A Christmas Story

By Cal Lindeman (age 87) 1974

I would like to give you a little Christmas message from the Bible which I trust will be for the spiritual profit of all who read it and also for the glory of God. At this season of the year our nation and many other nations of the world celebrate the birth of our Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ. It seems only fitting that we should celebrate the birthday of this most wonderful person who was and still is the Son of God. But it is even more necessary that we remember His death, for it was by His death that salvation from sin and eternal life was brought to the human race.

Matthew’s gospel records His birth and it reads in chapter 1:21, "Thou shalt call His name Jesus for He shall save His People from their sins." Now if this was all of the record that the Bible gave us of His birth there would be no hope for those of us who are Gentiles for at that time and all down through the history of the Old Testament only the Jewish nation was called "His people" and it is plainly taught that the Gentiles were not His people but in the second chapter of the gospel by Luke we find the angels appearing to the shepherds near Bethlehem. We hear them saying. "Fear not for behold I bring you good tidings of great joy which shall be to All people for unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord." After the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus He said to His disciples "Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature." This was something that had been denied them heretofore for in Matthew, chapter 10 He had told them NOT to go to the Gentiles but only to the house of Israel.

Now there are three things that especially attract my attention at Christmas time, the lights, the beautiful trees and the gifts. All of these are spoken of much in the Bible, in fact the first record that we have of God speaking in Genesis, chapter 1, He said, "Let there be light and there was light."

Next we find that He made two great lights, the one to rule the day and the other to rule the night, He made the stars also. And on a clear night as we look into the heavens we see, not only the big friendly moon but billions and perhaps trillions of stars that decorate the skies and the Psalmist said, "The heavens declare the glory of God and the firmament showeth His handiwork."

As we decorate our houses and trees with beautifully colored lights we have just a faint replica of God’s wonderful creation. Now we read that God is light and in Him is no darkness at all but we also read that men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. Now the Bible speaks of natural or material light but also of Spiritual light because all those who have by faith received Christ as their Saviour and Lord have been called out of nature’s darkness into His Marvelous light.

Now as to the trees. They are spoken of in the Bible from the first part of Genesis to the last of Revelation and well did one of our poets write, "Poems were made by fools like me but only God can make a tree."

Now trees can be used for many things. In Jeremiah 10, verses 1-5, we find the heathen taking a tree and decorating it and then worshipping it but in verse 5 of that chapter the Lord says, Be not afraid of them (the trees) for they cannot do evil neither also is it in them to do good. I am 84 years old and have seen people decorate Christmas trees all of my life but have never seen anyone worshipping a tree. We love the beautiful trees that only God can make but we worship God only. The heathen also worship cows, stones, sticks and images of every kind but we who are not ‘idol worshipers' use the same things for good for we know that an idol is nothing.

In the garden of Eden God planted trees and no doubt He planted beautiful flowers also but we only read of Trees. Why? When God placed the first man Adam in the garden He had another man, The Last Adam (Jesus) in mind. He had also another garden in mind and another Tree and when we come to the New Testament we find this one whose Birthday we are celebrating, in a garden, we find there a tree also.

Now the first Adam sinned against God and then hid himself amongst the trees of the garden because he was ashamed to meet God in his sin but the Last Adam we find in a cemetery for it says, "Now in the place where He was crucified there was a garden." How different from the beautiful Garden of Eden and instead of a beautiful tree we find two pieces of wood nailed together in the form of a cross and instead of the Last Adam hiding behind the tree, we find Jesus nailed to it by wicked hands in full view of every one in sight. And that cross is called "A tree" in the Bible. (Read Galatians 3:13 and I Peter 2:24). Why was He there? What was He doing? Peter tells us that He was bearing our sins in His own body in the TREE. Isaiah writing in prophecy of this one a thousand years before it came to pass said in Isaiah 53:6, "All we like sheep have gone astray, we have turned everyone to his own way, and the Lord hath laid upon Him the iniquity of us all."

And now about the gifts. What gift was hanging on the accursed tree at Calvary and who was that gift for? Listen friend, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that WHOSOEVER believeth in Him should not perish but have EVERLASTING LIFE” (John 3:16)

When I was a lad I went to a Christmas Program in a little country church. They had a large evergreen tree decorated with candles, etc., and all of the gifts for the Sunday School children and members of the Church were hanging on the tree. Each gift had a name on it and as they were taken off the tree the person's name was called and they came up and received their gift. No one refused to take it. Now there was no gift for me for I was not a part of that community, neither did I expect one, but some years after that I found out that God had a GIFT for me that was worth more than the whole world. "The GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord" (Romans 6:23).

Now, I didn’t insult God by saying I will not receive this gift but I received Him as my Saviour and Lord, "believing that HIS PRECIOUS BLOOD” shed on Calvary fully paid the debt I owed to God on account of my sins and have had Peace with God for more than 60 years, (Romans 5:1). Peace that the world could not give neither can it take it away, for we read in Colossians 1:20 that HE MADE PEACE through the blood of His cross.

My dear friends, if you have never accepted the Lord Jesus as your own personal Saviour please do it now, it will be the best CHRISTMAS PRESENT you have ever received and every Christmas as you see the beautiful lights and the lovely decorated trees your mind will go back to that scene on Calvary’s hill and you will remember the verse in Galatians 3:13 which says, "Christ hath REDEEMED US from the curse of the law being made a CURSE FOR US for it is written Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree" and you will say with a thankful heart, "Thanks be unto God for His UNSPEAKABLE GIFT." 2nd Corinthians 9:15).
Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year to all.