It is very clear as we read the book of Deuteronomy that God celebrates our celebrating His redemptive work. Christmas brings us the joy that reverberated through out the heavenlies as a heavenly host appeared at the announcement to the shepherds that the Messiah had arrived.
Different Christian cultures over the centuries developed many traditions of celebrating this joy. One of those cultural expressions is my favorite. It is the traditional Christmas tree. There are those, I had some in my church plant years ago, who see the tree as a pagan tradition. That was when my children were preschool. Hence, one Sunday night I preached on the imagery (illustrative nature) of the tree.
- That tree had to die to serve the Creator-Redeemer’s purpose.
- The savior hung on that tree to bring us the gospel.
- The multicolor string of lights reminds us that Jesus is the light to people of all colors
- The round balls remind us that he came to redeem world-wide
- The long strings of tinsel remind us that we are to take the gospel world-wide
- The angel on the treetop reminds us God fulfilled the many prophecies of Messiah
- The taking down of the tree reminds us of what Jesus said on that tree—It is finished!
That King whose birth we celebrate, in his first sermon some thirty-three years later, taught us how to live in the Kingdom of Heaven on earth till He comes again to establish his Kingdom on Earth. In my Wednesday morning meditation, the following occurred to me. May the King encourage you as He did me while celebrating His birth.
Transliteration of the Beatitudes into
Everyday Theological Phraseology
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are the repentant of self-righteousness for they will be saved
Blessed are those who morn, for they shall be comforted
Blessed are those who mourn over falling short of the glory of God, for they shall fine relief
Blessed are the gentle, for they shall inherit the earth
Blessed are the emphatic, for they shall generally find acceptance among people
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied
Blessed are those who discipline themselves to meditate on the Word, for God will meet them
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy
Blessed are those who care for others, for others will show them care
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God
Blessed are those who discipline their thinking, for they will experience God’s intended joy
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God
Blessed are those who counsel to affect peace, for they shall be known as agents of God
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven
Blessed are the prophets of old who suffered for declaring righteousness, for they are citizens of the kingdom of heaven—-AND LIKE THEM
Blessed are you when men cast insults at you, and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely, on account of me, rejoice and be glad for your reward in heaven is great, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you
Blessed are you when you suffer for truth-bearing, for reflecting on the prophets before you, you can rejoice and be glad because God will reward you in heaven
Merry Christmas and a Joyful New Year