Archive for the ‘Christmas’ Category

The Genesis of Christmas

February 10, 2015

Title: The Genesis of Christmas
Text: Genesis 1:1, Matthew 1:18, John 1:1, 1 John 1:1
Time: December 15th, 2014

 
During the Christmas season this year I was snooping around in my Greek New Testament and rereading the Christmas Nativity accounts found in Matthew and Luke. Greek is the original language of the New Testament and I feel grateful that I was able to learn it during my college and seminary days in preparation for the ministry. I’ve tried to keep up with the language ever since the days when I first learned it; I try to read a little bit every day from the Greek – I also do that too with the Old Testament Hebrew, I try to keep up with that as well, so that I don’t lose it. But this past month I was reading along in the Greek about the birth of Jesus and stumbled upon an interesting observation that I decided to turn into a sermon message. What I found was that in the first part of Matthew 1:18, which is normally translated in English as “This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about.” Pretty straightforward. But what I found in the original Greek language of the New Testament is this, “The Genesis of Jesus Christ was thusly.” The very Greek word used in the title of the first book of the Bible, Genesis, is used here in Matthew to describe the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. I found that very interesting. Now the word genesis in Greek can definitely mean birth or beginning or start and so forth, but it’s usually translated birth here in Matthew in connection with the Nativity Christmas account. But I began to realize that while it’s easier to translate the Greek word genesis as birth, it misses some of the richness of the word, especially its history in the Bible, beginning with the Old Testament and used throughout the New Testament. So I decided I’d put together a short teaching on why I think it’s significant that Matthew used the Greek word genesis in this place to describe the birth of Jesus. One of the great benefits of reading the Bible in the original language is that you can do a little more digging around and poking around with the words – you aren’t locked into the English words the translators give you. So I found something interesting here poking around the Greek. I’d like to share it with you today and hopefully it will build up you faith this Christmas as we think about God and the birth of Jesus. What I’m saying is there is a connection with the birth of Jesus and the Old Testament book of Genesis. I’m saying that when we celebrate Christmas we aren’t just celebrating the birth of a baby but really we should be celebrating a new beginning, a genesis. God, through the birth of Jesus, was initiating a new beginning on earth, and we need to be aware of it and walk in that newness. Let me explain further. (more…)

Contemporary Challenges to Christmas

February 10, 2015

Title: Contemporary Challenges to Christmas
Text: Matthew 1:21
Time: November 17th, 2014

 
There’s a new movie out called “Saving Christmas” put out by Christian actor and TV personality Kirk Cameron. I haven’t seen it yet but it’s one of those movies I have on my “to see’ list this year. It deals with the whole topic of how Christmas has been hi-jacked by secular culture and the message of Christ has all but been extinguished in popular culture. I can’t go into much more about the movie because, like I said, I’ve not seen it. But the topic of Christmas and its relation to culture has been a growing concern for many Christians for at least a few decades now here in the United States. Just in my short lifetime I’ve seen how the secular forces of society have slowly but surely taken more and more away from the spiritual aspects of Christmas. Today, we’ll be looking at different aspects of the diminishment of the true spiritual meaning of Christmas and what forces are involved in stealing away the biblical understanding of this most important holiday. But before I talk about how the true meaning of Christmas is being hi-jacked by hostile secular forces, let me first quickly summarize what is the true meaning of Christmas. Matthew 1:21 sums it up quite nicely, “She (Mary) will give birth to a son, and you (Joseph) are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.” These are the words spoken by the angel of God during the first Christmas season back in the first century. The reason for the season is Jesus Christ. His birth began the way of salvation for all who believe the gospel. This is the essence of Christmas, and this is what is being lost in all the other things us moderns put in its place. Before our world found clever ways of hi-jacking the Christmas season it used to be that every December 25th was one big evangelistic sermon proclaiming the gospel of Jesus Christ. But now it’s possible to go through the entire season without really encountering the true meaning of Christmas. Shall we allow this trend to continue? Will we simply let culture rob us of the reason for the season? No, we should definitely push back against the destructive forces of secularism. And a key beginning in doing so is understanding the chief challenges to Christmas today. I’d like to offer three main forces that are slowly but surely hi-jacking the true meaning of Christmas and turning the holiday into something far less. First, there is the force of commercialism that threatens to swallow everything in its massive presence. Second, there’s the sentimentalism of family, friends and the social aspects of the holiday. This isn’t bad in itself, but it’s a case of something good replacing the best. And third, there’s the secularizing force of the general “holiday season” that is attempting to relativize and water-down the distinctively Christian truths of Christmas into a general religious holiday. There are other threats to the real celebration of Christmas but these are the three main challenges as I see it. Let me explain further. (more…)

Whatever Happened to The People of the Nativity?

December 31, 2013

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Title: Whatever Happened to The People of the Nativity?

 

Text: Matthew 1:18, Luke 2:8-11, Matthew 1:1-2

 

Time: December 17th, 2013

 

 

 

As I do every Christmas season, I try to come at the Nativity from many different angles with the hope that it enriches our celebration and remembrance of the birth of Christ.  It’s a challenge to find a new angle or twist on the old Christmas story. Today I’ve decided that I’ll ask and try to answer the question, “Whatever happened to the people of the Nativity?” Or in other words, “Whatever happened to Mary and Joseph. Whatever happened to the shepherds? Whatever happened to the wise men?” Yes, there were other characters in the first Christmas account. For example, there was Herod, who tried to kill Jesus. There was, we assume, an innkeeper who turned Joseph and Mary away, but who may have lent them the use of his stables to stay. And of course, there was the baby Jesus, the Lord Christ himself, of which much is said of at Christmas and other times, rightly so. But today I’d like to only deal with a few of the main characters, not all. If there’s one thing we learn after we study and read the Bible for a while, and that is, we don’t know as much as we wish we knew about what the Bible teaches. We don’t know all we wish we could know about the personalities mentioned in the Bible. And there’s a reason for that. I think the biggest reason is that the Bible gives us the basic and essential things, but not all the details of secondary things. But then again, how big of a book it would be if it contained all the information about everything and everyone it mentions? It would be massive; clearly impractical, for preserving down through the ages, and also, for reading and understanding. As it is, as short or as long as it is, it’s still a challenge just to understand that much. So while we’d love to know more about people, places and things in the Bible, we’d probably be overwhelmed if it tried to explain any more than it has explained. So we are left mostly to guess and speculate. What ever happened to Mary and Joseph of the New Testament? We presume they are now in heaven with the Lord and all the departed Christian souls. But what about the remainder of their earthly life? What happened to them in this life? And then there are the shepherds who were summoned by the angels to visit the baby Jesus in Bethlehem that first Christmas night? What became of them after they visited the Christ child? And finally, whatever happed to the magi or wise men? As I’ve mentioned before, we really don’t know there were three of them, although we could guess that number by the three gifts given. But what became of them? These are all interesting questions that I’d like to tackle today during the Christmas season of 2013. Hopefully, by exploring these questions we’ll be informed and encouraged in our Christian faith as well. (more…)

Famous Christmas Hymns: “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen”

December 31, 2013

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Title: Famous Christmas Hymns: God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen

 

Text: Isaiah 40:1-2, Luke 2:10-11, 1 John 3:8

 

Time: December 16th, 2013

 

 

 

I’m continuing with our series on famous Christmas hymns this holiday season. Last time, I analyzed the Advent hymn, “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” but today I’ll be looking at a really interesting Christmas hymn, “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen.” What’s first of all interesting about this hymn is that it’s right off the bat interpreted by most people incorrectly. Most people think it’s talking about “merry gentlemen,” or in other words, happy fellows or laughing men, and so forth. But that’s not what it’s saying at all. It all depends on where you place the comma in the title. Most people put the comma just after the “Rest” and just after the “Ye,” in order to make it sounds like the writer is talking about “Merry Gentlemen.” But that’s not where the comma goes, according to the song itself. The comma should go after the “Merry,” in order to make it say, “God Rest Ye Merry, Gentlemen.” So instead of talking about “merry gentlemen,” it’s wishing the gentlemen merry rest, that God would give them a merry rest. Now this makes all the difference in the world because the hymn is talking about why these gentlemen should rest merry when they all go to sleep in their respective homes that night. The verses go on to describe why their sleep should be merry – because of the birth of Jesus the Messiah, Savior of the world. The presupposition is that these so-called gentlemen, who really represent anyone and everyone, are disturbed, worried, anxious, bothered, burdened, and so forth by the cares of this world. And who isn’t concerned about life in this world, about the problems and troubles of earthly life? Everyone knows the world is not right; it isn’t the way it’s supposed to be. Something is wrong with our earthly existence, and we feel it in the depth of our being. These so-called gentlemen represent the common man, or we could even say, common woman, or in other words, the generic “everyman.” The troubles, problems, and cares of this world do weigh on our hearts, and not only externals but also the difficulties we experience within our own heart – our own sins, temptations, and struggles. So this famous Christmas hymn fits perfectly together, makes perfect sense, if we understand that it isn’t speaking to “merry gentlemen, but rather to troubled men and women everywhere. Now I hope that doesn’t surprise too many people here to learn that the song you’ve been singing in church for so many years isn’t really talking about “merry gentlemen.” If so, it’s not such a surprise, even if it does change a little how you think about the song. But I’d really like to go into detail a lot more because the hymn is really rich in spiritual meaning. I’m not going to tackle the whole hymn, just the first verse, but the remaining verses basically explain the account of the shepherds traveling to see the baby Jesus in Bethlehem. But the first verse is really the richest in theological and spiritual meaning. Here’s what it means. (more…)

Famous Christmas Hymns: “O Come, O Come Emmanuel”

December 31, 2013

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Title: Famous Christmas Hymns: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

 

Text: Isaiah 9:2, Matthew 1:23, Zechariah 9:9

 

Time: December 12th, 2013

 

 

 

I’ve been meaning to write a series of Christmas sermons based on the most famous Christmas hymns of the church, but I’ve never gotten around to it. But this year I’ve decided to go ahead and do it, starting with an Advent hymn, and following up with a number of Christmas hymns.  I love the Christmas season each year, and a big reason for my love of it is because we get to sing the famous hymns that have been written especially for the occasion. It seems now that the whole world is singing these very hymns; even unbelievers find them enjoyable, although they don’t subscribe to the content of the hymns. But usually each of the more famous Christmas hymns tells a story or message in itself. It’s as if we’re singing a small sermon or sermonette. That goes for the hymn we’ll be looking at today – “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel,” a song about longing for the coming of the Messiah. We’re presently in the Advent season of the Christmas holiday, which means we’re remembering the looking forward to the Messiah’s coming. Now as Christians, we’re actually looking back before the Messiah came and reliving the anticipation of his coming. For Jews, that is religious Jews not secular ones, they mistakenly are looking forward to the initial coming of the Messiah; they don’t accept the fact that Jesus was the Messiah and that he’s already come. The next big event is his Second Coming. But for the Christmas season, we Christians remember back before Jesus’ coming, to the time of anticipation, and try to relive that over again with this song “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel.” The hymn has four main stanzas but I’ll only talk about the first: “O Come, O Come, Emmanuel, and ransom captive Israel, that mourns in lowly exile here, until the Son of God appears. Rejoice, rejoice, Emmanuel. Shall come to thee, O Israel.” Now why do we remember the time before the coming of Jesus in order to celebrate his birth? Because by taking the time to think about how it was before salvation, we can better appreciate what we have now being saved by Jesus. It’s good and healthy to remember how hopeful those ancient Jews must have been for the coming of the Messiah. The Old Testament had prophesied over and over again of the coming of one who would restore Israel, or in other words, the Jews, to their ancient holy land, and free them from the hand of their oppressors. At the time of Jesus, Jews were living either in the holy land under control of the Roman Empire, or living outside of the holy land, still under the power of Rome. After the exile under Assyria and Babylon, many or even most Jews lived elsewhere other than the holy land. Even after Jews returned to the land of Israel, still most Jews lived outside of the Promised Land. So the dream, the hope, the prayer was for God to send the Messiah or Deliverer to restore the Jews to their former glory. But as it turned out, God had something much bigger in mind. Let’s look at the words of the hymn. (more…)

He Will Save His People From Their Sins — Who’s “They?”

December 31, 2013

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Title: He Will Save His People From Their Sins – Who’s “They”

 

Text: Matthew 1:20-21

 

Time: December 8th, 2013

 

 

 

We’re here considering the different aspects of the biblical Christmas account. We’re trying to make any observations that we can about Christ’s birth and the events surrounding it. And that isn’t easy because we are so familiar with the story that we’re tempted to think we know all there is to know about it. I mentioned this before, but if you’ve been a Christian for a while you begin to hear the same or similar messages around Christmas each year. They sound the same because of the four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, only two contain information about Christ’s birth. Only Matthew and Luke describe the Christmas story. Mark and John, for whatever reasons, don’t talk about it. They don’t contradict it, they don’t deny it, they just don’t describe it. That leaves us with only two places in the Bible to learn anything about Christmas. So we go over and over these two accounts for something we might have missed, something that might give us a deeper understanding of the birth of Christ. Today, I’d like to focus on a verse, and a phrase within a verse, and try to understand what it means. It’s Matthew 1:20-21, where the angel of the Lord speaks to Joseph and says, “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.” We all recognize this as the announcement to Joseph from God that it’s all right to marry Mary, because she will give birth to the Messiah, the Savior and Lord. All this we are familiar with because we’ve read it many times in the Bible, we’ve heard sermon taught on it, we’ve even seen it depicted on television and in movies. So far so good. But do we ever stop and consider what the angel means when he says, “Because he will save his people from their sins?” For many, many years I never paid attention to that small little phrase because, honestly, I thought I knew what it was saying. I just assumed that what the angel was saying to Joseph was something like this – “Because he, that is the Christ child, the Messiah Jesus, will save his people the Jews from their sins.” And because I just assumed that was the meaning I never considered anything more. But one day I was reading along and it suddenly struck me that as it turned out Jesus didn’t in fact save very many of his people the Jews from their sins, simply because most of his people, the Jews, rejected him as Savior and Messiah. Some Jews did accept him as Lord and Savior, and to these he did save from their sins. But the vast majority of Jews, then and now, are not saved from their sins because they don’t have any faith in Jesus for salvation. So I began to realize that it must mean something more than the Jewish people. And it does. It means something more. Let’s look at what it might mean this year, today, as we continue in the Christmas season 2013. (more…)

The Angels of Christmas

December 31, 2013

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Title: The Angels of Christmas

 

Text: Luke 1:26-27, 2:8-15, Matthew 1:20-21, Isaiah 55:8-9, Hebrews 1:14

 

Time: December 7th, 2013

 

 

 

We’re continuing in the Christmas season of 2013 because it’s impossible to run out of things to say from the Bible about the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Every year around this time I try to bring out different aspects of the Nativity because my thinking is that if we come at if from as many angles as possible we’ll get a better picture of what really happed. We don’t have a whole lot of information about the first Christmas, so we’ve got to take advantage of every bit of knowledge we can gain from the biblical account. Over the years I’ve tried to cover almost every conceivable aspect of the Nativity, although by the grace of God I’ve never been able to exhaust the many different topics. I hope I never get to the place where I throw up my hands and say, “I simply can’t think of anything new to say about Christmas.” Besides, if I ever did get to that spot I wouldn’t despair, because I could always go back over the things I’ve taught on before, since we all need reminding of these important things, as well as a new generation of Christians need to hear them for the first time. But if you’ve been a Christian for a number of years you’ve probably heard many different sermons on topics related to Christmas. I won’t be talking about anything new today, except you may have never heard a message on all the angels of Christmas. I recently went back over the past ten years of Christmas messages I’ve given and I found that I mostly talked about the angels who visited the shepherds with the announcement of the birth of Jesus. I’ve also talked about the angel who informed Mary she would have a son. And finally, I’ve talked about the angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream instructing him to marry Mary.   But I’ve never given a message on all three angel-encounters at Christmas. So today, I’d like to take a look at the three appearances of angels of the Nativity. First, there’s the angel, like I said before, who appeared to the virgin Mary. That was Gabriel. He announced to her that she would be the mother of the Messiah. Second, there’s the angel who appeared to Joseph in a dream. We don’t know his name, but it was a real angelic appearance, only he visited Joseph in a dream. It wasn’t just a dream of an angel, but it was a real angel in a dream – if you can see the difference. I’ll get into that later. And finally, third, there are the angels, most famously, who visited the shepherds in the field to announce the birth of the Christ child. Now I know that an angel appeared to Zechariah, the father of John the Baptist; in fact, the angel was Gabriel, the same figure who appeared to Mary later. But today I’m only going to deal with the angelic appearances that are directly related to the birth of Jesus, so I won’t be talking about other indirect references to angels. It’s the Christmas season, a great time to be a Christian. Let’s learn something more about our faith, hopefully encouraging and inspiring us to faithful service to the Lord. (more…)

The Problem With Christmas Today

December 30, 2013

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Title: The Problem With the Christmas Today

 

Text: Mark 8:36-37, Matthew 13:21, Isaiah 22:13

 

Time: December 6th, 2013

 

 

 

Christmas is a special time of year, but it’s becoming something that it’s not. It’s becoming less and less of what it started out as, and more and more of something else. The original intent of Christmas is exactly as the name implies – Christ mass, or a remembrance of Christ by the Christian church. It’s a time of meditation and reflection on the meaning of the Christmas account outlined in the Bible. It’s a season of awe and wonder that God would stoop so low as to become man on earth in the form of the Christ child in order to save us from our sins. It originally meant a season of remembering Jesus, particularly his birth in Bethlehem. But it has become gradually more and more into something entirely different, to the point that today its possible to go through the entire Christmas holiday and not once think of or remember “Jesus is the reason for the season.”  It’s happening more and more that people are forgetting the point and purpose of the Christmas holiday. Well, if we can see this happening right before our very eyes year and after – and who can miss it because it’s easy for all to see – then we can take steps to correct this problem. At least, we can make corrections in our own life to restore the original meaning of Christmas. We may not be able to “save” Christmas from the secular distortions that are corrupting the holiday, but we can “save” Christmas in our own life, the life of our family, and in the life of the church. What are the main problems with Christmas today in our secular world? I see three main concerns that must be addressed today by Christians. First, Christmas is becoming too commercial. Who can deny that every year the marketing and merchandising of Christmas is incrementally increased? Isn’t it obvious that stores are getting more and more aggressive in “selling” Christmas as the years go by? This is a growing problem that needs to be addressed by Christians. Second, Christmas is becoming too cluttered. What I mean is that more and more things are stuffed into the Christmas season. It used to be a few Christmas classics were sung in churches, or sung by choirs on radio and TV. But today, the music industry has discovered that you don’t need Christ to celebrate Christmas, just a jazzy tune with a few Christmas lyrics sprinkled in. Now it seems like every recording star has to write a “Christmas” song that often doesn’t have anything to do with the original meaning of the holiday. And that’s just in the area of music. So-called “Christmas” TV specials now usually have at best a token religious song or two, but for the most part the content it something more along the lines of general holiday themes. The Christmas landscape is becoming so cluttered it’s hard to see or hear anything religious or spiritual at all. This is another problem. Third, Christmas is becoming too celebrated. What I mean is, people are celebrating the celebration. Or in other words, people are throwing parties for the sake of partying, not for the sake of remembering anything spiritually special. Today, Christmas is bigger than ever, but it’s not the same Christmas; it’s becoming something else entirely. We need to address these issues as Christians. Let me explain further. (more…)

Interesting Observations About Jospeph

December 30, 2013

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Title: Interesting Observations About Joseph

 

Text: Genesis 37:5-6, Genesis 45:7-8, Genesis 50:26, Matthew 1:20, Matthew 2:13-14, Matthew 13:55

 

Time: December 5th, 2013

 

 

 

We’re only three weeks away from Christmas, so we’ll continue talking about the Nativity again today. Over the many years I’ve been in Christian ministry I’ve had the opportunity to talk about almost every topic related to the birth of Jesus Christ. But the good thing about the biblical account of Christ’s birth is that it never grows old, and it’s impossible to exhaust its meaning. So far, I’ve published two books of Christmas sermons; as soon as I have enough for a third book I’ll publish that as well. And if the Lord permits I’ll continue to talk about Christmas and never run out of things to say about it. Today, I’d like to talk about Joseph, the earthly, human father of Jesus. Now the Bible never calls Joseph the father of Jesus, although it refers to Mary the mother of Jesus many times.  That’s because Mary was quite literally Jesus’ mother, but Joseph wasn’t really the biological father of Jesus, only his stepfather, or sorts. God the Father Almighty through the power of the Holy Spirit was literally the father of Jesus. So that puts Joseph in a situation – he was the father of Jesus in one sense, but he wasn’t the father of Jesus in another sense. For this reason, Joseph is often left out of conversations about Christmas, except for his role of guide, getting Jesus and Mary from point to point in the journey. But there are plenty of interesting observations to make about Joseph nonetheless. I’d like to take some time today to make three observations about Joseph. First, there is an amazing parallel between the New Testament Joseph and the Old Testament Joseph – dreams. Second, there is another amazing parallel between the New Testament Joseph and the Old Testament Joseph — faithful stewardship. Third, nobody is quite sure what ever happened to the New Testament Joseph. What did happen to Joseph? In years past I’ve talked about Joseph before, but I’ve never developed the parallel between him and the Old Testament Joseph. Today, I’d like to take a couple of points to develop that parallel, as well as try to answer the question, “Whatever happened to Joseph?” It’s a fascinating topic, that is, trying to learn more about the earthly father of Jesus. We don’t have very much information about Joseph because he appears early in the gospel accounts, but is nowhere to be found at the end of the four gospels. Mary appears both at the beginning and end of the gospels, as well as in the middle, but Joseph appears only near the beginning. Although we only have a little bit of information about him, we know Joseph was a great man. He played his brief but important role in the life of Jesus, then vanishes. But Christmas is a good time of the year to try to learn as much as we can about him, so that we can appreciate our faith heritage more. In a secular, skeptical, and unbelieving world, we need to know as much as possible about our Christian faith. Let’s learn a little bit about it as we study the man Joseph. (more…)

Questions and Answers About the Nativity Event

December 30, 2013

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Title: Questions and Answers About the Nativity Event

 

Text: Matthew 2:1-6

 

Time: December 3rd, 2013

 

 

It’s now after Thanksgiving, so we’re into the Christmas season for 2013. I have plans for reviewing some of the best Christmas hymns and looking at the Bible passages that inspired them, but I’ll get to that later, in other messages this season. Today, I’d like to jump into the Christmas season by raising a few questions about the accounts of the birth of Jesus from the Bible, and then answering these questions as best I can. We’re all so familiar with Christmas that we know the Nativity story by heart. But that doesn’t mean we’ve thought about everything mentioned, or reflected on the meaning of everything included in the account. It’s one thing to know the basic story, but it’s another to delve deep into the words and symbols used to describe the birth of Jesus in order to get a richer meaning of it. That’s what I’d like to do today – raise some questions, and then answer them.  The questions I have today center around the magi. First, why would the magi come into the land of Israel to worship a Jewish-born king? After all, they weren’t Jewish, so why would they bother to go through all the effort of traveling so far just to honor a Jewish king? Second, in following the star to Bethlehem, why did they refer to it as “his star,” or in reference to the newborn King of the Jews, Jesus? What was in their thinking to so identify it with the Jewish baby-king? Third, when the magi came to Jerusalem to find out where the Christ child was born, the Jewish Bible scholars seemed to know where the king would be born, but they weren’t excited or inspired to inquire about it personally. Why not? There are more curious and odd things about the Nativity account that I’ll cover at another time, but for today, let’s think about these three questions in order to give us a better understanding of what took place over two thousand years ago. We think we know the story of Christmas, but we can learn a lot more about it by thinking deeply about the details of the account. Of course, one of the strangest parts of the story of Jesus’ birth is the activity of the magi. That these figures are even in the story of the birth of Jesus is strange. They aren’t Jews. They don’t live in the land of Israel. They probably were part of a different religion. Yet, they seemed to know things that even the Jews didn’t know, and they seemed to care more about the Jewish Messiah king more than the Jews themselves.  Very strange. So let’s try to understand them a little better today as we look closely at what they experienced so long ago. Their activity is so much a part of our faith that we take it for granted. But we really need to not take anything for granted, but instead think about it deeply in order to strengthen our own faith today. Matthew 2:1-12 (read). (more…)