Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Night Before Xmas, Scene 4: Mary's Big Day

Lori stared at the ground. “That’s kind of weird, sir. You are saying that Jesus was God and he came to live in a human body. Why on earth would he do that? It makes no sense.”

“That is an excellent question, Lori,” observed the old man.

Stevie interjected, “Everyone gets lucky once in a while.”

The visitor smiled. “I guess so, Stevie. Let’s go all the way back to the time of creation. The last thing God created was the first man and the first woman – Adam and Eve. He made them for a specific reason and purpose. Human beings were made so that we would give honor and glory to him, to worship him. But a terrible thing happened.”

“They ate a poison apple, didn’t they?” offered Becky, confusing the creation story with one of her favorite fairy tales.

“That is almost right, Becky. God told them they could eat from any tree in the garden, but they had to show honor and respect to God by not eating from one tree that stood in the center of the garden. That tree was off limits to them. But they disobeyed God and ate from the tree even though God had told them not to. Do you know what happens when you disobey your parents?”

“Boy, do I!” answered Stevie.

“God did the same thing when Adam and Eve sinned – they got punished. Because of their sin, death came into the world and marred the beauty of God’ creation. God sent Adam and Eve away from the beautiful garden to live in this difficult world. Sin always brings bad consequences. Many years later, God gave mankind a set of rules for us to follow. Do you know how many rules God gave?”

“Seven?” guessed Stevie.

Becky thought that must be too low. “Forty?”

Lori looked at them in disgust. She knew the answer. “Ten. The Ten Commandments. I’ve heard of them.”

“That is right, Lori. God gave the Ten Commandments which told people how they were to live if they wanted to be right with God. Do you know any of them?”

They sat silent for a few moments. Then, Stevie tentatively offered, “Don’t kill anyone?”

“Good, Stevie. Any others?”

“Isn’t there something about lying?” wondered Lori.


Becky wanted to chime in, “Isn’t there something about being an adult?”

He grinned broadly. “The seventh law tells us not to commit adultery. You’ll understand that more when you grow up. Can you remember any more?” No one could. “Well, the first one was the most important. No other gods! We are supposed to always put God first in our lives and take time to worship him. We should never use God’s name in vain or dishonor him in any way. Always honor your father and mother.” All three children looked a little uncomfortable. “Don’t steal what belongs to someone else or covet what others have. They were basic rules for how to live life the way God wants us to live.”

“I think I kept a couple of them,” asserted Stevie. “Sometimes, at least.”

“Right,” said Lori sarcastically.

“Here’s the problem, Stevie. It is not enough to keep some of the rules, or to keep them some of the time. If you want to be right with God, you have to keep all the laws perfectly, all the time, 100%, for all your life.”

Stevie’s head was shaking. “That is not good,” he said in a worried voice.

“Make no mistake about it, God is good and loving. But he is also holy and perfect. He has no sin in him and he cannot all sinners to be his friends or to go to live in heaven with him. Sin separates us from God. It is like a huge wall that was built between us; God on one side and mankind on the other. It was a terrible thing. But God loves the world and he had a plan to knock down that wall, to forgive sinners and to allow us to be his friends again. Isn’t that good news?”

“It sure is, especially for Becky.” Stevie couldn’t help himself.

“It is good news for you, too. For all of us. One night, over 2000 years ago, God put his plan into effect. That’s what Christmas is – the beginning of God’s plan to knock down the wall of sin. It all started with a young girl, a girl about your age, Lori.”

“Really?” she marveled.

“That is right. Imagine that you are this young woman. You are from a poor family in a village in Israel. You have just become engaged to a man named Joseph. You are an average girl like so many others. Then, one night, an angel appears to you, brilliant and shining, filling your room with the glory of God.”

“I’d be scared,” affirmed Becky.

“So was Mary. She was terrified. But she trusted the Lord. Then, the Angel spoke. He said, ‘Do not be afraid, Mary. For you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the son of the Most High; and the Lord will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and his kingdom will never end.’ Mary asked him, ‘How can this be? I am a virgin.’ The Angel answered her and said, ‘The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore, your child will be called Holy, the Son of God.’ And Mary said to him, ‘Behold, I am the servant of the Lord, let it be to me according to your word.’”

O come, O come, Emmanuel,
And ransom captive Israel,
That mourns in lonely exile here
Until the Son of God appear.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Thou Day-spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here;
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night,
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

O come, Desire of nations, bind
In one the hearts of all mankind;
Bid Thou our sad divisions cease,
And be Thyself our King of Peace.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel shall come to thee, O Israel.

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