Hi Everyone, Merry Christmas!
The Christmas Story
God loves you, and there are five things God wants you know about Him, and I feel impressed by Him to tell you what they are.
Jesus was born. This is the Christmas Story. God came to earth, in the form of a little baby. Babies are born every day, but Jesus is different, because although Mary is His earthly mother, God is His heavenly Father. That makes Him different than any other person that has ever walked the earth. Think of it this way, the egg inside of Mary was human, the sperm divine. Theologians call this Immaculate Conception, but to most of us it is the Christmas story. God became a man in the form of Jesus Christ, Emanuel, God with us. God came to earth and joined humanity, like each of us, as a meek helpless baby.
The Christmas story was not without supernatural phenomenon. Heaven opened up, and angels sang, the shepherds heard, and astronomers who studied the heavens, that tradition calls ‘the wise men’ noticed a star appear announcing the birth of Christ.
My background in science had my curiosity peaked at this point. Was the Christmas story just another fable or fairy tale like the tooth fairy or Easter bunny, or was there scientific evidence upon which to ground my faith.
Dr. Hugh Ross, in his book “The Fingerprint of God” answered a question held in the back of my mind for some time. I had reasoned that if there had been an actual star that appeared ‘in the East’ as Scripture records, beheld by the wise men from the East, was there any scientific record of this event? Astronomers have discovered the meticulous detail in which Chinese scholars have charted the stars for thousands of years. Dr. Ross, in research, began to search these ancient star charts around the time of Christ’s birth, to see if perhaps there might have been some record made of some anomaly in the heavens. Lo and behold, he discovered that indeed ‘the little star of Bethlehem’ did appear in the heavens, for a period of fifty days at the exact time of Jesus birth, but further more, these mysterious ‘wise men’ we sing about each Christmas, also existed. In fact it seems they were the leading scholars of their day, and were able to triangulate the exact position of Bethlehem from the position of this newly appeared star in the night. They also understood the cultures and religions of the day, for they understood that one day God would come to earth, that the great King would be born.
Quite frankly, I was shocked. I thought that matters of faith, and matters of science were to be kept separate in one’s mind. Yet, this and other studies have now grounded my faith in reality. Indeed, the Bible is the most scientifically, historically, and archeologically accurate book ever written. The birth of Jesus split the calender from BC to AD. Christmas is truly a cataclysmic historic event, not at all the fable some would make it out to be. God came to earth. Jesus was born, and the message of God’s reaching out to a lost, confused, wounded, and broken humanity began.
Yet, Jesus grew up, he became a man yet without sin. Although the Bible says little about his first thirty years, the baby we celebrate at Christmas did not remain a child. At thirty years of age, He withdrew from humanity and fasted forty days to come back in the power of the Holy Spirit to show the world what a person, walking with the Creator can be. He healed the sick, raised the dead, fed the multitudes, walked on water, stopped storms, and cast evil spirits out of people. He is still the same, and doing the same things today. Yet the day came when He was betrayed, and sentenced by a kangaroo court to death. Religious people had Him murdered. Religious people still murder today. Yet hear His words. “Matt 5:44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;
45 That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.” If someone strikes you on the left cheek, turn to him your right cheek, render not evil for evil, rather blessing.” Love in action. Pretty tough words to fight a war over. As Christians we are to love, forgive, and pray for our enemies, not slaughter them. This is the second thing I believe God wants you to know, that the little baby we celebrate grew up, without sin, and lived a miracle life before all men.
This kind of love will get you killed you may say. You’re right. It got Jesus killed. He died on the cross. Not a pretty death. Deserted by his closest friends. Beaten beyond human recognition. His face pulverized. Weakened so much by blood loss that this formerly strong man could not carry His own cross. The sky turned black as night, the earth split open and dead people came out of the graves to testify. He spoke three words that still echo throughout eternity, “It is finished” The veil in the temple, was torn from top to bottom, signifying that the separation between God and humanity was now finished. God could again visit with the people He created. The price for all of our crimes against God and man was paid by Jesus. Really, it’s not important what we think about Jesus death on the cross that matters, rather, what God thinks about it. Whether I agree or disagree with God’s economy of justice is immaterial. God accepted Jesus sacrifice on the cross for you and I; It is finished. Justice is satisfied, the highest court in the universe has spoken and an irrevocable verdict has been pronounced. Forgiveness and mercy are extended to all of us that would believe. Case closed.
Yet, this Christmas story did not end in death. It has a happy ending. He rose from the dead. You know, the Easter story. HIStory. Not the tooth fairy, Lord of the Rings, or the Easter bunny. Though they laid the body of Jesus in a tomb for three days, His spirit was not there. He went through paradise, He went to hell, yet on the third day, His spirit rejoined His body, and He rose. The stone was rolled away, and he ascended into heaven. For the next fifty days He appeared to over five hundred eye witnesses, and then while five hundred watched, two angels appeared, and He ascended bodily back into heaven. Many educated moral instructors have lived: Buddha, Mohammed, Gandhi, Plato, and others, yet each of these died, and their body remains in their tomb today. Jesus rose from the dead. Some have said there is not enough evidence of Jesus resurrection to prove it occurred. Consider this, in the Supreme court of Canada, one may be sentenced to life imprisonment based upon the evidence of only two eyewitness accounts of a crime committed. History records five hundred saw Jesus after He rose from the dead.
Finally, He reigns. He is Lord of heaven and earth. God is spirit, seeking those who will worship Him in spirit and truth. There is only one true God, maker of heaven and earth, yet He has revealed Himself throughout His Word in three separate and distinct persons. God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. Jesus is the Son of God, birthed of His Spirit. When He ascended back into heaven, God sat Him at His right hand where He reigns the universe.
In short, He came, He lived, He died, He rose and He reigns.
This is the Christmas story. This is the Easter Story. This is the good news.
Now the problem of Creation must be addressed. You and I. Each and every one of us have been created in the image of God. We are also spirits, we have a soul, and we live in a body. Except a man be born-again, he cannot even see the kingdom of God. God loves you personally and wants you to know Him on His terms. Religion has always been man’s set of rules and regulations attempting to reach God, Jesus is God’s attempt to reach humanity. He died for you, not because He had to, but because He loves you. Yet, He did not create robots, each of us has a free will. The question He would have me ask you is this: Do you want Him to be your King? Do you want to go to heaven when you die, to be with Him? If you do, the Bible makes this promise to each of us,
‘If you shall confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus, and shall believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you shall be saved. For with the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. Rom 10:9,10’
Here’s what each of us need to do to come to God on His terms.
1. We must acknowledge Jesus as our personal Lord. That is, in light of this great love He has demonstrated towards us, we must make a decision as to whether of not we will choose to allow Him to rule over us.
2. We must believe in our heart that God raised Him from the dead.
3. We must confess, out loud to Him that we want Him.
Here’s a simple Christmas prayer.
God, I want to know you. I want you to be in charge of my life. I accept you Lord Jesus as my Lord. Forgive me Lord for all the things I have done against you. I believe, Father that you raised Jesus from the dead, and I ask you to come into my life, and make me the best person I can possibly be. Amen.
Now, that prayer will get you right with God, today. But what about tomorrow? Each day we need to grow spiritually, in our relationship with Him. That will involve talking to Him about our day, and involving Him in our day-to-day decisions. How do you do that? Well, begin to read your Bible, every day, first thing, beginning with the book of John, then Matthew, Mark, and Luke. Seek Him first thing, and He will add everything else you need to your life. When you see something in the Bible that is new to you, do what it says.
That’s where we come in. Eventually, you are going to need a good church. A place of love, friendship, and fellowship, where we can worship God and work together to make this world a better place. If you live in the Ottawa area, up here in Canada. We would love to meet you, and to hear about your new decision to serve God. Yet, if not, there are many fine churches all over the world. Shop for one that believes the Bible to be the Word of God, and where you have peace.
To contact us in Ottawa, you can write me at:
Pastor Chris Walsh
C/o Door of Faith Church
P.O. Box 38007
1430 Prince of Wales drive
Tel: 819 671 8060
If you want to join us on Sundays at 10:30Am, we meet at General Burns Community Center here in the West End of Ottawa, 84 Argue Street, off of Fisher Avenue, in Parkwood Hills. See you there.