshua, promised that God would save her. Rahab got married to a Jewish man named Salmon. (Joshua 2)
Jesus decided to come down a line which had a prostitute in it.
Notice that Jesus was making specific choices.
Third, Ruth. Ruth was a moabite. Now get this, Ruth was born of Moab who wouldn’t have been born if Lot hadn’t committed adultery with his own daughter and gotten a child named Moab (Genesis 19:30-36).
Why why why did Jesus choose such a line????
Fourth is Bathsheeba. Solomon was born to Bathsheeba. If you go back to the genealogy you can see that its written Solomon’s mother was Uriah’s wife but son of David. David slept with another man’s wife. ( 2 Samuel 11)
So again, why in the world did Jesus choose to come down such a line???
It was to show that He did not come to call the righteous but came to call the sinners. If there are times you consider yourself a wretched sinner who doesn’t deserve anything from God, don’t beat yourself up! Just look at Jesus’ genealogy. God loves you so much that no sin can stop Him from taking you as His own beloved child. You don’t have to be ashamed of your family line. What could Jesus say about His ?!?
Christmas is so much more than all the celebrations and fesitivity. It’s more than a child being born. It the unveiling of God’s glorious plan and salvation for the earth. He sent His own Son as human and humbled as anyone could ever be, so that God could show the world that He came for YOU and ME.
I used to get so worked up about setting up my house for Christmas. I would want everything in my house to scream out its Christmas time. The perfectly decorated tree, the table runners, the cushions, windows, doors, even the fridge magnets- all had to have a Christmas theme. And I would get so mad if anybody left the house messy or played with the decor.
But this year, Pramod and I decided of having a low key Christmas. Infact we had decided not to setup the house at all because the whole thing felt so expensive. But deep inside I wanted a tree atleast and you know how expensive they can be (Dhs 250 to say the least). So I finally made peace with it and actually felt happy about the whole idea.
One evening we got our for a midnight snack at Pizza hut and found a flier of Christmas trees on sale. And it was so cheap. I got all excited and wondered if we should get it. We finally made up our mind to get a tree.
So we set out to buy the tree. I kept instructing myself to look away from all forms of Christmas decor and just get the tree and its ornaments.
We went to the place from where the flier was and found that the trees were actually still so expensive. Disappointed, I told myself not to let it get to me. Just thank God for a bright sunny day and one more day in my life. Pramod suggested we go to Safeer Market to buy a few groceries. So we reached the place and found a lot of christmas decor anddddd Christmas trees. We found a fluffed up 8ft tree. It looked so beautiful!. I pulled out the tag to check the price expecting it to be expensive.
It read: DHS 88!!!
I looked like I struck gold.
We immediately decided to get the tree and the ornaments (which again was on sale). We couldn’t wait to get home and set it up.
Like I said before, I used to stress out over the perfect Christmas tree. But Pramod and I had so much of fun putting the tree up. That’s when I realized, not everything has to be perfect- be happy with the small joys that you experience and with whom you share them with.
Also, instead of going all out, you can use the money that you spend for Christmas to donate to the poor. Someone who needs some love and care during this holiday season. Someone who could be in desperate need of the love of Christ. Bake and cook some food to share, donate a few clothes, volunteer at a hospital. Spread the love, joy, hope and peace of contentment.
Isn’t that was Christmas is all about??
So here’s to a generous, meaningful, love-filled Christmas!!