Christmas is nearly always a heated debate. Beginning with Herod and continuing today to the American Atheists (see atheists.org), the birth of Jesus has been criticized, ridiculed and downright demeaned in view of it’s implication and meaning. On the flip side, however, we Christians have a great opportunity to celebrate an event that has forever changed history — regardless of whether or not it’s believed by everyone with whom we have contact. It’s also a great time to glean lessons from those who were there. Here are 3 Christmas characters who hold lessons for us.
Luke 1 tells us that Mary was highly favored by God, and that He was with her. The interesting thing is that, although Mary is primarily known for carrying and raising God’s Son, Jesus, she was known by God beforehand as a remarkable woman. Gabriel didn’t say that Mary would be favored if she followed God’s wishes. No, Gabriel acknowledged Mary’s place with God, a place that she already possessed by virtue of His grace. She was a godly woman, before she became known as the woman who carried the 2nd Person of the Trinity to full term. We, too, should walk and live a godly and righteous life, regardless of what plans God has for us (see Luke 16:10).
The man who would be Jesus’ father (though not biologically) is undoubtedly given little space in the pages of Scripture. Yet, the 1 line that is written to describe his character is unavoidable: “Joseph, being a just man . . .” (Matthew 1:19). What would the 1 line say if only 1 line were allowed to describe you or me? At the end of the day, we can charm our way out of a bad situation, we can steer a jury, but God is undeceivable. We should live our lives as if 1 succinct line would be sufficient to describe us.
Finally, we learn from Jesus. What do we learn? Quite simply, we learn that He understood who He was and what He had come to do. Although He was a leader and a teacher, He was ultimately more than that. He was God’s Son (John 9:42), born to die for the sins of the world (John 3:16). This has always been and will remain that import of Christianity, regardless of the dinners, trees, and gifts.