Dec 21, 2011
“When a Child is Born” is the name of the first song
Dec 21, 2011
“When a Child is Born” is the name of the first song
One year when our family was traveling through Ohio on the way to Grandma’s house, we arrived in Columbus just as a tornado warning was issued. Suddenly everything changed as we feared that our children might be in danger.
I mention that story to help us imagine what it was like for Joseph’s family as he, Mary, and their young child traveled to Egypt. Herod, not a tornado, threatened them as he sought to kill their little boy. Imagine how frightening it was for them, knowing that “Herod [sought] the young Child to destroy Him” (Matt. 2:13).
We usually take a more idyllic view of Christmastime—lowing cattle and kneeling shepherds in a peaceful scene. But there was no peace for Jesus’ family as they sought to escape Herod’s horror. Only when an angel told them it was safe did the family go out of Egypt and back home to Nazareth (vv.20-23).
Consider the awe we should feel for the incarnation. Jesus, who enjoyed the majesty of heaven in partnership with the Father, set it all aside to be born in poverty, to face many dangers, and to be crucified for us. Coming out of Egypt is one thing, but leaving heaven for us—that’s the grand and amazing part of this story! By Dave Branon
Today’s passage is both a harrowing and a comforting account of early events in Jesus’ life. Verse 15 reminds us that the threat to His life and His family’s hasty escape to Egypt were within God’s plan.
Jesus our Savior left heaven above,
Coming to earth as a Servant with love;
Laying aside all His glory He came,
Bringing salvation through faith in His name. —Hess
Jesus came to earth for us so we could go to heaven with Him.
2 Corinthians 1:3-7
Even though we experience seasons of celebration, all of us go through difficulties and hardships in life. At times we may find ourselves in despair, wondering if the Lord understands or even notices us. The truth is that He does understand, and He cares so deeply that He sent His only Son to rescue us from our sinful state. Not only that—He loves us and cares enough to comfort us when we hurt.
If you look up comfort in the dictionary, you will find one definition of the word. But take a look at John 14:16 (KJV), and you’ll discover quite a different meaning. In that verse, Jesus describes the work and ministry of the Holy Spirit and calls Him “the Comforter.” That term means “the one who comes to stand by our side—the one who comes to our aid.”
Because believers have the Comforter residing within, there is no need to search elsewhere for comfort. We don’t have to look to drink, drugs, entertainment, travel, or other distractions and pleasures in order to escape our trials and heartaches. We have the source of all comfort dwelling within us.
This means that when we feel as if we’re collapsing on the inside and crying out to God, “I cannot handle any more!” we can expect to sense a little inaudible whisper that encourages us: “You are going to make it because I am here.” When you discern the God-breathed comfort of the Holy Spirit—the One who stands with you no matter what sadness or difficulty you are facing—it is worth more than anything this world has to offer.
“I am the Almighty God; walk before me, and be thou perfect.” (Genesis 17:1)
Abraham had been “walking” in the land of Canaan nearly 25 years when God gave this command to him. He had experienced the shameful rebuke in Egypt by Pharaoh and a marvelous victory against Chedorlaomer—and then had demonstrated both humility and obedience before Melchizedek.
God had been explicit in His promises to Abraham, but the promised heir had not yet come. Now, in spite of the awful lapse of faith with Hagar and the nagging burden of Ishmael, God insisted that Abraham “walk before” Him and “be perfect.”
The Hebrew language here is unusual. The word translated “before me” is panyim, basically meaning “the face.” This is the term used in the first commandment where we are told to “have no other gods before me” (Exodus 20:3).
In Genesis 17:1, the phrase could well be translated “walk, looking at my face.” The first commandment could also be translated “don’t let any other god get between your face and my face.”
The implication is obvious. God expects us to live in such a way that His “face” (person, character, presence) is always “before” us so that our “walk” (lifestyle, behavior) is “perfect” (complete, whole, healthy), with nothing inhibiting the relationship “of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13).
“Noah was a just man and perfect in his generations” (Genesis 6:9). After warning Israel of the dangers of the pagan nations surrounding them, Moses still insisted that they should “be perfect with the LORD thy God” (Deuteronomy 18:13). No matter what the circumstances may be, if we are looking at God’s “face” we will walk perfectly. HMM III
“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through him, and without him was not any thing made that was made. In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light. The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’ ”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known.
The Gospel of Luke 2:1-20
In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.”
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
The Gospel of Matthew 1:18 – 2:12
Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:
Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
and they shall call his name Immanuel
(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus.
Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, saying, “Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him; and assembling all the chief priests and scribes of the people, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. They told him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for so it is written by the prophet:
“And you, O Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for from you shall come a ruler
who will shepherd my people Israel.”
Then Herod summoned the wise men secretly and ascertained from them what time the star had appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search diligently for the child, and when you have found him, bring me word, that I too may come and worship him.” After listening to the king, they went on their way. And behold, the star that they had seen when it rose went before them until it came to rest over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced exceedingly with great joy. And going into the house they saw the child with Mary his mother, and they fell down and worshiped him. Then, opening their treasures, they offered him gifts, gold and frankincense and myrrh. And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.
By: Erick Erickson
He is our peace. Ephesians 2:14
God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them; for he hath made him to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. — Having made peace through the blood of his cross, by him to reconcile all things unto himself. And you that were sometime alienated and enemies in your mind by wicked works, yet now hath he reconciled in the body of his flesh through death, to present you holy and unblameable and unreproveable in his sight. —Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way, nailing it to his cross. —Having abolished in his flesh the enmity, even the law of commandments contained in ordinances; for to make in himself of twain one new man, so making peace.
Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.
2 Corinthians 5:19,21. Colossians 1:20-22. Colossians 2:14. Ephesians 2:15. John 14:27.
We look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen: for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:18
Here have we no continuing city. — Ye have in heaven a better and an enduring
Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father’s good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations. — There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.
We that are in this tabernacle do groan, being burdened. — God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the former things are passed away.
The sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. — Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory.
Hebrews 13:14. Hebrews 10:34. Luke 12:32. 1 Peter 1:6. Job 3:17. 2 Corinthians 5:4. Revelation 21:4. Romans 8:18. 2 Corinthians 4:17.