Fellowship at the Ranch – December 2014

The original promise given to the ancient Father figure Abraham was, “I will make you into a great nation, I will bless you… and all the peoples on earth will be blessed through you.” I suggest this ancient promise is being fulfilled literally throughout the world this Christmas. Think about it. Virtually every country in the world celebrates a holiday festival originally founded on the premise of a benevolent person bringing gifts to others. Captains of industry have been blessed beyond measure because of the current consumerism fueled by this holiday. Songs have been written and recorded which pull at our heartstrings, tuning us to some special feeling or emotion during the holidays. Books have been written which are still read with fervor to young tender ears experiencing the mystery of Christmas. Was this the blessing God was talking about? Well, that’s the mystery isn’t it?

God did not reveal the exact nature of the blessing, only that the whole earth, all the peoples of the earth, would be blessed. So if a person in China has a job they would not otherwise have, fueled by consumerism in the United States and Europe during the holiday season, is this not one fulfillment of the promise? If an author is inspired to write a song or a book describing the mysteries of the season and hundreds of thousands of lives are blessed by the work, is this not another fulfillment of the promise?

But the question is, “Is this the end result which God desires for the world to experience in the blessing which comes through Abraham?” Clearly the answer must be “no.” The blessings resulting from a holiday, which celebrates the birth of Christ, are too numerous to mention; I’ve only given a few broadly general examples. The mystery is that God would choose to bless us at all. The mystery is in how He would choose to do that. The mystery is in the promise given thousands of years before the event and that it lives on thousands of years after the birth of God’s gift. The mystery is Messiah. The mystery is Christ Himself. The anointed One of God wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger came to bring life and blessing to all the peoples of the earth. We have managed to miss the miracle and the mystery because we are literally consumed by other things. Things like jobs, houses, cars, clothes, furniture, bank accounts and stock portfolios consume us. Every time a cash register rings at Christmas, it probably reflects the mystery of the ancient promise.

Finally, there is the personal aspect of the promise. Unlike some other preachers today who would tell you prosperity is right around the corner, I’m convinced that the true mystery of Christmas is about life, not prosperity, for these are two totally different things. At the root of the mystery is God’s desire for you to find meaning in life. It is found in one place, the person born in Bethlehem, according to the ancient promise. Merry Christmas!

Jim Wilkins is the Pastor of Fellowship at the Ranch. We meet each Sunday morning at 10:30 a.m. in the clubhouse.