It seems every year the Christmas “stuff” is put out in the stores earlier and earlier.
It seemed like this year the skeleton heads and the vampire teeth were not even removed from the aisles yet and here came Santa Clause and his reindeer.
Not only were there Black Friday sales, but this year, we had pre-Black Friday sales.
The decorations were hung up, and the Christmas music was blaring. Jack Frost was “nipping at our noses” on Nov. 17, and it was 61 degrees outside.
The turkey was not even stuffed, cooked or carved for Thanksgiving, and they were playing “Silver Bells,” before it was even close to being “Christmas time in the city.”
I have to admit, my family even gave into the pressure. This was the first time ever that we had our tree put up and decorated before Thanksgiving.
Though things may becoming more premature with the commercial side of Christmas, I have had this thought, this could be a good thing.
Get all your shopping done early. Go ahead, shop online. Go to the stores, wrestle that dude for the last television marked 75% off on Black Friday. Go for it!
Go to all the parties and those gift exchanges, where you spend $40-$50 on a real nice gift for the person whose name you drew out of a hat, and you, in return, receive a $5 stuffed animal that resembles an aquatic sea creature, and when you squeeze the dorsal fin it plays “Baby Shark.” Oh well, I guess it is better to give than to receive.
As I was saying, my advice is to get all that stuff out of the way early, so you can spend the last two to three weeks before Christmas Day focusing on the real reason why we do all this. It should really be all about Jesus, spending time with family, and if you must, drive to a holiday basketball tournament!
The beginnings of the New Testament Church were vibrant beginnings. The power of God had manifested in and through the believers of Jesus.
This is where and why we have the Gospel of Luke.
Luke writes in Chapter 1:1-4: “Many people have set out to write accounts about the events that have been fulfilled among us. They used the eyewitness reports circulating among us from the early disciples.
“Having carefully investigated everything from the beginning, I have also decided to write an accurate account for you, most honorable Theophilus, so you can be certain of the truth of everything you were taught.”
This is what we know.
Luke, who was a physician by trade and a follower of Jesus Christ, wrote two letters to Theophilus that became biblical books of the Bible.
Those two books are the gospel according to Luke and the book of Acts.
Luke gives an account that he himself investigated from the beginning. He says, “this is why we exist, and this how it happened. Theophilus, you can trust the teaching received.”
He speaks of a prophecy told of a forerunner, who would be born to a couple by the name of Zechariah and Elizabeth. He tells of this godly couple who followed all the commandments.
Zechariah is burning incense in the temple when an angel of the Lord appears. The angel comes to tell Zechariah that his prayers have been answered. His wife is pregnant, and she will give birth to a son that will be great in the eyes of the Lord. He will be filled with the Holy Spirit even before his birth, and Zechariah is to name him John.
The angel tells him further that John will come with the spirit and power of Elijah, and he will prepare the way for people to come to the Lord.
Zechariah doubts the words of the angel. He questions the angelic message because he and his wife Elizabeth are senior citizens.
The angel identifies himself as the angel Gabriel, who stands in the presence of God. God alone sent Gabriel with the message from on high and because of his doubt, Zechariah is now unable to speak until John the Baptist is born.
It was once said, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”
That rhetorical question was stated by Nathaniel in John 1:46. Nathaniel would be chosen to be one of the 12 disciples. Something and someone “good” certainly came from Nazareth.
Elizabeth was six months into her pregnancy, when God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth.
It is there where Mary, a teenage girl, who is a virgin engaged to Joseph, is told she has found favor with God, and though she is a virgin, she is going to give birth to a son, and she is to name him Jesus. He will be called the Son of the Most High God. He will reign over Israel forever, and his kingdom will never end.
Many people think you should not do anything for God unless you have peace about it.
Mary was going to give birth to the one who would bring peace on Earth and good will to all whom he is pleased with. However, Mary did not have peace.
The scripture says in Luke 1:29, she was confused and disturbed. Yet, the Holy Spirit would come upon her. Mary would tell no one, except her beloved fiance Joseph.
He now is confused and disturbed and hurt. He, being a man of character, is planning to divorce her quietly, and then God takes care of that too. He speaks to Joseph in a dream.
God also reveals to Mary that Elizabeth is with child in her old age.
This is Mary’s response in Luke 1:38; “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.”
The angel leaves her, and Mary heads to the hill country of Judea to see Elizabeth. When Mary walked into Elizabeth’s home, John, in the womb of his mother, leaped for joy fulfilling the promise that John would be filled with the Holy Spirit before his birth.
Unto you a child is born. Unto you a son is given. The Lord Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit. He was born of the Virgin Mary.
Let us reflect and celebrate because God so loved the world he sent his only Son.
Rejoice, for he is Emmanuel, God with us. Rejoice, for the Savior of the world was born in Bethlehem. Rejoice and be glad, for it is beginning to look a lot like Christmas.