VIDEO The Christmas Poem

snow falling-on-christmas-tree

This charming re-telling of the nativity is based on Bible Society’s 2015 children’s booklet

‘The Christmas Poem’, available at: https://www.biblesociety.org.uk/get-involved/christmas/story-booklets-christmas-2016/

https://knittingwithheart.wordpress.com/2016/12/19/56-💜-twas-the-weekend-before-christmas/

Joy for All

Joy for All

Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Luke 2:10

On the final day of a Christian publishing conference in Singapore, 280 participants from 50 countries gathered in the outdoor plaza of a hotel for a group photo. From the second-floor balcony, the photographer took many shots from different angles before finally saying, “We’re through.” A voice from the crowd shouted with relief, “Well, joy to the world!” Immediately, someone replied by singing, “The Lord is come.” Others began to join in. Soon the entire group was singing the familiar carol in beautiful harmony. It was a moving display of unity and joy that I will never forget.

In Luke’s account of the Christmas story, an angel announced the birth of Jesus to a group of shepherds saying, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord” (Luke 2:10–11).

The good news of Jesus’s birth is a source of joy for all people.

The joy was not for a few people, but for all. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son” (John 3:16).

As we share the life-changing message of Jesus with others, we join the worldwide chorus in proclaiming “the glories of His righteousness and wonders of His love.”

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come!”

Father, give us eyes to see people of all nations as recipients of Your grace and joy.

The good news of Jesus’s birth is a source of joy for all people.

INSIGHT:The heart of the Father for those on the fringes is demonstrated by the fact that the joyous announcement of the birth of the Savior was first made to those out in a field tending sheep. The significance of the fact that God chose shepherds to be the first ones to receive the announcement can be lost on us. In Christ’s day, shepherds were ceremonially unclean and considered untrustworthy. But they were the ones God chose. The love of God knows no societal or class boundaries. Jesus came to show the love of God to everyone. When have you felt like an outcast? Did someone reach out to you? What can you do to show Jesus’s love to others?

 

Worship at Christmas

Matthew 2:7-11

Of all the responses we could have toward Christmas, worship is the one that pleases God. Unlike the scribes and chief priests who showed no interest in the report of the Messiah’s birth, or Herod, who responded with hatred, we have every reason to rejoice greatly that Jesus came to earth in human flesh. We are truly blessed that Christ’s purpose in coming was for His death on the cross to pay the penalty our sins deserved.

The magi traveled all the way from the East for the sole purpose of worshipping the infant King of the Jewish people. They knew that a star signaled His birth, and they journeyed hundreds of miles to find Him.

The magi believed that God was leading them to the King, and when they finally arrived in Bethlehem, they worshipped the Christ child by humbling themselves and presenting Him with gifts. These were wealthy, respected men, yet they considered that little boy to be greater than themselves.

This year, we need to compare our response to the Savior with the magi’s example of worship. Is Jesus the focus of our celebrations, or have we let other interests take first place? Are we more concerned about gifts for friends and family than we are about self-sacrifice for the Lord’s sake?

It’s easy to become focused on the traditions of Christmas to the point that we lose sight of Jesus. So let’s step back in time and imagine all the inconveniences, setbacks, and vulnerability the magi endured in their pursuit of the infant King. Shouldn’t we also be willing to follow Him, no matter what it takes?

The Gifts of the Wise Men

“And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.” (Matthew 2:11)

These wise men (or Magi) were of great eminence in the Parthian Empire at that time, and it is unlikely that the caravan from the East consisted of only three men. They more likely had a large entourage as they came searching for the future King of Israel, so it was small wonder that “all Jerusalem” was “troubled,” along with King Herod (Matthew 2:3). The Parthians (i.e., Persians) had never been conquered by the Romans and at that very time were posing a significant threat along the eastern boundary of the extended Roman Empire.

When they found the young child and His mother in Bethlehem, the Magi “fell down, and worshipped him” (Matthew 2:11). But why did they offer Him just three gifts—and why these three gifts? Somehow they seemed to have sensed, possibly from meditating deeply on the ancient prophecies of Balaam (Numbers 24:17), Daniel (in Daniel 9:24-26), and David concerning the priesthood order of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:4), that this young child whose birth had been announced by a star was destined not only to be the King but would also become the Messianic Sacrifice to “make reconciliation for iniquity” (see Daniel 9:24, 26) and then eventually become our eternal High Priest who “ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25). Thus, the gold would acknowledge His right to reign, the frankincense would speak of the incense to be offered in the heavenly tabernacle, and the myrrh (John 19:39) would testify that His crucified body would be so anointed as it entered the tomb for a very temporary burial. HMM

Thou Art Worthy

And they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation. —Revelation 5:9

Did you ever stop to think about the rapture? It’s going to be something that’s never happened before. You might be walking around on the street and hear the sound of the trumpet—and suddenly you’re transformed! You won’t know what to do or how to act. And the people lying in their graves, what’ll they do? I know what they’ll do—they’ll sing! There’s going to be singing at the consummation, on that great day!

“Thou art worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us” (Revelation 5:9)—that’s the theme of the new song. The theme of the new song isn’t “I am”; it’s “Thou art.” Notice the difference! When you look at the old hymnody of Wesley, Montgomery and Watts, it was “Thou art, O God, Thou art.” But when you look at the modern hymns, it is “I am, I am, I am.” It makes me sick to my stomach. Occasionally a good hymn with testimonies is all right, but we’ve overdone it. The song of the ransomed is going to be “Thou are worthy, O God.” AOG014

I long for that day, Lord, when I can join in the singing. I await Your return, Lord Jesus. Amen.

The Happy Morning

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour. (Luke 2:11)

When we sing, “The Light of the world is Jesus,” there should be a glow on our faces that would make the world believe indeed that we really mean it!

The Incarnation meant something vast and beautiful for John Milton—and he celebrated the coming of Jesus into the world with one of the most beautiful and moving expressions ever written by a man:

This is the month, and this the happy morn,
Wherein the Son of Heaven’s eternal King,
Of wedded maid, and Virgin mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring.

That glorious form, that Light insufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of majesty,
He laid aside, and here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting Day,

And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.
Oh! run; prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at His blessed feet,
Have thou the honor first thy Lord to greet
And join thy voices with the Angel quire,
From out His secret altar touched with hallowed fire!

We esteem every day alike, but still

We esteem every day alike, but still, as the season suggests thoughts of Jesus, let us joyfully remember our dear Redeemer’s glorious birth. Who but He was ever longed for by such a multitude of hearts? When did angels indulge in midnight songs, or did God hang a new star in the sky? To whose cradle did rich and poor make so willing a pilgrimage, and offer such hearty and unsought oblations? Well may earth rejoice; well may all men cease their labor to celebrate “the great birthday” of Jesus, Let gladness rule the hour; let holy song and sweet heart music accompany our soul in the raptures of joy.

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