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The Christmas holiday season is filled with parties, invitations and Evites looking for a response. We have attended several parties this season and also quite a few charity events. This year we have looked forward to each of the parties and have enjoyed them all.
Jesus, being the reason for this Christmas season, the one who is ultimately the reason for any and all of the parties of the season, had an original party that was the party of parties. I want to briefly walk through the many party invitations sent out for the anticipated birth of Jesus.
In the first chapter of Luke's Gospel two invitations were sent out in an indirect sort of way. Zacharias and Elizabeth were invited to the birth of God's Messiah. They were notified that they were going to have a child who would prepare the way for the Messiah. And when it came to naming their baby, instead of naming him after his father (according to tradition) they went with their instructions and named their son John.
Mary, the mother of Jesus, was invited in a dramatic way, naming her as the one God had chosen to bear this baby in her body. But her invitation didn't stop there. Her fiancé, Joseph, was also given a special invitation by God to this supernatural birth. The angel explained to Joseph that Mary's pregnancy was a God-thing and not a sinful or negative thing at all. And, just like John was not named after his father, so Mary's son was to be called Jesus, not Joseph. Can you imagine what went through Mary and Joseph's mind with these special invitations to the birth of God's Messiah?
A special group of shepherds in the hills of Bethlehem were sent a dramatic invitation while tending their flocks. In the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, "Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." (Luke 2:8-20)
There were two people who were looking for God's Messiah to show up during their lifetime. One was a priest by the name of Simeon and the other is a prophetess by the name of Anna. They apparently were very familiar with the specific prophecies of the prophet Daniel and believed God's Messiah was about to show up. Their enthusiasm was intense upon finding Jesus.
One more invitation is the most fascinating to me. There was a group of religious astronomers who received an invitation to this unique event-the magi. This was probably a group of serious astronomers who were researching when God's Messiah was going to appear. They were studying the stars for this information. Their invitation came in the form of a star. Note what they said when they came to the region. Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, magi from the east arrived in Jerusalem, saying, "Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we saw His star in the east and have come to worship Him." (Matthew 2:1-2)
Three observations come to mind here: #1-You are the sum total of the invitations you accept in life! #2-Some invitations are more important than others! #3-God has sent you an invitation-inviting-calling-everyone to follow after Him through Jesus. Think of it this way. Jesus has a special calling on your life. What will you do with this invitation? Accept it? Reject it? Or will you simply ignore it?