We commend him to you as the answer to your life’s deepest needs and questions.
Please be sure to have a look at the "Who is Jesus" presentation.
Illustrations - His Birth
God Wants To Be Found
“They [the shepherds] hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough” (Luke 2:16 HCSB).
Robert Fulghum, author of All I Really Need To Know I Learned In Kindergarten, writes about a group of neighborhood children playing hide-and-seek outside his home. As he wrote, one kid has hidden under a pile of leaves in his yard just under his window. He has been there a long time; everybody else is found and is about to give up on him. Fulghum considered going out to the base and telling the other kids where the boy was hiding. Then he thought about setting the leaves on fire to drive him out. Finally, Fulghum raised the window and yelled, “Get found, kid!” (Fulghum adds: “Scared him so bad he probably wet his pants and started crying and ran home to tell his mother. It’s hard to know how to be helpful sometimes.”)
Fulghum then makes the following observation, “Better than hide-and-seek, I like the game called Sardines. In Sardines the person who is It goes and hides, and everybody goes looking for him. When you find him, you get in with him and hide there with him. Pretty soon everybody is hiding together, all stacked in a small space like puppies in a pile. And pretty soon somebody giggles and somebody laughs and everybody gets found.
“Medieval theologians even described God in hide-and-seek terms, calling him Deus Absconditus. But me, I think God is a Sardine player. And will be found the same way everybody gets found in Sardines—by the sound of laughter of those heaped together at the end.”
Never was that more true than that first Christmas. God came to the neighborhood not to play hide-and-seek. He came to play Sardines. And the first to find him, outside his family, were the Shepherds. “They [the shepherds] hurried off and found both Mary and Joseph, and the baby who was lying in the feeding trough” (Luke 2:16 HCSB). The Savior was out in the open for the whole world to behold.
God wants to be found. That’s what Christmas is all about: God who was found. .....The shepherds found Jesus. Will you? Copyright 2004, Rick Ezell
How is this for a description of Jesus' incarnation?
He who never began to be,
but eternally existed,
and who continued to be what he eternally was,
See: John 1:1; John 1:14began to be what he eternally was not."
God Wields the Universe to Make his Son Known and Worshiped. This is His Great Goal in all Things - that His Son be Known and Worshiped.
Over and over the Bible baffles our curiosity about just how certain things
happened. How did this "star" get the magi from the east to Jerusalem?
This is God's design.
He did it then.
He is still doing it now.
His aim is that the nations - all the nations (Matthew 24:14) - worship his Son.
This is God's will for everybody in your office at work, and in your neighborhood
and in your home. As John 4:23 says, "Such the Father seeks to worship
From WE HAVE COME TO WORSHIP HIM (Matthew 2:1-12)
By John Piper, (See full Sermon at SERMONS.)
Darkness Before the Dawn
The year 1809 was considered to be a very bad year. Napoleon Bonaparte was
leading his invincible army across Europe, altering the face of the map. However,
that year the following men were born: Abraham Lincoln, Oliver Wendell Holmes,
Alfred Tennyson, William Gladstone, and Felix Mendelssohn.
See: Isa 9:2; John 8:12
"Jesus is God spelling Himself out in language that men can understand."
S.D. Gordon (summarizing John 1:14)
-- Bruce Demarest, Jesus Christ, The God-Man, p. 41. See: Gal 4:3-5
In Jesus divine omnipotence moved in a human arm;
-- Lloyd Cory, ed., Quotable Quotations, p. 61. See: John 1:14; Col 2:9
The work of Christmas begins --
-- Howard Thurmond in Parables Etc. See: Isa 61:1; Luke 4:18-19; Luke 19:1
Christmas means that:
He became a servant that we might become sons (Phil. 2:7; Gal. 4:6, 7).
The Miraculous Birth
Many of the world's well-known personalities, both actual and mythical, have
claimed a miraculous birth.
Jupiter, the king of gods in Roman mythology, was called Zeus by the ancient
According to a Hindu myth, Krishna was the son of a virgin Davaki.
It was believed by the Romans that Caesar Augustus, the first of the Roman emperors and the one sitting upon Rome's throne when Jesus was born, was conceived by a serpent as Augustus's mother lay asleep in the temple of Apollo.
These fables believed by ancients failed to compare, however, with the birth of Jesus Christ. Conceived by the virgin Mary through the power of the Holy Spirit, Jesus Christ is the Son of God and the sinless Savior.
See: Isa 7:14; Matt 1:23; Luke 1:26-35
May the Christmas GIFTS remind us of God's greatest gift, His only Son.
-- Lighthouse Newsletter, December 1995, p. 1.
See: Psa 112:4; Isa 7:14; Isa 9:2; John 1:14; John 9:5; 2 Cor 4:6
God's infinite compassion.
Compassion lies at the heart of our prayer for our fellow human beings. When I pray for the world, I become the world; when I pray for the endless needs of the millions, my soul expands and wants to embrace them all and bring them into the presence of God. But in the midst of that experience I realize that compassion is not mine but God's gift to me. I cannot embrace the world, but God can. I cannot pray, but God can pray in me. When God became as we are, that is, when God allowed all of us to enter into the intimacy of the divine life, it became possible for us to share in God's infinite compassion.
-- Henry Nouwen in Seeds of Hope. Christianity Today, Vol. 42, no. 3.
See: Jn 15:9; Ro 12:10; Eph 4:32.
Christmas is more than tinsel and toys
"Christmas is more than tinsel and toys, trees and toddies, gifts and
greetings. It is not merely a word of goodwill lightly spoken and soon forgotten
in the raucous cries of conflict. Christmas is a message of peace on earth among
men who are pleasing to God.
(My Favorite Illustrations). Herschel Hobbs
The Incarnate Christ
The late, great president of Princeton University, Dr. Francis L. Patton, wrote
in his godly way: "The only hope of Christianity is in the rehabilitating
of the Pauline theology.
See: Gal 6:14; Eph 2:13; Heb 9:13-14; 1 Pet 1:18-19
O ever homeless stranger,
Come now, and view that manger-
There see the Godhead glory
The Greatest Question
Television talk-show host Larry King made a very perceptive comment when he was asked who he would most like to have interviewed from across history. One of those he named was Jesus Christ.
"What would you have asked Him?" Came the rejoinder to Mr. King. "I would like to ask Him if He was indeed virgin born,because the answer to that question would define history."
TWO BABES IN A MANGER
In 1994, two Americans answered an invitation from the Russian Department of Education to teach morals and ethics (based on biblical principles) in the public schools. They were invited to teach at prisons, businesses, the fire and police departments and a large orphanage.
About 100 boys and girls who had been abandoned, abused, and left in the care of a government-run program were in the orphanage. These Americans relate the following story in their own words:
It was nearing the holiday season, 1994, time for our orphans to hear, for the first time, the traditional story of Christmas. We told them about Mary and Joseph arriving in Bethlehem. Finding no room in the inn, the couple went to a stable, where the baby Jesus was born and placed in a manger.
Throughout the story, the children and orphanage staff sat in amazement as they listened. Some sat on the edges of their stools, trying to grasp every word. Completing the story, we gave the children three small pieces of cardboard to make a crude manger. Each child was given a small paper square, cut from yellow napkins I had brought with me. No colored paper was available in the city.
Following instructions, the children tore the paper and carefully laid strips in the manger for straw. Small squares of flannel, cut from a worn-out nightgown an American lady was throwing away as she left Russia, were used for the babyís blanket. A doll-like baby was cut from tan felt we had brought from the United States.
The orphans were busy assembling their manger as I walked among them to see if they needed any help. All went well until I got to one table where little Misha sat. He looked to be about 6 years old and had finished his project. As I looked at the little boyís manger, was startled to see not one, but two babies in the manger. Quickly, I called for the translator to ask the lad why there were two babies in the manger. Crossing his arms in front of him and looking at this completed manger scene, the child began to repeat the story very seriously. For such a young boy, who had only heard the Christmas story once, he related the happenings accurately - until he came to the part where Mary put the baby Jesus in the manger.
Then Misha started to ad-lib. He made up his own ending to the story as he said, "And when Maria laid the baby in the manger, Jesus looked at me and asked me if I had a place to stay. I told him I have no mamma and I have no papa, so I donít have any place to stay. Then Jesus told me I could stay with him. But I told him I couldnít, because I didnít have a gift to give him like everybody else did. But I wanted to stay with Jesus so much, so I thought about what I had that maybe I could use for a gift. I thought maybe if I kept him warm, that would be a good gift.
So I asked Jesus, "If I keep you warm, will that be a good enough gift?" And Jesus told me, "If you keep me warm, that will be the best gift anybody ever gave me." "So I got into the manger, and then Jesus looked at me and he told me I could stay with him for always." As little Misha finished his story, his eyes brimmed full of tears that splashed down his little cheeks. Putting his hand over his face, his head dropped to the table and his shoulders shook as he sobbed and sobbed. The little orphan had found someone who would never abandon nor abuse him, someone who would stay with him - FOR ALWAYS. Iíve learned that itís not what you have in your life, but who you have in your life that counts.
A Christmas Creed I believe in Jesus Christ and in the beauty of the gospel begun in Bethlehem.
We Are Not Abandoned
by Rick Ezell
God has said,
“Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you” (Hebrews 13:5 NIV).
I heard Steve Brown on the radio telling about the ugliest car he had ever seen. It had a large gash on its side; the door was held together with bailing wire; many places on the car were rusted out. The muffler was loose and, with every bump, was hitting the street sending sparks in every direction. It was hard to tell the original color of the car. The rust had eaten away much of the original paint, and so much of the car had been painted over with so many different colors that any one of them, or none of them, could have been the first coat. The most interesting thing about the car was the bumper sticker.
It read: “This is not an abandoned car.”
We live in a fallen world. It is ugly and depressing. Everywhere we turn we find tragedy and heartache. We are sitting on the verge of disaster. But it is not just the world. It’s us. Sometimes the effort to keep on keeping on doesn’t seem worth it. Guilt, loneliness, hurt and fear become constant companions. One wonders sometimes if any of it makes any difference. One wonders if anyone, especially God cares. But a long time ago, in a manger, a baby was born. It was a sign.
It read: “This is not an abandoned world.”
When Jesus came, God gave us the assurance that he had not abandoned us. He visited our planet letting us know that he was involved and that he cared. What the angel said to the shepherds was the same thing God is saying to us today,
“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” (Luke 2:10-11 NIV) .
Even though we may not understand all that is happening to us and to our world, we are in good hands. God is not in a panic; he is still in control of our world. While circumstances may indicate panic at every turn, God came to us to say that he can understand the complexities of humanity and will touch people where they hurt the most.
“This is not an abandoned world.”
From Sightings of the Savior
Copyright 2003 Rick Ezell
One Minute Uplift Weekly Email Devotional 03/01/07
The Wonder of Wonders
By J.Sidlow Baxter
"He gave His only-begotten Son."— Jn. 3: 16.
That word "gave" has in it the force of "gave up". As an old commentator says. “God not only gave His Son to the world, but for it”. That meant the birth in the cattle-shed at Bethlehem, the struggle with poverty at Nazareth, the carpenter's bench, the being "tempted in all points like as we are", the suffering of reproach and the being "acquainted with grief", the shame and the spitting, the purple robe and the crown of thorns, the iron spikes and the deadly spear, the awful darkness, and the "tasting of death".
Was ever a gift like the Saviour given?
The Infinite becomes an infant.
He who holds the world in His arms is held in the arms of a frail woman.
He whose garment is space, whose house is the universe, whose chariots are the clouds, and whose diadems are the stars, is wrapped in swaddling bands, and laid in a manger.
He leaves the palace-beautiful of heaven, for the stable, and the work-bench, and the having
He lays aside His celestial insignia, for the peasant dress and the purple robe.
He puts aside His sceptre of universal sovereignty, for the reed of mock royalty in Pilate's hall.
He leaves the throne of heaven, for the Cross out-side the city wall.
He who is the Prince of life bows His head in death.
He who is without sin becomes the Sinbearer. The Christ of God becomes the Crucified.
He who is the Father's delight becomes the God-forsaken.
He who lit the stars lies in the dust.
He comes.He toils,He hungers and thirsts,
He weeps. He suffers, He bleeds and dies!……for God so loved the world that He "gave up" His only-begotten Son.
Oh, how different is God's giving from men's! In all too many instances, men's giving is for self-advantage; their giving is a subtle form of getting; but God gives out of pure beneficence.
When we were enemies we were reconciled to God by the death of His Son " (Rom. 5: 8; 6 :io).
At the wonder of such redeeming giving, Edward Young breaks forth:
A pardon bought with blood! with blood divine!
By J. Sidlow Baxter