Busyness. Days begin to blend into one another and before we know it, another year is gone. Television, games, and social media provide hours of distraction which covertly compete with our schedules, eroding chunks of time. It is easy to become anesthetized.
One litmus test for anyone who identifies himself or herself as a Christian is: How has Christ changed you in the last six months?
If there is no discernible difference, then we need to question if we are truly a Christian. Christ came to transform lives for eternity. He did not die a horrible death on a Roman cross and bear the brunt of God's justice for all our sins, just so we could practice a greeting-card religion. It is not simply about being "nice" or making sure our good deeds outnumber our bad. It is about being transformed through surrender and the good works will naturally follow.
When we are numbed by the busyness of our lives, we stop paying attention to who we are and where we are. We become desensitized to Christ's daily leading and this stagnates change.
Jesus does not offer easy options, but they are straightforward. If I'm not surrendered to His agenda to transform me, then how can I refer to myself as a Christian? If I'm not being changed, then I'm not following Him.
Imagine being on a path that leads to treasure, but you also discover more treasure hidden along the path. That's how we are looking at this story in Luke 2:1-14. Instead of trying to leap to the treasure found at the end once the story is complete and the "moral of the story" revealed, we discovered several treasures along the way. We've had to slow down and pay attention to many details to see these treasures.
By the way, check out this month's ParentLife for my article on the 12 Days of Christmas and some other ideas of how to celebrate!
Does the Gospel of Luke have a blatant historical error in recording Jesus' birth?
The fact a census was controversial for first-century Jews may provide an answer...
Joseph and Mary went to Bethlehem because of a census when "Quirinius was governor of Syria." This is a problem since he was "governor" of Syria in 6 A.D. The Gospels state Jesus was born during Herod the Great's reign which ended eight years earlier in 4 B.C.
Is God's word in error? Was Jesus born during Herod's reign or Quirinius' governorship? Do such questions make believers angry?
Tomorrow, our family will begin our version of the twelve days of Christmas. Each morning, when the kids get up, they will listen to the story from Luke 2:1-14 about Jesus' birth. Each day, a new aspect of the story will come to light.
I am using short videos to help as a visual aid and they include some funny things based on jokes that have floated around our home. This all leads to a clue the kids have to solve to find Joseph, Mary, and the donkey hidden somewhere in the house. Along with the figures, they find a little gift. These figurines represent Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem, which in our home, is the Nativity set. On Christmas morning, they will be at the nativity with the baby Jesus.
I cannot reveal everything involved yet, as it might ruin the surprise (my kids see this website), but we are simply working through one part of the Christmas story and letting it reveal new things to the kids. I'll share as I go on here, so check back.