Monday, December 17, 2007

The Christmas Story: Variations on an Eternal Gift

My blog entry today is much longer than what I usually write, but it is about an event that merits great discussion, thought and praise—-the birth of Christ.

This time of year preachers are delivering sermons about the birth of Christ and I find it both comforting and interesting to listen to how God delivers this message through them in different ways.

In his radio message today, Pastor Paul Sheppard preached on the topic, “What We All Got For Christmas” based on Matthew 1:18-25. Pastor Paul talked about how God gave us the best Christmas gift ever, over 2,000 years ago when Christ was born. The gift of Christ, said Sheppard, is an eternal gift of everlasting life if we accept Him as Savior.

Preacher Chuck Swindoll is airing a multi-part series he started last Thursday, December 14, 2007 entitled, “Meet Mary…the Favored One,” based on Luke 1: 26-38.

My pastor, Dr. Lucius M. Dalton, used Matthew 1:18-25 as the text for his subject, "God With Us.”

Pastor Dalton pointed out that the story of Christ’s birth can be viewed as having a sub-text about male/female relationships and made four points:

1. We should strive to have a relationship with someone who is righteous , and loves God, like Joseph, who being a righteous man, didn’t want to publicly embarrass Mary, and was going to divorce her quietly when she became pregnant. Joseph showed his love for God when he obeyed an angel who told him in a dream to marry her as she was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. Pastor Dalton also made an observation that I’ve forgotten about: That Matthew focuses on Joseph’s side of the story, while Luke(1:26-56) features Mary. What a blessing that God used the personalities two different writers and inspired them to write about the birth of Christ.

2. When entering into a relationship, we should seek someone who is impregnated with the Holy Spirit. At first, I didn’t know where Pastor Dalton was going with this, but he went on to talk about how we should seek someone who is full of the Holy Spirit, instead of worrying about what someone looks like on the outside.

3. Some things are worth holding onto in a relationship. Dr. Dalton made several points here, but one that stuck with me is the notion of people who say it is unrealistic to remain platonic in a relationship before marriage. “If someone says, ‘it’s unrealistic, tell them, it’s Biblical.’ ” said Pastor Dalton.

4. God establishes the most perfect relationship of all—our relationship with God through Jesus Christ. Pastor Dalton explained that the most intimate, pleasing relationship one can have is with God, through Jesus Christ. Pastor closed by reminding us that the prophet Isaiah, as recorded in Isaiah 7:14, said that a virgin would give birth to a child they would name Immanuel, which means, “God With Us.”

God came to earth in the flesh, as Jesus, to dwell among us, and save us from our sins so that our relationship with God would be restored through Jesus, our emissary to God.

So, in these days leading up to Christmas, listen to different sermons about the birth of Christ to gain a deeper understanding of the eternal gift God gave us, His Son Jesus Christ.

Have a blessed day by telling someone about what Christ has done for you!

Your Brother in Christ,

Steven Kendall

P.S. Check out my other personal blog, about recent book reviews of religion books