Christmas. A time of year we are all familiar with, though I think more for the decorations and gifts than for the truth of the season. If we look around us we are quickly overwhelmed by lights, music, and a show of happiness that just isn’t there the remainder of the year. Everyone smiling and sharing cheer, when just the day before the grumbling and stress was downright ugly. But what of the true meaning of Christmas? Is it really just a day to give and receive gifts?
Some 2050 years ago in the village of Bethlehem, a child was born in a manger. The birth of this child was foretold some 700 years before by the prophet Isaiah who wrote, “For to us a child is born, to us a son is given, and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” (Isaiah 9:6)
I was asked to lead our Sunday School class this week, with the suggestion to continue reading the story of Christmas in the Gospel of Luke. In preparation for the class I read Luke 2 several times, and each time my mind stayed on verse 19 – “But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.” I read and reread, and each time I was struck by all the things Mary had to treasure and ponder.
In the beginning of both the Gospel of Matthew and the Gospel of Luke, the story of Jesus’ birth and the events leading up to it are told; each from a slightly different perspective. The Apostles told of the angel Gabriel visiting Zechariah and Mary; telling both they would have sons. One who would prepare the way for the other. One a prophet, the other the Son of God. An angel appeared to Joseph, Mary’s fiance, and told him that Mary, a virgin, would conceive a son who would save his people from their sins – his name was to be Jesus, which means ‘The Lord Saves.’ After the angel visited Mary, she visited her cousin Elizabeth, Zechariah’s wife, who said to her, “why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?” And then, shortly after Jesus was born, shepherds came to visit her and told of the angels who appeared to them telling of the birth of the Messiah. (Luke 1-2; Matthew 2) And “Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.”
Imagine the awe and amazement each of these people must have felt, to have been visited by angels … and how even more wonderful it was to know that they were a part of God’s plan to give His son to us, to save us from our sins. To be part of the birth of the Messiah – the Lord! How this must’ve felt!!
Throughout the Bible we are told of God, of His love, of His ability to forgive our sins, that He is the only God, the great I AM. He came to this world, born of a virgin, and was crucified – paying for our sins with His own blood. His gift to us was His very life!
Jesus is a treasure. Is there any other gift so special? Jesus, our gift! Have you accepted Him? Have you treasured and pondered these things?
My prayer is that each of you will come to know the Lord Jesus Christ, and will accept His gift of salvation. That you will worship and treasure Him, and live forever with Him in eternity.