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"Someone To Sing About"

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Mary's song found in Luke 1:46-55 is what came from her lips upon hearing and receiving the news that God had chosen her to be the birth mother of Jesus, the promised Messiah to born into the world to save us from our sins. Let her words serve as an inspiration to you as you celebrate the birth of Jesus tomorrow.

"And Mary said: "My soul magnifies the Lord, And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; For behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, And holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him From generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, And exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, And the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, In remembrance of His mercy, As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and to his seed forever."

I recall a newspaper story about a nativity scene in West Virginia that includes a stable, a donkey, camels, sheep, a wise man, a shepherd and a star. What is absent from the scene is Jesus, Mary and Joseph. The parks superintendent said the baby Jesus was left out because of concerns about the separation of church and state. So it was determined that in West Virginia, you can have Christmas, even a nativity scene, as long as it doesn't include Jesus.

Let's think biblically about this for a moment. Though our country was founded on biblical principles, do we really believe it is the role of the state to promote our faith? No, of course not. The telling of the Christ-story belongs not to each individual state but to the church which is the "pillar and ground of the truth"Paul writes in 1 Timothy 3:15.

It is our purpose and privilege I might add as believers to spread the good news that Jesus came into the world to save sinners. While we may rightly cry out against the secularization of our culture, we must admit that whether a city government puts up a nativity scene or whether or whether or not the nativity scene includes the baby Jesus has little impact on world evangelism and yours and my ability to spread the Good News.

The difficulty for modern day Christians is to not allow the secular, traditional and nostalgic culture of Christmas to overshadow the truth of the first Advent, that God has sent His Son into the world to save sinners of whom Paul said of himself, "I am foremost." I would argue my own case with Paul before God as to who is foremost. I love Christmas because it brings me to my spiritual knees to gaze upon the face of the one who was born to save me, to give me life.

This is a time of year to reflect on the doctrine of incarnation, that God became flesh, to wonder at the great mystery that He who spoke the world into existence limited Himself to become a human baby. This is a season to think deeply on the mighty power of God whose plan of redemption stretches from eternity to eternity knowing that Christ is "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world" Revelation 13:8

Christmas is a time to consider that although God could have justly condemned us all to hell, He has mercifully accomplished our salvation. When I consider all the arguments surrounding nativity scenes at Christmas I am reminded that it symbolizes what the holiday season is for many – gifts, carols, food, family, trees, lights, decorations, parties but no Jesus.

Just as Mary and Joseph found no room in the inn, for millions there is little room for Christ in their own lives. They do not object to Jesus being born into this world, just not in their heart where Jesus must if we are to experience the new birth that brings with it eternal life. My prayer for all this Christmas is that Jesus remains first in our affections, that Jesus remains the center of our celebrations! 

Christmas in 50 Words

God reached down,

spirits touch,

virgin conceived,

Joseph feared much,

angels said, don't be afraid,

Joseph awoke,

marriage vows made.

Augustus decreed

Bethlehem bound,

Joseph and Mary, no room found.

Word made flesh

Born on straw,

Angels hosannah,

Shepherds awe.

Cattle low as shepherds kneel.

Mary ponders,

God is real.

Merry Christmas!

I LOVE YOU! 

"How'd You Know?"
"The Gift"
 

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Wednesday, 23 January 2019