And it came to pass in those days.
When you think about it, that's an interesting way to begin this story. A little history, a little storytelling – we are invited to sit back and relax–and take this in slowly.
Whenever we gather as families to celebrate Christmas or any holiday for that matter, any birthday party or reunion, there is story telling. Do you remember the time when . . ? Luke begins his gospel by saying that he'd researched all of this. That “having a perfect understanding of all things from the very first” that he ought to write it all down. So that we might know the certainty of these things. Lk 1:2-4
Luke learned all he knew by either personal knowledge or by speaking with a lot of people, people who knew Jesus. Before the Scriptures were committed to writing they came down as stories, it was word of mouth. Around the fires, the front porches, the town and fields – they passed these stories on. And why do we tell stories? Especially family stories – and this IS a family story! The family of God's story.
Although we may have forgotten all the details, those of us who've had children can recall the birth of each one. These stories matter and they don't go away because they are so important to us. They are our history–and indeed our future. Somehow our stories are important not only to us and our family but also in the great scheme of things. That is in God's plan for us.
So as we settle in to hear this story yet again, to ponder it anew, maybe there's something new to learn. Maybe about the story itself, some detail you hadn't thought of before . . . like “in those days.” Maybe the new thing you'll learn this year is what it means to you. How has this Jesus been important to you this past year? How is he important to you now? How does believing in Jesus and living for him – and for yourself – how does it matter? What does it look like? How does this story so compelling and yet so obscure in many ways because we don't fully embrace it – how does it comfort you? Or does it?
Luke has wrote about the birth of Jesus because he wants us to believe it's true. That, “in those days” Jesus was born of a virgin in a village called Bethlehem. That “in those days” they had traveled there largely against their will and that it was not easy, yet it was part of God's plan. That “in those days” he was indeed born into humble circumstances, and “in those days” shepherds were abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night, and “in those days” angels come to them with a great announcement.
And “in those days” they came and saw the baby and they were happy about it. They glorified and praised God, they told other about it, “in those days.”
And when we look back at our own lives. . .
In those days, they went to church and as children learned the stories about Jesus. And in those days they believed what they heard and they decided they loved Jesus and wanted to live for him. In those days, they were baptized. In those days they grew up and decided Jesus really was important to them and they tried to live like he would want them to. And in those days they got married one day. And in those days they had children of their own.
And in those days they used to have a Christmas Eve service at their church and they came and sang carols, and heard the same story Luke first wrote, and they heard a children's story. And in those days they heard beautiful music, and they stood in a circle and lit candles. And in those days and you fill in the blank . .
This is about the story of Jesus Christ, it's also about each of us. Whatever you're going through, whether you're happy or sad, these are your days. The days appointed by God for each of us and the days we are seek and to find him. And he is not hard to find – he awaits you to say, come Lord Jesus.
God Richest Blessing in 2017
Pastor Jay Carter