Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Afterglow

The Christmas celebration is coming to a close. The gifts are opened and decorations are quietly returning to their boxes, in storage for next year. Loved ones have returned home, and everyone is going back to their normal routines. I sometimes wonder if this is what Mary and Joseph felt after all the excitement of the birth of Jesus.

The shepherds ran to Bethlehem to find them and then excitedly told everyone they met that they had seen the Messiah. The one the angels told them about in the fields outside of town (Luke 2:17-20)

Eight days later, Mary and Joseph were in Jerusalem for the circumcision of Jesus, as required by the Law. There were two faithful servants of the Lord, waiting and watching for His arrival. There Mary and Joseph were greeted by Simeon. He prophesied about Jesus, saying “this child will be rejected by many in Israel, but he will be the greatest joy to many others” (Luke 2:34 NLT). They were surprised.

Next Anna came. Seeing the child, she praised God, and told everyone in Jerusalem who had been waiting for the promised King, that Jesus was the One (Luke 2:38). Mary and Joseph went back to Bethlehem for a short time, because the wise men found them in a house. They brought their gifts and worshiped him. All this excitement was a bit much for Mary and Joseph, but it says a few things.

The Lord was fulfilling the words of the prophets. It's one thing to know about something, yet quite different to see it before your eyes. What the angels spoke to Mary and Joseph separately was also true, being confirmed by many outside sources. Their lives were forever changed by these events. We'll never know what they thought, but one thing we know, they believed.

Knowing the word of the Lord is one thing, but believing the word of the Lord is quite another. We know the story, we celebrate the story, but do we believe the story? How many witnesses have you seen lately? What is their story? If you have believed their report and have received the gift of salvation, this truly is a continuing celebration.

If you haven't believed all these reports, what's the problem? Does it seem too far-fetched to be believable? A virgin can't conceive. Or do you think there are too many contradictions? Only two gospels describe the birth of Jesus and they are both different.

Has it ever occurred to you that faith is the evidence of things not seen, but a confident assurance of what we hope for will happen? (Hebrews 11:1). Don't judge God based on what you think is true; believe God for what He says is true.

Some folks have a sense of sadness at the end of this joyous season, but it doesn't have to be that way, everyday can be Christmas when Jesus lives in your heart!

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