This year I did something different leading up to Christmas. I was listening to a podcast from a few years ago and the host talked about the 24 chapters of Luke and how he liked to read a chapter a day leading up to Christmas. I thought that sounded like a great idea and decided to do that and share something that touched me each day as I read. Some of you followed my lead and have done the same thing.
I have enjoyed reading some of your comments on my social posts that I tagged with #ReadingLuke. I have also enjoyed searching social media for the tag and finding many others sharing something about what they read in the same passage of scripture that day. I really enjoy reading the different perspectives people have from the same passage of scripture.
One person wrote something I felt yesterday which was the most difficult, yet easy, day to reconcile. Look at what he shared, in part, on Facebook:
I have to say, reading Luke 23 this close to the day we celebrate Christmas is sobering and very humbling. Jesus’ love is seen in what is called Christ’s first recorded words from the cross, “Father, forgive them; for they do not know what they are doing” (23:34). Christ’s words here breathe the same spirit that He taught in the Sermon on the Plain, “Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, pray for those who mistreat you” (6:27-28)Ted Tanasse – Facebook, December 23, 2019
Humbling and sobering indeed. Jesus lived what he preached. To read the crucifixion story so close to the day we celebrate his birth can be difficult and rewarding. I want to encourage you to not only focus on the birth. Yes, we celebrate Jesus’ birthday on Christmas Day. Our family even has a birthday party for Jesus and invite people over and have a birthday cake, complete with candles. It is so easy to focus on the happy moment of the birth of a baby. It is so comforting to rejoice at the birth of the Savior, the Messiah, God’s own Son. The story doesn’t end with his birth, though.
The birth is pale in comparison to the work done on the cross. The crucifixion was the real work. The crucifixion is where we receive our forgiveness and are reconciled back to God. The crucifixion is what cleans up the mess created when Adam and Eve ate the fruit thousands of years earlier and ushered sin into this world. But it doesn’t end there either. For if it did, we would still not have eternity with the Lord. It would have simply been a restart, like rebooting a computer that has an error or is frozen. It’s going to happen again and again.
On the third day after the crucifixion, Jesus was raised from the dead! He was resurrected by the power of God and then open the minds of the Apostles and other disciples to the treasure of knowledge in the scriptures. They then took the gospel Jesus taught during his ministry and brought it around the world. That is the culminating miracle or our forgiveness and redemption and it was all engineered by God, our Creator.
Remember Jesus wasn’t only born, he died and was resurrected so that you could call God, Abba, Father, Dad, Papa, or whatever your term of endearment for him is. We are now his children, co-heirs with Christ. No one can take that from you once you have said yes to Jesus’ call. Merry Christmas everyone!