De:cluttering Christmas

Christmas is the Gospel Story is God’s TOTAL ANSWER to man’s TOTAL NEED. 

During the festive season there can be so much going on in our lives … sometimes we experience good things and other time not BUT whether it’s hardship or good things … it’s important not to take our FOCUS off what Christmas is really about

So what is Christmas really about? 

It is a celebration of Jesus’ birth (I know there are more accurate depictions of time frames but as we know it in our world for now the Christmas story is ALSO an indication of God’s thoughts towards and great love for US, His children. The Christmas story also represents Christ bringing a small piece of Heaven to earth as evidence of God’s grand redemptive plan and a hope for a glorious future beyond our imagination

There are also a number of great lessons we can learn through the Christmas story, ONE OF THE KEY LESSONS is that God doesn’t do things the way that we expect …

Instead of sending His son into this world as a victorious king, He sent Jesus into this world as a babe

W. Boreham, an Australian preacher in the early 1900’s, put it well when he said,

“We fancy that God can only manage His world by big battalions … when all the while He is doing it by beautiful babies. When a wrong wants righting, or a work wants doing, or a truth wants preaching, or a continent wants opening, God sends a baby into the world to do it. That is why, long, long ago, a babe was born at Bethlehem.”

  • God sent you into this world because there are wrongs that need righting
  • God sent you into this world because there are works of God that need doing
  • God sent you into this world because there are truths that needs preaching
  • God sent you into this word because there is a continent that needs opening

MOST IMPORTANTLY … the Christmas story is a reminder to us of the GOSPEL STORY … The Gospel Story is God’s TOTAL ANSWER to man’s TOTAL NEED. Every great story has woven into it a GOLDEN THREAD … and the Gospel Story is no different.

There are many words that we can use to describe the Gospel Story, I want to use THREE WORDSLOVE / PEACE / RUIN

(1) LOVE

John 3:16-17 (ESV)

For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.

A well-known theologian put it like this …

“[Often] we get just enough religion to make us miserable. If we would go on, we’d find God’s love.” [Tozer]

I could also explain this concept through an illustration used by a preacher, D.L. Moody:

Imagine a person who has never slept on a feather bed taking a single feather and lying down on it. When the morning comes they exclaim, “If one feather is that hard I can’t imagine what a whole bed of them would be like.”

You see, we don’t go deep enough in our relationship with God to catch a REAL glimpse of His loving heart TOWARDS US. The Christian life is defined by the DEPTH our love relationship with God … NOT by what we ‘don’t do’! God’s love in our lives makes everything right … that’s why He sent His son

There is a good indicator of the DEPTH OF OUR LOVE RELATIONSHIP with God, and that’s the extent to which we love other people …

God’s love in our lives conditions our hearts to “love” others  AND … the more we “love” on earth, the more we prepare ourselves for HEAVEN

Let me ask you a question: Do you really LOVE love? Or do you prefer offence, or hurt, or hate?

Offence, or hurt, or hate can’t fill the same space as love … it’s EITHER / OR … why not actively choose LOVE today … put a “RESERVED SIGN” on the table of your heart

(2) PEACE

The second aspect to the Gospel Story’s golden thread that I want to touch on is PEACE.

We actually see this referenced in the first interaction that the angles have with humans after Jesus’ birth …

Luke 2:14 (NKJV Strong’s) “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

Peace ~ g1515. εἰρήνη eirēnē

  • root of the word PEACE used in this sentence in a verb which means: to join
  •  harmony, safety, security, and prosperity
  • describes the way to salvation for those who put their trust in Jesus
  • BUT it is a peace that doesn’t negate all hardship in this life, RATHER, promises a restful state of a soul … assured of its eternal home through Christ, a soul which fears nothing from God and finds contentment here on earth

The outworking of God’s love in our lives is always in the form of a PEACE which transcends any circumstance we may face.

You see … OUR understanding of PEACE is directly linked to our comprehension of God’s goodwill towards us.

Fear comes when we’re in the hands of someone who does not will our good.” A.W. Tozer

(3) RUIN

The third aspect to the Gospel Story’s golden thread that I want to touch on is RUIN.

Woven into the Christmas Story (and the Gospel Story) is the idea that we are born into a battle … it’s not just a battle of good versus evil, it’s a battle of beauty versus destruction and and restoration versus ruin.

We see in Matthew Chapter 2 that even Jesus was born into a battle …

  • Herod wanting to kill Jesus
  • In fact, when God warns the wise men not to return to Herod, Herod goes on to kill all of the male babies under the age of 2 … the king of Israel killing his own people because of this battle that is raging!!

The Bible tells us that while Jesus came into this world to bring life, and ABUNDANT LIFE, the devil comes to steal, kill, and destroy … (John 10:10)

We need to realise that “our sins are an emotional wound in the heart of God.”

That’s an interesting thought …

  • I wonder how our behaviour would change if we really grasped the idea that the devil has got not chance of overthrowing God’s rein, so instead he tries to wound God through our disobedience

BUT regardless of where I’m at, or what I’ve done, there is still HOPE!!

  • Because, when I understand God’s LOVE & His GOODWILL towards me, I will realise that even when I am far from God … God is COMPLETELY CONCERNED with me.

THIS is the Christmas message of God’s great love for you, of God’s goodwill towards you that will bring you TRUTH PEACE, and of God’s complete concern for you, that if you respond to His love … He will keep you safe, and protected from the devils plans to ruin you!

During this Christmas time, instead of our focus being on the BABY JESUS … let us fix our minds the ROCK OF AGES.

Don’t just be a casual seeker of God, commit to a lifelong journey of experiencing the fullness of God’s love.

The Gospel Story is God’s TOTAL ANSWER to man’s TOTAL NEED.

By Trevor Hartley