(We Wish You A Happy Christmas Eve Everyone)
Big Lessons in Small Pictures
As I looked down into the manger of the nativity scene, the Holy Spirit said to me: “There are big lessons in small pictures.”
I began to think about what a manger was used for. It was an eating place that held food for the animals — donkeys, cows, and maybe even sheep.
This seemed to be so small and insignificant, but in Luke, chapter two, God thought it important enough to point it out three times. He also pointed out that the baby Jesus was laid in it.
“Father, I asked, “what is the importance of the manger?”
God led me to the Old Testament, Exodus, chapter 16, which tells about the Israelites being led out of captivity and into the wilderness. They complained about not having food. God gave them manna from heaven, which they complained about later also.
From there, my journey continued to the New Testament (John 6). Jesus had fed 5,000 people with five barley loaves and two fish. Later in that chapter, He tells the crowd and the disciples,
” …it is My Father who gives you the true bread out of heaven. For the bread of God is that which comes down out of heaven, and gives life to the world … I am the bread of life; he who comes to Me will not hunger, and he who believes in Me will never thirst.” John 6:32-33, John 6:35 (NASB)
From there, I found myself in Matthew 6:8-13. Jesus tells us that GOD knows what we need and then teaches us “how” to pray. In verses 11 and 12, He says,
“Give us this day our daily bread. And forgive us our debts, as we also have forgiven our debtors.” (NASB)
As I gazed back into the manger, I realized when Jesus the Messiah was born and laid into a manger that God, Our Father, had sent Manna from heaven that was more holy than any other ever sent before. Jesus is our “Manna from heaven.”
Sadly, some still complain and want something different, just as the Israelites did. He is the bread that we need to ask to be fed from daily. When we eat from our Bread of Life — Jesus Christ — it becomes spiritually necessary to get rid of the dirt that is inside. Therefore, we need to ask for forgiveness.
Come to the manger and take a second look inside. As you look at the babe inside that manger, whom everyone came to admire, remember that He is the same person who later was rejected, mutilated, and killed for sins He never committed — but you and I did. Praise God, Jesus arose from the dead! Now, because He did this, we can go to our manger and eat daily from the Bread of Life and drink His Living Water.
May God bless you with a fresh new look at the birth of our Lord, Savior, and Messiah, Jesus Christ!
A Gift Too Wonderful for Words!
Scripture Reading — Luke 2:1-20
Thanks be to God for his indescribable gift!
2 Corinthians 9:15 —
Every Christmas season for the past several years we have had the privilege of watching our grandchildren open their Christmas gifts. It has become a family tradition. Each year it’s a delight to see their anticipation as they tear wrapping paper away and then see a gift they wanted but had not expected.
Whatever gifts we give each other, none comes close to the gift God gave us on the first Christmas Day some 2,000 years ago—the gift of his Son, the Lord Jesus. It’s a gift too wonderful for words.
God’s gift to us is the most costly gift ever. It’s the gift not only of the birth but also of the death of his Son, our Lord Jesus. It’s a gift we don’t own, because we belong to him, and we can’t keep this gift for ourselves. Most important, Jesus is the gift that each one of us needs desperately. Without him there is no hope, no life, no future.
God’s gift to us on that first Christmas calls us to celebrate and worship. Make sure to come and worship Christ the Lord today. Accept God’s gift and receive him as your Lord and Savior. Invite someone who does not know about this gift to come with you. And as you celebrate, ask the Lord for open doors to share this gift in days to come.
Father in heaven, thank you for your gift that is too wonderful for words. Help us to accept your gift and share it. To you be all glory. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Home for Christmas
Scripture Reading — Romans 8:1-17
Those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God… And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.”
—Romans 8:14-15 —
This is the time of year when our hearts turn toward home and loved ones. We look forward to family gatherings, and we are saddened if we can’t be home for Christmas.
For our sake, Christ actually left his home at Christmas. He left the glory of heaven to come to our sin-filled world. The Holy One came to the unholy; the Creator came to his broken, cor-rupted creation.
Sin alienated us from God. Jesus took the initiative to seek us out and bring us back. He came to bear our sin. He came to be cut off from the Father’s love because of his love for us. He came to earth to bring us to heaven. He paid our debt to provide the way home to the Father.
Through Jesus we are adopted as God’s beloved children. It is through Christ that we can call the almighty, holy God “Abba, Father.” Our equivalent word for Abba is “Daddy.” I still remember the joy of times when my children ran to my arms, crying “Daddy!” when I came home. Abba is the trusting child’s cry of joy and love.
What a privilege we have in Jesus that we can call God “Abba, Father.” May we grow as his children in an ever-deepening relationship of gratitude and love.
Thank you, Jesus, for coming to earth to bring us home to our heavenly Father. Deepen our love, and may our lives reflect that we are children of God. In your name, Amen.
God With Us
Scripture Reading — John 1:1-14
The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us.
—John 1:14 —
Sometimes it takes a while to understand what is going on around you.
On October 30, 2010, shoppers filled Macy’s department store in Philadelphia. It was a normal shopping day until, without any fanfare, over 650 singers from the area joined the Opera Company of Philadelphia Chorus and began singing Handel’s “Hallelujah Chorus.” At first, shoppers appeared confused as they came to see what was happening. The singers were not on a stage but were interspersed among the shoppers. People recorded the event on their cameras, and it soon went public on the Internet. This “random act of culture” may have looked spontaneous, but it took some effort to make this event happen.
When Jesus appeared on earth, it initially looked like a random birth. Though a few people knew of Jesus’ coming, most were unaware of the plans that had been made in heaven in order to bring us a Savior.
The Gospel of John gives us a glimpse into the background planning that went into bringing Jesus to us. The birth of Christ was more than a simple occasion of a young woman giving birth in a stable, to which shepherds and wise men came to visit. This was an occasion that God had choreographed to rescue people from all nations. Let’s rejoice today, for God made his dwelling on earth for us!
We praise you for your great plans and works of salvation, Lord Jesus. Help us to see the amazing love you have shown in coming to be with us to save us. Amen.