PERSPECTIVES

 

 

          If I placed a glass in front of you that was only filled half way; how would you respond to the question, do you see this glass half empty or half full? It・s all about perspective isn・t it? Some people would look at this exercise as positive or negative thinking, while others would look at it from the point of view that they are being realistic. It is all in the way you look at things, and life is full of those scenarios. The other day I had the privilege of speaking to a group of parents from diverse parts of the world. The only thing in common for them was that they had their children in the same Sunday School. They come from various parts of the world with various religious beliefs and a variety of perspectives on how they view life. Canada is made of that unique fabric interwoven into everyday Canadian life, which showcases the way Canada has been built. With that variety, perspectives are varied, cultural values; family life, work ethic and many other things are up for discussion. Those new to the Canadian scene may wonder why the stores are filled with shoppers and food is purchased in great quantities for something that really did not take place on that date? Is it just an excuse for a holiday?

 

          In the time of the birth of Christ many perspectives are seen in the scriptures in how the arrival of the Messiah was received.

          The first individual I would like to draw attention to is Elizabeth, the cousin of Mary found in Matthew 1:39-45. Upon Mary・s visit the immediate reaction of Elizabeth was quite unique. The Spirit of God filled her heart in a very joyous reaction as her own baby leapt in her womb and she exclaimed in verse 42; :Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb!; No jealousy or criticism, only praise and recognition of God・s blessing upon Mary・s life as seen in verse 45.

 

          The second group is the shepherds, found in Luke 2:8-19. These often were not regarded as the most trusted in Jewish society. Why shepherds and not a more respected group of people with education and social standing? I suggest that the innocence and ability of the shepherds to get the information out found in verse 17 shows that they would not have a personal interest for gain as maybe a person of social standing would. They did not have pride; they would have counted it a privilege to share the :good tidings; that the Christ was born. They were filled with wonderment.

 

          As the Lord Jesus Christ was born, the normal Jewish rituals of the day took place and Mary along with Joseph took the Lord to Jerusalem to offer a sacrifice as stated in Luke 2:22-24. In verses 25-40 of chapter 2, we encounter two elderly servants of God who served in the temple and were filled with the Spirit of God. Simeon and Anna had their perspective; they were waiting with great anticipation the coming of the Messiah. Simeon・s response is seen in verses 29-32 and as seen in verse 38, :all those who looked for the redemption of Israel;.

 

          Although others are mentioned such as the wise men that traveled from the East; that group arrived almost two years later as they followed the star. I wish to look at the perspective of Herod. His reaction came at the same time of the wise men as they had made their way to Jerusalem. When he listened to the account of the wise men, his heart was filled with fear and insecurity about his throne. This account is found in Matthew 2:1-12. Herod must have heard of a unique birth of a child in Bethlehem as he sent them there, but most likely had disregarded the story as a myth or insignificant. The arrival of the Magi made him rethink and realize that the one they were looking for was being addressed immediately as a King rather then a Prince. Usually when royalty is born, they are a prince waiting for the king to pass away or be deposed, but these wise men addressed him as the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:2). His anxiety was not communicated to them but rather he urged them to inform them of his whereabouts on their return trip. They were warned in a dream to not return to Jerusalem; this infuriated Herod and he ordered a massacre of innocent infants, which is not only chronicled in the Bible, but in historical literature of those days. His perspective forced him to kill innocent children and hurt countless families.

 

          As we look at all these differing perspectives, my question is; what is your perspective of the Lord Jesus Christ? Is it based on just another holiday season? A time to bury ourselves in consumerism, or rather rooted in a personal relationship with the God of the Universe through Jesus? How do you see it?

 

By; David R. Jones