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CHRISTMAS AGAIN

Interesting how Christmas is commonly, and wrongly associated with things irrelevant.  Many Japanese associate Christmas with KFC because 40 years ago, KFC ran a successful campaign called “Kentucky For Christmas” which promoted their fried chicken as a fast, cheaper alternative to turkey. Likewise in Singapore we may associate Christmas with year end bonuses, holidays and “down-time” after a busy year. The music, shopping, decorations and parties can easily sidetrack us from the true meaning of Christmas which is really about God’s arrival in our world as a human being.

In Luke’s Gospel the events leading up to Jesus’ birth were very ordinary. A census had been decreed by Caeser, so everyone had to return to their own town to register. Luke makes sure everyone knows this is based on historical fact when he says “This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.” So this ordinary event drew Joseph and Mary who was expecting, to Bethlehem. Luke adds that they had to shelter in a stable because there were no vacancies in the inns, probably due to the influx of visitors for the census. When baby arrived, Mary had to lay her newborn son in a smelly, unhygienic manger normally used for feeding animals!

But in the midst of these very ordinary events, some extraordinary things also happened. Firstly an angel appeared to shepherds guarding their flocks nearby, and naturally they were terrified! But the angel said “I bring you Good News of Great Joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David, a Saviour has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” Would any mother put her baby in a manger? Unless…

Secondly “a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel praising God”. The shepherds must have thought, “Wow! From one angel to a multitude of angels! He really must be a special baby for a heavenly choir to present an “out-of-this-world welcome”!

The shepherds’ next move is important: do they go back to snoozing in the fields, or do they check out what the first angel said? Very wisely, “they went to Bethlehem and found Mary, Joseph and the baby who was lying in a manger.” The angel was not joking about the manger! In fact they were so excited they “spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child.” Does the birth of the Saviour excite you enough to make you want to spread the word as well? I hope so, because God coming to our world as a baby is infinitely more important news than food, fun, shopping, holidays or merry-making, or all of them put together. Perhaps if you haven’t already done so, you can check Jesus out – why did He have to come to earth? And what can He offer you? (Hint hint: Good News, Great Joy!)

Finally, Matthew’s Gospel tells us that magi (wise men/astrologers?) from the east also came to visit the baby Jesus so there were locals around the manger as well as the magi from afar paying tribute. This is how it has been through the centuries: people of all walks of life, from every nation and culture will discover and worship Jesus because He is the Saviour of the world.

The first wise men gave Christ treasures from their kingdoms – gold, frankincense and myrrh. Today’s wise men give Christ the treasures of their hearts. Be wise – give your heart to Jesus.

Pastor Graham

 

BCC Vision

“Like a tree planted by
streams of water,
which yields its fruit in 
season” 

(Psalm 1:3)

Worship Venue

11 Woodlands Close #03-40 
Singapore 737853

Mailing Address

Thomson Road Post Office
P.OBox 434
Singapore 915715

Contact

Tel: +65 9651 6347
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