I don’t know about you, but one of the things I enjoy doing at this time of the year is watching funny videos of children answering questions about the meaning of Christmas. There’s really nothing like the innocence of children and the unique personalities and answers that come out when they are on camera. Truly, you can’t go wrong showing kids talking about almost any subject. Here are some of my favorite questions and answers from two videos I watched this week. Enjoy.
Question: What is a gift Jesus might like from you?
Best answers: Some toys, candy, a shiny star, to take the nails out of his hands, and my personal favorite, a flute. Yea, I think Jesus would definitely dig a flute.
Question: Where does Jesus live now?
Best answers: Canada and “Jesus, he’s dead isn’t he?” Profound.
Question: Who was Jesus’ Mommy?
Best answer: Mrs. Jesus?
Question: Who was Mary’s Husband?
Best answers: Adam, Joseph, and Mike. Not really sure where the Mike character came from but the kid said it very confidently. Maybe he shortened Saint Michael to just Mike?
Question: What was Jesus wearing in the manger?
Best answers: A blanket, church clothes, a gold circle on his head, and a hat and white clothes. The Colonel Sanders Jesus. Stylish.
Question: Who came to see Jesus?
Best answer: The three amigos.
It really is a lot of fun listening to the funny things kids will say on camera. So, if these aren’t the right answers, what is the more significant meaning of Christmas?
This week I spent some time rereading the first two chapters of the New Testament book of Luke. Luke’s birth narrative is the longest of the Gospels and is three times longer than the account in the book of Matthew. Luke spends a significant amount of time talking about several events prior to Jesus’ birth and one of them really caught my attention. It’s titled Zechariah’s Song and you can find it in Luke 1:67-79. As a point of reference, Zechariah is the father of John the Baptist who had a key role in preparing the people for Jesus’s coming and ministry. There were four things that jumped out at me from this passage of scripture that made me freshly appreciate the Christmas story.
1. Verse 68, “because he has come.” I love these words—especially when you understand the background of the story. You see, up until this time, God had not spoken to the Jewish people for 400 years between his warning in the book of Malachi that closed the Old Testament and his renewed activity in this story. That is a long time. This verse ministers to me for several reasons:
a. It shows the faithfulness of God to his people. One of the big questions people ask a lot in our world today is “Where is God? Where was God when this happened in my life? Where is God with everything that is going on in the world?” This story shows that God is faithful just as he has always been. Take for example this verse in Joshua 21:45, “Not one of all the Lord’s good promises to the house of Israel failed; every one was fulfilled.”
b. God can be trusted. Not matter what the circumstances look like in your life or in the world, God can be trusted. Things didn’t look good in the world during the time Zechariah was proclaiming his words. Things were dark. The people of God were under oppression from the rule of Rome. The nation of Israel was internally fracturing between four camps (the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the Essenes, and the Zealots). There was social discontent between the people of Galilee and the Roman officials. There was hostility, uncertainty, terror. Yet God’s plan was being worked out.
c. God cares! It is one of the most profound truths of the Christmas story, Emmanuel, “God with us!” He cared so much he came himself.
2. Verse 77, “to give his people the knowledge of salvation through the forgiveness of their sins.” I’m always reminded of my first Christmas after coming to an understanding of who Jesus was and what he had done for me. Up until that point, Christmas was about tradition and gifts and time off school. The candle lighting services were an inconvenience and I couldn’t wait for them to be over so I could get home. But that first Christmas things were different. My eyes had been opened. There was an appreciation. There was a wonder. Look at these accounts from two totally different people as they explain the wonder and joy of experiencing salvation and the forgiveness of sins.
D. L. Moody, the American evangelist, said of his experience: “I thought the old sun shone a good deal brighter than it ever had before – I thought that it was just smiling upon me; and as I walked out upon Boston Common and heard the birds singing in the trees, I thought they were all singing a song to me. Do you know, I fell in love with the birds. I had never cared for them before. It seemed to me that I was in love with all creation.”
Susan Hainsworth ran away from home at 15 and got involved in the drink and drug scene. She attempted suicide three or four times. In Challenge Weekly, she told of her experience the day she decided to follow Jesus: “I remember walking out of the house and looking at God’s creation like scales had just fallen off my eyes. Everything seemed so clean and pure…The depression and hopelessness, that I had felt for so long, Jesus lifted off me…He enveloped me in his pure love, so different than the “love” of physical relationships. His love I know I can be sure of.”
3. Verse 79, “to shine on those living in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the path of peace.” This is one of the greatest gifts that God gives. To have peace in our lives despite everything else that is going on in the world. There are so many things that can try and rob us of our peace: losing a job, traffic jams, rude people, too much month left at the end of the bank account, work pressures, your car breaks down, tragedies. Zechariah proclaimed that God will guide our feet into the path of peace!
I hope you have an incredible Christmas as you reflect on and appreciate the faithfulness of God, his trustworthiness, his care, his salvation, and the peace he offers. Have a great Christmas!
Dave and April