Read - Matthew 1v18-25
Message - Scott Woodburn
Christmas couldn't be more miraculous and yet we are so familiar with the story that it has become quite run of the mill. When I was a child one of the great delights around this time of the year was getting the Christmas edition of the Radio Times. In those glossy pages all the specials, all the shows and all the movies that would be shown at Christmas were highlighted. Usually though, there would be very few big surprises and more often than not you would end up watching Star Wars or Indiana Jones for the seventeenth time. The Christmas story can be like that. It has lost some of it's allure.
If this week seems routine and Friday is going to be just another day, lets take some time to recall just what happened in Bethlehem. The omnipotent, omniscient, omnipresent God...the God who made the universe and everything in it...the God who knows no sin or weakness...the God who doesn't slumber of sleep...the God who is eternally three yet one...the God whose name is "I am who I am"...this God...the one true God...this God...He stepped into what He had created and became like us in every way, except sin. Simply miraculously extraordinary.
We shouldn't make any images of Christ and this season teaches us why. Every Christmas picture I've ever seen shows a quiet, gentle scene with a little child who has a halo around his head. Yet it wasn't like this. Mary knew the agony of childbirth, she would have strained with exertion, cried with pain and spilt her own blood. The head that would wear a crown of thorns would soon crown and be pushed into the world and finally, with labour over, the Lord Jesus would take his first deep breath of oxygen. Oxygen is made up of two atoms and in the form of oxides makes up about half of the earth's crust. Jesus made every inch. In creation all things were made by Jesus and for Jesus and here was Jesus gasping for His first breath outside His mother's womb.
Later He would know hunger and cry out so that His mother would hold Him to her breast. Soon tiredness would grip Him and He would be laid down to sleep. In just the first few moments of His life, He would experience everything that you and I once experienced. God had become like us in every way, yet without sin. In the weeks to come the Lord would have almost certainly known sickness. Perhaps he endured colic. Perhaps he woke in the night with pains and cried for His mother. Perhaps as new teeth pushed through His gums He chewed on something to ease His discomfort. Eventually he would speak a first word and later still He would take His first step and almost certainly, there would be tumbles before Christ became steady on His feet.
I don't exaggerate any of this. Christmas has become "gentle Jesus meek and mild" and has encouraged us to buy into the snow covered Christmas card image of the season. May we not miss the reality. The Christ had come down from His heavenly home because humanity had fallen from their original estate. His arrival had been planned in eternity and proclaimed for centuries and here, finally, it was time. His name would be Jesus, for He had come to save His people from their sins.
Q46 What is required in the first commandment? The first commandment requireth us to know and acknowledge God to be the only true God, and our God, and to worship and glorify him accordingly.