RSS

Tag Archives: Birth of Christ

The Christmas Paradox: A Labor of Love

This Christmas post is going to be a little different.  There is going to be a lot about Jesus, of course, but there will also be what I am going to call Theological Physics.  A little science mixed in with knowlege about God…hey, it’s Christmas!  Don’t worry, it won’t be too bad.  I hope.  This is part one.  I will save the physics and theology for part two.

For the last couple of years, a friend of mine has been telling me about Andrew Peterson’s Christmas Concert.  Andrew Peterson is a Contemporary Christian Music Artist and he has been doing a Christmas tour since 1999 where he goes through the story of Christmas but starts in the Old Testament and works his way through to the birth of Christ and its significance.  My friend said that there is an amazing song in this called, “A Labor of Love,” that talks about the birth of Christ in a very real way.  It was, afterall, an actual birth with everything that comes with that.

The tour and CD is called Behold the Lamb of God.  I knew we were going to be doing a lot of driving this year to our various Christmas gatherings and I wanted some new Christmas music to listen to besides the same songs they always play on the radio.  I remembered my friend talking about Andrew Peterson and that song, so we got the whole CD…I am a big fan of how the Christmas story fits into the “whole story” of the Bible, so I figured it would probably be pretty good.  It is.

We gave it a listen on one of our long drives to a family Christmas party.  I was completely enthralled with how they were able to weave the story of the Bible in such a cool way.  The songs about the Old Testament were amazing.  He wrapped the gest of Israel’s Biblical history into just a few songs, but it was done beautifully.  He built it up to the birth of Christ.  Then the song “Labor of Love” came on.  It was everything my friend said it was.  Graphic yet beautiful.  Then suddenly a line was sung that I was not prepared for…I didn’t see it coming and I don’t know that I will ever be theologically or philosophically the same.  A very simple string of words that left me in tears at the wonder of the gospel and amazing love of God.

I would encourage you to get the CD, listen to all the songs up to this one, and then hear these lyrics in context, but I am going to share the lines that rocked my little world.  It is a simple thought, but such a huge effect on me.  The context within the song is that Mary is giving birth on the ground of a dirty stable with no family except her new husband.  Joseph is there with her being as brave as he can given the earthy and heavenly circumstances.

So he held her and he prayed, shafts of moonlight on his face
But the baby in her womb, he was the maker of the moon
He was the Author of the Faith that could make the mountains move

This thought…I almost don’t have words to convey how God sent shockwaves through me with it.  You have a poor family in a stable.  A birth happening in the worst of situations.  We would call this horrible in our time.  Think about it.  A baby being born in a dirty, fifthy stable.  A place were dusty animals eat and use the bathroom.  No professionals around.  Just a man with rough hands from carpentry who probably did not know much about childbirth.  And there is Joseph trying to have enough faith to believe that an angel really did come to him and tell him that his wife is going to have a baby that is not his but was the work of the Holy Spirit.  Mary is going through the real pain of child birth.  No family.  No help.  Just Joseph.  She was probably trying her hardest to believe that he truly believed that all of this was really the work of God.

And then there is the baby.  The real son of God.  God in flesh.  The very Word of God that created the created everything was now a part of creation.  Get ready, because here is the thought that blew me away…Joseph had moonlight/starlight on his face as he mustered up the faith needed to guide this baby into the world as Mary gave birth…and this baby was the one who made the moon, and the stars, and gives us the ability to have faith in him.  He came up with the birthing process and was now experiencing it.  His hands molded the first man, Adam, and now one of Adam’s decendents was using his hands to guide the creator into creation.

Wow.  Do you get the contradictiction here?

I am going to let this one sink in.  Take some time to meditate on the thought of the maker of the moon being brought into the world to have the moonlight on his face.

Father, Jesus, Spirit, please fill us with the starking contrast of the reality that Jesus made the world and then was born into it.  You gave up the glory of the role of Creator to become part of creation.  More than that is why you did it.  You did it because we needed you to.  Only you could unravel the curse of sin by taking on a body that has the curse.  Then you lived a life that went against the curse…then you died to kill the curse.  Halellujah, what a savior.  Jesus, make yourself real to us today.  We pray this in your name.  I love you.  your son, joe

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 25, 2012 in Christmas, Gospel and Faith

 

Tags: , , , , , , ,

Christmas Thoughts: Dear Lord Baby Jesus

I have had so many thoughts and lessons from God this Christmas season, but so little time and/or energy to share them here.  Because I am now out for winter break (I am a teacher, if you didn’t know), I have some time.  I have decided to do a series of posts that I will put up when ever time allows for some writing.  So there may be a string of them in one day, or days between them.  We’ll see how it goes.  Anyway, without further ado, here is the first of what I hope will be many before the 25th of December.

I am going to start with a soap box issue for me.  Possibly not the best jumping off point to inspire you to read future posts in this series, but I have to start where my thoughts started this year.  It is probably an overplayed issure, but it is my turn to pipe in on it.  Over commercialization of Christmas, however this is not just about Walmart (and other stores) starting the Christmas rush earlier and earlier every year…it is more about Christians buying into the over commercializing of the birth of Jesus and trivializing what his birth truly means.

Christmas is the Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ.  Jesus was born into the human existence as a real human baby, which let him live a normal human life sinlessly (as prescribed to the Israelites by God through Moses), which allowed him to die a death he did not deserve and take the wrath of God that we deserve. and then he was raised from the dead to show that his payment for our sin was accepted as paid in full and the grave no longer had any rights to him.  Jesus being born is a big deal.  However, I think that the over commericialization of Christmas has led most Christians into missing the point of Jesus’ birth.

Don’t get me wrong.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with celebrating the Christ-child.  There are what I like to call the three “ions” that are key to the Christian faith.  The Incarnation (Jesus stepping out of heaven to live the human experience…just without sinning), the Crucifiction (Jesus dying a greusome death on the cross and being separated completely from God, and doing so to pay the price for our sin), and the Resurrection (Jesus being raised from the dead because the price was paid and death could not hold him).  Jesus’ birthday is the Incarnation side of things, and it is very important.  I just think as celebration of Christmas becomes bigger and bigger (and earlier and earlier), we lose sight of why it is important, and Christians start becoming more and more like the main character in the movie Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby.

The movie stars Will Farrell as a Nascar driver.  I do not know a whole lot about the movie, because I have never actually watched it.  But there are scenes that I remember from the ads for it and that I have heard quoted and eventually watched online.  The parts of the movie that I am referring to are parodies of how some Christians can act, and they are extremely over-the-top and sacreligious.  For that reason, I won’t share a link to YouTube or quote the movie.  I will just summarize what my reference is about.

The main character, Ricky Bobby, is a “christian.”  He prays often in the movie, but he prays to “Lord Baby Jesus.”  There are a few scenes with prayers in which he makes several allusions to Jesus as a baby.  He even gets into arguments with his family about it and how Jesus was not just a baby.  He response was always that he likes Baby Jesus the best and that is who he prays to and worships.  Like I said, it is over-the-top and a satire of how some people seem to be.  My fear is that we all take on shades of this sometimes at Christmas.

We get caught up with the magic and wonder of Jesus as a baby, which in of itself is not bad.  It was the miracle of God leaving Heaven to come to Earth as our Savior.  It is something to celebrate.  I think we just forget to focus on the why part of why Jesus had to become a baby to save us.  I know I do.  It is so easy to get caught up in Christmas and the Christmas traditions.

This year, I have really been convicted about this.  After reading through the Bible, the Holy Spirit has been able to show me over and over why Jesus had to come.  It is because he had to be human and live that life so that he could sacrafice it for my sin.

The “reason for the season” is that I am a sinner who is separated from God.  Only God himself can save me.  Jesus is God in flesh.  He came to Earth and lived the live I couldn’t.  Because he lived a sinless life, he could give that life up.  He did not have to die.  He never sinned, so he did not deserve death.  Not only did he not have to die, he did not deserve to be tortured and then separated from God the Father and the Holy Spirit.  He was separated from them on the cross and then again as he was in the grave for three days (and what ever the sinners after life is).  The one who had lived in eternity past with the Father and Spirit was separated from them for days.  That may not seem like long to us, but I am sure it was like forever to him.  He then came back from the dead because the price was paid.  Prisoners do not have to stay in prison once the sentence is up.  Jesus walked away from the jail (while it blew up behind him…see Action Hero Jesus for more).  He came, lived, died, and rose again.  It it was all because I was a sinner who needed to be saved.

Baby Jesus is important, but it is not everything.  It is not even why Christmas is important.  God heard our cries, and he came and saved us.  Jesus being born is about him accepting our death.  This is what Christmas is about.

Father, Jesus, and Spirit, please do not let me miss the point and the reason for Christmas this year.  Thank you for saving me.  Thank you for your sacrafice.  Thank you for your love.  Your son and dependent, Joe.

Performancing Metrics

 
2 Comments

Posted by on December 18, 2011 in Christmas, Gospel and Faith

 

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,