Posted in Christmas Fun, Holidays, Inspirational Collections

Our Christmas Hope

There’s a Nativity scene on the table, five trains in the house, stockings are hung, and lights gleam from the tree, bathing ornaments of various themes in light. It’s Christmas Day, as I set by the tree, it’s a peaceful Christmas morning. 

The Message of Christmas, that is the birth of The Savior, has endured everything from the dark ages to two world wars. Regardless of circumstance, opinion, or threat, Hope overcame fear, it’s no stranger to it. 

The story of Christmas didn’t start in a manger, it goes back so much farther. Before God made the worlds, He knew if man chose to sin, what He would have to do. In the garden, Adam and Eve realizing what their mistake had cost them, we’re despairing of hope. God had to do what He told them He would do, but He also told them something else.

There would be a child who would return hope to the world. A hope of not being bound by, or to their mistakes.  A hope that Isaiah whispered would grow out of a dry ground.  

When Jesus was born, David was not on a throne, nor was David’s descendants. David’s body was buried, and many believed the hope of Israel was as well. After all, the Roman eagle had compassed the known world. What hope did Israel see for their future? An yet today, a Jewish flag soars over David’s homeland, and Augustus’ body lies in a tomb.

If Israel felt hopeless, how much more Gentiles, descendants of everyone from Esau to the Philistines. None of us were part of Abraham’s family tree, there were no lights in our history.  Yet hope declared “Come unto me all you that labor, and are heavy laden!”

Hope walked from the streets of Bethlehem, Jerusalem, and Capernaum, to the Gentile streets of Samaria and Sidon. Jesus reached out to the Samaritans, and the Syrophoenician. Hope shouted that Jesus was born to save the world, Jew and Gentile. 

Hope explained that His death on the cross would open the door of Hope to all the world, for He was The Door, The Way, The Truth, and The Life. He had placed a way of escape where none existed before. Three days after sacrificing His life for ours, He walked out of a borrowed tomb, and He left a God shaped hole in the fabric of fear.

Why do we celebrate Christmas? Because it’s more than statues on a table, or lights on a tree. It’s more than a small train just going around in circles. It’s the fact that no matter how dark the day, or sorrowful the night, His Light cuts through it!

Christmas holds the fact that, because He was born, died, and rose, He will return, silencing fear once and for all. Until then, He will calm our fears, reassure us that His Peace can endure tribulation, famine, war, and opinions.  

Jesus wrapped Christmas in something much stronger than either swaddling or grave clothes, He wrapped it in a promise. A promise that peace on earth, and goodwill to men is more than a song, but a reality. A promise that, because He lives, we will live also, and that is what Christmas means to me! It’s why I celebrate Christmas everyday!

Posted in Bible Studies, Christmas Fun, The Native

25 Devotions – Day Twenty Four

The Native: The Star Seed

Genesis 26:4
4 And I will make thy seed to multiply as the stars of heaven, and will give unto thy seed all these countries; and in thy seed shall all the nations of the earth be blessed;

Numbers 24:17
17 I shall see him, but not now: I shall behold him, but not nigh:
there shall come a Star out of Jacob, and a Sceptre shall rise out of Israel, and shall smite the corners of Moab, and destroy all the children of Sheth.

Scientists tell us, a star’s life begins with a gravitational collapse. Since nature reflects the spiritual, what collapse could occur if Christ were to be The Star. Simple, the collapse of all that opposed His will. The goal of Heaven, was our redemption.

When Christ entered the womb of Mary, the gravity surrounding the fall of man began it’s collapse. From the time flesh merged with The Spirit Of God, sin itself, was very much afraid.

In this Scripture, God combines two prophetic objects, seed and star. We know Eve was given a promise, that one day, her seed would rescue humanity. Later, Israel would hear how a Star would rise out of Jacob.

Physically, the two items seem so far apart. One is terrestrial, and the other celestial. Yet, in the mind of God, The Creator Himself, they were uniquely linked. Comparing the two, you can see the similarities.

Much like stars fill the night sky, seeds cover the field of the farmer. The harvest is made up of the stars of the field. The astronomer is fascinated by constellations. Clusters made up, of the seeds of the sky.

2 Peter 1:19
19 We have also a more sure word of prophecy; whereunto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a light that shineth in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day star arise in your hearts:

Ephesians 2:6
6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:

Why would God use these two, opposites to reflect The Messiah? Because, He would be both star and seed. Light and life in human cloth. Is it any wonder The Christ was heralded, not only by angels, but by the Christmas Star?

It was a physical manifestation of a Spiritual Truth. The Star of Jacob, born in our hearts, transforms us from dying Earth, to the sons of God. We, who were destined to return to dust, now are called to the cosmic realms of Heaven!

Hebrews 1:2-3
2 Hath in these last days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also he made the worlds;

3 Who being the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had by himself purged our sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;

A natural star is a luminous sphere of plasma, held together by it’s own gravity. Our Savior, God wrapped in flesh, holds all things by The Word of His Power! This means He is sufficient, both to purchase our salvation, and to empower us from Earth to Glory.

A star shines releasing energy from the inside out. It has it’s own light, which begins internally, and is revealed externally. Does this sound familiar?

Christ our star, is Light, and in Him is no darkness at all. The One who transfigured on the mountain, who’s Light was in and of itself, is The One who lights our path. Too many times, we worry and fret over the shadow of problems.

Yet, His Light is the seed of our victory. Because He lives, I can face tomorrow. Because He lives, all fear is gone. When we bathe it, in The Light Of His Love.

John 11:25
25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead, yet shall he live:

The mass of a star determines it’s fate. If we relied on our own self, we would not be able to hold up under the weight. He, has never known a burden too heavy, or a situation that was impossible for Him to overcome.

No wonder He told the world, I lay my life down, but I will take it up again. He, is before all things, and by Him all things consist. He who lives, and lives for ever more.

If we attempt to be self sufficient, the weight of our problems could crush us. That is why our Senior Pastor, Pastor Denny Livingston reminded us the other night. Lean not on your own understanding. In all thy ways, acknowledge Him, and He shall direct thy paths.

Jesus told us, in the world, you will have tribulation, but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. Too many times, we fear the future. I’m as guilty as the next person, but it’s a needless fear in the vicinity of Jesus.

He will never fail nor disappoint us. Our hopes will never be dwarfed by circumstances. There is no black hole for the Christian, only a bright and glorious future. The Hope that is in us, is more than the problem that surrounds us.

Circumstances might distract our view, but like the wisemen, when we seek Him, we will always find Him. That is what He births in us, not only Eternal Life, but an Eternal Hope.

It goes beyond victory over sin and death alone, but over doubt and despair, in this present life. To know Christ, is to know the Highest energy in the universe. The One who will never cease, never burn out, never waiver, or weaken.

He can’t, because He is Christ. Caesar was silenced, Washington retired from life itself. Name the famous man, and you will see an end, but not Christ. Jesus is incomparable, unbeatable, and ever outpacing our expectations.

He is all that is precious, all that is powerful, and all of our peace. Is it any wonder, Eve hoped to see The Seed of Heaven born? Or the heart of the prophet skipped a beat when He saw the promise of The Star rise out of a people in the wilderness?

Let Him shine in your life today. Whatever you face, no matter how dark, or difficult, He wants to birth something in you. You are more than the pain before you, or the fear that whispers in your ear.

You are a child of God, the seed of The Star. Now, spiritually, we sit with Him in Heavenly places. One day soon, He will return to Earth, to spend eternity with us, never to be parted! It is in this knowledge, that we are planted, and that we will grow into eternity.

2 Corinthians 4:6
6 For God, who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts, to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.

Posted in Christmas Fun, Holidays, Inspirational Collections

Christmas Eve was always the traditional opening of gifts in our family. There was also always a lot of prep work involved. Cakes and pies were being baked. Casseroles were assembled, turkeys were roasting, and potatoes peeled and boiled. We were getting ready for Christmas, some years more successfully arrived.

“Are you ready for Christmas?”, has replaced how are you doing as a standard greeting for the season. People say it for different reasons. Some because it’s an easy opening, others because they’re not ready either, and it makes them feel better to know they’re not the only ones. Others ask though, so they can share their relief of being ready for Christmas. 

Ready for Christmas. To a child it means ready for the day itself , to open presents, and to make special memories. To an adult, it’s paying for those special things, and at forty two, while I understand it, I still hate that old song about making it through December. 

If you don’t feel totally prepared for today, you’re not alone. Spouses will be sent to stores for forgotten items. Crazed last minute shoppers will panic as they purchase anything not nailed down. Here’s a secret, we’re not always prepared for Christmas, and this is itself a Christmas tradition.

Joseph was probably not prepared for his wife to give birth in a strange city, with no family, in a dirty stable. I suspect Mary, who had never given birth before, wasn’t totally prepared for the pain she was experiencing. Finally, as angelic as they were, the angelic choir had never given this proclamation before. 

Their focus was announcing, and celebrating The Message of Christmas. The Shepherds put their work on hold to see The Gift Of Christmas. They met The Lord Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, strangers united by The Hope Of Christmas. It can be awkward to meet strangers at Christmas. 

Like Mary and Joseph, I’m sure the Shepherds had their own problems. They probably weren’t ready for all that happened that night either. It probably complicated their schedule, but it didn’t matter.

It still happened. A virgin gave birth to The Savior Of Christmas. Joseph became teacher and protector to The Creator Of Christmas. Shepherds took the baton from Angels to become The Messengers Of Christmas.

Jesus arrived whether they were prepared or not.  What they did not do, was allow their condition, or state of mind, to rob them of The Glory Of Christmas. No matter what your state of readiness today, pause for a moment, and rejoice in The Christ Of Christmas. 

Enjoy Christmas, as a wise man told me, enjoy the season. Even if the cake flops, you forgot the batteries, and it rains all day. Jesus knows how to make up the difference between our readiness and His Gift Of Christmas, He’s always prepared.