December 14, 2014 | Christmas Through the Eyes of God
Dr. Burnie R. Burnside
On that first Christmas the angels announced the birth of a new child. The heavens were opened and all the company of heaven broke into praise. Shepherds went racing to Bethlehem to see what it was all about. And for two thousand years we have been jumping up and down saying, "Just what I wanted! Exactly what I needed!" But in the next breath we look again inside the stable and ask, "What is it?" We are puzzled by God's gift. They didn't understand it then, and we are still trying to understand it now.
The images of God that the Bible paints for us are shocking.
- The prophet Isaiah wrote: "Who has believed our message and to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? He grew up before him like a tender shoot, and like a root out of dry ground. He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him. He was despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows, and familiar with suffering. Like one from whom men hide their faces he was despised, and we esteemed him not... We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to his own way; and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all" (Isaiah 53:1-3,6).
- In Hosea he is the betrayed husband seeking his unfaithful lover over and over again (Hosea 1-3).
- In Luke he is the anxious Father who watches for his sinful and rebellious child to return home.
- He is the Shepherd who searches for the wandering, lost sheep (Luke 15).
- Jesus mirrored God's emotions as he wept over Jerusalem, "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those sent to you, how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing!" (Luke 13:34).
It was not easy for God to give us Christmas. It was not easy for Jesus.
- It was not easy to keep loving and coming after a creation that had continually betrayed him and rejected his love - nailing it to a cross.
- The Christmas story is not as cute as it is terrible and profound.
- It wasn't easy to be the Savior of a world that does not want to be saved. God's gift of a Savior makes us face the truth about ourselves.
- "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him" (John 1:9-12).
- It began in a dirty manger and ended on a filthy cross. He was born in a borrowed stable and was buried in a borrowed tomb.
What if we looked at Christmas like God did?
God had a plan in mind. From the very beginning he knew what he was doing.
- "He was chosen before the creation of the world, but was revealed in these last times for your sake" (1 Peter 1:20).
- Revelation describes Jesus as: "the Lamb that was slain from the creation of the world" (Revelation 13:8).
God had one thing in mind from the beginning of the world: to rescue and redeem his creation.
- "The kingdom of the world has become the kingdom of our Lord and of his Christ, and he will reign for ever and ever" (Revelation 11:15).
- "And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus, in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:6-7).
- God knows exactly what he is doing, and no one can put out the fire that God has begun in the world.
The Bible says, "God chose the foolish things of the world to shame the wise; God chose the weak things of the world to shame the strong. He chose the lowly things of this world and the despised things - and the things that are not - to nullify the things that are, so that no one may boast before him" (1 Corinthians 1:27).
God's perspective of Christmas is this:
"Jesus. . . Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death-even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"
- The first Christmas saw him as an inconspicuous and helpless babe in a crude manger. But in the book of Revelation, John describes his appearance when he returns: "His head and hair were white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and out of his mouth came a sharp double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance" (Revelation 1:14-16).
- The Bible says, "This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him" (1 John 4:9).
Zacchaeus began to make a difference in his community. He gave generously to the work of Christ. The poor were aided. Cheated persons had their money restored with interest. And Zacchaeus went about spreading the good news about Jesus. One man who encountered Christ began to change his whole community.
© 2018 | Hope Community Church | 3600 Kings Row | Denton, Texas 76208 | 940-243-7837
designed & maintained by