On faith: The best Christmas gift of all
Pastor Scott Nelson
First Baptist Church, Two Harbors
The Christmas season is a wonderful time of year. The many fun activities, decorations, presents and family get-togethers are all highlights of the season for most. But for others, Christmas is a difficult time. Many people feel displaced and lonely, or are saddened by recent loss. For a variety of reasons, they are feeling left out of the fun. If that is your situation this Christmas season, the good news is you are in good company.
The events of the first Christmas occurred in about 4 B.C. The Roman emperor of that time, Caesar Augustus, decreed that all the kingdoms under his control were to undergo a census. According to the customs of the day, this required Joseph and his fiancé Mary (who was nine months pregnant by a special work of God even though she was a virgin) to make a three-day journey from their hometown of Nazareth to their ancestral home of Bethlehem. When they arrived, the small and normally quiet town was alive with activity. All the motels were filled to capacity with the many who came there to register, so the only place they could find to stay was in a stable (traditionally a cave) used to house livestock. They were left out. Alone. Nowhere to go. No one except Joseph to assist Mary as she gave birth.There in that cave, Jesus Christ was born. Talk about humble beginnings! The Son of God was born in a stable and laid in a feeding trough to sleep. Why? Why wasn’t God’s own Son welcomed with fanfare and given the grandest suite in the Bethlehem Waldorf? Was it just because of Bethlehem’s temporarily booming motel business caused by the census, or was there a bigger reason? I believe that Jesus’ reception was part of God’s deliberate plan, a plan which would allow Jesus Christ, the Son of God, to relate to us. God has a very special love and concern for the saddened, the lonely, the empty, the outcast, the unwanted, and for anyone who humbly turns to Him in faith. In fact, the Son of God loves all of us so much that He became one of us. He found out what it is to be lonely and sad and unwanted.Jesus, for whom there was no room even at His birth, came to make room for us. By His death, He offers forgiveness of sins and a chance to be adopted into God’s family, to find true joy and acceptance in this life and to spend eternity with the Lord. No matter what you’ve done, no matter who you are, no matter what you are feeling inside this Christmas, Jesus invites you to come to Him in faith. The best Christmas gift of all came over 2000 years ago in the form of a little baby, and that gift is for you. Will you choose to accept it?