My Musings – We cannot really understand the ancient prophecies concerning the birth of the Prince of Peace, until we come to understand why the King wore a crown of thorns. “But He was pierced for our transgressions, He was crushed for our iniquities…and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquity of us all.” A crown of thorns, worn to His death, so that we might wear a crown of life.
My Advice – The first coming is in the past. The second coming draws closer each day. The “birth pains” are more frequent and intense. Soon, “as surely as I live,” says the Lord, “every knee will bow before me; every tongue will confess to God.” (Romans 14:11, NIV 1984). If we do not confess Him now, confessing Him then will be too late. Are you ready?
My Musings – We cannot entirely appreciate the significance of the gifts that the Magi presented in celebration of the Christ child’s birth, until we accept the gift that Jesus offers through His death on the cross. “For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” Accepting death on a cross so that He might offer us the gift of new birth.
My Advice – It’s the most expensive gift we could ever receive, yet it is free. Unlike all other gifts, it will never lose its value or wear out. All you have to do is believe in Him. Not just believe about Him, but believe in Him. It’s a huge difference. Believing about Him will not save you. Believing in Him will. Read my “The Born Again Experience” to fully understand the difference.
Sunday Amusings – “Santa! Oh my god! Santa’s coming! I know him! I know him!” (Buddy, from the movie “Elf”). A funny movie. “I know Him!” A serious matter.
Someone greater than Santa came once before. Born to a young Jewish virgin, yet the Son of God. Born into this world as an innocent baby, yet the pre-existing Creator of all that was made. He was born to suffer and die. Not for His crimes, but for ours. He had to die for us, for we could never have “a righteousness of [our] own…but that which is through faith in Christ – the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith.” A greater gift than Santa could ever possibly give. The gift doesn’t come to us automatically. We must put our faith in Jesus. We must accept the gift He offers.
My Advice – Someone greater than Santa is coming again. He said He would. Not as a baby this time. Not as a sacrifice this time. Either as our Savior or as our Judge. “Jesus! Oh my God! Jesus’s coming! I know him! I know him!” Do you? It’s important that you know Him before He comes, or before He calls you out of this world. We cannot count down the days like we do for Christmas. It (His return or our death) could happen at any time. Either way, you want to be ready. You don’t want to meet Him as Judge.
My Musings – We cannot wholly comprehend the innocence found in that newborn babe wrapped in swaddling clothes and lying in a manger, until we acknowledge with Pontius Pilate “I find no fault in this man.”
My Advice – His innocence offered in exchange for our guilt. His death, bearing our guilt, so that we might be born anew. It’s an offer with absolutely no downside. Take Him up on it.
My Musings – We cannot truly kneel with the shepherds alongside the cradle in worship of the Christ child, until we have first knelt with the centurion at the foot of the cross and confessed that “surely this man is the Son of God!” A confession in the face of eternal death that leads to new birth and eternal life in Christ.
My Advice – Have you made this great confession? If not, why not celebrate the “seasons” by doing so now? It would be the best Christmas present ever. Not sure how? See my blog series “The Born Again Experience.”
My Musings – We cannot fully fathom the angelic proclamation of “Peace on earth, goodwill to man,” until we have experienced the peace that transcends all understanding. That peace with God that comes from accepting Christ as our personal Savior. A relationship made possible because of Jesus’ death on the cross. He was born for this death.
My Advice – Give His peace a chance.
My Musings – Over the years Christmas traditions have slowly eroded, the victims of commercialism, cynicism and political “correctness.” Not that the Christmas story has lost its relevance or is no longer significant. Or that its meaning is no longer needed or has gone out of style. On the contrary, the need has never been greater or more urgent. But unless we overcome the commercialism and cynicism and look past the political correctness, unless we reach beyond tradition, the birth of the Christ child remains a quaint little story lost among the glitz and glitter of the season, or just one more holiday tradition that must “coexist” with all the others. To do so, we must understand that the season of His birth, “a time to be born”, was the beginning of the season of His death, “a time to die”, in order that He might save His people from their sin.
My Advice – I’ll have to admit that I too have been known to get bent out of shape when others say “Season’s Greetings” rather than “Merry Christmas.” Don’t these people know that Jesus is the “reason for the season?” Well, maybe they don’t. It could be that they are adversarial to Christianity, but maybe they are just lost and in need of direction?
Rather than respond in irritation or anger, perhaps we should do our best to explain what Season’s Greetings means to us: The birth (“a time to be born“) of the Christ child (Merry Christmas), who came into this world to bear our guilt and shame by dying (“a time to die“) on the cross and being raised from the dead (Happy Easter), so we can be born again and overcome the second death. Let’s try not to lecture the lost. Let’s try speaking the truth in love. That’s how we can truly show the spirit of the Season’s.
Over the next few days we will explore how the “season” of His birth connects with the “season” of His death.