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The Characters of Christmas

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
November 23, 2019 7:03 am

The Characters of Christmas

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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November 23, 2019 7:03 am

​You’ve heard the story of the birth of Jesus since you were a child. But this year, take a closer look at the unlikely people caught up in his story. On the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author Daniel Darling shines a spotlight on the characters of Christmas. Get a fresh view of the miracle birth of Jesus by looking at this event through their eyes. Don’t miss the conversation on the next Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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Joseph Mary, the innkeeper, Simeon, Anna and the wisemen. All are characters of Christmas and will talk about them today on Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman's ordinary people didn't know this was coming. There was not big neon sign saying you know 25 E. God often visits and disrupts are very ordinary lives becomes among the most ordinary welcome to build a relationship with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times seller "The 5 Love Languages" today is Thanksgiving and Christmas take a closer look at the people who populate the story of the ages, author Daniel Darling joins us to talk about the character of Christmas. This is such a fun and eye-opening conversation for some is what we talked about today is billiard. But there are some surprises find out more about her future resource of five of and our host is always as author and counselor Dr. Gary Chapman, Gary.

You've been at the same church in North Carolina for the better part of five decades with Lotta Christmas celebrations really memorable things happen in those years Chris saying the sheep who couldn't hold themselves together walking down the house. The donkeys grew so I'm trying obscene Christmas trees topple mostly little children jump off the stage roughly lots of things happening Christmas celebrations but no, you laugh at them later. They weren't so funny sheep, but when it was going on, but it ended right behind all of that we sometimes miss the real heart of Christmas and that'll go talk about the Jesus and all the people surrounding his birth and I think it's be great to dig in to that story that many people honestly have heard you've heard it year in year out, and yet I guess they says we need to take a closer look at what we think we know so well. His name is Daniel Darling, he's a prolific author and speaker who believes Christmas music out of the sun all year round, and I agree with.

He currently serves as the vice president for communications for the ethics and religious liberty commission is written, the dignity revolution. The original Jesus and all, and many more. His op-ed to the Peerless in this USA Today, CNN Washington times. Time magazine Huffington Post national review goes on and on and his wife Angela have four children. They live near Nashville and are featured resource. We are proud to say is the characters of Christmas, the unlikely people caught up in the story of Jesus, you'll find it@ welcome to Building Relationships. Thank you for having me on. It's an honor to be here with you Chris and with Dr. Gary Chapman. You grew up in the church and you know the story Christmas. It can become again, Monday, and we hear it every year over and over and over.

What motivated you to write this book on the characters of Christmas, and I've always loved loved Christmas ever since I was just a little kid. All the traditions that we had growing up in the church. I loved when December comes around. I still do just, how our hearts are turned toward the baby in the manger festivity. The lights, but most importantly that we have an opportunity to focus on the story of God visiting us in Jesus. God coming out among the ordinary and I've always been intrigued by the all the ordinary people who were swept up in this story of Christmas those people around her.

Nativity sets this people that we dress up to be like in our pageants and what their lives must've been like in that first Christmas what you think that through the years in our country Christmas same shall become more more commercial, more more secular, rather than focusing on the sentiment of Christ's birth know it's interesting, I think there's a couple reactions to Christmas that we can have a mean one is to be rightly sort of. One wrong reaction is to get caught up in the all the everything around Christmas instead of the actual story. I think there is a way to sorta celebrate it without actually focusing on the good news of Jesus coming. I think the other way is a kind of go the opposite.

Sometimes Christians can be cranky, you know, I find myself sometimes in a fight that like were so much against that there were shorter than the cranky people. I think at the heart of it is joy is of God coming to earth in the form of a baby because of that we can celebrate because of that we can give gifts and we can celebrate if our king has come to renew and restore the world but also to renew and store restore hearts and we should rejoice. The whole thing of giftgiving, of course, is a big thing at Christmas in our culture. Kids look forward to the gifts they're going to get even adults look forward to the gifts are going to get. And sometimes I hear Christmas I will you know should become a giftgiving thing and we we don't really concentrate on Christ but were not against giftgiving right and that's one of "The 5 Love Languages" giftgiving yes I'm knocking to be against giftgiving when talking to that affect the length of thing that is but I do think I think you're right. I think there's a way that beginner gets out of hand. And I think in our families, we have to be the ones that are keeping our kids from making that everything one of my getting, not getting this in focusing us on this. Our kids on the story at hand. And you know be cranky about it. I mean it. Jesus has come in if the story is true, and he is the king, and he has come to save us from our sins. It's time for celebration.

It's time for fees and for giftgiving to each other and all through the Bible we see this right that that God compelled his people to celebrate with giftgiving and with with celebration so we shouldn't swing the pendulum back so far that were sort of like these utilitarian cranky people but no one wants to be around Christmas. Yeah, so we're giving it we just communicate clearly that we give gifts to each other, celebrating what God did for us. The great gift he gave us the time that together is important. I think in a Christian home right. I think it is. And I think it's incumbent on parents to set the tone and I think one of the ways we can do that is having regular times were we go through the Christmas story celebrating Advent every day or whatever our rhythms are and and allowing our kids to really meditate on on the story in a way that's fine in a way that helps them interact with our Christmas Christmas is like a multifaceted diamond there so many wonderful spiritual truths that emanate from the story that there's so much that we can easily take several weeks before Christmas and get our hearts ready. So what you do in this book is you really digging into the lives of the people who were there that first Christmas, not just Christ born in Bethlehem, but the people surrounding all of that would joke with the things of testing approach to explore the broader picture of what was happening to Christmas me when we think about Christmas 2000 years later all these people are larger-than-life their characters in our Christmas pageants in their around her Nativity sets, we have to remember that at first Christmas.

These ordinary people.

They didn't know this was coming. There is not big neon sign saying you know 25 days to Christmas for the shepherds and the wise men in the innkeeper and Mary and Joseph even. I mean so.

It tells us.

I think that God often visits and disrupts our very ordinary lives he comes among the most ordinary people in this tells us a little bit something about the kingdom of God, who is the kingdom of God, made up of it. It's made up of the ordinary. The forgotten those who are humble enough to receive Jesus, but I know let's talk about one of the characters in the Christmas story Joseph what we know about him from the biblical record. You know what I love about Joseph is he is just portrayed as a faithful devout man. If you if you think about how this first came to him that the angel comes to Mary tells her that she can be with child conceived by the Holy Spirit and then Luke says in kind of cryptic language. Almost. When Joseph discovered that Mary was pregnant when things I think about as we don't know how many days or weeks pass between the angelic visit to Mary and angelic visit to Joseph what what must those of been like is he's pondering and wondering what do I do how do I do this what we do see is that he always did the hard thing. But the right thing.

He was going to put her away privately, which was the which was the harder thing. But the what would actually protect Mary instead of a public shaming for being a pregnant out of wedlock and then when the angel visited him twice and I think it's funny that he got to visits and sometimes guys needed.

You know to visits of CO2 into two words from from the Lord were women. Sometimes only need one sums were little hardheaded but he immediately obeyed and did exactly what God told him to do. Knowing that this would upend his whole life is life would never be the same Mary and Joseph and Jesus even though they knew this was of the Holy Spirit. Not everyone would believe that story so they would always carry a hint of shame into scandal around them, but he was willing to bear shame. I think for the baby that would one day bear his shame. And he is always just obeying doing the next right thing. The angel says move your family to Egypt.

He does that and we see later in the Gospels that it seems Joseph had a foreman of impact on on Jesus and his humanity. He is described as the son of Joseph. As we can imagine as as Jesus had to learn in humanity and grow it was Joseph who taught him what he knew it have often not thought about that myself if I had been Joseph, how what I have responded that we can put ourselves under totally in that situation, but you can imagine that the hurt and the pain initially when he hears the word that she's pregnant when you know you're engaged to this girl and then she tells her she's pregnant and then she tells you that God did it flood found it hard to believe you know so there had to be something about Joseph's relationship with God that that helped him work through that. Of course you know me he heard the messenger from God, but he believed it only believe what the listener was saying it's pretty astounding.

His character and his apparently his relationship with God. It was he's described as being the very very devout, but as you said, you know, Mary says this is this child is from the Holy Spirit will she had an angel tell her that Joseph hadn't had an angel tell him that I'm I'm wondering if he if he really believed what she said and how many nights past where he's just sleepless and anxious and what I do.

But again, he always did the right thing. He put others before himself, and I think is an example faithfulness, even for fathers. If you think of fathers leading their families and husbands leaving their wives. He's a great example of faithfulness thing willing to be selfless for the sake of others.

There's another person from the Christmas story is Zechariah who was Zechariah and wisely important to the story is Zechariah was priest. He was human Elizabeth were elderly.

They were past childbearing age.

They had prayed and longed for a child in and had not come and he was in the temple for his sort of moment of a lifetime to lead that the rituals and the rights in the temple there something that would become a once-in-a-lifetime thing that he would talk about for the rest of his eye that he is in there and an angel appears to him and let's keep in mind that God had not visited his people hidden there not been a word from God. From the profits from angels for 400 years and they were very probably cynical.

They were under Roman rule. There hanging on to this faint hope of of a Messiah having been fooled by false messiahs and God visits this old man in the temple and says your wife is going to have a child and of course we read that he had had disbelief as probably most of us would and God caused him to be silent in what I think we can learn from Zachariah is that sometimes God has to silence us.

In order for us to hear him. I also think this is part of a long theme in Scripture of God or think something new. He comes to Abraham and Sarah and birth something new. He comes to Hannah and burst something new. He comes to Zachariah and Elizabeth and birth something you as a sign that he is birthing something new in Jesus and also in in us that salvation is is a new birth test is described that is birthing something new in us, so Zechariah and Elizabeth. Mom and dad of John the Baptist, right, that's right, and John the Baptist would be if a forerunner of the Messiah for the last prophet if you will, he would have a special calling on his life and Zachariah and Elizabeth were faithful to obey God and and and raise her son toward that calling. We see Zechariah sort of encouragement to the young Mary has when Mary goes and visits her cousin Elizabeth and and say you know I'm also pregnant of the you know of the Holy Spirit and John the Baptist leaping in the womb of Elizabeth as his sort of first prophetic announcement if you will, and John the Baptist have unique role in a unique purpose and they knew that and then you would also involve paying the John the Baptist that the end of his life would be martyred for speaking out against Herod and so all these people are ordinary people, but ones willing to hear and listen obey the voice of God. You mentioned that the perspective that were Zechariah was muted by God not allowed to speak what what was that, and what can we learn from that. Why think if you compare the reaction of Zechariah to the angelic announcement of a birth in the in the reaction of Mary. There's a difference. Mary was was stunned was shocked but she didn't have the sky, cynical doubt in all of us have doubts all of us.

Our faith is not perfect, obviously.

But Zechariah's doubt was a little bit more cynical and I think in some ways that the and it's clear from the text that the this the silencing of his words was a kind of punishment, but I also see this as again. Sometimes God has to silence us silence or thought, silence, or words in order to speak to us and this silence is something that may be on Christmas time. All the should pursue that we should slow down.

We should be still and listen for the voice of God and listen to what he's telling us so during the Christmas season, you're right. I think it's a busy time. Most of most of us are running from one thing to another thing. And I hear you saying there needs to be. Maybe just to sit down and be silent. Do we sit on a loan to resale of the Bible do we sit out the words do sit out in the park just trying to visualize this for the average listener when we say let's be silent.

What is that look like you know it's different for every person. I think one of the important things that Christmas is to not get so caught up in the machinery of Christmas and and again, a lot of it is fine and good, going to concerts and in visiting with people and going to parties and where your favorite sweaters and eating wonderful food and feasts and gifts.

But if were not careful will hurry through Christmas. I think the lesson here is to slow down a little bit to stop deposit. Take some time to to rest to meditate, to dwell on the wonderful news of of the birth of Jesus and the truth is that gospel truth is that we learn from the Christmas story related to Mary earlier and the difference in her response response of Zechariah 12 what can we learn from. From Mary's response to God when she was saying yes to what the angel said to her well. Mary was saying yes to a lot.

I mean first of all he she's most likely a teenage present girl. She was saying yes to.

Probably quite a bit of shame. Again she heard from the from the angel and so did Joseph. But the rest of her family didn't and the people around her. Didn't so someone probably believe the story. Some wouldn't. She was saying yes just to and during all of the pain of seeing your son go through what Jesus went through from the temptation in the wilderness seeing him suffered from his enemies who would slander him and in that community that his name would be would be slandered and we even their own family enough.

We read in the Gospels were goes back to his family. Nazareth in late kind of disown him. She's also saying yes to to watching in agony as her son is is cruelly beaten and mocked and put on a Roman cross which is a was was an object of ridicule of being ostracized by the community and sitting at the foot of the cross and seeing her son crucified you as a father. It's hard for me to see anything happen to my kids even even small things.

I mean when my kids were young, they had to have shots when they're like babies. I had to go out of the room and my wife had to stay in there because I could handle them having any pain.

Imagine Mary and Simeon said to Mary, a sword will pierce your soul and so she knew what she was signing up for, and yet she said yes to God. She was willing to endure suffering, endure hardship for the one who would endure suffering and hardship for her.

It's it's hard to say yes to suffering right and think about us in our lives. It really is. I think there's a there's a version of Christianity that says if you if you just follow Jesus. Your life will be easy. Your life will be will will just be upward and onward into just what you know riches and in health, in this life, and we see from the story of Joseph and Mary and many others John the Baptist to follow Jesus and suffered for it. I think one of the wonderful things about the Christmas story is that it's not all sentimental, so people who come to Christmas broken hearted grieving the loss of a loved one grieving the loss of a relationship going to financial struggles.

Maybe people feel forgotten this Christmas.

No one's inviting them to their Christmas gathering God came and visited those who were suffering grieving and got himself suffered in sending his son onto the cross of Christmas is not just about sentimental and fake smiles. It's it's also about God visiting us and our distress. You know, it strikes me Gary what the question you asked just a minute ago you. What was it look like I think then what we are doing right here just taking the time to stop and ask questions about the reality of what people were going through 2000 years ago. I think this trip the Joseph and Mary had to make it down to Bethlehem you know when you just start to enter into the struggle of that to be pregnant and to be either riding a donkey or however it happened, walk in that long way, enter into that and think about what happened and then at the end of that of when they got get to Bethlehem and don't have a place to stay and they all of those things that enters into this. Just being able to step into that and imagine what it was like I think is part of it. Don't you. I agree and we again we know the story. 2000 years later and we celebrate it with pageants in an activity sets and wonderful cards and and great music and cookies and all that but the grit and the hardship of that first Christmas of just as you said he you know they have to go back to Bethlehem for the census, and they're not seeing the whole plan of God unfold before them.

Just thinking we have to go back for the census that Caesar just in arbitrarily decides he wants to do and then Herod is killing young boys so we have to go into Egypt and it's moving is hard in the 21st century. Imagine moving then the difficulty and the pain, but again being willing to be faithful and to listen to God. I think that's why Mary and Joseph I think are very, very much. Good examples for us to talk about the Angels people get excited about angels or Christmas, but really angels played a significant role in the Christmas story right. They really did, and there's a lot of mystery about the nature of angels, but one of things we do know is that angels are not humans. Obviously, that God has a special love for his image bears that he does not have for the angelic beings. God did not send Jesus to rescue angels, but angels have a courtside seat to the entire plan of God from Genesis to Revelation. There there in the garden to see Adam and Eve succumb to the whispers of the enemy there there throughout the history of God choosing Abraham and to calling on people Israel through the ups and the downs there. There you know on the night that God visits Mary and there there for the birth and there there at the end of the book of Revelation when one Christ finally consummates his kingdom and they see this whole plan unfold. You know, this is why they read had such great joy in that shepherd's field and and the angelic choir.

Could you imagine what that was like for the shepherds.

I mean, I've been a some pretty pretty great concerts in my life that I've thoroughly enjoyed the I don't think I've been to any that were as good as the angelic beings lighting up the sky and why they did that was because they know the story from the beginning of the end and they're marveling at God's great love for the people he created his great plan to rescue people from sin to me if you can just if we can just step back at Christmas and try to take the view of the Angels the long sweep of God's plan of redemptive history and I think meditate on that because we have of the broader perspective, much broader than Abraham and Isaac and Jacob and all of those at our juncture in history, but the Angels of the whole thing from beginning to end right yeah they do and they see it all and you know my signified imagination. I'm just imagining myself as a name you know images of as an angel there watching this whole thing in there like now not.

I don't think Abraham is going to do them.

Not that is not him you know and Israel keeps nothing. They messed up and another 40 years ago you Christmas story in the near miss with Herod and Herod swiping all these boys and the Joseph is quickly shuttled to Egypt and just watching the twists and turns of God's redemptive plan. Imagine what it was was like to be them. I think Peter accurately describes it when he says in in in first Peter that the the gospel story is something the angels long to look into another words they can experience it because it's it's meant for human beings, but they long and they and they marvel at what God is doing what. I know this is a great conversation. Reflecting back on Christmas and the various characters of the Christmas story, though there are misconceptions about some of these people. Let's talk about the innkeeper. For example, so the scholars disagree on exactly what the conditions were, when Mary and Joseph Serna rolled into Bethlehem. Some think it was that you know there was an actual in like you see in the story of the good Samaritan where there's enough, roadside inns, it makes sense for that time. Some people think that perhaps just like a cave.

Others save maybe they were staying with family and friends. We really don't know but we do know in Luke makes a point of saying in his narrative that there was no room for them. There was not not a place for them which we know is fitting when Jesus says that you know he has no place to lay his head that the one who hung the stars who breathe the world into existence could not find a place to be born. We don't know if there is an actual innkeeper. Although I played in innkeeper in a church pageant before but what we do know is somebody had to be there right to say there's no room here. Can you can you try this, but just imagine yourself in the in the in the sandals if you will of the people at that in the proprietor of that in this is an ordinary night for him another couple roles and another in another two visitors she's pregnant. Okay let us try to scramble make it work. He did not know that I'm not ordinary night.

The plan of God from eternity past, was unfolding in on his property in his in that this was not an ordinary night. This was a holy night work. God visited people that work the son of God, both fully human and fully God will be born. We don't know anything about the people that were there but you can imagine years later him retelling the story. What happened to those people that were there that day.

The beheld what was going on. He could've written a book right is all over yes yeah a memoir if they would if that would have really well.

So what get what can we learn from from the innkeeper. What we can learn is first of all that God often visits in ordinary times there was no announcement or bulletin or Jesus is going to be born the son of God sky born here at this time this place. Be ready.

God visits during the ordinary times ordered is think of Moses is just minding his business on the backside of the desert and God visits him in a burning bush. Think of Abraham is sort of mining his his pagan life in and you know God visits him and calls him out. God visits us in the ordinary places.

I also think we can learn that when Jesus comes.

It disrupts our lives to turn this upside down teaching. He comes in to to change us. The one for whom there was no room is making room for those who trust him by faith. I think that's the main lesson from the innkeeper well well it's wearing Bethlehem talking about the innkeeper. Let's go out to the hillsides outside of Bethlehem. The shepherds big characters in the Christmas story talk about them. It really is not.

I marvel at this at the store the shepherds for a few reasons. First of all, if you're going to announce the coming of the son of God, the King of Kings, the long-awaited hope and promise. If it was us, we would have had a press release without a press conference would have a social media campaign you think they would at least announce it in Rome or in the among the religious elite in Jerusalem with a come to shepherds God decides to announce it to a shepherds field and I think he does is very intentional in the plan of God for a few reasons. Number one shepherds are very earthy. There very and many times there were sort of outcast in society, but they are humble enough to to see and believe, and then go tell, but what they saw. Secondly, I don't think it's an accident that God chose shepherds you know shepherding is a metaphor throughout the Scriptures, from Genesis to Revelation, of the kind of spiritual leadership. The kind of leadership God provides. God describes himself as the good Shepherd and later Jesus would say that he is the good shepherd. David says the Lord is my shepherd and I think it's an illustration that this is Jesus is going to be a different kind of king, not the kind of Kings you see in an realm not even the kind of Kings. You see with Herod in Jerusalem but a different kind of king I also think it's not incidental that the Lamb of God who would take away the sins of the world.

The final sacrifice for sins, the announcement would come to those who are caring for the lambs, who possibly would be served as the Temple sacrifice is as a statement to say that this the final sacrifice is come to save people from this their sins. The final atonement every time I go to Bethlehem to go out on the hillsides outside that little town.

There's an all about it in my mind, and you know that.

Think of the simplicity of that growth. The shepherds are still there. Shepherds are there. Still, she brought there is no you use your imagination very much a two disc out to see the picture of what happened there that night and realize that in this you just pointed out it was to these humble me and you know not to the potentates that that he came and made this announcement that's pretty powerful, yet it's true. And I I've had the privilege of of gotten the shepherds filled a few times as well. And you're right it's it's it's all very similar to how you can imagine, back then shepherding sheep is not change much in 2000 and I think it's a just shows the simplicity and humility of the plan of God plan of salvation go tell the other hand there.

There were the wise man in the song says we three Kings of Orient are done out of a be another misconception right yeah it is. There's no evidence that there were three of them. Although, you know, my advice to people to the young seminarians out there.

Don't be the guide, correcting everyone online about that this year that everyone who I can still sing that song. It's okay. What we see in the wisemen is is really a powerful story. I think of how the gospel is not just for the insiders, not just for the Jewish people, but for the nations. Here they come from the East. They come from outside the camp. I also think we see in them honest searching and seeking for the truth.

They force honestly searching for truth and that always leads to Jesus and they were willing to do it at great cost. Wherever the star led them. They would go. They did a great personal cost. They listen to the voice of the angel when he said to not tell Herod and then most importantly, when they did arrive at Jesus, the response should be the response of everyone who encounters Jesus is a fall down and worship. They give gifts and they worship here. These powerful kings or or philosophers or wise men who had great renown and they're willing to bow before this infant child that just shows the proper response of the heart. When we encounter Jesus and their gifts. We can learn from that to buy brought gifts, but it does come, they brought gifts so maybe Christmas is a good time to bring gifts, not the crushed what to the living writing Christ. Well, I had thought about that lately, but better preaching church that I write so that is called worship is costly. We don't offer. It's not sheep it's costly Jesus demands are all and I think Matthews making just a powerful statement here. Contrast that you have here is this King Herod who is threatened by Jesus because Jesus threatens his power and disrupts his life and so we asked violently against other image bearers and then you have these kings from the east to instead of being threatened by Jesus.

They bow humbly and submit to Jesus, and I think at Christmas time or any time there's really only two responses to Jesus we can have. We can be threatened by him or we can fall down and worship him texting because we were talking with Robert while Demuth and and Nancy Demoss one with about God writing your story and I see that all through the of God is writing this story from ages past. This is his plan a and one of the things I've always heard dad is about the the provision when the wisemen show up and they give him the gold, frankincense and myrrh that when Jesus had to vent moose with his family down to Egypt that this is the provision of God that allowed them to be able to do that.

Do you agree with that.

I do agree with that and you know down so that through church history, you know, a lot of folks have speculated on, what the gifts represent that I talk a little bit about that in the book. I think it's really interesting to look at that, but I do think this is as you said, the practical provision for them to make their way to Egypt again.

Joseph and Mary were probably not the lowest class but they were definitely not upper-class.

They they probably do scrape by traveling was probably expensive. They had to take all their all their belongings and so again this is God providing in ways sometimes he provides first before we know we need it right in the plan of salvation, the guy would secure the minister Joseph in your Mary and your watching these wisemen from the east, and you know you again, they haven't read the whole story.

They haven't read the characters of Christmas and so these people come in and they're worshiping this child, or is it says that Mary saw this and pondered and kept it in her heart. What that must've been for them to bolster their faith. At this time that okay we we took the step.

This is this is the right thing to do. We can trust the Lord.

Seems to me all through the story of history and God's working there's always somebody there that's out to to hinder what God is doing in and Herod seems to be one of those characters. What can we learn from him. He is, and I think Herod represents us for the original villain of Christmas. Think about all work favorite Christmas stories and all the ones we watch a beer from it's a wonderful life to the other 50 Hallmark movies. My wife will probably watch this year there's always a villain, someone who's trying to steal Christmas or destroy with is Mr. Potter or it's you know the developer that comes in once a tear down the Christmas store and build condominiums or whatever it is in the Hallmark movies there's always a villain.

I think that good versus evil that we see in our Christmas stories just go back to the original good versus evil story in the Scriptures and Herod as part of a long line of people used by Satan to try to nip at the heels of God's plan. You know God prophesied in Genesis that the seed of Satan would nip at the heel of the seed of the woman but ultimately Satan would be crushed. I think we see this here that he's threatened and people who are in power who are threatened what they do, they lash out in violence against other people, so we he does this murderous thing to kill these babies.

But Jesus is rescued and goes to Egypt which is a fulfillment of prophecy right out of Egypt. I've called my son there.

There's this powerful metaphor in Scripture of of God rescuing and taking his people from Egypt, that's a sign of God is a rescuing God, but this is just in the long line of God's battle with Satan which ultimately he want he crushed the serpent's head at the cross and resurrection. So even those of us who are Christians who sometimes fear the Herod's of the world. We can take hope that Christ is already one that that baby rushed off to Egypt that infant was really the real sovereign King and Herod really had no power.

But two other characters that go together and that is Simeon and Anna what roles that they play in the Christmas story so they cut a leap on the pages of of Christmas and you know they sort of come out of nowhere and it's remarkable their faith.

That means Simeon both and Anna both of them elderly, waiting around in the temple clean to this faint promise of the Messiah.

They'd apparently read the Scriptures and understood them better than the scribes who in the end, and the religious people who miss Jesus, I'm guessing if if you are them.

They were probably looked at a little bit warily by people coming to the temple of these of those people that think you know today's the day right now that you are every Jewish mother thinks that their sons can be the Messiah or whatever we've seen this before, but they waited patiently and listen to the spirit and one day the Spirit told him this is the day this is the child you know.

Again, we know the story, so we think. Oh that mother must've been a big you know halo over the Mary and Joseph when they walked in so they could speed. They knew this, but for everyone else in the temple.

They didn't know that this was that the Christ child, but Simeon and Anna were listen to the spirit and the words that they spoke, Simeon prophesied who Jesus would be that you would not just be a miracle worker and a teacher, but he would be the one who would have to suffer and die for his people think reading what the Simeon said about Jesus is pretty powerful in the New Testament there it on our day.

Christmas of course is a time of war, family and friends and courier knives but but you also say that Christmas is a violent story.

What do you say that we think of Christmas as a sort of sentimental story and it can be, but it's really a subversive story is a story of how this this baby Jesus.

This king, it would be if you read in Mary's prayer.

Somehow this king would subvert the kingdoms of men overthrow the kingdoms of men and one in many ways it is violent with Herod's murdering of infants who predicting that Jesus would go to the cross and have to bleed and die for the sins of his people, and it should give us comfort in some way because God entered a world in the first century. That's not unlike our world, a world beset by brokenness and violence in and corruption in high places and distrust of religious communities and sometimes we wring our hands and wonder what's can happen how the house. The house is all going to end up, but we look to that baby in the manger and we say Jesus came to renew and restore the world and renew and restore us and this is why Christmas should bring great joy even to those who struggle and who suffer because we know he sees the each generally is the hope of the world the way God chose the people that we talked about today.

Pretty amazing in the course of person I wrote a book some years ago on the lineage of Jesus in Matthew one and the people in that lineage who came before him lately work perfect people either that to move before the birth and after the birth the people surrounding him or people like us in broken people that God, the God chose to use that you suggest that the people people use this book during the Christmas season are several ways to do it a minute if you like to celebrate Advent you could read portions of it every day during the Advent season you could read it all at once at the end of each chapter. I have a discussion questions for families.

You can also download a family discussion guides or coloring pages for kids from my website. The characters of You might also do it as a as a church and in your small group study or just do it for private devotional reading a think it it works in a variety of those ways will think it is a good tool. And during this Christmas season.

I think many parents, especially, are looking for something that can help them as a family to really celebrate Christmas and make it what it was designed to be and that is a celebration of the life of the death and the resurrection of Jesus because it all goes together. We don't do so, but his birth we celebrate his life and his what he lived and what he did. Ultimately, on the cross and the resurrection. Daniel tells about those about your own Christmas and what Christmas means to you reflect on growing up. What man what it means to you. Now, I've always loved Christmas. I remember the traditions we had in our family. Growing up in church and I think what is most meaningful to me are I think it's going to Christmas Eve service 11 o'clock on Sunday nights. For some reason we went at 11 o'clock and then my dad reading the Christmas story out of Luke to us. I think of the Christmas hymns that we learned growing up that are just embedded deep in my heart in the great theology that that you hear that rings back to you those lyrics and those that music I think of just celebrating Christmas with my family and and meditating on and the time I think to pause and stop and rest and reflect on the one who came in and died for us to listen but a great conversation today and I want to thank you for the time you invested in the book in preparation for it, and also the time you spent with us today, and I do pray for all of us that this Christmas season will be meaningful in our families, whatever were going through and I know that when we go through difficult things at this time of the year. It can make us question. You know why is God allowing this to happen to me but all of history we've gone through difficult times and let's hope that will be reminded that this is the season which we celebrate what God has what God is going to do the life of all those who believe in Christ so thanks for being with us today. Thank you for having me.

I'm honored to be on here and really have admired your your work in your your witness for a long time. So thank you for having a conversation as we head toward Thanksgiving next week and into the Christmas season that celebration. Daniel Darling is been with us today if you want to find out more about our featured resource. Five love The books link right there.

The characters of Christmas, the unlikely people caught up in the story of Jesus identified languages and next week on the Saturday after Thanksgiving will open the list or line for your questions.

Don't miss our November dear Gary, in one week.

Thanks to our production team Steve Glick and Janice Todd and Mike radio Nashville Building Relationships. Dr. Gary Chapman's radio in association with the ministry and Bible and thanks for listening

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