Challenge Central: a CBC devotional
by: Pastor Alan Rietberg
In New York’s Hayden Planetarium a special Christmas holiday show was enhanced by an added feature. A giant lollipop tree was projected onto the planetarium dome, surrounded by a horizon filled with brilliantly coloured toys which came to life and danced to the tune of “Jingle Bells.” At the climax a huge figure of Santa Claus faded into a snow storm, and then the star of Bethlehem broke through into the starry sky that would have been seen above that town on the night of Jesus’ birth.
The designer of this show may not have realized that he had dramatically staged the supreme Christmas message our world needs to understand: the recovery of the lost meaning of Christmas. The show’s effect must have delighted the hearts of all the children who saw it. For believers it is a tragic loss to substitute “Jingle Bells” for “Hark! the Herald Angels Sing,” and a lollipop tree for the manger of Bethlehem.
This approaching season is about God’s incarnation when the angels proclaimed, “God with us.” (Matt. 1:23). We celebrate Jesus coming into the world to give us a gift: Himself. The REAL story of Christmas is seen, in part, in Galatians 4:
4 But when the proper time had fully come, God sent His Son, born of a woman…
5 God did this so He could buy freedom for those who were under the law and so we could become His children.
7 So now you are not a slave; you are God’s child, and God will give you the blessing He promised, because you are His child. (NCV)
Christmas began in the heart of God and it is completed when it transforms the heart of someone.
It’s a constant challenge to let the “tinsel” of Christmas fade while allowing the truth of Jesus to shine through in our lives.
Scripture says, “Though you have not seen Him, you love Him; and even though you do not see Him now, you believe in Him and are filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy, for you are receiving the goal of your faith, the salvation of your souls.” (1 Peter 1:8,9 NIV)
Christmas is one of the most important times of the year because the world around us is drawn to asking “what’s this all about”? We, as followers of Christ, have the opportunity to be regularly filled with an inexpressible and glorious joy.
Let’s share the joy of Christ with others.
Let’s share the freedom from the penalty of sin with our friends, neighbours and relatives.
Let’s not be fearful in proclaiming that we are God’s child during this Christmas season.
Let’s recover what seems to be the lost meaning of Christmas and share it with others!
Let’s grab hold of this opportunity to show others that we believe in Him.