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Thursday, December 5, 2013

The Rest Of The Story!

Our Church Christmas Pageant is in full swing. After hours of set construction, costume design, music learned, and parts memorized, it has come together in the final Dress Rehersal. Now begins two weeks of presentations. Excitement is at peak levels, and the anticipation of knowing what we do will impact many lives hangs in the air. Each of us is part of an amazing network of players serving our Lord and Savior. What we present in 11 performances may be the first time some come face to face with Jesus. We will work as a team, we will pray without ceasing, and we will do it all that others may come to know Christ!

Each year the presentations lead obviously to Jesus birth. There is always a modern day thread with people who need to hear the message, then Jesus birth, the Magi when Jesus is a little older, and then the facts that surround Jesus death and resurrection. All culminating in a grand finale. The transition to Bethlehem is preceded by majestic camels, and then the sheep, goats, baby animals, and Mary riding a donkey.  Angels appear, flying angels proclaim the wondrous birth, and our sanctuary, transformed into Bethlehem,erupts in joyous music. 

Where does Christmas end and life begin? Christmas is only the beginning of the story, and that was foretold hundreds of years before it happened. There is so much more to the story. Jesus was not born as a human just to be a nice person. He was God's son in the flesh, sent for a specific purpose. It is not just so we can have a feel good holiday with lights, and gifts! From the beginning, when the earth was still void, God had planned mankind. He knew man with skin on, even though made in His Image, would sin, and become separated from God. He also had a plan for man's salvation, to restore Him to fellowship with God.....that plan was Jesus! Jesus had to be humbly born as a man, teach God's word, then He had to die. It was no ordinary death. He had to fulfill prophesy. He was arrested, but committed no crime. He was tortured, beaten beyond recognition, and crucified on a Roman cross. He deserved none of it, but we did. It was our sin...yours and mine that kept Him on that cross until He had no more blood to give. His one time blood sacrifice washed our sin from us, and it all was put on Him. In three days, He rose from being dead! That death and resurection gives us all a way to be saved from our sin. Jesus was born a man just to die in our place.

It is a free gift from God to us. Like any Christmas gift, we have to take it from the giver, open it, and use it. What it all means is, that until Jesus died on the cross, sin kept us from fellowship with God. God cannot have fellowship with sin. The blood of Christ washed us clean, whiter than snow, His word says. Now if we say yes to that gift, ask for forgiveness, and turn from our sin, we say we believe that Jesus is God's son, and we are willing to turn our life over to Him. We become new creatures on the inside, and now when God looks at us, we are covered by the blood Jesus gave to get us clean.

The Pageant this year will follow Jesus from birth to His ministry, to His crucifixion, and death. The scene where Jesus hangs from the cross is powerful.
The final and lasting and best part of Christmas is the resurection and the gift of eternal life He gives to us all! That is our final destination.....Eternity in Heaven with God! I pray that you all are blessed by this season, but that you will remember, Christmas is only part of the story! Life with Christ is the rest of the story!