From the Word

Journey to Bethlehem

“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register. So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.” (Luke 2:1-5)

Notable Quotables

“Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” (Dr. Seuss)

“He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” (Roy L. Smith)

“We were grateful to those who filled our stockings at Christmas. Why are we not grateful to God for filling our stockings with legs?” (G. K. Chesterton)

“From home to home, and heart to heart . . . the warmth and joy of Christmas brings us closer to each other.” (Emily Matthews)

“Christmas is not a time nor a season, but a state of mind. To cherish peace and goodwill is to have the real spirit of Christmas.” (Coolidge)

Around the Net

Christmas Is for Freedom (John Piper)
“The incarnation was God’s locking himself into death row. Christ did not risk death. He chose death. He embraced it. That is precisely why he came. By his death, Jesus wiped away all our sins. And a person without sin cannot be condemned by Satan. Forgiven, we are finally indestructible. Satan’s plan was to destroy God’s rule by condemning God’s followers in God’s own courtroom. But now, in Christ, there is no condemnation. Satan’s treason is aborted. His cosmic treachery is foiled.  The cross has run him through. And he will gasp his last before long. Christmas is for freedom. Freedom from the fear of death.”

Christmas: Not the Beginning of Jesus’ Existence (Eric Davis)
“Jesus Christ is God. The birth of Jesus Christ was not his origin, but his incarnation. He has no origin. Jesus is the only person in history whose birth, or conception, did not mark his beginning of existence. I suppose this made Jesus’ human birthdays awkward. ‘Happy 16th birthday, Jesus!’ ‘Thanks, mom. But actually, it’s my ∞ and 16th birthday, but who’s counting.’ As J. Oswald Sanders, ‘Jesus was the meeting place of eternity and time, the blending of deity and humanity, the junction of heaven and earth.’”

God Meets You Where You Are (Tullian Tchividjian)
“Have you ever felt like you couldn’t share the details of a difficult situation without someone immediately offering a solution or a spiritual platitude? Have you ever responded that way yourself? The required cheerfulness that characterizes many of our churches has produced a suffocating environment of pat, religious answers to the painful, complex questions that riddle the lives of hurting people.”

How to Deal with Grief During the Holidays (Amy Morin)
“The swell of grief around the holidays is a common reason clients enter my therapy office this time of year. People often seek help for the immense sorrow that starts surfacing right around Thanksgiving. I experienced that wave of grief in my own life when my husband passed away. Christmas music, holiday parties, and festive decorations that were meant to bring joy, served as painful reminders of my loss. Like most people experiencing loss, the holiday season was the most painful time of all.”

My 4 Rules for Responding to Nasty Emails (Tommy Preson Phillips)
“Today I want to address this seemingly new phenomenon of human beings launching virtual cannonballs from the comfort of their couch and pajamas. I imagine that the rise in this type of behavior is due in part to the easy access that we have to the people we are upset with. It used to be that when you had a grievance, you would either set up a meeting and prepare your thoughts to be delivered face to face. . . . Here are some simple rules that I follow.”

Something to Ponder

Joseph Went Out on a Limb

“After His mother, Mary, was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit (Matthew 1:18 NKJV).

“Joseph was perched firmly on his branch in the tree. Predictable and solid, Joseph had no intention of leaving it. That is, until he was told to go out on a limb. Conceived by the Holy Spirit? Come on! Who will believe me? Pride told him not to do it, but God told him to do it.

“I have a feeling you can relate to Joseph. One foot in your will and one foot in His. His will or yours? Disrupting, isn’t it? You can bet it won’t be easy. Limb-climbing has never been easy. Ask Joseph. Better yet, ask Jesus! He knows better than anyone the cost of hanging on a tree!”

– Max Lucado

The Glory of Creation

An Evening Grosbeak Waiting for Christmas

an-evening-grosbeak-dane-adamsImage Credit: Dane Adams

Into All the World

“I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” (Charles Dickens)

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