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Re: Want to learn about stories Deneb

Posted by Dena on August 9, 2005, at 9:48:17

In reply to Want to learn about stories, posted by Deneb on August 9, 2005, at 7:59:42

Oh, how fun!

You want to know about Christmas in particular?

Warning: this post will contain specifically Christian "doctrine", and is what I, and many other Christians believe.

Well... it starts waaaaay back, in ancient times, when God created the universe, and this particular planet for us. He created all things, but considered us, the humans, as his crowning achievement. He loved humans, and wanted a close intimate relationship with us. God is love - and love needs to be expressed to be love. And, love needs to be returned, freely, or it's not love at all, but manipulation.

So, God put the people in a paradise... a garden called Eden. Lush, beautiful, full of everything they needed. And God Himself walked and talked with them.

But God wanted their love to be genuine, so He gave them free choice - free will. He gave them a commandment to not touch the fruit of the tree of knowledge -- that if they did so, they would die.

The serpent, who represented the enemy of God, fooled the woman into taking the fruit, telling her that she would be "like God" if she did so. She fell for it, took it, and shared it with the man. Their eyes were opened to good and evil, their innocence was lost, and they "fell" from the perfect condition they'd been in.

Their very nature became corrupted, because they chose disobedience rather than to trust God. They chose to take what they wanted, rather than relying on God to provide for them.

Sin, disease, corruption, decay and death entered a perfect world that had not known of it before... all things "fell", and became corrupted, and eventually died.

And a separation occurred between humans and God. Because God is perfect, and humans now weren't... there was a breach.

But God had a plan - a plan to bring humans (& the rest of the world) back to Him...

It couldn't happen automatically, because it had to be chosen by people. Humans had chosen to turn against Him, and so humans had to be given a choice, so that they'd return to God by their own free will, not by coersion.

God chose a group of people - the Jews - to be a source of blessing for the rest of the world. He set them apart from the other people, called them to live differently, and called them to be holy... He gave them rules (commandments) to live by. But, even with their very best efforts, they couldn't measure up to the standards... because God, who is perfect, has perfect standards. And humans, being "fallen", simply cannot overcome their tendency to rebel against God. We keep missing the mark... which is a definition of "sin". And sin and God are totally incompatible. God is both perfect love, and perfect justice...

But, He had a plan for bringing us back to Him...

He told these people, the Jews, that one day, a Messiah, a savior, would come to them, and He would redeem them, and return them back to God -- He would bridge the separation that had occurred between God and humans. He would live a perfect life, and pay the price for all of the sins of the world.

In the meantime, God had the Jews perform animal sacrifices, which temporarily "cleansed" them from their sins, so that they could relate to God, although imperfectly. And always, always, they looked forward to the coming of the Messiah, the one who would bring them back to God.

Many years passed, and some of them even gave up waiting for the Messiah to appear.

But, at the time of God's choosing, God sent His Son (who is part of Him... we can't comprehend how God is One being, and yet made of 3 parts - don't sweat it) to be born as a human baby... Jesus. He was born to a virgin, so that His father was God Himself. He was fully God, and yet fully human at the same time. Capable of sinning, capable of failing, and yet sent on a specific mission (he didn't "inherit" the fallen, corrupted nature that the rest of us have - He was in that original "perfect" condition).

He grew up, and he lived a perfect life (never sinning) by relying totally upon God's power. He came for one purpose: to teach us about how God loved us, how the spiritual "kingdom" of God is more real that what we see/hear/feel around us, and then He did the ultimate loving thing: He chose to die on the cross... He became the perfect sacrifice (all those animal sacrifices were foreshadows of this), paying the ultimate price for every sin of every person... to give each person the opportunity to come to God, blemish-free.

On the third day after dying, God rose Him from death (the Resurrection), to show that even death doesn't have the final word for those who follow Him.

But, again, it's not automatic. Each person has the choice. Each person can choose to believe, accept the sacrifice of Jesus for themselves... it doesn't apply to them, until they see the need for that sacrifice, and choose it for themselves.

A person who chooses to believe in Jesus, and to accept that sacrifice for themselves, is then a follower of Jesus. A Christian (which means "little Christ" in Greek).

If a person is genuine about this decision to choose to believe in and follow Jesus, then something spiritual, supernatural happens... the Holy Spirit, who is the spirit of God Himself, connects with the spirit of that person... so that God Himself lives "through" that person. That person still has free choice, and can still sin. But the Spirit will "convict" them of that sin, and prompt them to repent, or turn from that sin. It's hard, and many, many, many of us fail miserably.

But it's the grace and mercy of God who continues to forgive us, and restore us ("cleanse" us), because when God looks at those who believe in Jesus, He only sees the perfection of Jesus.

We can't "earn" God's approval and forgiveness (because we just can't, no matter how hard we try, be perfect, which is God's standard), but Jesus gives that as a free gift to anyone who believes in Him. And then He helps us to continue to obey Him, as we allow Him to live through us... and while obedience is hard, there's also joy in it, because of the blessings that come with obedience. Joy, peace, love, security, God's approval... these blessings make it worth any amount of "suffering" that comes with obedience.

And when we fail, which we ALL will continue to do, we know He will continue to forgive us and welcome us back to Him...

Christmas is just the day in which we celebrate the birth of Jesus. Historically speaking, Jesus wasn't born on December 25th (that was originally a holiday of pagan religions - pagan meaning "of the folk people"). Of course, Christmas has taken on all sorts of things that have nothing to do with Jesus, and then it's been further commercialized, and turned into a greed-fest.

Did I even vaguely answer your question? I hope it was a good story... but you can ask any sort of question.

Shalom, Dena




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