Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’
By David Holdaway
Stanley Jones, the great Methodist missionary doctor to India gave the following insight to help us capture the heart and meaning of the Christmas message. He describes a small child, standing before a picture of his absent father, who, turning to his mother, wistfully said, ‘I wish dad would step out of the picture!’ This little boy, said Jones, was expressing the deepest yearning of the human heart. We who have gazed upon pictures of God in nature are grateful, but not satisfied. We want our Father to step out of the impersonal picture and meet us as a person. What we long for is a personal relationship with God not just a religious understanding. No philosophy or principle is able to meet the deepest needs of the human heart.
God has revealed himself
God has revealed Himself through His creation, the psalmist could look up into the clear night sky with awesome wonder proclaiming: ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and the skies proclaim His handiwork’ (Psalm 191). Yet it is still just a picture, an insight to what God may be like, His greatness and majesty, but not enough to know Him personally.
The Jewish people had the Tabernacle and the Temple, the sacrifices and offerings, but they were still only a picture, a shadow, a type of who was to come. They had the Word of God, the Law and the Prophets, the principles of God enshrined in the Scriptures, but still they longed for a Messiah, someone to come and step out of the picture. Over 2000 years ago in the small town of Bethlehem, in moments words cannot adequately describe, God stepped out of the picture.
The impossible actually happened
When the space craft Apollo 11 landed on the moon and man took his first steps, the world looked on and held its breath. The impossible was actually happening. Just seventy years before, man could not even fly. Commander Neil Armstrong took those first historic steps with the famous words: ‘That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.’ It was Jim Irwin, however, another Apollo astronaut and moon-walker, who made a far more significant statement:
‘God walking on earth is infinitely greater than man walking on the moon.’
David Holdaway is a pastor and author. He has written over 20 books, including No more Fear and The Burning Heart.This is an extract from The Wonder of Christmas, and is used with permission. You can buy this delightful little book, and other publications of David’s, from his website, www.lifepublications.org.uk.This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in Life Indeed magazine November/December 2005
By Dave Wilson
Checking out some online archives of DJ Online News*, I came upon a reflective Christmas message from Dave Wilson that encapsulated my current thinking. Though written in 2003 its message is still relevant. — Ed.
About this time every December, the busyness of the season—holiday parties, shopping lists, mailing of Christmas cards or letters, tight work deadlines — begins competing with my heart’s desire to focus on what Christmas is really about. I want to make sure that Jesus’ name is lifted high, but invariably just dealing with the “tyranny of the urgent” is more the norm.
So how can you and I purposefully overcome our culture’s frantic pace and reclaim this Christmas for the King?
Here’s what the Lord has impressed on me:
- I need to spend more time praying together with my wife for others.
- I need to say “no” to at least as many “good” activities this holiday season as I say “yes” to — without feeling guilty.
- I shouldn’t wait until Christmas morning to read through and ponder the Christmas story.
- I need to go to bed before the 10 o’clock news.
- I need to rely on the Lord to increase my awareness of those around me who are hurting and in need, and seek to tangibly reflect Christ’s love as he directs.
Instead of waiting until January 1st to make our New Year’s resolutions, would you join me in committing — with the Lord’s help — to making this Christmas more about him than it is about us?
May Christ’s richest blessings flow into and out of your lives as you continue to grow in your daily walk with him!
* DJ Online News is distributed freely each month by www.discipleshipjournal.com. Discipleship Journal is a publication of The Navigators.
This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in FIRST! magazine November/December 2007
THE CHRISTMAS VERSION of First Corinthians chapter 13
IF I DECORATE my house perfectly with plaid bows, strands of twinkling lights and shining balls, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another decorator.
IF I SLAVE AWAY in the kitchen, baking, preparing gourmet meals and arranging a beautifully adorned table, but do not show love to my family, I’m just another cook.
IF I WORK at the soup kitchen, carol in the nursing home and give all that I have to charity, but do not show love to my family, it profits me nothing.
IF I DECORATE the spruce with shimmering angels and crystal snowflakes, attend a myriad of holiday parties and sing in the choir’s cantata but do not focus on Christ, I have missed the point.
LOVE stops the cooking to hug the child.
LOVE sets aside the decorating to kiss the husband.
LOVE is kind, though harried and tired.
LOVE doesn’t envy another’s home that has coordinated Christmas china and table linens.
LOVE doesn’t yell at the kids to get out of the way, but is thankful they are there to be in the way.
LOVE doesn’t give only to those who are able to give in return, but rejoices in giving to those who can’t.
LOVE bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
LOVE never fails. Video games will break, pearl necklaces will be lost, golf clubs will rust.
But the gift of LOVE will endure.
This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in Life Indeed November/December 2004
Stressed over Christmas? I recently heard of a woman who was out Christmas shopping with her two children. After many hours of looking at row after row of toys and everything else imaginable, and hearing both her children asking for everything they saw on those many shelves, she and the kids finally made it to the lift.
She was feeling what so many of us feel during the holiday season. Overwhelming pressure to go to every party, every housewarming, taste all the holiday food and treats, buy that perfect gift for every single person on our shopping list, making sure we don’t forget anyone on our card list, etc.
Finally, the lift doors opened and there was already a crowd in there. She pushed her way in and dragged her two kids in with her and all the bags of stuff. When the doors closed she couldn’t take it anymore and stated, ‘Whoever started this whole Christmas thing should be found, strung up and shot.’
From the back of the lift, everyone heard a quiet, calm voice respond: “Don’t worry, we already crucified him.”
For the rest of the trip down the lift it was so quiet you could have heard a pin drop.
Don’t forget this year to keep the One who started this “whole Christmas thing” in your every thought, deed, purchase, and word. If we all did it, just think of how different this whole world would be. – Author Unknown
I first saw this article, whose author is unknown, on I Lift my Eyes Ministries. If you enjoyed this post, you will also enjoy ILME’s Online E-zine for this month. There you will find original articles, and the archives, for Whatever is Pure here.This article was published by The Faith Mission, Edinburgh, in Life Indeed November/December 2004