December 12th …. 13 NIGHTS TIL CHRISTMAS


How to know for sure  you’ve been Adopted:


       “ Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is                                come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.” [Luke 2:15]


          You’ll find the SOURCE of all LIGHT when you follow what light you have and follow through.

Here in our “Christmas Story” passage in Luke Chapter 2,  there are several examples of what it means to follow the light. And these “Bible stories” are not fiction, or fantasy, (although, as I’ve said before,  even fiction can contain truth, even fantasy can contain light.)  All light, if we would only follow through, will eventually lead to the Source of light, the Saviour.

Before I give you the four main reasons why so many  people don’t find the light, let me illustrate from the Christmas Story what I mean by following the light.

I’ve already mentioned the shepherds. When they were told by the angels that the child was born, they said immediately “ let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.”  Notice these men knew the Lord— by which I mean, they were Israelites, they knew about the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, and they had heard about angels from when they were small children, although they had probably never seen an angel before. That’s why it says, “and lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were sore afraid.” They were afraid because they’d never encountered anything supernatural before. The point is, they had enough of a Jewish background to know about angels. And when the angel said to them, “Fear not…for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord” they knew enough from their Jewish upbringing to know that when the angel said “city of David” the angel meant Bethlehem, and when the angel said “Christ”  he meant “the anointed one from God who will be King”. That’s what Christ means: the word “Christ”, as written here in  Luke, was the Greek word  Χριστός, (“kris-tos”) meaning “anointed one”. Jesus Christ is the “anointed saviour who will be King.”

I’m saying that the shepherds probably knew all this . What they didn’t know (until the angel told them)  was that this “Christ” was born that very day in a stable not far from where they were keeping their sheep. So they knew the PLACE,  and they knew the time (NOW) , and they knew who they were supposed to find there— but they didn’t know all  this ABSOLUTELY FOR SURE until they actually went and saw the child for themselves. “And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.” [Luke 2:16]  It was only after they saw the Christ-child that “they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. “ [Luke 2:17] In other words, they didn’t spread the news until they had confirmed it for themselves.

In a way these shepherds were very much like most of us. I’m talking about the man/woman-in-the-street- Canadian who has lived all of his/her life within sight of a Christmas tree, silver bells, and sleighbells ringing.  This is what we know about Christmas— and we vaguely remember that it has a deeper meaning too— something about Jesus and religion. But that makes most of us uncomfortable, mainly because we don’t really know a lot of facts about this ancient story. So when we in the off-chance hear a sermon on TV about the deeper meaning behind the celebration of Christmas. we tend to shy away. It’s awkward to be an adult raised in Christendom and yet know so little about your own roots.

So for us “shepherds” to be convinced about the truth of anything “spiritual” we almost need a supernatural event to shake us loose. Like an army of angels cascading out of the sky. Most of us are fond of saying, “if God would only send an angel or write his name in big letters in the sky, then I would KNOW he’s real and then I would believe!” Let’s face it, for most of us, for God to get our attention he would have to do something tactile.  Tactile means having to do with the sense of touch, tangible.

And that’s exactly what God did with these shepherds. It’s amazing that He came first to the shepherds in any case— you would think God would have split the sky open over Jerusalem and had his son delivered by angels in a fiery chariot. But there’s a REASON why God is not this direct— I’ll talk about this later in another blog.  My main point here is that God worked first with the shepherds for several good reasons— and on their account He used some very tactile fireworks.

My point is that I want to introduce here a factor most people are not aware of— God uses whatever YOU need to be convinced. And although he is anxious to convince YOU, he doesn’t want to necessarily shake up everybody around you. God  is like a stealth aircraft. He loves to work surreptitiously. He is sort of like “black ops”,  even though he is really the brightest, whitest light in the universe. He is the master of secrecy, for a good reason which we’ll talk about later.

But because of this, he tailors his approach to the minimum means needed to get our personal attention, depending on our spiritual condition.

So in the case of these shepherds, God did not do what he did later with a man called Simeon and a woman called Anna. (More about this tomorrow.) He did what had to be done to convince these shepherds. And here I need to stress that God knows us human beings like the back of his hand, and he knows that talk is not enough. God could have stirred up one of these chaps to remember that he’d left his cigarettes back at the barn (just joking here) and the fellow could have walked in to find Mary, Joseph, and the baby. But what would that have done? There’s no way the shepherd could have made the connection.  Even if Joseph had stood up and introduced himself and said, “See here, I am Joseph  and this is my wife Mary and this here baby is the Messiah, the promised king of Israel.”  What do you suppose the shepherd would have said? He would probably have said, “You’ve got to be kidding.”

The only reason the shepherds made the connection,  is God had to send a massive task force of angels to convince them that this was a mighty special event.  First he sent angels— then he had these very humble fellows totally convinced by the tactile event we know as “the manger scene.”

The reason I say all this is to try to show you that God is trying to do for YOU what he did for them. The problem is the place is getting more crowded and it’s hard to send a cohort of angels to every guy who needs to be convinced. God wants to convince YOU— and not necessarily the guy beside you. (I’ll talk about the reason for this in a later session.) So what will it take to get your attention?  God is working on that right now. He will meet you in a way that will  totally convince you— if you let him.

The great Christian philosopher, C.S. Lewis (“The Chronicles of Narnia”) wrote a book about how God finally got hold of his heart,  and called it  “Surprised by Joy”. God usually  tailors his first approach to a man in terms that man can understand. The poet Robert Louis Stevenson lived in the day of the tall ships and he said this: “When Christ came into my life, I came about like a well-handled ship.”  Both men discovered God is REAL while they were sincerely seeking to confirm if something they had heard was true.

Are the details of Christianity true? You need to follow up and follow through until you’re absolutely sure.