Meridian Star

December 21, 2013

From the Shepherd’s Heart

By Dr. John A. Temple / guest columnist
The Meridian Star

MERIDIAN —     “But when the fullness of the time had come, God sent forth His Son, born of a woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, that we might receive the adoption as sons. And because you are sons, God has sent forth the Spirit of His Son into your hearts, crying out, "Abba, Father!" Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ.” — Galatians 4:4-7

Every year I hear someone say, “It doesn’t feel like Christmas.” When that is said, there is some circumstance that makes them think such. Maybe the weather is too warm and it can’t snow. Maybe they can’t go home for the holidays. Maybe their economics do not allow them to buy all they wish to own. Maybe someone that has been in past holidays will not be present.

    In most of the reasons it doesn’t feel like Christmas we express circumstances that have little to do with the real Christmas celebration. The historic celebration of the birth of Jesus has been hijacked by other agendas that have warped what the first Christmas felt like.

    In the first Christmas, many things were less than perfect. In the first Christmas, it felt hectic. The government was requiring everyone to go to his/her hometown for a census. Because of the crowd, no room could be found for Joseph and Mary.

    In the first Christmas, life seemed complicated. Instead of birthing a baby at home, Mary birthed Jesus among the animals. A feed trough had to serve as a cradle. In the first Christmas, money was short. The young Joseph, a carpenter, would labor hard for little wages his entire vocation. In the first Christmas, extended family was missing. All Joseph and Mary had were each other.

    However, the real feeling of Christmas was felt. In the first Christmas, it was the perfect time for God to send His Son into the world. In the first Christmas, the simple trust of Joseph and Mary gave purpose and meaning to circumstances they could not explain.

    In the first Christmas, to hold the Son of God was more than enough gift to forever remember the moment. In the first Christmas, Joseph and Mary focused on what they had, not what they missed. In the first Christmas, to have assurance that God loved them and had not overlooked them was more than Joseph and Mary could ever dream.

    The true feeling of Christmas is found in the love of God. To know that He can adopt us into his family because of His gift of Jesus is the basis on which the real Christmas is ever felt.

    Dr. John A. Temple is pastor of Poplar Springs Drive Baptist Church, located at 4032 Poplar Springs Drive in Meridian. Visit the church website online at www.