Happy Monday, and welcome to the last update for 2017!
We will start off this update with a short video clip of three of our singers having a little Christmas fun… They sound much better than this on stage:)
We kicked off last night with a new game titled, “Shoot the Breeze”. This is a game where students get a balloon to blow up before shooting the air out of the balloon to blow cups off of the table. The team that blows all of their cups off first wins. We did the best two out of three, and you can check out a clip from the game below!
The message, the final message in our “You Are a Gift Series”, was “The 12 Words of Christmas”— “A Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.” We looked at the setting of the story that took place, the gift that the angels told the shepherds about, and the scene of the birth of Jesus.
1. THE SETTING
This was a gift that no one expected, given at a time that no one expected, to people that no one expected. Israel was in the middle of what you could call a 400 year silent treatment from God. God did not speak to the Jewish people as a result of their pagan lifestyle and dishonoring him, their families, and others. God’s chosen people hadn’t heard from a prophet, had any visions, etc. from God. Imagine a son asking his Father, “Dad, have you ever hear from God?” The
Dad answers, “No, son. Neither did my Dad, or his dad, or his dad, etc.” If I’m in the place of the Israelites, I’m probably going to be a little afraid for
God to break the silence— 400 years of silence, anger, and disappointment from God being let out…
Mary and Joseph are under a cloud of scandal. They are not married and Mary is pregnant. Their story, which was the truth, was that Mary is still a virgin, and that the child is from the Holy Spirit. This was physically impossible, and no one really believed them. Most bible scholars believe that Mary was around 15-16 years of age at this time. Imagine you are a 15-16 year old girl, and you tell your parents that you are pregnant. They start freaking out, and you try to calm them down by telling them that the baby doesn’t belong to your boyfriend. Your parents hit full-blown freakout mode because now they think you are sleeping around with multiple guys, and then you drop the news that your still a virgin… Chances are that your parents aren’t going to believe you. A virgin birth is something that had never happened before and will never happen again. It was a miracle from God. Now, you get an idea of what Joseph and Mary were going through!
2. THE GIFT
The shepherds were out in the field nearby the place Jesus was born when the angels appeared and told them about the gift of the Messiah being born.
Shepherds weren’t exactly high-class society people. They were considered unclean because of the work they did, and they were typically even considered the weakest and most dispensable in their families. God chooses to send the angels to the shepherds and reminds us the cultures opinion of us does not affect the plan, purpose, and worth that God places on us! The shepherds were terrified! They had just been given word of an incredible gift, and they left to go receive it.
3. THE SCENE
Mary and Joseph are just trying to find a place to stay. They likely staid down the hill from the stable in something like a small cave where the animals gather to find shelter in storms, and the “manger” was more than likely a feeding trough that the animals ate out of. Mary has to be thinking to herself, “Please God, not here, not now! However, it did happen there, and it was perfect! It reminds us that God does not need our circumstances to line up with his promises in order to deliver on his promises to us!
The shepherds arrive to find Mary, Joseph, and the baby Jesus. Remember, God himself had still not spoken. Matthew 1:22-23 says, The virgin will give birth to a son, and they will call him, Immanuel- “God with us.” Jesus was fully man, and fully God all at the same time, and he broke the finally broke the silence after 400 long years with the cry of a baby! God didn’t yell, call them failures, and lecture them on why he had not spoken to them for 400 years. His cry said, “I hear you, and I am crying with you. I’ve seen your brokenness and sadness, and now I am here to restore everything that has been broken if you will simply trust in and follow me.
“A Savior has been born to you; He is Christ the Lord.”
Who do you know that needs the silence in their lives to be broken with the 12 Words of Christmas? You are a gift! Give yourself this Christmas by using the gifts and talents that God has created you with to make a difference in someone’s life this Christmas!
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!