FIRST-PERSON: The Christ of Christmas
TAYLORS, S.C. (BP)--One of the first passages of Scripture we learn at Christmas is, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.” (Luke 2:7). As we well know, this text tells of the birth of our Lord Jesus. It also tells of the sad place of His birth. Jesus and His family were poor, involved in a transitory migration because of an emperor’s tax plan, and therefore had to give birth to our Lord in an animal habitation.
Isn’t it sad that there was no room for them in any hotel or inn? No one knew that while they enjoyed the warmth and security of a hotel or inn, yards away in a cold, dark stable laid a young man and woman and later the newborn King of Kings. Far too often, this scene has been played out, yet in a different way. Our lives are crowded full like the inn, yet still empty, for there is no room for Jesus. How does this happen? What can we do?
I believe this occurs if we fail to recognize the Christ of Christmas. The angel had announced, “Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.” (Luke 2:10-11). It had been foretold, yet many, if not most did not realize what was happening.
He is Savior and Lord and wants to save our world, but many do not recognize and acknowledge Him. They want Him out of the public schools, out of government, out of politics, out of social functions, and now, even out of Christmas.
This also occurs if there is no worship of Christ. The story of the wise men encapsulates the meaning of worship. Jerusalem was the capital of the Jewish people and the center of the religious hope of the world. A short time before Jesus was born, some Magi, whose names and numbers we do not know, started from their homes somewhere in the East and journeyed toward Jerusalem being guided by a star, a peculiar star. They interpreted the sign and looked for the King of the Jews.
Upon reaching Jerusalem, they asked, “Where is he that is born King of the Jews?” (Matthew 2:2). Their question dropped like a lit match on a dry prairie. Soon all Jerusalem was aflame with excitement. This troubled Herod and he demanded that the chief priest and scribes answer the question of the Magi. They said, “In Bethlehem of Judea” (Matthew 2:5). The Magi, upon arrival in Bethlehem, found the Christ child and worshiped Him.
When we truly worship Christ, it is then that He takes His place. When Christ is not the central point of worship, we have crowded Him out and allowed some idol or idols to usurp His throne.
It is my prayer that Southern Baptists will recognize the Christ of Christmas and will worship Him as God the Son! May we point our world to the never-changing message of Christ as the answer for our dilemmas and the source of our hope. I pray that all will have a Merry Christmas as you recognize who Christ is and allow Him to have His place of leadership and lordship in your life.
Frank Page is president of the Southern Baptist Convention and pastor of First Baptist Church in Taylors, S.C. Visit his website at www.sbc.net/PresidentsPage.