I said that the birth of Christ was a time for contemplation and wonder. However, it was also a time of decisive action as shown by the following list of some of those connected to Jesus’ birth.
A young engaged couple by the name of Joseph and Mary were closely associated with the event. They both exhibited godly character and they actively followed God’s directions in simple obedience.
A lowly group of shepherds was some of the first on the scene. Shepherds tended to be low on the socio-economic ladder of the day. Nevertheless, they went with haste, amazed at what they’d heard from angels and what they witnessed in the manger.
An unnumbered group of wealthy eastern astronomers came following a star which eventually brought them to Jesus. They were then able to present their expensive gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
King Herod, a maniacal despot threatened by any competition, was powerfully affected by news of a king. He wanted to know where the baby would be born, but his desires were homicidal, not worshipful. He sprang into action and ordered the infanticide of all male children in Bethlehem aged two and under. (Traditions claiming the murder of thousands of children are inaccurate; Bethlehem’s population at the time was about 1000; this does not diminish the heinous nature of Herod’s evil and unsuccessful scheme to kill Jesus.)
Then there were the seasoned veterans of faith, Prophet Simeon and Prophetess Anna, who recognizing Jesus as the promised Messiah, immediately began praising God.
Rich or poor, male or female, lofty or lowly, righteous or evil, all of the above had in common that the events of the first Christmas caused them to be active, not passive.
Then there is us, living two millennia later and oceans away from these events; what impact does the Christmas story have? What decision or action will we make or take? Probably not very much if we do not contemplate it and read it.
I would like to encourage you to take the time to read the Christmas narrative. I am confident that it will have an effect on you. The account of the birth of Jesus is found in Matthew 1:18 – 2:23 and Luke 1:5 – 2:52; just six times longer than this article. It starts like this – “This is how Jesus Christ was born. A young woman named Mary was engaged to Joseph…” (Matthew 1:18).
— Pastor Ross Helgeton is senior pastor at Erskine Evangelical Free Church