Posts Tagged Christmas

Good Tidings

Luke 2: 8 – 14           KJV

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

Sometimes I just like the poetry of the King James Bible. How about you? This passage brings back warm memories of childhood for me. Like most children, I was very visual and I would imagine what the angel looked like. Did he/she hover over the shepherds? The glory of the Lord shone all about them. What did that look like and why in the world are we afraid when we see God’s glory? Then the angel was joined by the heavenly host. What is that? Of what and whom is the host composed? Were there more than angels present? Were there animals in the heavenly host or perhaps beings we have never heard of. What did that look like? Can you imagine?

The angel said to the shepherds, “I bring you good tidings of great joy.” Hence, “Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” You see there in the angel’s words that this joyous good news is for “all people.” What do you think of that? It may even include Muslims, or gays. Jesus came to reconcile the entire world and every person and creature in it to the glory of the Father. None are left out. Whether they know it or not, Jesus’ coming is even good news to the people who hate him.

The very first Christmas present was the Christ. This was the gift God gave us. In that gift, though, was the seed of the gift God wanted – you. Thirty-three years after the first Christmas, our God and Father sealed His wish in the first Easter service. When Jesus arose, God got his family.
I love that God’s plan involved sending a babe, born of a woman. He didn’t send a giant warrior, or the head of His legal staff. He sent a baby and that child had to grow up in this world. He lived among regular people and experienced all the things you and I experience and learn through. Jesus had to become a regular person in order to save people. He was completely at the mercy of his mother and father for his care. He had no God powers to feed himself or change his diapers. He experienced birth just as you and I. And think of this, Jesus was once a teenager. Ohhhhh! What was that like?

God’s perfect plan began with a precious baby born in a little town in the east. On that special night, wheels were set in motion that would change the world. The Father gave his only child to come to earth to be with us. That child had to grow and learn what it means to be human so that he could save all humanity.

This Christmas, as we celebrate the birth of the savior, try to put yourself in the place of those shepherds and experience the glory of God’s gift to us. Let your heart hear the angelic chorus singing Hallelujah to the King. Perhaps your heart will rejoice as never before. Be free and be happy. I wish you unparalleled joy this Christmas and God’s blessings upon you and your family. Merry, merry Christmas!

Give a Little

Luke 6: 38

Give, and it will be given to you.

Sometimes I believe everything important can be learned from children’s shows. In fact, I am not sure why we don’t express the same life values in adult programming. I found this verse in Santa Claus is Coming to Town. It is the story of the Christmas Spirit, the story of giving.

Santa, Kris Kringle, is confronted by many ornery characters in the story. As he traverses the mountain between Kringle Village and Somber Town, where he intends to deliver toys, he is accosted by a mean wizard known as Winter Warlock. Santa, however, knows how to unlock even the coldest heart, with a gift. The simple act of giving a toy to the evil wizard melts his frozen heart. Winter then becomes good and a lifelong friend and companion of the Kringles.

In town, Santa explains to the children that whatever you wish to get, you must first give. If you want a little love, give a little love. He sings, “Whenever you take, give a little back.” Oh that we actually taught our children this important lesson. Even better, that we should not only be reminded of it ourselves but also embrace the philosophy. The Living Bible rendition of today’s verse is, “For if you give, you will get!” Pretty simple, huh?

Santa wins over Jessica with a gift and later she becomes Mrs. Santa Claus. He built a culture of giving but in his version, people give back. We live in a culture where people take and take. There seems to be little charity among us. We walk by the Salvation Army kettles like they are an annoyance to us rather than allowing ourselves to be motivated to support a group who is doing the work of helping others. This is not our essential nature though. It is not who we are. We are kind and generous in our union with Christ. We just allow the culture and our schedules to poison our attitudes.

So, here is my Christmas wish for you. Go get the collection of old-time Christmas animated classics. Get a big bowl of popcorn and watch them with your loved ones. Listen and watch for the message of Christ and let it melt you. Allow your love and generosity to bob to the surface. Let your tenderness show and let it have its say. I wish for you to receive greatly but I know that you must give if you want to get. Let Jesus fill your heart and bless you abundantly. That is my wish for you, immeasurable abundance of Christ in you and with you. Merry Christmas!

Comfort and Joy

Philemon 1: 7

For I have come to have much joy and comfort in your love.

Tidings of comfort and joy I bring to you this day in the name of Jesus. “Remember Christ our savior was born on Christmas Day.” He came offering us comfort. He is the gift of joy to each person. Joy is a choice, however and is the comfort he brings. His presents are offerings from God the Father but not all choose to receive.

As I listen to this Christmas carol, I hear in it Jesus’ evangelical message. It is different from many of the evangelical messages I have heard in the past. This one holds no condemnation. It does not scream that we are destined for hell unless we repent. This message from the savior king says very simply, “I have come to offer you comfort and joy.” Hallelujah!

Sometimes I think we misunderstand the word “savior.” Somehow we even confuse it with task master or condemner but Jesus, by his own admission, came to give us abundant life (John 10: 10). When all the world was lost and spiraling down to eternal torment, God, in his love, devised a plan to comfort us and to give us great joy. That was His big plan, to soothe and save us from ourselves. He sent a baby, probably the most non-threatening image in this world, to be our savior.

I hope you will sing about comfort and joy all day today and as you do may God’s love and comfort fill you. I pray that His presence within you will fill you with peace, the peace of Jesus, that peace which is incomprehensible unless you experience yourself. Love, joy, peace and comfort are His gifts to you today. Enjoy!

The Gift

Matthew 5: 23

Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar . . ..

This week I wish to bring you Christmas themed messages. I have been especially touched through Christmas songs and movies this year. One of my traditions is to gorge on Christmas music and I love, also, to watch the old Christmas cartoons of my youth. I find such beauty and inspiration in their simple but profound messages. Today, I want to tell you the story of the song, “The Gift.”

The story goes that a young orphan girl was on her way to the market when she stopped by the roadside to rest. There, where she paused, she found a small bird which had a broken wing. Maria, picked up the little bird and carried it with her to the market where she spent her last peso buying a cage for a home and corn to feed it. Over time, the little bird grew stronger and under Maria’s kind ministrations, healed.

This was the time of Christmas and everyone in the town made their way to the manger, offerings gifts of love and adoration to the baby king. Maria, poor and without resources was embarrassed that she had no gift worthy of the king. She waited until just before midnight to go in when no one would see her. As she knelt at the manger she cried for “her gift was unworthy of him,” but then a voice out of the darkness spoke to her. “Maria, what you brings you to me? If the bird in the cage is your offering, open the door let me see.” Maria opened the cage door and the little bird took flight on its healed wing. Just then the midnight bells tolled, and the little bird began to sing. The song was beautiful beyond words, a song fit for a king. This is the story of the very first Nightingale’s Song.

I was struck, as perhaps you were, of Maria’s desire to present an offering worthy of the king. Perhaps you too are grieved, as am I, that you have no offering worthy of our beloved Jesus. All we have to offer him is ourselves. In my heart I know my offering is a gift less worthy than a little bird. My offering is so insignificant that it is embarrassing to lay at the feet of the savior and king. And yet, it is all I have. As I recoil at the very thought of offering Jesus and the Father such a useless, unworthy gift, I am lifted by love Himself who says, “Thank you. This is the gift I have always wanted. The only one I wished for.”

His graciousness and acceptance is beyond humbling. He creates whole universes but the one thing He cannot get for Himself is my heart . . . and yours. If you want to give Father the one thing on His Christmas list this year, I know what it is. He wants us to strip away all of the trappings of who we are, what we do, our successes and our failures and just give Him our unadulterated hearts. He wants the heart of the child within you.

I pray that you will be overcome with the joy of the season and immersed in the love of the Father. I hope this week’s devotions will help you share your love with Jesus, the Father and with all people you come in contact with. May you be blessed beyond measure.

Christmas Presence

I hope you will join me this week for a special series of Christmas themed messages.  I wish you a happy holiday as we celebrate the presence of God with us, Immanuel. 

May your Christmas abound with the goodness of God and the joy of Jesus.

God bless you all!

Adoration Time

Hebrews 2: 12

I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”

Okay, it’s official. The Christmas season has begun. So now, I can start my Christmas celebration.

I love Christmas and I have already been playing and singing Christmas music. As I sang along with classic favorites, I was touched by the line, “Come let us adore him.” What a beautiful petition. Come friends, let us adore Christ in our actions, words and thoughts. I was touched by this thought but also chagrined as I realized how often I have heard those words and that is all they were, words in a song. It is amazing to me how we can sing such songs and sometimes remain untouched by them. What a great message for us, though, as we enter the Yuletide season. Come, one and all, let us find breath and sentiment to adore the Christ.

One of the things I have noticed this year already is how happy and light my heart becomes as I sing Christmas songs. The child who came brought with him salvation for all. That is worthy of praise. He also brought joy, a joy so deep and so broad that time cannot mark its boundaries. It is a joy so profound that your human heart is altered as you experience it. You feel it in your body and you may even find yourself a little giddy. No wonder Christmas makes children of us all. The joy Christ has poured into our hearts is most easily expressed in a childlike fashion.

I encourage you to give into that innocent joy. As you sing Christmas carols, give yourself over to the exultant emotion within. Let your heart be reborn in the simplicity of the Christ child. Lift your voice to give God praise and experience the overwhelming sense of love and acceptance.

Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas. As we enter this season of great joy I pray that the presence of Jesus will be with you more strongly than ever before and that you will find your heart lifted on the wings of his love. Come friends, “let us adore him, Christ, the Lord.”

Adoration Time

Hebrews 2: 12

I will proclaim Your name to My brethren, In the midst of the congregation I will sing Your praise.”

Okay, it’s official. This Christmas season has begun. So now, I can start my Christmas celebration.

I love Christmas and I have already been playing and singing Christmas music. I was touched by the line, “Come let us adore him.” What a beautiful petition. Come friends, let us adore Christ in our actions, words and thoughts. I was touched by this thought but also chagrined as I realized how often I have heard those words and that is all they were, words in a song. It is amazing to me how we can sing such songs and sometimes remain untouched by them. What a great message for us, though, as we enter the Yuletide season. Come, one and all, let us find breath and sentiment to adore the Christ.

One of the things I have noticed this year already is how happy and light my heart becomes as I sing Christmas songs. The child who came brought with him salvation for all. That is worthy of praise. He also brought joy, a joy so deep and so broad that time cannot mark its boundaries. It is a joy so profound that your human heart is altered as you experience it. You feel it in your body and you may even find yourself a little giddy. No wonder Christmas makes children of us all. The joy Christ has poured into our hearts is most easily expressed in a childlike fashion.

I encourage you to give into that innocent joy. As you sing Christmas carols, give yourself over to the exultant emotion within. Let your heart be reborn in the simplicity of the Christ child. Lift your voice to give God praise and experience the overwhelming sense of love and acceptance.

Let me be the first to wish you a Merry Christmas. As we enter this season of great joy I pray that the presence of Jesus will be with you more strongly than ever before and that you will find your heart lifted on the wings of his love. Come friends, “let us adore him, Christ, the Lord.”

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