Monday, December 14, 2015

HOW TO TEACH THE REASON FOR CHRISTMAS IN A SECULAR WORLD


By Ada Brownell
A disabled man who grew up in a Chicago orphanage during the violent prohibition era of the 1920s and '30s gave his testimony at our church in Arvada, Colo. He told how the famous bootlegger and gangster, Al Capone, visited the orphanage every Christmas, bearing gifts.
Historians say despite his unlawful activities, Capone became a somewhat respected public figure because of donations to charities. I'm sure the orphans adored the man. Yet, at least one child discovered someone much greater. The crippled man who spoke to us heard about a Heavenly Father who loved him, and God's gift to this boy was His Son coming to earth—for Jesus brought the gift of eternal life to anyone who would accept it.
The world still needs to hear the wonder of God becoming man so that we might have etermal life.
Death is why God came down. Sin caused death. Adam and Eve believed Satan when he said, "You won't die!" So they disobeyed, ate the forbidden fruit, and soon after had to bury a son. They eventually died, too.
The Father promised a Redeemer in the early pages of the Bible, Genesis 3:15. God said He would restore immortality. Jesus, God's Son, was that Redeemer and He suffered on the cross and made us free from the law of sin and death.
            So, Christmas is about the cross as much as it is about the manger.
How can we share the true message of Christmas with our children and grandchildren?
·         Memorize and talk about John 3:16 

* Talk about Jesus, who always has been and always will be. Include where He was before coming to earth. “Christ is the visible image of the invisible God. He existed before God made anything at all and is supreme over all creation. Christ is the one through whom God created everything in heaven and earth. He made the things you can see and the things we can’t see—kings, kingdoms, rulers and authorities. Everything has been created through him and for him. He existed before everything else began, and he holds all creation together” (Colossians 15:17NLT).
·         Don't talk about Santa as if he compares with the all-knowing, all-powerful God who is everywhere. No one is equal to God.
·       Teach about the wonder of "God with us." The Bible says Jesus will never leave or forsake us.He  promised, “Lo, I am with you always, [even] unto the end of the world” (Matthew 28:20).  God came down, and although he ascended to heaven, God is still with those who believe, and He is as close as a whispered prayer.
     ·         Teach about angels. We should never worship angels, but according to Psalm 91, God gives angels charge over us to protect us. They also sometimes deliver messages, as Gabriel did to Mary, when he told her she would be the mother of Jesus.
 ·         Teach about giving and gifts. It is more blessed to give than to receive (Acts 20:35).
                    ·         Talk about the stable and how Mary and Joseph were content in the humble place.
 ·         Discuss the inn and the innkeeper. What would we have done if we owned the inn? Would we have given our bed, so the Son of God wouldn’t be born in a stinky stable?  You might not have an inn, but have you opened your heart to Jesus? Jesus told John in his vision, "Look! I stand at the door and knock. If you hear my voice and open the door, I will come in.” (Rev. 3:20).
 ·         Christmas is all about Jesus. He left heaven to become a helpless baby, God in human flesh, to die for our sins on the cross, and most important, His body came out of the tomb alive. Because He lives, we can have the Greatest Gift ever given – Jesus! Freedom from sin, but also have joy, peace and live forever. That’s why we sing, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”
©Copyright Ada Brownell