• Jon Forrest


The Upward Look, by Jon Forrest

Christmas Back on Track

I love Christmas plays, especially the bathrobe kind that happen at church. One such children’s pageant happened with a Sunday School group which included the story of Mary and Joseph coming to the inn. One boy wanted very much to be Joseph. But when the parts were handed out, a boy he didn’t like was given the part, and he was assigned to be the innkeeper instead. He was pretty upset but didn’t say anything to the director.

During the rehearsals he thought what he might do the night of the performance to get even with his rival. Finally on the night of the performance, Mary and Joseph came walking across the stage. They knocked on the door of the inn, and the innkeeper opened the door and asked them gruffly what they wanted. Joseph answered, “We’d like to have a room for the night.”

Suddenly the innkeeper threw the door open wide and said, "Great come on in and I’ll give you the best room in the house!" For a few second the poor Joseph didn’t know what to do. Thinking quickly, he looked inside the door past the inn-keeper then said, "No wife of mine is going to stay in a dump like this. Come on Mary, let’s go to the barn."

And once again the play was back on-track.

A lot of folks get off track at Christmas. They lose track of the purpose of the event and get wrapped up in all the trimmings such as decorations, shopping, spending too much money, parties and all sorts of side-events that get them completely distracted from the real meaning.

The funny thing is that what messes us up are the man-made ideas that have very little to do with the original plan. However, the original Christmas idea had everything to do with mankind. Mankind was in BIG trouble with a sin problem. The original plan was all about God becoming a human so that he could bring the love and peace of God to undeserving people who were desperate for spiritual healing. God came in the form of a little baby to be born in the most unsterile, nasty, smelly, noisy and kind of place that it could happen. This was a huge turning point in all of history and especially God’s plan to save his most loved creation, mankind.

Mankind even tried to mess up Christian. One of them, King Herod, attempted to kill the baby Jesus, but failed because God was always a step or more ahead and rescued his Son.

It would have seemed God has messed up when he sent his angel to announce this very important birth to a bunch of dirty, smelly, ignorant shepherds who were out in a field watching their sheep at night. But God knew exactly what he was doing. You know that when you see them going out and announcing the great news to everyone they meet.

As we move nearer the official celebration of Christ’s birth try to remember whose birthday we celebrate. We celebrate more than his birth! We celebrate his mission and his success in bringing salvation and relationship with God to each of us, the unworthy, but grateful and willing recipients of his love. Let us keep Jesus right smack in the middle of our Christmas celebrations. This Christmas and all year round.

We must get Christmas back on track.

This Sunday we will celebrate the 4th Sunday of Advent and light all four candles, including the most important one, the Christ Candle. We will share a special message from our series, Advent; Living Hope, with a sermon titled A Savior Is Born based on Luke 2 and other passages. Please join us for this last Sunday of Advent.

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