Mike Gerhardt, 12-15-19, Christmas Message, The Miracle that Changed Everything. When I arrived 6 years ago at Parkside, I noticed a lot of babies here. Some adopted and some fostered by loving families, and since I send out cards to new parents, according to my count, 22 babies have been born in the last 12 months. The birth of a baby can change things. At 3:00 a.m. the young wife shakes her husband awake, telling him to check on the newborn baby. He sits up for a minute listening before he protests: But I don’t hear her crying. I know she replied: And it’s your turn to go see why not! A baby can change your sleeping habits, eating habits, entertainment habits (watching Puppy Dog Pals or PJ Masks), all habits! You bring home that bundle of joy and your life gets noisier. Grocery shopping will change as you discover how your baby can grab things off the shelf providing cascading entertainment for all other shoppers. You will learn what foods make a smile and what foods end up on your blouse or shirt. You will probably try to child-proof your home. After having three boys, I can tell you that childproofing your house is impossible. With time you’ll discern tears of pain, tears of anger & tears of manipulation. A baby brings change.
Christmas is the miracle of the incarnation of God the Son coming to earth; it is about the birth of a baby that changed everything. Jesus not only made a big difference in Mary and Joseph's home but a big difference in the whole world. His birth is meant to change everything for you and everyone on the planet. Galatians 4:4-7 The Birth of Christ Changed History: But when the fullness of time had come… The world we live in is shaped by the past. We live in America because Christopher Columbus discovered the Bahamas (a great vacation spot for which we are grateful) and opened the door for European settlers to take over North America. We live in a democracy because our forefathers fought and died to make an independent nation base on principles of freedom for everyone, though that didn't happen for over a hundred years. The world today was shaped by the past. But I believe that no event has changed the world as much as the birth of Jesus in Bethlehem. Every time you write a check, look at the expiration date on your milk or sign a document, you need to know what year it is. Where does that number for the year come from? It comes from the birth of Christ. Some still use the terms B. C. (Before Christ) and A. D. (Latin, Anno Domini, the year of our Lord) to outline history. Some have changed that now to get rid of Christ’s Name by calling it BCE (before the Common Era) and ACE (after the Common Era). Yet all human history is divided by His entrance into this world. Remove every reference to Christ, the Bible and His church from the world’s literature and the libraries would not be the same. Take away every great painting or statue any work which includes Jesus, the patriarchs or believers throughout the ages, and galleries would have several blank walls. Closedown all schools originally founded to train preachers of the Gospel of Jesus like Harvard, Princeton, Yale, and you eliminate most of the great universities. Christianity with all its failures and faults has been one of the most powerful forces in all history. But if Jesus was never born, human history would be a very different story. But Christ was born Paul declares. At just the right time, right on schedule, according to the plan mapped out long before creation, God sent forth His Son to be born into this world. His birth changed human history; his birth changes Joseph and Mary; his birth changed eternity. But Jesus wants to do more: He wants to change your history. He wants to draw a line separating BC from AD in your life. He wants to transform everything in your story. The Bible says in 2 Corinthians 5:17 Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. When Christ enters our lives: Jesus changes our direction. A Christian is a person who is no longer chasing after sin but pursuing righteousness. They are following Jesus and His plan for their lives. Jesus changes our desires. A Christian wants to please God. We may struggle with sinful desires, but our ultimate desire is to live worthy of our Lord. Even when we fail, a believer desires to be forgiven, to be cleansed, to do better for Jesus’ sake. A Ron Hutchcraft devotional reminded me of a series on Netflix called the Crown about Queen Elizabeth. Growing up as Princess Elizabeth, she knew she would one day be the queen. It wasn't that way with Victoria. She was shielded from the fact that she would be the next ruling monarch of England. They didn't want her to grow up spoiled. Yet she discovered for herself that she would one day be the most powerful monarch in the world at that time. Victoria's response was simple: Well, then I will try to be good! She knew the need to live her life based on her royal position. When you know you have a special position, you live a special life. Unlike Victoria, we are not born into royalty. We are born sinners, but because of Jesus, we can be born again into God's Royal Family. Jesus changes our destiny. When Christ enters your life, He doesn’t erase the past, but He changes how you relate to your past, changes how you live in your present, and changes your hopes and goals for the future. This is how Christ can change your history. Jesus changes your eternity. Which leads me to ask you this question: Do you know who you are? You see, your real identity is not what your family says you are or your employer or your culture. You're not what your friends say, or your enemies say you are. You are who God says you are. If you belong to God, 2 Corinthians 6:18: I will be a Father to you and you will be my sons and daughters,' says the Lord Almighty. Okay, since God is King, that would make you a prince or princess in the royal family! Ephesians 4:1 I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received. Big calling - big life. Ephesians 1:3 God has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. You are a spiritual billionaire. You are the child of a Father who is infinitely wealthy, and He's made all the spiritual blessings of His wisdom, guidance, love, grace, and strength available to you. You have access to a spiritual fortune! So live worthy of who you are! You're not living up to someone's rules, you're living up to your royalty! You might be a religious person, but if you’ve never personally invited Jesus to enter your life and change you, you are missing out on the most important change a person can experience. Joan of Arc was a deeply religious French peasant girl who victoriously led the armies of France against the armies of England during the 100 Years War. She claimed she was guided by the voice of God, and when she was captured by the English, one of the soldiers mocked her by saying: She says she hears God’s voice; why I don’t hear his voice. To which Joan replied: But don’t you wish you did? The birth of Jesus Christ truly is a turning point in human history. Jesus wants to be a turning point in your history.