Apologetics: ə-pŏl'ə-jĕt'ĭks from the Greek απоλоγία Def: The branch of theology that is concerned with defending or proving the truth of Christian doctrines.

"I Bring You Good News. . ."

Of Incarnation!

Written By Esthermay Bentley-Goossen on 22 December 2009

“Let us remember the proclamation of the angel: 'I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord' (Luke 2:10-11).

May our hearts go out to the unconverted people…who have no blessed Christmas day. 'Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord.'” (Nehemiah 8:10).
~ Mrs. L.B. Cowman
Strea
ms in the Desert

It is entirely accurate to say that Christians get too caught up in the “story” of Baby Jesus at Christmastime. We take the whole manger thing way too far. We revel in the tender side of God’s nature and we completely set aside the reality of sin and redemption which is the premise of the entire Bible!

We dress up children in costumes and sing angelic-sounding songs. It’s really all very precious, isn't it? . . . Listening to a child read from the Book of Luke? . . . As other little ones parade about as angels and shepherds? It's almost too much to bear if you're a parent or grandparent.

I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.

Don’t get me wrong. This aspect of Jesus’ story is important -- even vital to understanding the Messiah. But the biblical focus on Jesus is not on His birth. The real focus is some thirty years later at an execution scene. There was no tender angelic moment at that place. Instead, the air was ripe with evil. The baby of the manger was murdered.

May our hearts go out to the unconverted people…who have no blessed Christmas day.

Do the "unconverted" understand that He was murdered for them? Do they understand that [really rather simple] theology of "The Incarnation?"

Birth brought God’s Son into the world and gave Him a human body -- just like you and me -- for one reason and one reason only: To redeem us back unto Himself.
The Christian'ese terminology would be "to covert us."

So doesn't it follow that the celebration of His birth be focused on those who have not yet been redeemed? Should we not focus our energy on reaching out to those who don't yet celebrate His redeeming power, but instead focus on the angels and shepherds (and choice foods and sweet drinks)?

In all reality, the "unconverted" do not have a "blessed Christmas day," -- as Mrs. Cowman puts it. They do not understand why He came in the first place! All they really have are the pretty angel songs and precious visions of all those Children's Christmas Pageants -- and of course the food and festivities of the Season. They do not hold to the truth of -- nor really even understand -- the words of John 1:14:

The Word became flesh and made His dwelling among us.

Why? Why did He come? Surely the Incarnation of Christ is one of the hardest truths to grasp. Let alone explain to someone who has no "blessed Christmas day." Some of the greatest theologians have taken great effort to offer a good clarification.

But the infamous Paul Harvey provides one of the most unique explanations of the Incarnation. One very special installment of The Rest of The Story which first aired in 1981 revealed wonderful insight into the verses in John Chapter 1:

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the word was God. . . .
The word became flesh and dwelt among us.


~*~*~*~
...the story opens with an apathetic, disinterested husband and father who just was not getting into the Christmas spirit. He turned down an invitation to attend a church Christmas program with his family, boldly stating his disbelief in the miracle of the Incarnation. He simply did not believe that God became a man.

His family left for the program and he settled in for a quiet evening at home. Outside a winter storm was gathering force. The winds were beginning to pick up when he heard a strange noise -- a tapping sound on the windowpanes. Opening the curtains, he discovered a flock of birds desperately seeking shelter from the storm and being attracted to the light emanating from the window.

Feeling compassion for these birds, he threw on his wraps and headed towards the barn. He flung open the doors for the birds, but they did not come. He turned the barn lights on to attract them, but that did not work either. He got bread from the house and made a trail of crumbs, but that too failed. He rushed behind the flock to steer them toward the barn, but they only scattered.

Finally in disgust, he thought to himself,
If only I could become a bird to show them where to go for warmth and safety.

Just then in the distant village, he heard the church bells and an illuminating truth began to dawn in his soul:
Is it possible that the reason for that first Christmas
– with a tiny baby named Jesus –
was for God to become like us in order to help us?


~*~*~*~

And now, you know the rest of the story. . . .

. . . Share it with someone who doesn't have a blessed Christmas day. "Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared." Generosity, unexpected kindnesses and "good will" have come to exemplify the Christmas Season to even the "unconverted."

. . . But more important than sharing the food and sweet drinks and other unexpected kindnesses, share the Incarnation of Christ. "The day is most assuredly sacred to to our Lord."

There are far too many in our world -- you know some!! -- who do not believe in CHRISTmas at all! And more tragic is the very real fact that many who call themselves Christians and do believe in Christmas have not accepted the Plan of Redemption that the Incarnation brings!

It's tragic because . . .

. . .at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."
~ Pilippinas 2:10-11

The Incarnation is is the single most important fact of all history. There will most assuredly come a day when when His Incarnation is undeniable. Share it!

~ Esthermay V. Bentley-Goossen
© 2009 The Heart of a Pastor's Wife


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This installment of InOtherWords is hosted by Patricia
on her blog, Typing One Handed

10 comments:

Patricia said...

Esthermay, I love how you put the ideas into concrete words. If your post had been a greeting card, I would have signed it..."this is what I wanted to say." Thank you for using your gift of exhortation to encourage us with the truth of the Christmas story.

Merry Christmas, my friend, to you and yours!

Barbara said...

Yes. What Patricia said. It's the kind of thing you want in a Christmas card. I really like how you always seem to get the best photos in your posts. amazing how the right picture just takes your there.
Just an amazing post. Love your teaching spirit. Merry Christmas, Esthermay!

MiPa said...

Well said Esthermay.

Christmas blessings to you and your family! May 2010 be filled with the glory of His presence.

Denise said...

Beautifully said, have a very merry Christmas.

Karen said...

Love how you put it all together. We definitely can't stop at the manger we have to keep on going to the end of the story. Merry Christmas.

sara said...

this was such a good post Esthermay and also convicting. Most of us, even those who do have a relationship with Christ, look at Christmas as a "family" time. A time to bring the family together and enjoy the sweet fellowship. But you are right, it should be about those who do not know...that was His purpose. You've given me a lot to think about tonight.

Susan said...

What an incredible word Esthermay!

It's so good having you back in the blogoshpere!!

I love Mrs. Cowman. I've been wanting to order another devotional she wrote. (Streams in the Dessert is my all time favorite).

Yes, what good news, the Incarnation...

Trying to share this message with many God has brought in my path these days.

Thanks so much for sharing~

Love you and Merry Christmas to you and your precious family!!

Crown of Beauty said...

I wholeheartedly agree with you...that the real truth behind the Christmas story is the plan of redemption realized in the death of the Christ Child whose birth we celebrate.

And Mary knew it, as Simeon prophesied to her that a sword will pierce her heart also.

Your post put it together so beautifully.

May this Christmas be different one for us, more especially as we see the Day of the Lord drawing near.

I also want you to know that I appreciate your recent visit to my blog place, as well as the sincere comments you left in response to what you read.

Love
Lidj

Michelle said...

So glad to have found you, Esthermay!

I am also a pastor's wife of a conservative, expository preacher. (Those words aren't very popular at times, are they?!)

I would love to connect with you more. You're welcome to come visit at my new blog!

Love in Christ,

Michelle

Patrina said...

Esthermay,
My first visit. I love that you are into aplogetics. My son-in -law is a pastor and he majored in apologetics.

I also loved the reminder of the Paul Harvey story on the birds. One of my favorites.

nice to find your site. May God be praised as we serve our risen Lord through our blogs

God bless

Patrina <')>><

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