Christmas Unplugged Part 1
On Sunday 26th November at our morning service, we started our Christmas series 'Christmas Unplugged'. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
Today we are starting a new series –called “Christmas Unplugged”. In this series we want to strip away the usual glitz and glitter of the Christmas story. This will involve us looking into the traditional story chronologically (in time order), and its supposed facts and characters to get at the truth. We want to have a better appreciation of what really happened at Christmas, and why that is profoundly more important than the often made up details. The story of the birth of Jesus has become so familiar that we are no longer careful in talking about it. In fact, the truth is that we have become far too casual!
If you read through the Old Testament Book of “Numbers”, you will find that it is incredibly detailed. It needed to be because nearly two million Israelites were moving across the desert in tents. God’s presence was amongst them in the tabernacle and he wanted them to approach him with awe and dignity, and in the right frame of mind. Above all, He wanted them to be careful and not casual. And since God is the same today as then, I think that we can learn from this when it comes to the authentic Christmas story and the significance of it.
So, let’s begin at the beginning. That would be in Nazareth, when an angel visits Jesus’ mother Mary wouldn’t it? No, that’s not really the beginning. We find the real beginning of the birth of Jesus is at the beginning – of the bible. Here we find out why Jesus came to this Earth.
Page 1, Genesis Chapter 1, verse 1, “In the beginning God created the heavens and the Earth”. He also created the stars, Sun, Moon, sky, sea, land, animals, plants, and finally human beings. He gave them paradise to live in and just one condition, “Do not eat from the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil.” (Genesis 2:17) However, Eve gave into temptation from Satan, eats the fruit and persuades Adam to do the same. At that point EVERYTHING changed in creation; sin entered the world. Human beings decided that they didn’t need God and didn’t need to listen to Him and obey Him. They could be their own God.
God was not pleased, and he said to Satan, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and hers; he will crush your head, and you will strike his heel.” (Genesis 3:15)
Jesus was the offspring of Eve’s descendant Mary, and when we read the accounts of his life in the gospels, we see that Satan does try to tempt Jesus as he did Eve and Adam (strikes his heel), but when Jesus defeats death after his crucifixion, he crushes Satan’s head.
This is why Jesus came to Earth as a baby 2000 years ago. But exactly who was it that came? If we read the eyewitness account of Jesus life written by John, we begin to understand. Chapter 1 verse 1 – the first three words are deliberately exactly the same as the first three words of Genesis’, “In the beginning”.
“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
The word translated as “Word” in the Greek is Logos – the “reason” the “plan” – and of course it is the name for Jesus. So, Jesus was there in the beginning, everything that exists is in and through him; he is the light that has defeated darkness, which is death and moral decay.
I hope that by now you are starting to realize just how significant this birth really was. Perhaps staring to see the big picture? You might even start thinking, “what if Jesus had not come to rescue us? That is really scary, because without Jesus there is darkness, which is moral decay and death.
There is a huge difference between knowing Jesus and who he really is and knowing something about him. Only when we know him will we be motivated to change our life and share with others who he is, why he came and what he has done for us – and what his birth really means.
These events leading up to the birth of the baby and beyond are so significant and profound that we must not be casual about it. Over the next few weeks we are going to get into more detail of the events that led up to and including the most significant birth in the history of the world. Don’t miss it!
Questions and Reflections (for you to think about on your own or to discuss in your Life Group)
1. What strange or supposed “facts” about Jesus birth have you come across?
2. In what way do you think society and culture has become too casual about the birth of Jesus?
3. What was the significance of Eve eating the “forbidden fruit” in the Garden of Eden?
4. Do you think that God knew that Adam and Eve would eat the fruit?
5. Why did God wait so long before Jesus was born? (After Adam and Eve’s disobedience)
6. What is the explanation for the verse: “Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made”?
7. What is the explanation for the verse: “The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it?
8. How will knowing why Jesus came to Earth help you to explain the his birth to others?