Hark the Herald

Christmas is a time when we celebrate the first advent or coming of Jesus Christ into the World. There are many things people debate about Christmas including  the actual  day we celebrate it because it is not actually the date of Christ birth.  There  is also debate about all the traditions and ornaments whether they are pagan or Christian and some people think that we are actually celebrating a pagan holiday rather than Jesus Himself. Whatever your view about all the things that take place at Christmas time, one thing is true, and that is the true meaning of Christmas can be lost because of the business  and the distractions in our lives. Christmas has taken on its own meaning for many people and so in the midst of celebrating the birth of Jesus Christ we miss Him simply because our focus has shifted away from Jesus and onto other things. Television programming and movies do not tend to help us get our focus because, although they have good moral stories, they miss the true meaning of Christmas as well. .

“An analysis of 48,000 hours of programming by the NRB (National Religious Broadcasters) found that 90% of holiday programming did not have a significant spiritual theme; 7% had a religious or spiritual theme but did not refer to Jesus or the Biblical story of His birth. Jesus was the focus of only 3 % of all Christmas programming.” (The Church in the Age of Crisis, James Emery white pg 19) 2004

Of course stores use this time to make sales to drive up their profit margins but you will also see Christmas trees, Santa clauses, Lights, nativity scenes  and other things that should be pointing you toward the birth of Jesus Christ but instead they distract us and make us focus on other things . 

    In the midst of the loss of  meaning of Christmas we will still hear songs that are rich with meaning that people many times will sing without realizing what they are singing. One of the famous Christmas songs we sing is called “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”

Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King, Peace on earth and mercy mild, God and sinners reconciledJoyful, all ye nations, rise, Join the triumph of the skies, With angelic host proclaim Christ is born in Bethlehem, Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King

Hark: pay close attention or to listen

Herald is a person or thing viewed as a sign that something is about to happen:

Many people missed the first advent or coming of Jesus Christ because they were preoccupied with other things that were taking place in the world. I am not blaming them because it was a hectic time for so many people in the midst of the Kings order to return to their birth place to be counted. If you could imagine everyone in America having to travel back to their birthplace with their families it would cause a travel nightmare even with our modern technology and modern travel abilities. In the hectic time they lived they missed Christ and if we are not careful we can miss Him as well.

2 Peter 1:16-18For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty. 17 For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son,[a] with whom I am well pleased,” 18 we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.

1)   Pay Attention to the Eye witnesses

“We did not follow cleverly devised myths”

Christ, by highest heaven adored, Christ, the everlasting Lord, Late in time behold him come, Offspring of the Virgin’s womb, Hail the Flesh, the God Head see, Hail the incarnate Deity, Pleased as man with man to dwell, Jesus, our Emmanuel! Hark! The herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King

 If you believe books and movies like  the “Davinci Code” you would think that Christianity is just some made up religion designed to deceive the masses for power and money. The Apostle Peter addresses this issue even in his day when he lets them know that followers of Christ are not being deceived but are following what is true. Yes, it sounds crazy, that the God of the Universe would humble Himself and become like one of His creations but He did it for the purpose of putting us  back in a right relationship with Himself. Because it sounded crazy the apostle Paul was even accused of losing his mind Acts 26:24, the apostle Peter and  Paul called on people to check on the witnesses to the stories they are telling if they did not believe them.

1 Corinthians 15:3-8 For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,and that he appeared to Cephas, then to the twelve.Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep.Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles.Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me.

Some of the proof we have that Christianity is not a made up religion is the fact that the disciples went to their deaths believing what they saw and experienced. If it were cleverly evented stories then why did not one of the disciple recant their story about Jesus rising from the dead before they were tortured and killed. The disciples witnessed the life of Jesus up close and personal and the gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John all give an historical account of what they witnessed. We can trust the story of Jesus Christ because the evidence points to this historical account.

   See also Luke 1:1-2; Acts 2:32; 3:15; 4:18-20; 5:30-32; 10:39-40; 1 Peter 5:1

2 Peter 1:19-20 And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, 20 knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone’s own interpretation.

2)   Pay Attention to the Word of God

“The prophetic word which you will do well to pay attention to, Like a Lamp shinning in a dark place”

Isaiah 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign. Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel

Micah 5:2 But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah,who are too little to be among the clans of Judah,
from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.

That Jesus was to be born  in Bethlehem was prophesied 700 plus years before it happened. Other prophecies include that Jesus was to come from the line of Abraham found in Genesis 12:3 and fulfilled in Matthew 1:1. Jesus was to be from the tribe of Judah according to Genesis 49:10 and was fulfilled in Luke 3:33. These and many other prophecies about the coming Messiah should have been known by the religious leaders of the day. With the proof of the scripture they could have seen that only Jesus Christ fit the exact match of the Messiah.

The Word of God, although it is being questioned and ridiculed by some, is  still proclaiming the good news  of God to all mankind that a restoration in the relationship with God can be restored to those who believe in Jesus Christ. (Acts 16:31)   It is not that God has not made it known  for people to know the way back to Him,  it is that people have chosen to not accept the path that God has shown them.

John 3:19 And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil.

  Prophecies (Promises) of God can be trusted but many people want to try and discredit them so they can continue to live the lifestyle of their choosing. It really comes down to who is going to be God because either God is going to be God or you are going to try and be a god of your own life.

Psalm 119:105 Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path

When we do not pay attention to God’s Word then we find ourselves walking in darkness which means we are lost and directionless. The problem when people ignore God’s Word is that they do not realize they are in the dark and headed for disaster. The religious leaders were spiritual people with their traditions but they missed Jesus Christ because they were more concerned about their traditions than they were the word of God.

3)   Pay Attention so you don’t miss Christ.

Matthew 2:1-5 Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men[a] from the east came to Jerusalem,saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose[b] and have come to worship him.”When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him;and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born.They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:

Jesus was born into a chaotic, busy time when everyone was trying to go home to be counted as ordered by the government so many people missed Him but wise men from the east did not miss Him because they were paying attention to the signs that were clearly given. There is only speculation of how these wise men knew to look for the King of the Jews and many believe it was because Daniel was a wise man in Babylon and so they believe Daniel taught them about the Messiah who was to come. Of course Daniel 9 gives us the exact timing that the Messiah should arrive on the earth so it could be from the writings of Daniel that these wise men learned about the coming King.

These wise men sacrificed their time and money to come and seek the truth even though they had to travel far away. The religious leaders were about an hour away and there is no evidence in scripture that any of them came to discover the fulfillment of the prophecies in the scriptures they claimed to believe Even historical writer Josephus said that at the time of Jesus birth there were rumors that a king would come during this time period.

   Is eternity worth a couple hours or even days of your time to make sure you know what is true?  We pay attention or give attention to many things in our world and we might just miss the most important thing which is Jesus Himself.

Jeremiah 29:13 You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.

It is not that Jesus cannot be found, it is just that many people do not want to really find Him.

4)   Pay Attention to those still in Darkness

“As to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts

Morning Star means light bringer

Jesus came as a light into the world because He knew we were spiritually blind. Jesus did not just show us the way He came to provide the way back to God. Many people think that Jesus was just a great example or older brother showing us the way but the Bible says that He is the way. (John 14:6) Jesus did not just come to be an good example He came to earth to die to provide the way back to God. (John 3:16) Although Jesus is the light, He is also the only path we can take to get back in a right relationship with God.

Matthew 4:16 the people dwelling in darkness have seen a great light, and for those dwelling in the region and shadow of death, on them a light has dawned.”

Matthew 5:16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that[a] they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Jesus is the Morning star but He has also given His children the responsibility to shine His light for others to be guided to Him. (Matthew 2:2 ;Numbers 24:17;  Revelation 2:28) People are in darkness and they need to know that there is a hope that goes beyond this world. People think that if they become enlightened (freed from ignorance) through science and technology they can overcome the darkness that is in their souls. Many believe that education through science and technology will lead them to what they truly long for but only Jesus can fulfill the longing that is in their heart. (Ecclesiastes 3:11) Being back in a right relationship with God is the only thing that will bring people to fulfillment because that is what they have been designed and created to be. The brokenness and blindness of people will continue until they accept the fact that there is a God and that God loves them and has provided a way through Jesus Christ to be in the relationship their souls are longing to have.

Hail the Heaven-born Prince of Peace, Hail the Son of Righteousness, Light and life to all He brings Risen with healing in His wings, Mild He lays His Glory by, Born that man no more may die, Born to raise the sons of earth, Born to give them second birth, Hark! the herald angels sing, Glory to the new-born King

Eternal life is what we all have but eternal life with God is only promised through Jesus Christ. People will never find true healing of their souls apart from their creator no matter how hard they try.

Are you listening to the messengers God has sent? Have you listened to His word that has been proven true time and time again?

Jesus was born into a chaotic, busy time when everyone was trying to go home to be counted as ordered by the government so many people missed Him but wise men from the east did not miss Him because they were paying attention to the signs that were clearly given. There is only speculation of how these wise men knew to look for the King of the Jews and many believe it was because Daniel was a wise man in Babylon and so they believe Daniel taught them about the Messiah who was to come. Of course Daniel 9 gives us the exact timing that the Messiah should arrive on the earth so it could be from the writings of Daniel that these wise men learned about the coming King.

These wise men sacrificed their time and money to come and seek the truth even though they had to travel far away. The religious leaders were about an hour away and there is no evidence in scripture that any of them came to discover the fulfillment of the prophecies in the scriptures they claimed to believe 

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