Thursday, December 31, 2015

The Last Day (of the Year)

The morning of Thursday, just another day, right? Somehow that last day of the year is not just another day for us. We have the conclusion of 365 days in one year and we like to look back on the life we lived this past year. Why do we do this? Why say goodbye to a year when tomorrow is just another day? God gave us the years and they were important to Him in the Creation.

"Then God said, “Let there be lights in the firmament of the heavens to divide the day from the night; and let them be for signs and seasons, and for days and years." (Genesis 1:14)

Days and years: something that God created that was not overthrown or thrown off by Adam's sin. One day we feel a bit sad with the closing of a year, and the next day we feel a renewal of hope in the beginning of a new year. One day each of us may feel a bit sad on the last day of our life on this earth, but the next we will feel a permanent renewal of hope and joy as we see Jesus. Each year at the close, we get just a bit of that by way of reminder. So, that's a big yes, this is not just another day for us. The last day of the year is indeed something to live and reflect. Tomorrow, not just another day but the beginning of a new year in Christ.

A little grief then great joy, rejoice in the Lord!


Wednesday, December 30, 2015

The Rumble of Repetitive Sameness

Hear that? It comes this way! The rumble of repetitive sameness draws near and we are powerless to stop it. Is it that way though? Look at that hand knitted or crocheted scarf. Is it not beautiful in its repeating pattern? See the pattern in the carpet or tile, do we not take comfort in the stability of its repeated design? We may be of that type of person who fears the job on the production line where every piece is the same year after year. Even that sort of person can take comfort in the unchanging vista (at least to our limited view) of the mountain range to the west. Above all is it not a comfort to know of God's unchanging sameness in His holy perfection?

Much of what we judge right or wrong comes out of our viewpoint. We want to be able to say quite emphatically and without the least doubt that this thing is wrong or right or whatever. We may realize fully that our point of view is a slippery thing often dependent upon circumstance and how we feel on any given day. Yet, we still want the independence to decide right and wrong, good and evil, and declare the thing or action to be ever so. Open the Bible, see the Pharisees telling the Lord of all that He cannot do this thing. Read as the Pharisees set themselves as final arbiters of the Law to pronounce doom upon the Almighty for telling them who He is. We face the same temptation and we don't always resist the Tempter as we should.

To some the rumble of repetitive sameness may be in that very production line that others fear. To them the sound is a comfortable living with the ability to give the children a chance at college. The sound of the conveyor belt each day may be a repetitive sameness to you or me, but to those who take comfort from it the sound is one of progress toward a goal. I don't get to say that this person's means is a horrible thing from which he must be freed. We who follow Christ have but one thing we must do for him. We get to share the good news of Jesus Christ. Often, we will find that his contentment in life is due to Jesus being there before us. We can then share the good news with each other, loving our neighbor as our self.

Have a loving day as we journey toward the New Year!


Monday, December 28, 2015

Heal One, Release Another?

Good Monday morning in the between the holidays season! Lots of folks take this week off and I am glad for them. Others will go to work much like normal today with the exception that all the kids off from school will be laughing at us. Then there are those few who are fighting off the Grim Reaper in this season of the year. My former neighbor in Sidney is one such person. I have followed his struggles on Facebook and prayed many a time but still the battle goes on. What do we say when the prayers for healing seem to go unanswered and it appears that God is silent? That is always a tough one.

God is good and He acts in love. This I believe in faith. I cannot prove it based on my anecdotal evidence of medical cases. I have seen many healed slowly after serving time in the ICU, enduring surgery, graduating to the general ward, and finally released to recover at home. I have heard of miraculous healing taking place too - no time in the ICU! Then there are those cases where the release is from this life. Which of them is God's will? All of them, or maybe none of them?

I don't recall the Bible mentioning a hospital in the Garden of Eden. Our need for healing may only come from Adam's decision to go it apart from God by his disobedience. All the sickness and injury we experience in this world may be different forms of those thorns the cursed earth brings forth. All of them hurt us but some drive deeper than others even to the point of death. Is it any wonder our Lord was crowned with thorns by the world?

In Christ,

Thursday, December 24, 2015

The Good News of His Birth

We were out of options. Paradise was lost, the law couldn't save sinful man, and a special people finally disobeyed so much that God's presence left the temple. All we had left was one hope, a savior who would come out of Bethlehem. On that first Christmas, the shepherds heard the good news of His birth from angelic messengers. "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." (Luke 2:11)

The angel imparts the news of the coming of our one great hope. The news of the ages spoken on a night in Judea. Darkness is banished as the angelic hosts arrive to celebrate the good news. God's great gift to mankind is born! A manger was His bed, a stable His first earthly home, but with the arrival of Jesus we were saved. How wonderful the good news! How joyous the tidings!

Rejoice in the virgin birth and in the good news of our Savior!


Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Fear Fell

Merry Christmas as the day draws ever closer! In Luke 1 we read about Zacharias, a priest whose lot was to burn incense one day in the temple. First, he enjoyed the honor of selection, but then fear fell on him. To paraphrase the scripture a bit, it seems that an angel stood to the right of the incense altar. As in many other cases in the Bible, the angel first tells Zach to not be afraid. Angels bring messages of good news from God, but we in our sinfulness suffer that avalanche of fear when confronted with the uncanny.

It is interesting that while we pray for and take comfort in guardian angels, when actually confronted by an angel the people in the Bible are frightened. We can claim no exemption as I am quite sure that I would be frightened in much the same way as Gideon, Zacharias, Mary, and the many others who met angels in the scripture stories. A bit over a year later, some shepherds abiding in the field by night had the same reaction - they were sore afraid. There does seem to be a lot of fear in the Christmas story.

The good news is that amongst all that fear, God sent His Son to cleanse us from fear. Do you still suffer the problem of fear in this life? Yes, me too. We have been given faith in the Good News though, and that faith will one day see the banishment of fear, forever. Another interesting picture to hold in mind is that while our Shepherd leads us toward home, He drives fear before Him. Rest in His love as we celebrate the birth of Christ!


Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Christmastime Again!

Merry Christmas! I'm feeling the joy of the season once more. The sun is rising over the snowy cold plains, and the love of Jesus pours down from Heaven as we prepare for another day. Immanuel, do we use the name Christ was given way back in Isaiah as much as we should? His name means, 'God with us', just as Jesus said after He rose from the grave,"... and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age." (Matt 28:20) Always with us, just as His name foretold. I wonder that His name has not taken hold in us as much as it should. Of course, His name is Jesus too, and God has indeed saved His people from their sin.

Our Lord has many names: Wonderful, Counselor, Almighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. We don't have to worry about getting them all in every time we speak of Christ. Just speak to Him as we rejoice in the season of His birth. Give thanks to the Lord and praise His name! Perhaps Immanuel is something we remember more than we speak. God with us, God with me. Thank you, dear Lord Jesus, for being with us always.


Monday, December 21, 2015

Ho Hum, It's Christmas Week

Christmas shopping for weeks, the Nutcracker already done, too many Scrooge/Christmas Carols watched and read; and It's a Wonderful Life I've seen twice this year - once in B/W and once in colorized. One more Christmas song and I'll give up the whole thing for Lent. What happened? Did I peak too early in my holiday celebrations or is it just a Monday?

It's easy to get weary during a month-long celebration. We don't have the endurance or strength for a holiday this long. In fact, if I didn't have a chance to take a break with some work, I'm not sure I could go on. Is it possible to have too much of a good thing? In this life, I do believe that is quite possible.

Physically we tire quite easily, emotionally we may go on a bit longer, but in time we will grow weary there too. So, how are we going to make it through an eternal celebration? Of course, as Paul was kind to point out, something must change. The corruptible must put on incorruption. The failing flesh must be reborn of the Spirit, and as Nicodemus found it must be different than our first birth. We need God to prep us for the eternal celebration of life in Christ! Praise God, He is doing just that.

Have a Merry Christmas this week!


Friday, December 18, 2015

The Gift We Get Each Year

Christmas, one week from today, hooray! The struggle to give the right and proper gift comes to us all. What to get for the man who has everything? What to get for the mom who says that anything will do? The former kind of excludes all and the latter doesn't help narrow it down much. Eeek! Holiday stress! Then, there is that gift we get every year.

No, I'm not talking fruitcake here. Each year at Christmas, we receive from God the Father an "I love you!" It seems just a little more beautiful and a bit more joyous than the love God gives each day. Not that God's love is any less on those other days, the difference is in the perception of the imperfect ones receiving the gift. At Christmas we are reminded of God's great love in that special way that says, "Jesus!" We celebrate the birth of the Christ, and that adds a special kind of love to God's Christmas gift.

Next Friday, when God gives me that special Christmas gift of His, I believe I'll take notice and do my best to give a special thanksgiving for His great gift. Have a merrier Christmas in God's love!


Thursday, December 17, 2015

A Life Reversal

Already this morning I have made two egregious gaffs, what will the remainder of this day be like? To be sure, I looked up the word 'egregious' and found as expected that it means: outstandingly bad; shocking. The funny thing is the archaic definition which was: remarkably good. What happened to this poor word? It seems to have suffered a serious life reversal. That reminds me of what happened to our Lord.

Sure, one might think of His entry into Jerusalem that we celebrate as Palm Sunday and then His rejection by the same crowd at His trial, but I was thinking today of His coming down from Heaven. It might seem a terrible reversal to enjoy a place as the Son of God in Heaven and then to be born into this world suffering what we suffer and seeing the terrible suffering of others, and it most certainly was. However, we are told in the Bible that Jesus volunteered through His great love in order that we might be saved.

Serious life reversals come to many of us, but seldom is it voluntary. Usually, we try with all our might to avoid such things; what with them being the frightening and uncomfortable adventures that they are. Only a greater love must be present in our Lord Jesus that He would give up Heaven to die for the likes of us. How remarkably good is our great God!

Merry Christmas!

Wednesday, December 16, 2015


Merry Christmas on this cold and snowy morning! We are convinced of many things through our faith in Christ. The virgin birth in Bethlehem, the wise men traveling to see the newborn King of the Jews, a star guiding those travelers to the place where Jesus was, and many other stories of the Christmas celebration. We are also convinced of what came after in the life of Christ. There are a lot of other things that have been added to Christmas over the centuries, but we hold true to those things that are Christ.

Paul was convinced that nothing could separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Love is central to the Christmas story. The love of God may be what some resist hardest of all. Accepting God's love threatens that independence some cherish above all things. Is it so hard to be dependent upon God and let Him love us? That is a question only the individual in us can answer. We all face the temptation to be strong only in our own might. With that understanding in our hearts of what those who would fight against the love of God as shown in Christmas struggle to accept, let us take the love of Jesus and our dependence upon the Almighty and rejoice in this great holiday!

Ow, I think I broke something writing that last sentence, maybe my independence? May God have mercy on our nation this Christmas.


Tuesday, December 15, 2015

They Couldn't Have Been There

Wow, it must be getting closer to Christmas both inside and outside today. The weather foretells of a white Christmas and the tone of the pile of shopping ads in the ol' inbox smacks of vendor desperation.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 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. (Luke 2:8-9 KJV)

The shepherds were not supposed to be out in the field on December 25th. At least that is one of the arguments against our Christmas Day. How do we know that though? Throughout many twists and turns in this life, you and I have found ourselves in a place we weren't supposed to be at a time we weren't supposed to be there. That is generally part of the back story of many disaster novels and movies too. The shepherds may have been turned out to make room for David's latter day generations as they descended upon little Bethlehem to be registered by the Roman authority.

For their troubles, the shepherds got to be sore afraid. Wouldn't you be? An angel of the Lord coming to visit and a good old-fashioned surrounding by the glory of the Lord might make any of us sore afraid. Yet, what great news they got to hear first!

"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord!"

Merry Christmas,

Monday, December 14, 2015

You Should

Tis the season of giving, and it sure is easy to give a lot of rules to folks, eh? We study the word of God and learn the rules. Jesus came to Earth and fulfilled the law. We are freed from slavery to the law by His grace. We turn around and lay a bunch of rules on people. How is it that we manage to do that so well?

Perhaps it is the example of our government: the earth groans with the weight of governmental rules and regulations. It may well come from our childhood authority figures and we just pass it down to the next generation. Some rules are just good advice or warning: Step off a cliff and you'll fall. (Codified under Title 473 of the Code of Federal Regulations: Gravity.) Others help prevent injury to others. Obeying those stop signs ranks kind of high on my list in this category. However, the only real problem with all those rules may begin with the words, 'You should'.

When we preface quoting the rules with that personal command we may err on side of the Pharisees. Those two words say that I know better than the other person and that I know all about his special circumstances, sort of a grand theft of God's place if you will.

Since I don't know all about his or her personal circumstance, I might try it with a little understanding and compassion when another asks my advice. "Hmm, that's a tough situation to live with, I will pray for you and seek God's wisdom in this." Then, if I have personal experience, I could relate a story like, "Back in the day, I faced a similar situation and I did this thing, and I sure wouldn't do that again!" (Too many stories of that nature.) Of course, the first thing was the asking part. A 'You should' is much worse perhaps even socially embarrassing when there has been no asking.

Have a merry Christmas and love those neighbors as yourself!


Saturday, December 12, 2015

A Bit More o' That Christmas Spirit, Please!

Yesterday's news was a portion of woe, but today's is much better. We say, "A bit more o' that Christmas Spirit, please!" Yes, the house was a total loss and the family displaced. Yes, the children's presents under the tree were all consumed in the fire. As of yesterday afternoon, the news had gone out that the presents were replaced, clothing in the appropriate sizes for all the family had arrived, and money donated to see the family through this tough time.

It is with news like this that we may not believe we deserve to live in a community such as this with such generous people. To have the love of neighbors demonstrated so well is humbling and gratifying. God's provision is good and timely.

So we go forth into the weekend with our faith proven once more and a goodly portion of that Christmas Spirit. Have a very merry Christmas!


Friday, December 11, 2015

The Bad News at Christmas

Two weeks until Christmas! Yet, more bad news. How many times in this age have we heard of homes lost just before Christmas? How temporary are things in this world. Bad news at Christmas hits hard. A time of joy and peace we long for arrives and the mood is shattered by disaster. Then, the sun rises on a new day. A reminder that God is not moved off His throne. Opportunity to help arrives with the disaster. The family escaped without injury, better news! Possessions can be replaced with generosity but human lives we cannot return. Praise God the family lives!

Yes, we lost another house and all the kids' presents to fire in this little community last night. Always a heart-breaking kind of story and one we seem to hear too often. Christmas will still come though, and with it a reminder that the things of this world pass away. We enjoy giving material things to touch and hold, but the good news of Jesus Christ will survive any calamity. Love, friendship, compassion, and kindness survive where worldly things are consumed.

It is tough to write about the tough things we suffer. I find it much easier to write of the joy at Christmas than to pass on bad news, but we are to share with our brothers and sisters in Christ. May God's blessings in this Christmas season touch our neighbors in a special way.


Thursday, December 10, 2015

To Save The Lost

"The Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost." Luke 19:10

Why do we celebrate the birth of Christ? Someone may ask us that question today. To them, a child of the modern world, Christmas may be a national holiday set aside to bolster retail sales prior to the ending of the year, Santa Claus a corporate shill invented to help sell product (there's some basis for that one), and a bit of time off work for families in the capitalist state. Yes, we have a different take on this holiday, but why?

The Blue Letter Bible blog gave 12 reasons for Christmas and I grabbed number four today. To save the lost is plenty of reason all by itself for Jesus to come to Earth, and I'm glad He did. You might say that I am grateful with my very life for Jesus coming to save the lost. The problem is that those who do not believe cannot understand that reason on their own.

Many in the world are, or at least think they are, in complete control of their lives and destiny. The security they seek in life is just around the corner of one more year of work or that next promotion or perhaps a few more crunches in the gym. Worse, the religious leader tells them that just a few more good deeds will see them safely home in the hereafter. To admit to being lost and dependent upon a savior is too much of a blow to their sense of security by human effort. Like the driver who won't ask for directions because he or she does not feel lost, that person cannot admit to a need for salvation.

Praise God that we have found the need and the salvation through Christ our Lord! We know lost and we know the Lord. Christmas is that time of the year when we celebrate the arrival of our Lord and Savior.


Wednesday, December 09, 2015

Harbinger of the Good

Aaargh! Already I have forgotten the oatmeal on the stove. Is this how the day will go? A harbinger is often seen as bearing bad news, but it wasn't always so. In one definition, I read that originally a harbinger was one sent ahead of a travelling party to arrange for lodgings. A good harbinger might then have rooms at a nice inn and negotiated a good price, opened the rooms up to air out, made sure of fresh linens, and even scouted the local restaurants. These days harbingers have fallen out in favor of the Internet on mobile devices. The tendency toward the bad news in our age might also come from the amount of bad news we have access to in any given day. It just seems like everything is a harbinger of worse to come I guess.

Well, it doesn't have to be that way with us. John the Baptist was the herald or harbinger of the Lord Jesus. He brought good news of the coming good news! The tribulation we suffer prior to the end is not so bad when we see what comes after. Paul in Romans 8:18 wrote: "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." Good news for those of us who suffer! The coming glory to be revealed in us is so great that there is no comparison with the suffering present. What a great and good God we worship!

Merry Christmas in the love of Christ Jesus,


Tuesday, December 08, 2015

An Unwanted Journey? Maybe Not

It's true that we take some uncomfortable trips at times. Going to the doctor in another state because the doctor in your hometown couldn't fix that thing that is hurting in his office is not the most fun journey. Traveling to a town a hundred miles away to bail a friend out of jail because he got into some legal trouble is not the trip we may have wanted to take. Mary and Joseph perhaps wanted to have the baby Jesus in Nazareth because family, friends, and Joseph's business was right there. Perhaps they had a favorite midwife or healer who had a 100% success rate in delivering babies in their hometown. Bethlehem? Who lives in Bethlehem that we know? I hear they don't even have a decent inn at Bethlehem.

We don't know why Joseph and Mary journeyed while Mary was near to baby time, but that is what happened. Not the best time to make a mother expecting her first child ride a donkey 70 miles it would seem to us, but down the road to Bethlehem they went. Then again, what if the Adversary could keep Jesus from fulfilling just one prophecy, like maybe the one about the Messiah coming forth from Bethlehem?

It may be that Joseph and Mary wanted very much to have Jesus born in Bethlehem, but faced all manner of obstacles in getting there. Joseph may have seen a sudden rush of jobs in the carpenter shop that needed finishing. Mary's father might have refused permission until that decree came from the Roman emperor. Mary may have struggled in her first pregnancy with illness. To think that Joseph and Mary didn't want to make the trip may well be unfair. If the Devil could have stopped the birth of Jesus... Ha, who are we kidding? When the Almighty says something is going to happen, there's just no stopping His sovereign will!

Praise God for the virgin birth in Bethlehem of His wonderful Son, Jesus!


Monday, December 07, 2015

Christmas Prophecy

Merry Christmas at this most joyous time of the year! Isaiah 9:1-2, Micah 5:2, are just a couple of the prophecies of Christmas fulfilled in the following passage:

Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child. (Luke 2:4-5)

There are more, but the point is that centuries before the Messiah came, God had put down in writing the who, what, and where. God reserved the when to Himself, much like a certain other prophecy we look forward to on this day. We think it impressive when someone correctly guesses the score and winner of a football game a few days before game day.

I hesitate to think of all that had to come together to make sure all was ready for Messiah. Israel as a people and a nation, the physical location of Judea, Galilee, Nazareth, and Bethlehem even to the tribe and family that lived there. Then, the family line had to be maintained from David all the way to Jesus, unbroken and alive through the battles and accidents of the world for a thousand years. Think of the accidents and illnesses that have taken our loved ones through a mere 100 years or so those living right now can remember and we can see the difficulty of keeping that one family line going for ten times that span. Then God did it twice as we read the family trees of Mary and Joseph in Matthew and Luke. All that accomplished for but a couple of the many prophecies of Messiah.

All we lack is the when of the Second Coming of Christ, is there any doubt that God will do all that He requires to make that happen? None for me, sir! Amen. Come Lord Jesus!


Friday, December 04, 2015

The Stage Got Moving

In the waning days of the BC era, a man and woman were engaged to be married. Not a big deal in those times as far as unusual news might go; certainly lots of people got engaged and married in their time much like we do now. However, the young lady was already pregnant before the marriage ceremony had taken place. News of a gossipy sort to be sure, but again probably not as uncommon as the leaders of the time might like us to believe. The young lady was still a virgin. Oh, that's different, but that's a story for another time. The problem we read today is that Joseph and Mary were in the wrong town. The Messiah was to come from Bethlehem and they were not there even as Mary was great with child. The Son of God was ready to arrive but His stage was stuck in Nazareth. Enter the far reaching hand of the emperor in Rome.

And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. (Luke 2:1-3)

Of course the family and couple wanted to have the baby near home. We would too, no blame to them for that from us, but God's will has a way of working out. Most likely a date was set on the decree from Caesar and a punishment for not making it in time. Given that Judea was occupied territory, the punishment was probably harsh or even final for disobedience of the emperor's will. Joseph packed up the stage, or donkey, or his feet, or whatever, and off the young couple went on the 70-mile or so journey to Bethlehem. All because of a government census ...and a certain prophecy from God that needed fulfilling.

Many things are going on in the world today that may look like chaos and confusion (and they probably are), but God is not asleep at the switch or enjoying some alone time in a galaxy far, far away waiting on the next Star Wars movie. His will and His prophecies are coming due. We look around at the news in this world today and well we may wonder whether we will celebrate Christmas here or perhaps with the One who was born on that day in person.

Amen. Come Lord Jesus!

Thursday, December 03, 2015

Someone Attacked Christmas Yesterday

Speculation about the motives of the killers will run rampant in the news media today, but I am concerned most about the attack on my faith. No one tried to shut down my Bible study yesterday and no one that I know of tried to stop my devotional or interfere with my prayers to God. Yet, somehow I feel that my faith was attacked because the killers targeted a Christmas party. I also realize that while Santa Claus may have been invited to this particular Christmas party, Christ the Lord may have been kept waiting outside. Still, I feel that because my Lord lent His name and title to the holiday party then anyone trying to end a party by murder must have something against Jesus. Therefore, I will take up that best weapon against evil in the world - the sword of the Word of God!

So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying:“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matt 1:22-23)

God is with us even and perhaps especially when the world seems a very dangerous and evil place to live. As we go to a Christmas party or to decorate a home or office for this holiday of our Lord's birth, let us remember that this anti-Christ evil has a very limited time. No matter how many fall to the guns of the murderers they cannot change the fact that our Lord Jesus was born of the virgin Mary and He is coming back soon!


Wednesday, December 02, 2015

The Eve (or two) Before Christmas

Let's say for this morning that it is about 10 BC on the calendar. Things are tough all over, but in Israel the prophets that once spouted reams of scripture have been gone for about 400 years. The great kings of old, David and Solomon, are represented by Herod, a king approved by the Roman occupiers but of questionable lineage and blood. God's voice must seem silent to those few remaining who believe in the Lord. Does anyone in the land have a clue about what is about to happen?

Well, there was one man, Simeon, it seems who was told he would not see death until he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2:26) Maybe he was around this year and his waiting had begun, but we don't know that for sure. Other than Simeon, the people of Israel waited much like we do today: they knew Messiah was coming but not when. The eve or two before Christmas was pretty bleak it may have seemed on the spiritual front.

Advance the calendar a few short years and this is the year Jesus will come. However, those folks still do not know that the arrival of the Christ is imminent. Mary is already pregnant and well along. Zacharias has met with Gabriel and served his sentence of silence. Elisabeth has born the herald and messenger, little John the Baptist. Simeon may or may not know of his doom at this time. Yet, for most of the land they are still in that waiting and wondering mode. The eve before the first Christmas is yet a time of stark silence from the Lord by the reckoning of most believers. But we know from scripture that much was going on in God's work at this time.

That is the case on this day more than 2,000 years later. We are waiting and wondering, but God's work is ongoing and advancing. This day may be the eve of that next Christmas when Christ comes to take us home. Don't give up hope, as the first blessed birth happened then, so will the second coming in God's perfect time.

Have a Merry Christmas! (Go ahead and start now, it's only about 22 days to Christmas.)


Tuesday, December 01, 2015

What Some Folks Knew

Lots of people knew the Christ had arrived. Shepherds abiding in the field (keeping watch o'er their flocks by night), Mary and Joseph, John the Baptist's parents, some wise men far away, and a prophet and prophetess hanging around the temple (a few days later). It was no secret. The arrival of a savior had been foretold centuries before and written down in holy scripture. Angels announced the birth and sent forth some shepherd messengers. I guess we could say that our Lord did not exactly sneak into the world.

What some folks knew back in the day, we can know and proclaim today. Jesus, God in human form, came down to earth to save us all. We love God because He loved us so much that His Son died to save us on the cross. Born as a baby into a world filled with the stain of sin, Christ came to love. How did we earn such a blessing?

Of course, we didn't. God's love came down without our deserving Him in any way. Love didn't wait for someone to attain some degree of holy because none of us could make that grade now and none could then. If Abraham, Joseph, Moses, David, or Daniel could not live a life deserving of a savior, how could we? The arrival of our savior was not earned by us or them, but it was because of the lost sheep of many generations that He came. Love set the time and the timing. Love saw the need and the needy. Love gave the prophecies and sent the prophets to spread the knowledge. What some folks knew then and we know now, is that love came down in the Christ child.

Merry Christmas in Christ!