Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!
Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.
Sunday, December 14, 2014
God In History - December 14, 2014 - Third Sunday in Advent - Text: Luke 2:1-20
This morning we have rehearsed, yet again, the annual Children’s Christmas program. I cannot tell you for how many years the Christian church has presented an annual Children’s Christmas program, but I am quite certain that is has been an annual tradition since soon after Jesus’ ascension as people could begin such a tradition. I want to briefly answer three questions this morning.
Why do we have traditions? We have traditions because something important happened and we want to remember and/or celebrate the event or happening. In other words, we have holidays and remembrance days so we do not forget important things. So, some traditions might be difficult, such as memorial days and the like and other traditions might be more festive, such as Christmas and Easter. Of course, as can happen to traditions, the traditions at times can and do over power the actual event so the actual event that is remembered or celebrated is no longer what really happened. Here I would remind you of such characters that tend to overshadow the actual event. I won’t mention such characters, but I am sure that you will understand what I mean when I suggest that at Easter and at Christmas there are certain characters that tend to overshadow the actual celebration, at least in the public square.
Why an annual tradition of presenting the Christmas story? Throughout the history of the Christian church, beginning with Adam and Eve, continuing with Abraham, Moses and so forth, God has given His people certain things to remember, such as the Passover and Pentecost and now we have Advent, Christmas, Epiphany, Ash Wednesday, Lent, Maudy Thursday, Good Friday, Easter morning, Ascension Day and the Day of Pentecost. All of these events are important for us as Christians and so we celebrate them yearly so as not to forget and even more so as to celebrate all that our Lord has done for us, all that He continues to do for us and all that we look forward to Him giving to us. At the same time, we must be vigilant in making sure that what we celebrate is not overshadowed by the celebration and all the added parts of the tradition.
So, of what are we reminded by our account of the Christmas Story? First, and foremost we are reminded of the historicity of the good news of Jesus. You see, the Christmas story is not simply a story, but is actually an historic account of events that did take place. Unlike many other religions of the world, the Christian faith is set in time and history, in other words, the Christian faith can be proven by historic facts. The fact is that Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. God did curse the world and promise to reconcile the world by sending a Savior. Jesus was born, God in flesh. Jesus did for us what God commanded and what we could not do, He lived perfectly for us in our place. After living a perfect life, obeying all of God’s laws perfectly, fulfilling all of God’s prophecies perfectly, He then took our sins, all our sins and the sins of all people of all places of all times on Himself. He suffered the eternal spiritual death penalty of hell for us in our place. And He died. But death and the grave had no hold over Him, as He rose victorious over sin, death and the devil. He showed Himself to be alive and then before He ascended back into heaven, He promised He would return. Indeed, these are the historic facts of the Christian faith and so each year we walk through the church year remembering all that our great loving God has done for us.
Indeed, we worship every Sunday because every Sunday is a mini Easter celebration. Every Sunday we are reminded of our sin and our part of putting Jesus on the cross and the fact that it is because He loves each one of us so much that He gave His life for ours and even if we were the only person on earth, He would have given His life for ours. And each Sunday we are reminded that He rose and now He gives us the greatest gift and the thing we need the most, forgiveness of sins, because with forgiveness of sins we know we have life and salvation. As I always say here, God gives and we are given to and our response is simply, thanks be to God and to Him be the glory for Jesus’ sake. Amen.