Please welcome Darlene Franklin to my blog this week. Darlene is doing two giveaways, The COMPLETE Christmas Collection and her devotional, so be sure to stop by Monday's, Wednesday's and Friday's posts and leave a comment for a better chance to win!
BELIEVE IT OR NOT
They [the scholars from the East] could hardly contain themselves: They were in the right place! They had arrived at the right time!
The first two chapters of Matthew give us details of the Christmas story, ones that anchor Jesus’ birth in time and space. Like today, people then chose to believe or not, each in his own way.
We see Joseph in chapter 1. An angel spelled out the message, and he dared to believe the impossible.
The message came to Herod from foreigners. Instead of joining them in worship of the Messiah, the announcement filled both king and priests with fear. Herod ordered the assassination of the foreigners when they returned to Jerusalem. The birth of Israel’s king made him afraid. Instead of Joseph’s faith and obedience, Herod wanted to kill the threat. He dispatched his soldiers to murder all boys under the age of two in Bethlehem. (God warned Joseph in a dream to escape.)
The wise men, or “band of scholars,” had no direct revelation. They studied God through nature, especially the stars. In some way, they learned about Israel’s king and his importance. Without angels or scripture, based only on what they saw in the sky, they believed. They not only believed, but also invested a lot of money and four years of time in order to worship Israel’s Messiah.
Today’s verse suggests they reacted with giddy joy when they found Jesus and Mary. They believed, they obeyed—and they received a unique gift.
Today, we have at least three ways of receiving God’s message.
His Word, the Bible, includes the accounts of the miraculous birth of God’s Son.
The message can be found in the trappings of Christmas. How about carols, which proclaim “God and sinner reconciled” and “Christ the Savior is born”? Gifts reflect God’s greatest gift, lights illuminate the Light of the World, and Christmas trees remind us of eternal life. Some churches celebrate Advent and utilize Chrismon symbols.
If we are Christians, we hear His message in our hearts, since He lives within us.
How do you respond to the message of Christmas?
Advent Reflections: Are there aspects of the Christmas story that you accept by faith but don’t understand, such as the virgin birth of Jesus? How do you respond to the Christmas message? What part does it play in your faith in Christ?
Best-selling author Darlene Franklin’s greatest claim to fame is that she writes full-time from a nursing home. She lives in Oklahoma, near her son and his family, and continues her interests in playing the piano and singing, books, good fellowship, and reality TV in addition to writing. She is an active member of Oklahoma City Christian Fiction Writers, American Christian Fiction Writers, and the Christian Authors Network. She has written over fifty books and more than 250 devotionals. Her historical fiction ranges from the Revolutionary War to World War II, from Texas to Vermont.