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Christmas

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Christmas is only a few days away. I hope you are prepared. Not just with gifts and parties and all the plans that seem to come with the holidays, but even more with your heart.

I am reminded of the story of Mary, Joseph, Jesus and all the relatives. They all came together in Jerusalem for a great festivity, the feast of the Passover. This was a week long celebration and Jesus’ family seldom missed it. Jesus’ brothers were there, though they were just toddlers.  His aunts and uncles, their children and many family acquaintances all attended this celebration.

Now, of course, they were not celebrating Christmas because no one, except Mary and Joseph, a few shepherds and some wise men really knew that the Son of God had been born. This was the next best thing to our Christmas for the Jews. It was the feast of the Passover. Celebrating the event of the angel of death passing over the homes that had shed blood painted on the door posts of their homes, while snatching life’s breath from the first born of those who did not have blood on their door posts.

The feast of the Passover basically corresponds to our Easter. The whole reason for Christmas is so we can celebrate Easter, our Passover. I don’t mean the reason for Christmas is so we can have another festival, but so that we can have a God who not only passes over our sins but one who takes away our sins and cleanses us from all unrighteousness.

You remember the story though.  Jesus was 12 years old and as the feast of the Passover was winding down they family gathered up their suitcases, packed the camels and donkeys and headed down the dusty highway for home.  One small problem though. Having journeyed a day they discovered one young boy was missing. Jesus was no where to be found; not in the back of the camel or caravan.

Joseph and Mary panic. The God of the universe has entrusted them to care for the future King of Israel, the Son of God, and they have lost him. Can you imagine the emotional turmoil raging inside them? They have been so diligent over the last 12 years to watch over and raise this child knowing in their hearts who he really was. Never being able to tell others the truth they had hidden in their hearts years ago. Barely able to confide among the two of them lest they think it was only a long remembered dream they had had. Now they have lost this perfectly obedient child. What would God say to them?

They frantically return to Jerusalem and search for three day.  They retrace their steps, checking the motel, the grocery stores and restaurants, asking everyone if they have seen their child.  About ready to go to the police station, knowing they will be seen as unfit parents, they realize they have not checked the temple where they had visited.

Sure enough there is 12 year old Jesus talking and asking questions of the teachers in the temple.  I wonder where did Jesus sleep for three nights while his parents searched?  Did He sleep in the streets? My imagination tells me a kind middle aged Pharisee saw this young boy in the temple and was amazed at his questions and insights concerning the Passover. The boy seemed especially inquisitive about the shed blood of a lamb. So this kind Pharisee brought Jesus home, fed him and provided a bed for him, knowing there were some frantic parents looking for him. Each day Nicodemus brought Jesus back to the temple hoping the distraught parents would come looking for him there.

When they finally find Jesus Mary asks Jesus, “Why have you treated us this way?  Your father and I have been anxiously looking for you.”  Jesus replies like any 12 year old might who is on a great adventure, “Why is it that you were looking for me? Did you not that I had to be in My Father’s house?”

Mary and Joseph didn’t really understand.  The whole Feast of the Passover was about Jesus.  He was the Passover. It wasn’t just a festival to celebrate. He was the festival. Mary and Joseph were so wrapped up in the celebration of the festival that they lost the very child that the festival was about.

Isn’t that our danger also?  We become so wrapped up in celebrating the festival of Christmas that we loose the child that Christmas is all about.  Hopefully you and I won’t get to the other side of the celebration of Christmas and then have to return to the foundations to find Jesus again. My prayer for you is that in your celebration of Christmas you never loose sight of the person of Jesus. May Jesus’ presence be your peace and strength this Christmas and every moment of the new year.

God has blessed you with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus.  May you rest and walk in Him each day to experience those blessings.

Scott Brittin

About the Author

Scott joined Grace Ministries International in 1984 and now serves as its President providing oversight and direction for its national and international ministry. In addition to leading GMI, he teaches conferences, leads internships, and does one on one discipleship counseling. Scott and his wife Darlene have been married since 1976, have two grown sons, and live in Woodstock, GA.