by Bill Baltz

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December 7, 2012
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Jesus Christ brings faith and hope

There's a latest expression that's hit the streets. "I get it." Well, do you? Did you? Will you?

Have you ever seen "Miracle on 34th Street?" It's a Christmas classic along with "It's a Wonderful Life."

For me, one focuses on the spirit of Christmas and the other wonders who is this Santa Claus.

Natalie Wood, who won the hearts of viewers as Susan Walker, the little girl whose doubt in the existence of Santa Claus is transformed by her association with Edmund Gwenn's Kris Kringle.

I am reminded of the fact that "Miracle" was originally filmed in black and white with color being added later.

The net effect of a lack of faith in Christ, like little Natalie Wood's character, is to turn off the color to life.

Unbelief turns off the color and turns down the sound of life as it was meant to be lived. Natalie's personal confrontation and discovery lit up her life as it will ours.

All of this is to say my mind has been captured by the questions of two wonderful songs, "What Child is This?" and "Mary Did You Know?" As I've suggested before, listen closely to every Christmas song. There's a mini-sermon in each one.

Bringing faith and hope midst an often-cynical world is what Jesus Christ is about. We all must be filled with wonder at Christmas time as we are confronted with the truth of the enchantment and wonder of the Almighty God of the universe who came to mankind as a babe in a manger.

Faith in Christ, and faith in the God who changes things, who interrupts our lives with the glorious news of salvation by faith in Jesus, turns on the sound, lights up the soul, and causes people to shout for joy.

Who was Jesus, and what was he doing here?

Jesus Christ came to proclaim good news to the spiritually hurting - those who are crushed by life.

Jesus came to set people free - to "ransom captive people (Israel)" - to open our spiritual eyes to our spiritual need.

He came to heal the broken-hearted. Medical science has found ways to reduce and even remove pain. But there is no cure for a broken heart.

We may marvel at the fact that God humbled Himself and was born in a cave. But why did He come? He came to lift us up, to give us abundant life. Christmas is about God sending His son to give us a life that is worth living.

The Wise Men traveled afar to confront Jesus bringing gold for a king, incense for a priest, and myrrh for burial. They got it, just as the shepherds hurried to see the great happening and got it.

As Jesus was presented at the temple, Simeon was getting it.

He declared that Jesus was to "cause the rising and the falling of many people," a source of controversy, that will reveal the true "thoughts of many hearts." I can see Simeon looking mom and dad in the eye and challenging them, "a sword (of truth) will pierce your own soul too." (Luke 2:21-35)

In all of the hustle and bustle, wrapping paper, parties, mistletoe, and brightly colored lights, let's get down to the bottom line.

As we follow the song asking Mary "Did you get it?" let's ask ourselves, "What Child is This?"

Will you come "to see this thing which the Lord has made known?" (Luke 2:15)

Pastor Bill Baltz is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers' Association.

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The Record Courier Updated Dec 7, 2012 06:19PM Published Dec 7, 2012 06:17PM Copyright 2012 The Record Courier. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.