I am old enough to remember the early broadcasts by CBS of “A CHARLIE BROWN CHRISTMAS” which began in 1965. It has been a beloved part of our culture for the past 50 years. In the special’s climatic scene, Linus relieves Charlie Brown of his anxiety over the over-commercialization of Christmas by reciting a passage from the Gospel of Luke, reminding him of the true meaning of Christmas.
- Luke 2:10-15 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; (11) for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. (12) “This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (13) And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, (14) “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among everyone who is pleasing to Him.”
We often see nativity scenes in our neighborhoods and church buildings and we can think, so cute, so warm, and such good vibes. Who could possibly have a problem with it?
This Holiday season, the mayor and the city attorney of Eureka Springs, Ark, issued an order to remove a nativity scene from a local park that has been part of the holiday tradition since 1950. Not only did the official order come, but there were protests to remove it. Volunteers from the Passion Play, which has been a part of Eureka Springs for years, erect the nativity scene on behalf of Beta Sigma Phi and it has been an iconic part of Christmas in the community for over seven decades.
Why is there such an aversion to nativity scenes? Maybe the secular and the demonically inspired community understands something many Christians don’t know about the coming of Christ. It isn’t just about a cute baby, but something more, THE ETERNAL RULING KING!!!!
Danger in the Manger
When Jesus was born, the shepherds and wise men came to see Him. What compelled them to come wasn’t seeing a cute baby. They came, brought gifts, and fell and worshiped this awesome One who had been announced to them by angels.
We often forget the further implications of Jesus’ coming. The Roman ruler, Herod, was in so much fear after learning about the birth of Jesus, he had all the children two years old and younger killed in the region of His birth to ensure He was eliminated.
- Matthew 2:16 Then when Herod saw that he had been tricked by the magi, he became very enraged, and sent and slew all the male children who were in Bethlehem and all its vicinity, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had determined from the magi.
What brought this fear to Herod and still causes secular and demonically inspired people to want all public reminders of Jesus’ coming removed? I don’t think it is just a baby or even a Savior, but what Luke declared, “A Savior, who is CHRIST THE LORD.”
Luke goes on the mention a challenging side of Jesus’ coming as Simeon sees Jesus and blesses them.
- Luke 2:34-35 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is appointed for the fall and rise of many in Israel, and for a sign to be opposed– (35) and a sword will pierce even your own soul–to the end that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
This part doesn’t usually make it in the Christmas Cards. Simeon prophesied that there is something about Jesus coming that elicits opposition and a sword that pierces souls. It is a Danger in the Manger.
Jesus coming wasn’t just about God sending a cute baby into the world. God was sending His only solution to the problem of our sin and His judgment that we all deserve. Jesus’ coming into the earth will bring reconciliation, peace, and favor to those who receive God’s only solution, the LORD JESUS, and yield their life to His rulership. For those who don’t, separation and opposition will continue.
Jesus understood His radical nature and spoke about it.
Not everyone wants to receive God’s only solution in the way He desires, “CHRIST THE LORD.” Even people who identify with Christianity try to separate Jesus’ Salvation from His “Lordship.” Many want Him to save them from the punishment for their sins, so they go to heaven when they die, but do not want His Lordship in their lives now.
That is why the angels included the phrase, “peace on earth for all who are pleasing Him.” Pleasing God is the posture of receiving His only solution to the problem of sin and judgment that separates people from God, “Christ, the Lord.” For others who trust themselves, or their logic, but don’t want “any god” to get in their way, Jesus is a “sign to be opposed.”
Jesus spoke of the impossiblity of receiving the peace He brings apart from His Lordship (Luke 12:51-53, Matthew 10:34-37). Instead of peace, those who don’t receive Him as Lord will continue in separation from God. To them, He is the “stone of stumbling, the rock of offense.”
Rom 9:33 just as it is written, “BEHOLD, I LAY IN ZION A STONE OF STUMBLING AND A ROCK OF OFFENSE, AND HE WHO BELIEVES IN HIM WILL NOT BE DISAPPOINTED.”
Yet for those who believe and receive Him as Lord and Savior, there is not disappointment, only peace and rejoicing at His wonderful birth! Like the shepherds, and wise men lets receive our Savior and bow our lives/knees to His wonderful Lordship. When He rules our lives we step into the best life we can live, both now and forever!!!!