by Molly Audiss
The birth of Jesus is one of the single-most important events in human history, 2nd only to His death, burial, and resurrection. Prophets proclaimed a coming Messiah for hundreds of years before it happened. The Jewish people lived in hope and expectation for centuries. When the fullness of time came, and Christ did finally make His appearance in Bethlehem, there were many different types of reactions to the news.
Mary’s fear quickly turned to praise and submission upon the announcement from the angel.
Joseph’s shock and disappointment changed changed to acceptance and obedience, once the angel explained the truth.
Mary’s cousin Elizabeth praised and worshiped the Lord with Mary, sharing in the excitement of the news.
The wise men were filled with wonder and anticipation when they saw the star. They spent much time and money and effort to travel a long distance to see Jesus and bring Him gifts.
King Herod felt jealous and threatened when he was told about the birth of a new king. He pretended to desire to worship the new king, simply to gain information; but truly he wanted to have the baby killed. He was willing to kill scores of babies, just to be sure that Jesus Christ was murdered.
The chief priests and scribes knew the place where Jesus would be born, and they told Herod the facts when he asked for details. Yet, they themselves never sought out the Promised Messiah, though they knew where to find him. It mattered not to them.
The angels came down in great glory and fanfare to announce the wondrous birth of God’s Son!
The shepherds were at their jobs, working the night shift, when they saw and heard the angels. They were amazed and afraid, but soon decided to leave work to go see the new King. Later they praised and worshiped the baby.
The inn keeper had no idea how important the guest was that he turned away. He was so close to Jesus Christ, yet he never knew.
Simeon and Anna were both in the temple when Jesus was brought by Joseph and Mary when we was 8 days old. His parents were fulfilling the law. Both of these older saints rejoiced and praised God when they saw the baby. They immediately knew who He was; they had been waiting with hope to see the Messiah for decades. They were filled with joy.
Happiness, joy, jealous, fear, indifference, anticipation, ignorance, praise, worship, hate. So many reactions to the same news! You would think that every person would be thrilled with the great news of God down to live with us and save us from our sins! What better news could there be? Instead, people had a variety of emotions when Jesus came to Earth.
I see in this story a very practical application. If Perfection Himself can be hated, plotted against, and ignored, then none of us should think that we will live this life being liked and accepted by everyone. It just is not going to happen!
Not everyone is going to like you. Or me. I don’t know why. (Honestly, we ARE pretty great!) You may be the kindest, most humble, real Christian in your town…. Yet some people will ignore you, dislike you, possibly even plot to make sure bad things happen to you! How can that be?
In every single part of our lives, Jesus Christ is our example. The reactions of others toward His birth are a clear lesson to each of us- we should never expect that we will be an exception. We will not go through our life being liked, loved, or understood by everyone. Hopefully we will live in such a loving, unselfish way that MOST people will love us back, think good thoughts about us, want to be with us, and say good things about us. But, in truth, that will not be everyone. There will be the few who do not understand us, or they will simply dislike what we represent. This will hurt. But it will happen.
As we read the Christmas story in Mathew 1 and 2 and Luke 1 and 2, let’s notice all the characters involved in that special, miraculous event. Remember that, just like Christ, others will respond to us in life with a wide-range of emotions. Thank God for the friends that come our way! Be so grateful for the scores of good, loyal people that are part of your life. Don’t let anyone’s disapproval stop you from living your life with joy and purpose. Don’t allow the feelings of others to sidetrack or derail you from reaching your full potential! It’s good to know that other’s opinions cannot stop us from being happy unless we allow it. God has big plans for us! He wants to use us to fulfill His will in this world. Stay focused. Let people feel what they feel. Love everyone. Be kind and gracious. Smile. Be genuine. But, whatever happens… keep moving forward for Christ!
In John 15:20, Jesus said, “Remember the word that I said unto you, The servant is not greater than his lord. If they have persecuted me, they will also persecute you; if they have kept my saying, they will keep yours also.”