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A Ridiculous Christmas

Scripture is full of ridiculous things – armies fleeing in inexplicable terror, parted waters, walking on water, and formerly dead people. However, there is a verse quite near the beginning of the New Testament that could lay claim to the prize for most socially ridiculous statement in the Bible. Matthew, when writing to the religious Hebrews of  all people, said, “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child.”

This is how it all started, he wrote. It was time for the wedding, but Mary was pregnant, and it wasn’t Joseph’s baby. Well, now, there is a nice start to a story. What a conversation piece! And Matthew was not finished. “She was found with child of the Holy Ghost.” If that is not ridiculous, nothing is. It is the very definition of ridiculous: “That which may justly excite laughter with contempt.”

How could anyone believe that the God of the universe would actually choose this poor, unknown girl to carry His Child? If she was pregnant, she was guilty! She needed to be punished!

Yet God’s ways are higher than ours. He saved her from the humiliations that could have legally come. Joseph did not leave her. She was not punished. In fact, she did not even need to send out “It’s a boy!” announcements. Angels took care of that for her.

Yes, the idea of God Himself coming into a poor family and living the life of the required sacrifice is crazy to any thinking person. But I am glad He doesn’t think so.

Merry Christmas!

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The Perfect Christmas Gift

— by Michelle Avery, Editorial Assistant, Herald and Banner Press

Have you ever found the perfect gift for someone? You know it is just the thing to make your friend’s eyes light up on Christmas morning? That is a wonderful feeling. Giving the gift becomes more fun than waiting for your own gifts. Every time you think of the result of the gift, you get excited. Christmas cannot come soon enough!

I imagine this is just how God felt when He created the universe. He put Adam and Eve in the perfect garden there they would enjoy the most delicious foods, unsurpassable living accommodations, and peaceful cohabitation with a complete menagerie.

Yet, as is too often the case with humanity, God’s gift did not seem to be enough. It cost God a lot. Far more than most of us have ever given.

Still, He paid it. He made the down payment on Christmas. The final installment did not come for more than three decades, but He knew the debt was being paid. While His universe celebrated on that first Christmas, He saw the cost.

And He saw the result of the Gift. Christmas came right on time.

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