Tuesday, December 6, 2016
For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him: And he is before all things, and by him all things consist. (Colossians 1:16-17 KJV)
As usual, my thoughts followed a side route to look more deeply into the background of quoted scripture, and while it didn’t take away the essential message that this season we celebrate the birth of Jesus, the added depth of who that little baby is takes my breath away.
Just as God’s plan provided a ram for Abraham, the description of that incident proved prophetic:
And Abraham said, My son, God will provide himself a lamb for a burnt offering: so they went both of them together. (Genesis 22:8 KJV)
Thus Jesus is the reality of God proving Himself as a lamb. John the Baptist knew this:
The next day John seeth Jesus coming unto him, and saith, Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world. (John 1:29 KJV)
John the author knew that Jesus wasn’t simply a creation of God:
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. (John 1:1-3 KJV)
The baby, the smallest piece of most nativity sets, is God. Not just was, but is and shall be. Yet, He was completely unexpected.
Mary asked, as so many others through the centuries since His birth:
Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (Luke 1:34 KJV)
Once we believe Genesis 1:1 and John 1:1, why is it unexpected when we are a told Jesus and God are one and the same? That Jesus claimed to be the name God gave Himself – I AM?
Yet, His words have been as ignored as His teachings to the disciples. Until our hearts are opened to understanding.
He is not here, but is risen: remember how he spake unto you when he was yet in Galilee, Saying, The Son of man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again. And they remembered his words, (Luke 24:6-8 KJV)
When therefore he was risen from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this unto them; and they believed the scripture, and the word which Jesus had said. (John 2:22 KJV)
That’s the baby, born in Bethlehem as God planned, when God planned and how God planned. Unexpected, just as God planned.
Why, then, do we doubt that God has a plan. A plan for us, too. But – if we ignore His plan for our relationship with Him, He’s also told us what would happen:
For if thou altogether holdest thy peace at this time, then shall there enlargement and deliverance arise to the Jews from another place; but thou and thy father's house shall be destroyed: and who knoweth whether thou art come to the kingdom for such a time as this? (Esther 4:14 KJV)
I spent quite a bit of time not finding out about the time I was in. I don’t know what I missed or who was given the opportunity to rise up. That could be repeated if I ignore God. Remember that and remember how unexpected He can be in our lives.
Thursday, December 1, 2016
That’s her personal statement that most nativity sets – as the beautiful one above, does not reflect the correct chronology as told in the gospels.
The unreality is not my reason for not setting up a nativity scene. Mine is simply that at our age and physical condition, we do little decorating that has to be unpacked, arranged, enjoyed, packed and put away. Unlike our doctor and hospital visits, those activities are not necessary.
We do put up a “tree” as a signal that we know what season it is:
Yes, it does take some work to put up and take down, but not much. I hope it tells people that we do celebrate Christmas, that we’re pretty much country people but not much more.
No angels – though they did herald His birth. No stable – though He lay in a manger, most likely surrounded by farm animals. No shepherds – though after hearing the angels they did come in from the fields. Absolutely no wise men/kings or camels – though they came later and are included in the story of his birth.
And it’s His birth we will celebrate. Not as the date He was born, but as a date chosen by men. Not as a celebration whose attention is required by scripture, though the story of His birth is detailed from conception to the flight to Egypt. We celebrate because:
For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved. (John 3:16-17 KJV)
Paul understood this:
For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: (Ephesians 2:8 KJV)
Every day I live in thanksgiving for God’s love. Every Sunday I meet with others to celebrate Christ’s resurrection – the awesome sign given His followers. On December 25, a Sunday, we’ll add the celebration of His birth in services and include dinner with family and extended family in remembrance of God’s gift and His love for the world.
I do this because I love the Lord, not because of any other person’s traditions. I do not wish to change anyone’s mind about how they view this national holiday in a world-wide setting. I do ask for the same scriptural understanding from other Christians that was given to us through the Apostle Paul:
One man esteemeth one day above another: another esteemeth every day alike. Let every man be fully persuaded in his own mind. He that regardeth the day, regardeth it unto the Lord; and he that regardeth not the day, to the Lord he doth not regard it. He that eateth, eateth to the Lord, for he giveth God thanks; and he that eateth not, to the Lord he eateth not, and giveth God thanks. (Romans 14:5-6 KJV)