Text Size: Zoom In

The Star of Christmas

5335389058_7f9e45ce34

Photo by: Lawrence OP

An online BBC article about a celebrated Hungarian-born, British concert pianist is titled Musical Exile: Why Andras Schiff won’t perform— or even set foot—in Hungary. The article goes on to quote Schiff as saying, I have been threatened that if I return to Hungary, they will cut off both of my hands. I don’t want to risk physical and mental assault.”

The article went on to explain that, because Schiff had spoken out against government policies of his homeland, he was regarded as an enemy. In that sense, his story could have been anyone’s story.

At some point we all discover that it is dangerous to speak against the domestic, political, religious, or military sentiments of our own neighbors or homeland. Schiff is not alone in knowing that fools rush in where angels fear to tread. It was, after all, an angel that warned the parents of Jesus to hide him in Egypt from the small-minded rival who wanted to kill him.

It is in the darkness of the night, that the star of Bethlehem shines the brightest. It is in a world like our own— where people like us threaten to cut off the hands of people like us, that the Savior and King of heaven came to bring peace with God and one another.

This is where the star of Bethlehem leads to such wonder. Who would have believed that the all-powerful Lion of the house of Judah would come to conquer the great Serpent of our souls as a helpless infant…and then as an innocent lamb?

That is the wonder of Christmas… a star appearing in a world where strategies of self-protection and personal well being dictate strategies of hatred, intimidation, violence, and death to our enemies.

So when the time came for the great enemy of our souls to be defeated, the long anticipated King of the Jews did not arm his disciples to throw off Roman occupiers. Neither would he grant his disciples’ request to call down fire on his rivals. Not by intimidation. Not by enlisting the rich and the famous. Not by might. Not by power. But by the Spirit of God, Jesus would conquer in a way that no Assyrian, Babylonian, Greek, Roman, or modern army has ever conquered.

By being born into the weakness of our humanity, the King of kings showed us how to be wise as a serpent but harmless as a dove. Two thousand years later, his willingness to live–for us, by dying, to win by losing, and to bring peace by loving his enemies, is giving us reason to be like little children caught up in the wisdom and wonder of the greatest gift ever given.

Merry Christmas.


Vote on whether you think this post is something you'll be thinking about:
Vote This Post DownVote This Post Up (+23 rating, 23 votes)
Loading ... Loading ...
27 Comments »

27 Responses to “The Star of Christmas”

  1. belleu says:

    Beautifully stated. It is by love, peace and the Holy Spirit that the world may be won for God. Jesus gave us his example to follow. Glad you are back and Merry Christmas, Mart.

  2. BruceC says:

    Mart,

    Merry Christmas to you and the staff at RBC!

    Your post brings to mind that “God’s ways are not our ways”.

    Merry Christmas to all here at BTA. May the Lord richly bless all. And may those here who are struggling or in ill health see their Hope at this season and find strength in our God’s never failing promises!

    Soli Deo Gloria!! To God alone be the glory!!!

    BruceC

  3. SFDBWV says:

    The Christmas topic of the changing of the world and defeat of an unseen “serpent of our souls” in an equally unseen spiritual realm by the action of the birth and death of Jesus is worthy of a very deep and serious look. One I am sure can generate many directions of thought.

    The coming of God to men did something war and an iron fist can not do; it changed men’s hearts, not by hardening it, but by softening it.

    It is difficult to look around the world right now and believe that anything has changed from 2,000 years ago when those with power yielded it.

    The only difference is that perhaps some of those with power try and protect the world from the many evils that still lurk in the hearts of men.

    “Peace on earth good will toward men” the message the angel proclaimed is not a message between men, but rather a message of peace offered to men from God in the action of the birth of Jesus.

    Jesus saw very little peace in His short life here among men.

    When I read the newspaper today, I see that Jesus is still under attack and still unable to rest from His sacrifice. He said from the cross “It is finished”; yes the purpose of His coming had been completed, but the work of changing the world had just begun.

    In my small lifetime, I have never seen a more unbridled attack on Jesus as I see today and it can only get worse.

    While God offers peace between He and man, it would seem there is no peace among men because of it.

    Today is Christmas Eve and for many it means the ideal setting of the warmth of family and friends, while for some it means nothing, just another day.

    Let every day be Christmas day and offer peace to one and all, and mean it, maybe that can change one heart at a time.

    Steve

  4. tracey5tgbtg says:

    Mart – so glad you are still posting comments and this current one is beautiful and truth-filled.

    O Holy Night, the stars are brightly shining. It is the night of our dear Savior’s birth.

    Blessings to all.

    Pooh, praying for your family. :)

  5. jam200 says:

    Hi Mart:

    Thanks for sharing a beautiful commentary this morning. The Star of David, the Bight Morning Star, the Hope of Glory,the Lion of Judah, the Lamb of God, Faithful and True, we celebrate the birth of the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. The Remnant of God is growing each day through the Power of Salvation in Jesus.

    Merry Christmas to all!
    Juan

  6. poohpity says:

    Thank you, tracey :-)

    Through the birth of Jesus, God was brought to man. God’s love incarnate. How can we ask for anything better than that? The knowing that the God of all creation wanted a relationship with us a rebellious, hardheaded, stiff necked, self serving group and that is even after salvation. :-) Go figure!! But He did, talk about patience, mercy and the awesome wonder of grace. What did He ask of us? To treat our fellow man like He treated us, to give what was given.

    Merry Christmas!! Let that grace touch everyone we come in contact with, with the same excitement that it was received in that moment we first believed.

  7. remarutho says:

    Good Christmas Eve Morning —

    The greatest gift in the universe is the Lion of Judah entering flesh as the Lamb of God. What a wondrous gift. Merry Christmas, Mart, to you and yours and the spread-out assets of RBC.

    The fear and anxiety in Hungary described by Maestro Schiff is chilling — and, as he states, is evidence that the human heart untouched by the grace of God is still back in the Dark Ages.

    May the light of the Christmas Star shine into all hearts this year.

    Christmas Blessings,
    Maru

  8. oneg2dblu says:

    Merry Christmas to All…
    Jesus Christ is the Light of the World and today He shines forth through the hearts and words of those that “Love and Obey,” Him.
    Let your light Shine for Him in this already darkened world as you become a light for others throughout this Christmas Sesason and beyond.
    Gary

  9. cbrown says:

    Merry Christmas to ALL! Praise GOD for HIS Love and Mercy! Thank you GOD for YOUR LIVING WORD! Thank you for our Daily Bread!

  10. bec4jc says:

    Merry,joyful,and blessed Christmas everyone! Mart, I join all here in wishing you and your family and RBC Ministries a wonderful Christmas & New Year! And I thank you,too,for this blog.

  11. SFDBWV says:

    I watched, in part, two programs on CNN last evening. The first was the live showing with commentary of the Pope performing the Christmas Eve Mass. The second was an intellectual look at this man Jesus.

    In truth I was somewhat pleased by the commentary, as there were no rebuttals or negative spins on either program. Mostly I was pleased because Jesus and His Church were presented to the watching world.

    One of the fellows commenting said of all the actual proofs they have of the life and death of Jesus, the one thing no one can prove is *faith*.

    Remarkable as that statement is, if we look at the world Jesus changed, I do believe there is proof of the faith of billions.

    No doubt that the *Star* of Christmas is Jesus of Nazareth; I pray that everyone who experiences Christmas remembers that and seek to know Him.

    Merry Christmas to all our friends.

    Steve

  12. BruceC says:

    Steve,

    I just read this Scripture on Our Daily Journey today for 12/25. It kind of goes in the same direction of your first post under this topic.

    Psalm 12:1–8

    1 Help, Lord; for the godly man ceaseth;

    For the faithful fail from among the children of men.

    2 They speak vanity every one with his neighbour:

    With flattering lips and with a double heart do they speak.

    3 The Lord shall cut off all flattering lips,

    And the tongue that speaketh proud things:

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  13. SFDBWV says:

    Good morning Bruce. Did you guys get hit with the ice and snow that moved through up state NY? Our friend Pat got both a foot of snow and ice on top of it up there in Canada.

    I would agree that for all the *good will* projected this time of year from the lips of those seasonal revelers the percentage of those whose hearts are genuine are very low.

    One of the comments Chuck Missler likes to say when beginning any Bible study is how much fun it can be. I agree, the study of Scripture can be fun and the little and big facts uncovered as enjoyable as any discovery or the opening of gifts under a tree.

    For instance here in this topic of Mart’s are the possibilities of discussing the star that appeared in the sky, the Magi, the family of Joseph and Mary, the announcement of both Jesus’ and John the Baptist’ birth, the figure of Herod, the inn keepers, the prophesies of all the events of His birth, why He was sent to Egypt and what that may mean. I can see many hours of *fun* just from discussing “The Star of Christmas”.

    Of course if it is a political discussion one can see from this subject of Mart’s the connection between Andras Schiff and Snowden, as well as our past subject of Mandela.

    One can also see how the media can silence any opposition to its own opinions and place a person into exile within their own country.

    The door is always open to discuss whatever we may want here, unless it collides with the desires and opinions of those who want only to hear what they want.

    Steve

  14. BruceC says:

    Steve,

    On 12/21 we received 9″ of snow. This past weekend it rained quite a bit and all the snow was gone. Christmas Eve we got enough snow to just cover the ground and make a white Christmas. I thank God we did not get the ice storm. Canton, NY on the St. Lawrence River received 1.3″ of ice! It is now snowing again.

    I think you and I agree that we live in “strange days” as compared to the way it used to be. Everything changes so rapidly today in all the realms of life.
    Bad is now good, and good is now bad…just as Scripture says. The days of woe will soon be upon the earth. And as dark as that is; God’s light and promises shine brighter still.

    BruceC
    Soli Deo Gloria!

  15. SFDBWV says:

    Bruce, Snow is always better that ice, I am glad you didn’t get hit hard.

    We have about 2 inches of snow on the ground had an inch and a half for Christmas day and bitter cold. It was snowing when Matt and I got up this morning at 4:30.

    The culture change that we see all around us is very disturbing and whereas I think with every age of man, mankind has gotten less honorable with less and less character, it seems that we are approaching the bottom of the barrel.

    For several years coming into and following my families particular circumstances the Lord had told me to *stand fast* it has been more of a *be patient* the last several years and now I find myself just telling God that I *trust* him in spite of what I see and hear.

    Be blessed my friend and stay warm by the comfort and soothing heat of your wood stove.

    Steve

  16. plumbape says:

    I’ve been missing alot But had a wonderful Christmas at my son’s house with wife kids and grand daughter! Thank you Mart and RBC for all you do. Also everyone here and in the past have helped me many times thank you so much.
    Michael

  17. poohpity says:

    There are more Christians now than there ever has been in the history of the world because of the love shown to us through Christ. He conquered the world not as many conquerors did by hating their enemies but by loving us and dieing for our sins. If we say we love God and hate our brothers or sisters then the love of Christ is not in our hearts according to John. The light that shines in the darkness reveals the condition of every heart. Praying that that light shines not only at Christmas but every day of the year.

  18. poohpity says:

    Happy boxing day!!

  19. oneg2dblu says:

    Good morning… there was no snow in sight again this Christmas in Melbourne, Florida so having a white Christmas down here, is something of only the imagination and faith and rememberances of Christmas past, when I was living in New York and New England.
    However, we did have another silent night as far as the fsmily ever getting together. :(
    Just another proof to me, that the scriptures are for real, and Oh, how sin separates us, and further proofs to me, how we are set apart from the wolrd.
    My greatest gifts this season were not of my family coming together, but seeing an answered prayer sitting right in front of me on Christmas Eve at church as I witnessed another family of love ones who were separated and on the verge of divorce, which would have been very difficult on many including their three lovely children, finally come to their senses, turn from their wicked way, and come togther again in love, even to reclaim their wedding vows and return to becoming a commited family again.
    It just doesn’t get much better for me than that!
    What a blessing to wrap my arms around them again thanking God for answered prayer.
    That witness alone made for a very Merry Christmas!
    Gary

  20. poohpity says:

    Gary, sometimes even when families get together they only tolerate each other for the day. I also after church Christmas eve spent a silent night cause after one son decided he did not want to drive from Phoenix to Mesa I sent the other to spend the night at his home and did not hear from my daughter. God had us both right where he wanted us, alone to spend time with Him.

    After church we had dinner with my oldest son’s girlfriend’s family the one who recently said he was an atheist/agnostic who played in the church band. Then her brother asked him to pray for the meal and he did, so in the morning when we came together I asked if that was not hypocritical. He then flew off the handle and said I did not realize the impact that would have had on her family and how they felt about him. I said they either are going to love you for who you are or not love you but but be who you are. One is real the other is a lie. I asked him if he thought for a moment that they during their life time did not have any doubts and prompted him to ask them but he refused to do it in fear again of their thoughts about him. That is a sad way of being to me. The funny thing is he thinks he is hiding something from people who are twice his age and have been there and done that. He is only fooling himself.

    So Gary we both were in the best of all company alone with the Lord having an actual silent night. :-)

  21. oneg2dblu says:

    Yes pooh, living the lie for others is of no use to anyone but the father of lies who gives one the ability to fake it.
    I was once going to a church who said they could teach one the language of tongues as if one must learn it from a man’s s of their special sounding utterances as if that is the gift.
    I was out of there in a flash, and trust I have effectively stomped the dust off my feet while I was leaving.
    The lie lives all around us and is the predominant voice of the world, but the still small voice, still controls all things.
    So, there is no silent night or any hiding outside the range of the Whisper of the Shepherd.
    However, there is an evil silence given to those who stand for truth, and that comes only from the fallen worldly who now live the lie.
    We can only pray for them to come to their senses just as others have prayed for us.
    We can confront evil and feel the heat of doing so, or we can look the other way, and accept the lie.
    Atleast we know where we stand, and what we will not stand for.
    Gary

  22. oneg2dblu says:

    Sorry for the mess I made moving my thoughts around
    but I trust you can read through the clutter. :)

  23. poohpity says:

    Or we can show them mercy in their time of doubt. Jude 1:22 NIV

  24. poohpity says:

    You see Gary, that is why he felt comfortable sharing his struggles with me and not with them. Even though they are Christians he felt they would judge and criticize him rather than extent the hand of grace.

  25. remarutho says:

    Good Afternoon All —

    The major strategies of heaven are mercy, forgiveness and acceptance. Our witness of our amazing Savior is not judgment. As Pope Francis has said, “Who am I to judge?”

    Mart, you wrote, referring to Andras Schiff’s reluctance to return to his native country of Hungary:

    “It is in the darkness of the night, that the star of Bethlehem shines the brightest. It is in a world like our own— where people like us threaten to cut off the hands of people like us, that the Savior and King of heaven came to bring peace with God and one another.”

    The infant under the Star of Bethlehem puts a face on God, so that we may glance at the challenges of the world, but gaze steadily into the eyes of Jesus.

    Blessings,
    Maru

  26. Regina says:

    Good Evening All,

    MERRY (belated) CHRISTMAS, BTA friends! :-) I hope you all had a very Merry Christmas and I pray that you all will have a prosperous New Year!!

    Love & Blessings!
    Regina

  27. foreverblessed says:

    Mart wrote
    -Two thousand years later, his willingness to live–for us, by dying, to win by losing, and to bring peace by loving his enemies,-

    Amen!

    A merry Christmas to you all,
    Maybe a bit late, but I was thinking: lets stay in the mood of the Christmas theme, lets keep it going,
    be gracious for the gift of Jesus to us all the days, lets go for peace all the days, lets be more and more full of grace Today,
    lets be loving to our enemies today, and all this in the power of Jesus Christ, not in our own strength.
    May God bless you all in Christ Jesus!

Leave a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.