Have you heard the grumbling about Christmas yet? How much it costs! Whether to invite Auntie so and so to Christmas lunch or not, because last year she upset so many people! How on earth you can fit in all the extra Christmas events into your already busy schedule! I want to revisit the first Christmas and echo the words of Luke 2:10 when the angels told the shepherds they had news of great or exceeding joy! The shepherds rushed off at once to meet this little baby who would be the saviour of the world. I can’t see them grumbling at that first Christmas.
Though we could forgive the wise men for grumbling. I mean, they travelled hundreds of miles across the desert and invested a ton of money in special gifts as they sought out Jesus. They had to bypass the wicked King Herod when they left, fearing he would hurt the child. Yet in Matthew 2:10 we read they were filled with joy!
Mary had reason to complain too. After all, she is dragged from her village whilst heavily pregnant to register in Bethlehem. There’s no decent accommodation, so she ends up in an animal shelter! Not the best place to give birth! Yet in Luke 2:19 we read she treasured all the things that had happened. She was filled with joy too!
So what makes the difference? Why didn’t the characters at the first Christmas complain and grumble the way we do sometimes. I think it’s because Christmas has become so complicated, so commercial, that we get busy focussing on Christmas clutter rather than Christ at Christmas. Their joy came from their focus on Jesus. He was the person they sought out that first Christmas.
I’d encourage you not to let this season overwhelm you, simplify what you can, love those who may be less lovable than others, and return your focus onto Jesus Christ, whom Matthew refers to as Immanuel in 1:23, God with us. The great joy of Christmas is that God sent himself into the world as a baby human, to do what we could not. Jesus lived a perfectly sinless life in our stead so that when we repent of our sinful lives and trust in His sinless life, God accepts us into his family and ultimately into heaven. That is something to be really joyful about!
Why not make time to read the accounts of Jesus’ birth and what it means for you, go to church on Christmas day and celebrate that first Christmas. Check out this link which offers bible reading plans and a free The Joy of Christmas Booklet which will help you reflect on the real joy of Christmas. https://www.biblestudytools.com/bible-reading-plan/the-christmas-bible-reading-plan.html
The Secondary Pastors’ team wish you all a Christmas full of exceeding joy! God bless you and see you next year!
Pastors Fi, Syd, Donna and Isaiah
GCC families can see all the nativity photos here.