Musings and Memories
By Doug Dezotell
When I was a little child, when my children were little, and when my granddaughters were little, all of us made the declaration once a year, “This is the Best Christmas Ever!”
When I was a child one of my favorite parts of our Church’s Christmas Celebration was the Live Nativity Scene in the yard of the church.
In the large wooden stable stacked with hay, and layered with hay stood live animals, a donkey, several sheep, a cow, and church folks dressed as Mary and Joseph and the Shepherds. A rugged wooden fence kept the animals in the stable.
And Mary was there, front and center, holding the Baby Jesus, with Joseph and the Shepherds looking on.
My siblings and I would stand there in awe. There was always snow on the ground, and we were bundled up in our parkas and scarves and mittens. But the cold didn’t seem to bother us as we stood there thinking, “This is the Best Christmas Ever!”
I read a story of a store owner who was doing some After-Christmas shopping with his young son when he saw another store owner with whom he had been friends for some time.
The two of them exchanged greetings and spoke with each other about what a financially profitable season it had been for their respective stores.
The small boy overheard his father say, “This has been the best Christmas ever.”
As the store owners parted company, the father and son continued their shopping, but the father noticed his son had become very quiet.
He asked his son about his silence, and his son replied, “Dad, you just told Mr. Johnson that this was the best Christmas ever.”
His dad replied, “I did, son. The economy is great, and people are really spending this year.”
“Okay,” the son replied, “But it’s just that I always thought that the First Christmas was the Best Christmas Ever.”
I certainly have to agree with that boy.
That First Christmas changed the World forever.
God became a Man-Child born to a virgin in the little town of Bethlehem.
The Son of God became a Son of Man so that sons of men could become sons of God.
Matthew and Luke are the only Gospel writers who describe the circumstances surrounding the birth of Jesus.
John’s Gospel begins this way, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.”
John looks back to the Creation.
Matthew and Luke look back to when God came to dwell with us. The Christ-Child, Jesus, was to be called Immanuel, meaning God With Us.
Matthew and Luke don’t give the date of Jesus’ birth, and they don’t even hint at the time of the year in which the birth of Christ took place.
So we’re not sure what month or day that “First Best Christmas Ever” took place
The Bible never uses the word “Christmas.”
And the Bible doesn’t use the word “Nativity.”
And none of the biblical writers say anything about commemorating or even celebrating the birth of Christ.
In fact there is a lot more excitement in the New Testament about the Second Coming of Christ.
We can be certain that Jesus is Coming Again!
According to Precept Austin, one Bible scholar has estimated that there are 1,845 references to Christ’s Second Coming in the Old Testament, where 17 books give it prominence.
In the 260 chapters of the New Testament, there are 318 references to the Second Advent of Christ—an amazing 1 out of every 30 verses.
Twenty-three of the 27 New Testament books refer to this great event.
For every prophecy in the Bible concerning Christ’s first advent, there are 8 which look forward to His second!
John F. MacArthur Jr. wrote, “Next Time It Will Be Different.”
The First Time Jesus Came
He came veiled in the form of a child.
A star marked His arrival.
Wise men brought Him gifts.
There was no room for Him.
Only a few attended His arrival.
The Next Time Jesus Comes
He will be recognized by all.
Heaven will be lit by His glory.
He will bring rewards for His own.
The world won’t be able to contain His glory.
Every eye shall see Him.
He will come as Sovereign King and Lord of all.
Christmas 2023 is now behind us. It may have been your Best Christmas Ever!
But it could be today when Christ Returns for His Church!
Are you ready?
Doug Dezotell serves as the pastor of Cannon UMC in Shelbyville, and he’s a columnist for the Bedford County Post. Doug can be contacted by phone at 931-607-5191 or by email at email@example.com. Thank you for reading the Bedford County Post.