The Christmas Story

The Christmas Story

The story of the birth of Jesus as told in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary. The angel went to her and said, “Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.”

Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

“How will this be,” Mary asked the angel, “since I am a virgin?”

The angel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come on you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God. Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old age, and she who was said to be unable to conceive is in her sixth month.  For no word from God will ever fail.”

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May your word to me be fulfilled.” Then the angel left her.

Luke 1:26-38

This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

Matthew 1:18-25

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Luke 2:1-21

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.”

When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written:

“‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
    are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
    who will shepherd my people Israel.’”

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.”

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

Matthew 2:1-12

The Truth is the Truth

The Truth is the Truth

Earlier this week I was driving home struggling with the latest news that was coming across the radio. As many of you can identify with this year, I have been surrounded by the news of everything with little to no reprieve. Politics of the day are no longer relegated to the old men sitting on the porch. It is on the tv, in movies, in music, in sports, essentially around every corner and on every newsfeed. The biggest problem with all of this is that we are overloaded with so much information that it is hard, near impossible, to filter it all and sort fact from fiction. Personally, I have always prided myself on being able to do my own research and try to get to the bottom of every story. This requires me to read the perspectives of both sides of an issue/situation and then research all of the points of contention to find where I fall on the issue or what the probable truth of the situation is. The problem of late is that there are so many situations and issues being discussed in the public sphere, not to mention, blatant lies and misrepresentations of facts that it is often times difficult to find the ever shifting bottom. So in this world of ever shifting narratives how does a follower of Christ find there way.

The short answer, Jesus.

“Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid”

Matthew 14:27

In Matthew 14:22-33, the story starts with the disciples getting in a boat to cross a lake but finding rough waters and winds so strong that these men, fishermen, meaning most of them had grown up on the water, they were all on edge to the point that they were all terrified when they first saw Jesus thinking that he was a ghost. Mind you this was after Jesus had calmed the storm when he was on the boat, Matthew 8:23-27. So here are these men, scared out of their minds and Jesus says “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid”(v. 27). Peter then asks if it truly Jesus then tell me to come out to you. We all know the story that Jesus tells him to come, Peter starts to walk out to Jesus but sees the situation that now surrounds him, takes his eyes off of Jesus, becomes afraid and then begins to sink. Peter cries out “Lord, save me!”(v. 30) and the scriptures say IMMEDIATELY Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. Jesus then looked at Peter and asked “why did you doubt?”(v. 31). The two then walked back to the boat and climbed in.

“Why did you doubt?”

Matthew 14:31

“Why did you doubt?” Those words rang like a church bell in my head. Currently we are walking through a time in history where the winds a constantly changing and blowing stronger every day. The ground beneath us might seem like the waves that Peter was walking across. We are looking around and crying to the Lord, SAVE US! Now, don’t get me wrong, Jesus will always reach out to catch us and pull us back up if we ask him but those words, “why did you doubt?” are just cutting me to the core. We do not have to be afraid of the changing winds because God is ultimately in control of history and is in the middle of it with us saying “Come” (v. 29).

I titled this post, “The Truth is the Truth” because of the easiest way to cast out all doubt, the truth. When Jesus asked why did you doubt he was asking why Peter doubted the truth. Not a truth, not Peter’s truth but the truth of who Jesus is. If Jesus is God in flesh as John describes him in John chapter 1 then why would you doubt the truth of God protecting you if Jesus told you to come to him. Let that breath a little and let’s digress for a moment. As every Christian should know, Jesus has and is calling us to “go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you” (Matthew 28:19-20). I think we would all agree that most Church’s know and teach the first part of the Great Commission. We pour countless dollars into missions and have evangelists all over the nation bringing souls into the kingdom everyday, which don’t in any way get me wrong is great. 2 Peter 3:9 states that God “is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance” so I am fully on board with everything that the Church is currently doing but I think we, myself included, sometimes overlook the second part of the Great Commission.

“Teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you”

Matthew 28:30

“Teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you” (v. 30). This is discipleship. In John 8:31-32, Jesus says “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” Jesus knows that if we learn his teachings and ground ourselves in the truth then no matter what is around us we are able to walk through it. A couple chapters later in John 14:6, Jesus explains what the truth is by saying “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” This is easy to understand if you look back at the first chapter of John and read that Jesus is the Word, or logos in the Greek, of God. If we learn the truth and know the truth that is Christ Jesus then we are free from the fear and uncertainty of this world. We do not have to doubt that Jesus is leading us through the waves and winds of this life and we will never have to sink into the darkness of this world. But, if you do, just remember all you have to do is cry out, as Peter did, “Lord, save me!” (v. 30) and IMMEDIATELY Jesus will reach out and catch you.

Right now, I am working on a Discipleship series that will teach the Basics of Christianity starting with “The Importance of the Bible”. Each lesson will have a video presentation and notes to help you understand the basic truth and be able to teach others. Special note: every one of these lessons will be completely free and will be available to everyone. If, and only if, you feel led to support myself and Vectored Media in the creation and distribution of these materials then there will be a place to partner with us on the Vectored Media website. Thank you for all of the support that has been sent my way and I look forward to what God has for all of us as we continue to follow His calling.

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