Weekly Teachings by Erik Momsen
The Spirit of Christmas - Past, Present, Future
by Erik Momsen
Sketch in your mind all the things you love about Christmas. Most would list the gifts, the decorations, the tree, the glazed gammon, trifle, brandy pudding, family gatherings, carol service and mince pies.
Could you now imagine Christmas without these good things? It just wouldn’t be the same you may think. It definitely would not be the same. It might just turn out to be a real Christian Holy-day when we have time to think about what God was really trying to say and do with the birth of Jesus. The way we now celebrate Christmas has almost no correlation with the Bible story and we get so trapped by our foolishness that we have little time to think what was the real story.
When I think about Christmas stories I think about Charles Dicken’s “A Christmas Carol”. That’s about the best Christmas story I know apart from the one in the Bible. There is a “Scrooge” living in each of us. A stingy, selfish oppressor of his workers. Someone who has no joy and love and does not want to see these things in those around him. God then changes his heart and “Scrooge” is able to make a difference in peoples lives around him. We all know that this is part of the real story of Christmas but how far are we from this?
GOD CAME TO CHANGE HEARTS
The Bible story about the birth of the baby Jesus is God’s revival story. It is God’s story of a new start for all on planet earth. We had made a mess for so long that God decided to set thing straight Himself. God thought, “If only I could change their hearts, then they would start treating each other properly”.
In Luke 1:26-38 God tells a teenager named Mary about his plan to save the world.
“God sent the angel Gabriel” - God often sends word when He is about to do something. Note, as always God took the initiative. Thank heavens God has a salvation plan, because we really need it. Though sadly we want our own salvation plan instead of God’s. A few years ago, at this time of year in Bethlehem Arafat’s picture was hanging from buildings and it was he who the people of Bethlehem wanted. Is it then not strange that their town was in the midst of the worst conflict in living memory?
“You who are highly favored, the Lord is with you” - My first question is, “What did Mary do to get the most favoured stature?” The answer is - nothing. We don’t have to do anything to get God’s approval. We want to prove ourselves but the pit we are in has very soft walls and our own rotten nature keeps falling in on itself. This attitude of God is called Grace. God chooses us because we need it.
The quality of Mary that attracted God was probably her humility, receptiveness and resignation. It is not that she was good, but she was open to the One who is Good. Pride was also not a problem for her. If there is one sin God finds hard to get around, it is pride. He had some problem with satan and pride and it divided heaven itself.
“Mary was greatly troubled at his words” - When God through His angel visits you, you know your life is about to change. Mary might have thought of other people who were visited by angels. Lot got a visit from some angels and his town was destroyed. Abraham was given a son only to have God tell him to be prepare to sacrifice him. King David almost loses a whole city through the visit of an angel. Angels often bring tough messages. When an angel is sent, it is time to get your life in order.
“ How will this be since I am a virgin?” She was not doubting the message, only the fact that she was not able to contribute to this plan. She had nothing to offer. We often have the attitude that God needs us and especially our skills to get his work done. This is not true. God can make a prophet out of an ass.
“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you”. God does nothing but by the power of His Spirit. Creation, the creation of the Second Adam Jesus and the changing of your heart. This is the one thing that people run away from. Don’t let God change me and my life-style. The Holy Spirit comes to overshadow everything you are and know. Don’t resist.
“For nothing is impossible with God.” My son complained that a task I had given him was impossible. I replied that nothing was impossible. He corrected me by saying that it was impossible to kill God. I had forgotten to say, nothing is impossible with God.
“So the Holy One to be born will be called the Son of God.”
“The Lord will give Him the throne of his father David and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever.”
Date Added: 2008-12-19
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