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A Christmas Story

On December 25th of every year, most of us celebrate Christmas. It is often seen as a time to give and receive gifts. Though Christmas was started as a celebration of Jesus' birth, it has become a holiday celebrated by both religious and non-religious.

For some, it is a time to reflect upon their Savior. A time to remember his life and ministry on this earth by celebrating His birth. For others, it is a time to celebrate and be with family. It has been observed in America as a federal holiday since the late 1800s. Though historically, we do not have any specific dates for Jesus' birth.

Matthew's gospel is aimed at Jews who have refused to accept Jesus as their promised Son of God. The entire story focuses on removing the fallacies of the Jewish tradition of a physical king coming to liberate Israel from captivity. The first several chapters show the prophecies Jesus has fulfilled (1:22; 2:15, 23). These prophecies undeniably point to His reign.

The story begins with a long genealogy (Matthew 1:1-17). This was important to almost every practicing Jew and would generate acceptance among his readers. After this, we read about the woman chosen to be His earthly mother. She was betrothed (engaged) to a man named Joseph, a just man who was unwilling to shame her and decided to divorce her quietly (1:19). As Joseph considered these things, an angel appeared to him and persuaded him to take Mary as his wife and told him of the birth of her son he would call Jesus.

After Jesus was born in the days of King Herod, they fled to Egypt until God told him in a dream to return to Jerusalem after his death. At the same time, the Magi from the east of Jerusalem came to inquire about the star they had seen. (Magi were ancient Jewish astrologers.) They believed it was a sign of the Messiah. The Magi didn't come looking for a fully grown Messiah. The text says they asked a question of Herod when they arrived; "where is he who has been born king of the Jews?" Herod then sent men to Bethlehem to kill the newborn King even though the Magi had not returned to give him the word.

This story begins and ends with life. It is a story of hope and redemption that should matter to every living being on this earth. It is not just another life story, but one that has been studied and considered by people from all over the world. As you reflect on holidays this year, consider the real reason for the season.

I hope you will consider Jesus.

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