Title: (The Rest Of) The Christmas Story
By Randall Vaughn
"The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have
seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the
Father, full of grace and truth." (John 1:14 NIV)
We usually think of the Christmas story in terms of Jesus as a baby in a manger, with Mary and Joseph, Magi (wise men), shepherds, and angels, in Bethlehem.
But that is not the whole story. In fact, that is not even the beginning of the story.
The Christmas story, the story of Jesus, begins before time (as we know it). Jesus was there.
"Father, I want those you have given me to be with me where I am, and to see my glory, the glory you have given me because you loved me before the creation of the world. (John 17:24 NIV)
Then, there was creation (Genesis 1), and a subsequent act of betrayal by Adam (Genesis 3), the consequences of which effect us every day of our lives.
Jesus was there too. His heart was grieved by Adam's betrayal. He knew what was required for mankind to be redeemed from this curse (Gen 3:17-19). He knew he had to become a man... and die.
So, he came - here.
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. (John 1:1-2,14 NIV)
We have now arrived at the traditional Christmas story - a baby in a manger, with Mary and Joseph, Magi, shepherds, and angels, in Bethlehem.
Still, there is more to be told. Much more. The story continues with another betrayal, and a cruel death.
Carrying his own cross, he went out to the place of the Skull (which in Aramaic is called Golgotha). Here they crucified him, and with him two others--one on each side and Jesus in the middle. (John 19:17-18 NIV)
But that is not the end of this Christmas story. It is a new beginning.
Jesus, by His death and resurrection, made it possible for us to be in relationship with Him, and with His Father, our Father.
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'" (John 20:17 NIV)
Even yet, this Christmas story is not concluded.
He has made provision for everyone to be a part of the story.
He said to me: "It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. To him who is thirsty I will give to drink without cost from the spring of the water of life. He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. (Rev 21:6-7 NIV)
But just as long ago in Eden, today, there are consequences of rejecting God.
But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars--their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death." (Rev 21:8 NIV)
Jesus came here with a purpose , and the story will not be complete for you unless you understand that purpose.
It is quite simple, really. His purpose was to make it
possible for you to be with Him, forever.
And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am. (John 14:3 NIV)
This Christmas season, think about the rest of the story.
What will be written in your chapter of it?