Separating the Truth From the Tinsel?
Did you hear what a clergyman said about the Nativity? Christians need to, “move on from the fanciful, fairy tale and disentangle the truth from the tinsel.” (1)
He created something of a sensation. Did you catch the drift?
Most would agree that the trappings of Christmas have become a not-so-cheap substitute for the profound truth we claim to celebrate.
When referencing “the fanciful, fairy tale” and “the tinsel,” however, the cleric wasn’t talking about Santa Claus or shiny bright decorations. The literal method of Bible interpretation was discarded, and more specifically, the facts about the virgin birth of Jesus Christ.
The Christmas Story Is Not A Fanciful Fairy Tale
Over the last 60 years, vigorous attempts to deconstruct Christianity have followed a simple template—cast doubt, create confusion and then, reframe the Bible narrative with allegorical symbolism.
Without a biblically authentic approach to the Bible—where words are understood within the historical-grammatical and cultural context—Scripture can be manipulated to promote any agenda. People who claim to have faith, especially the clergy, yet deny the supernatural nature of the Nativity, need to return to the authority of the Word of God in a literal reading.
The Facts About the Nativity Are Not the Tinsel
Then the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”
Then Mary said to the angel, “How can this be, since I do not know a man?”
And the angel answered and said to her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God. Now indeed, Elizabeth your relative has also conceived a son in her old age; and this is now the sixth month for her who was called barren. For with God nothing will be impossible” (Lk. 1:30-37).
Mary was shocked to hear Gabriel announce that she would be the mother of Messiah. Her question was a legitimate inquiry (v. 34). Conceiving a child without a man’s physical involvement? Mary knew it was impossible under normal circumstances.
The angel Gabriel revealed the supernatural details honestly and somewhat matter-of-factly: “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you” (v. 35).
The grammatical structure of Gabriel’s answer is known as “synonymous parallelism” linking the Holy Spirit with the power of God. The Bible describes the Holy Spirit as the energizing power of the Godhead (Job 33:4; Ps. 33:6; 104:30; Jn. 6:63).
The virgin birth was not a normal biological event in any sense, and was never intended to be. When God is involved, anything is possible!
The virgin birth reveals the power of God to do what is otherwise impossible. God’s willingness to engage in the affairs of men is the illuminating truth in the Christmas story. The Nativity is a robust affirmation that, “with God nothing is impossible” (Lk. 1:37).
The record of Jesus’ birth sheds light on an important factor that some Christians, including pastors, sadly reject. The totality of the Old Testament prepares the reader for the miracle of the Incarnation and the virgin birth. The Bible is a cohesive message outlining God’s redemptive plan for humanity.
Authentic Christians grasp that the biblical account of the Nativity is not a fanciful fairy tale and that the facts about Christmas are not tinsel. Unless we determine to safeguard the truth about the Nativity, our opportunity to share the Good News will be lost. Now, invest time and energy in the battle for truth.
1) The Truth Is Not Tinsel_1 (Jongen blaast kaars in kerstboom uit). (Image detail used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credit: By Nationaal Archief [No restrictions]/Wikimedia Commons/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
2) The Truth Is Not Tinsel_2. (Image and detail used for illustrative purposes) (Photo credit: Pixabay/Enhancement, MKM Portfolios)
1) Gerry Braden, “Kirk Minister: It’s time to lay to rest the ‘fanciful, fairy tale’ Nativity story,” The Herald website, December 18, 2015.
Copyright © 2017 Charles E. McCracken (Revised), devotional comments only. Repost/Reprint with permission from the author via Contact Form under ABOUT. Unless otherwise noted, Scripture is taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.