Friday, December 24, 2010

Yes, Mary had a Baby...Now what?

Yes, Mary had a baby. She had a baby boy. She and Joseph named that little baby boy, Jesus. Now what?

Our society as a whole has very little problem with the manager scene. Now, now, before you try to remind me about the ACLU, the Political Correctness Policies that have kicked the Nativity Scene out of Government buildings, and the pockets of godless atheists, try to relax and think about it.

For the most part people love this scene from what we call the Christmas Story. They lament the fact that there was no room to be rented by Joseph and the very pregnant Mary. They lament the fact that the birth of this child had to take place in a stable; it was really a rock overhang or cave in order to feed animals out of the weather. Even as they shake their heads and make those tsk tsk sounds they love the story of the birth of a baby.

Most people see just that. They see a young mother forced to make an arduous journey from Nazareth to Bethlehem so her husband could register in accordance with Augustus's decree. They see her forced to give birth, not in a hospital surrounded by sanitary conditions and nurses in gleaming white uniforms. They see this baby born in a cave or stable, wrapped in swaddling clothes and then gently placed in a manger or feeding trough. They love the fact that this new father and mother did all they could to take care of this beautiful little baby boy.

We as believers spend a great deal of energy and commitment trying to remind the world, not to mention each other, of "The Reason for the Season." What is that reason for the season? The incarnation of course. We spend a great deal of time trying to retain, maintain,explain, and train the multitudes who have commercialized this great and glorious event as they have turned it into sales, surprises, sundry ideas.

Yes, the reason for the season, (more probable in April/May), is the incarnation. We celebrate that God became man! We rejoice that God's plan was moved further along toward completion. A child is given, a King is born! God, in the second person of the Trinity, emptied Himself of His divine prerogative and became flesh, a human being - a baby boy!

Carols melodiously proclaim the joyful news. Pageants and plays demonstrate this wondrous event. Messages and sermons detail the circumstances that prompted and executed this tremendous miracle. Hearts are drawn to this "poor family", boorish surroundings, and to the story with a happy ending.

But, now what?

Why was this baby born? What purpose does the incarnation serve? Why is the incarnation so significant? More importantly, what is the response to be toward this holiday miracle? Ah, yes, here is the rub!

You see the same crowd that almost idolizes this wonderful event and acknowledges its reality, does not understand its significance or importance. As a matter of fact the same crowd that will buy and display a Nativity Scene will vehemently deny and denounce the reason for the season.

That little baby wasn't born just to be born. Nor was he born in a stable and placed in a manager in order to complete our holiday pageants. The reason for the season is not merely that a child was born or that a son was given. This baby was born to die. His purpose was to be an offering, a sacrifice which would when he was bruised and crushed would please the Father. This child in this incarnation was given to ransom His people from their sins and to satisfy the justice and wrath of a righteous God who had been offended. The reason this baby was born was for sin! For your sin and for my sin. That puts a different light on things doesn't it? Jesus wasn't merely born in the cave and placed in a feeding trough as part of a cute story. When I look at that "baby" I see my sin. My sin which would one day be imputed to him.

Now you know why Satan hates this time of year so much. Now you know why he inspires the pockets of vocal atheists, the political-correct politicians, and the campaign to remove the Nativity from public view. God became flesh in the incarnation to provide the only sacrifice that would appease his wrath, justice, holiness, and righteousness. If the world didn't hate this scene it would give me great concern. Let them remove the Nativity scene from government buildings - that doesn't stop God from being God.

"If every man were blind it would not diminish the sun; If every man an atheist, it would not diminish God" (A.W. Tozer)

"A man can no more diminish God's glory by refusing to worship Him than a lunatic can put out the sun by scribbling the word, 'darkness' on the walls of his cell." (C. S. Lewis)

One must come to grips with the purpose of this incarnation. One must recognize their sin and their need for salvation. The reason for the season is God has provided a means for our sin to be dealt with. Sin and guilt must be recognized and admitted. As one gazes into the face of any baby, real, ceramic, plastic, or wood, who represents the Christ-child of the Nativity scene, must see their sin. This baby was provided as an offering. As the majority of mankind "oohs and aws" this cute little baby will they come to grips with thier own sin? The majority will not, thereby missing the true and real "reason for the season."

"She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins." Matthew 1:21, (ESV)



As always a wonderful post Gregg, made compelling reading.

Have a Happy Christmas to you and all your family.


Trisha said...

Excellent post! Growing up, not only did I miss the "Big Picture" of the Bible (Jesus even in the Old Testament? :)) but I also celebrated many a Christmas focusing on just this one thing....His birth. I wasn't taught that "big picture" either. I'm so thankful to "get it," and by His grace, to pass it on to our dear children. We'll be reading your words around the breakfast table. Thank you, and may you and your family have a joyous Christmas!

Persis said...

Great post, Gregg! It's sad that the Incarnation is reduced to a sentimental, warm fuzzy. Thank God, Jesus came to save us from our sins!

Anonymous said...

left me with a lump in my throat. thank you for the reminder of God's sacrifice for me. always makes me walk away with my head down but my heart full of hope. May you and your family have a blessed new year Gregg.

Anonymous said...

Brother Gregg, What else can I say but AMEN!!

Your evangelistic blood is dripping all over this post.

God bless you and have a great Christmas :-)


Roadrunner Chronicles said...

Merry Christmas!