It was a calm Christmas night in the Branch house. Christmas activities went according to plan for Terry and me. I had concocted a delightful scheme.
After our little road trip, we went to bed about 11 PM. But, I did not go to sleep. I wanted to be awake the moment it turned Christmas morning. A few minutes before midnight, I slipped out of bed, and sat down in the Lazy Boy chair. I waited patiently for the time.
By midnight, I calculated that all the Branches would be bedded down for a long winter nap. I was going to call them all, and wake them up for a change! After all, they had always gotten us up super early on Christmas morning. This year I planned to beat them to the punch. The plan was to wake them up, and have them let me talk to one of their kids, whom I would tell to get their parents up right then to open gifts. I was jingling with excitement and laughing all the way.
Here was the layout: Micaiah and Alexandria were on a trip to New York. Jamin and Morgan were with Ron, Holly, and Justus in Martinsburg, West Virginia. Jeshua and Megan were with their three girls in Williamsburg, Virginia, Keithen and Jessica were with their four in Paducah, Kentucky.
I chuckled as I started to punch in the numbers to call Ron. But, before I could start the call, Micaiah interrupted things. He called thinking I would already be asleep. Before that call ended, Jamin called. He said, “This Christmas call is from Alpha and Omega,” referring to Ron as the oldest, and he as the youngest. Both Ron and Justus were awake with him. Ron and Justus are never awake that early on Christmas!
Next, I tried to call Jeshua, but the three calls I made went to voicemail. Surprisingly, Keithen was waiting on me. How did he know?
While I was scheming to beat them to the punch for a change, they each wound up outwitting their Dad. When Terry stirred and realized what was happening, she snickered at me.
Now, I have not meant to labor you with our Christmas particulars when you had your own particular Christmas excitements and enjoyments. Nonetheless, I relate my effort to beat the boys to the punch Christmas morning because of a vital spiritual truth emerging from it.
When it comes to the things of God, man has always tried to beat God to the punch. For example, there have always been efforts to diminish the deity of Jesus Christ. People often want to relegate His status to that of being just a good man or a good teacher. Others who attempt a spiritual punch teach that Jesus Christ was merely a lesser divine personage.
But, God beat them all to the punch. Jesus Christ was declared the fully divine Son of God “before the foundations of the world.” The Psalmist and the Writer of Hebrews wrote about it. If Jesus Christ is not fully divine, there can be no true salvation.
That, of course, is the whole point of it all. Man wants to plan out his own way of salvation. That is why holding true to the Christmas story is so important. When God incarnated Himself in human flesh in the birth of Jesus Christ, He set up the plan which proved that none of us can do anything to provide salvation for ourselves.
The Virgin Birth is the key. The Virgin Birth preserved the absolute divinity of Jesus Christ. The Virgin Birth halted the progression of sin that otherwise would have caused to be useless the perfect effect of the sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the Cross.
We might attempt to diminish the divinity of Jesus Christ, or we might try to out plan God on the Lord’s birth issue, but God has already beat us to the punch.
In the mean time, just as I was slipping into la-la land, Jeshua called. It was 2:30 a.m. I have got to come up with a better plan for next Christmas, for sure. Any suggestions?
Pastor Ron Branch lives in Mason County and is pastor of Hope Baptist Church, Middleport, Ohio.