“– in a minute, you’re going to hear the rest of the story.” – Paul Harvey
Paul Harvey was an American radio broadcaster from 1951 – 2008. Beginning in 1951, he broadcast News and Comment for ABC Radio News. In 1976 his famous The Rest of the Story program premiered, in which he provided backstories behind famous people and events. The program was broadcast for 33 years, until his death in 2009. The programs would conclude with another famous quote:
“And now you know — the REST of the story.”
The month of December marks, for many, the end of their favorite time of the year – the period between Thanksgiving and New Years Day. There are Christmas lights everywhere, Christmas music all the time on radio and stations and Christmas movies on every channel. People flock to stores and shopping malls to find gifts for friends and loved ones. And of course, there is all of the wonderful family time!
Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, which honors the incarnation of the Son of God. Setting aside any discussions/arguments about Jesus’ actual date of birth, as well as all the other ways we engage in debating the virtues of celebrating Christmas as a special day, let us honor the birth of our Savior and Messiah!
LET US REJOICE WITH THE PROPHET!
“Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” Isaiah 7:14
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there will be no end, on the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from this time forth and forevermore.” Isaiah 9:6-7
LET US MARVEL WITH THE SHEPHERDS!
“And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”” Luke 2:8-14
LET US BOW DOWN IN HUMILITY WITH JOSEPH!
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.
All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet: “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and they shall call his name Immanuel” (which means, God with us). – Matthew 1:18-23
It’s in the words of the angel of the Lord that we find the central purpose for which Jesus came to earth.
“She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”- Mattthew 1:21
While we would all agree that Jesus was the greatest gift given to men in the history of the universe, let us remember and reflect upon
the fact that it’s Christ’s death for OUR sin that made it the greatest gift ever given to us by an all-loving God. As the Apostle John so simply and eloquently tells us:
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life.” John 3:16
Should we not daily carry in our hearts the sentiment of the Apostle Paul, as he counseled a young preacher?
“The saying is trustworthy and deserving of full acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am the foremost.” – 1 Timothy 1:15
While we celebrate Christ’s birth, let us remember that His incarnation was but the beginning of a journey – a journey that lead to the Cross at Calvary where Jesus paid the price for OUR sin, and that by God’s design. Listen to the Apostle Peter preaching in Jerusalem at Pentecost:
“Men of Israel, hear these words: Jesus of Nazareth, a man attested to you by God with mighty works and wonders and signs that God did through him in your midst, as you yourselves know—this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men.” – Acts 2:22-23
But there’s MORE! The journey didn’t end at Calvary!
The singular event, without which our faith in the Christ Child would be in vain, was yet to come! Peter continued:
“God raised him up, loosing the pangs of death, because it was not possible for him to be held by it.” – Acts 2:24
Let us envision, with the Apostle John, that great scene in heaven:
“Then I saw in the right hand of him who was seated on the throne a scroll written within and on the back, sealed with seven seals. And I saw a mighty angel proclaiming with a loud voice, “Who is worthy to open the scroll and break its seals?” And no one in heaven or on earth or under the earth was able to open the scroll or to look into it, and I began to weep loudly because no one was found worthy to open the scroll or to look into it. And one of the elders said to me, “Weep no more; behold, the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals.”
And between the throne and the four living creatures and among the elders I saw a Lamb standing, as though it had been slain, with seven horns and with seven eyes, which are the seven spirits of God sent out into all the earth. And he went and took the scroll from the right hand of him who was seated on the throne. And when he had taken the scroll, the four living creatures and the twenty-four elders fell down before the Lamb, each holding a harp, and golden bowls full of incense, which are the prayers of the saints. And they sang a new song, saying,
“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” – Revelation 5:1-9
Enjoy this wonderful Season with friends, family, schoolmates, co-workers, and maybe even the strangers you meet standing in line at your local pharmacy, or waiting for the downtown bus, or your flight home for the holidays
Above all, Dear friends, as we celebrate the birth of the baby Jesus this year, let us also hold close to our hearts His journey to the Cross and beyond, and while doing so, let us pray for and look for opportunities to share, with great love and compassion, the REST of the story!