What is the Christmas Story? Santa Claus with his bag, family gift exchanges, or maybe it is just time with family. Some of us may think of a cold wintery day in Israel, where a nice wooden manger sets the scene as the star shines brightly overhead. The animals are all quietly laying in the hay while Shepard’s and Wisemen give gifts and look on as the Baby Jesus is lying quietly in the feeding trough. He is bundled up in a beautiful white blanket and everything is so neatly in its place. While his mom and dad are taking in all the festivities surrounding him.
2 Kings 7: 3-4 NLT
Now there were four men with leprosy sitting at the entrance of the city gates. “Why should we sit here waiting to die?” they asked each other. “We will starve if we stay here, but with the famine in the city, we will starve if we go back there. So we might as well go out and surrender to the Aramean army. If they let us live, so much the better. But if they kill us, we would have died anyway.”
The passage 2 Kings may not remind you of the Christmas Story but maybe it should. Here we find four lepers. Leprosy is a terrible disease that damages the pain sensors in your entire body. You are unaware that something or someone has caused you pain, even to the point of being unaware that your eyes need to blink, such a small action and yet without that pain sensor we become blind. Sin is like that; it destroys are spiritual senses of pain. We are created in His image but because of Sin we are unaware of the pain that is caused by not seeing the one who loves us so much.
2 Kings 7: 5-6, 8 NLT
So at twilight they set out for the camp of the Arameans. But when they came to the edge of the camp, no one was there! For the Lord had caused the Aramean army to hear the clatter of speeding chariots and the galloping of horses and the sounds of a great army approaching. “The king of Israel has hired the Hittites and Egyptians to attack us!” they cried to one another. When the lepers arrived at the edge of the camp, they went into one tent after another, eating and drinking wine; and they carried off silver and gold and clothing and hid it.
The four lepers were sure they would find a full army ready to arrest them. The Story in 2 Kings show us how God can go before us and set the stage for a wonderful outcome. In this case, the Children of God and these lepers needed provisions and God provided them. In the case of that special Bethlehem night, we needed a Savior to restore spiritual vision of a relationship with God. So, the stage is set; crowds everywhere but no one notices, rooms filled but no place available, a King arrives but the only invitees were Shepard’s nearby.
2 Kings 7: 12-14 NLT
The king got out of bed in the middle of the night and told his officers, “I know what has happened. The Arameans know we are starving, so they have left their camp and have hidden in the fields. They are expecting us to leave the city, and then they will take us alive and capture the city.” One of his officers replied, “We had better send out scouts to check into this. Let them take five of the remaining horses. If something happens to them, it will be no worse than if they stay here and die with the rest of us.” So two chariots with horses were prepared, and the king sent scouts to see what had happened to the Aramean army.
The King of the Israel hears the stories of great riches just on the next hill. So, he sends out scouts to check out the story. King Herod had heard the story of a King who was born in his territory and he feared a takeover. They told him of a star that had guided their path toward a King that would rise from Bethlehem. King Herod meets with the astrologers and sends them out to see what had truly happened. The astrologers continued their journey but never reported back to King Herod.
2 Kings 7: 15-16a NLT
They went all the way to the Jordan River, following a trail of clothing and equipment that the Arameans had thrown away in their mad rush to escape. The scouts returned and told the king about it. Then the people of Samaria rushed out and plundered the Aramean camp.
Unlike the astrologers these scouts returned with treasures and stories they had found that day. The people were in such great need that they left their city and rushed to find the treasure. Through the action of four lepers, the city found everything it needed: food, livestock, weapons, and hope.
The birth of Jesus takes years to unfold. There is no mad rush, no understanding of the great need, and only a few Shepherds to tell their story. God’s own Son had come to Earth in a messed-up dirty stall for animals, being delivered by a young girl and her betrothed young man. They stayed in Bethlehem for a couple of years with no fanfare. Jesus, just under two years old finally has visitors. They are three astrologers from another country who followed a special star. They brought Him gifts and bowed before the King of Kings. Joseph is told that King Herod is searching for them, so the young family fled to Egypt. The Son of God is on the run, the family is searching for safety.
This is the Christmas Story; we are unable to feel our spiritual pain. We are unaware that we need to blink our eyes, pause for a moment, and look within, so we become blind. This baby named Jesus, the creator of all He was born into, came face to face with the love of His life, Humanity. Not as a King, but in the form of an innocent baby, in a small city, born in a feeding trough. He came so we could find spiritual nourishment, a Peaceful journey, a shield of Faith, Joy in the storm, and true Love.