I do not take for granted those who read Church Talk and I do appreciate all of those who let me know that you do. This is a ministry and one I believe is God-given and I pray it is one that glorifies Him, builds His kingdom and edifies His children. So, in this Christmas edition, this is my Christmas gift to you, and I can give you no better one.
From the Gospel of Luke, chapter 2: “Joseph went up from Nazareth to Bethlehem (because he was of the family of David), to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
“And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.”
And now we come to the shepherds, out in the field taking care of their flocks that very same evening:
“And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them and the glory of the Lord shone round about them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, ‘Fear not; I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born today in Bethlehem a Savior, who is Christ the Lord’.”
Then a whole choir of angels proclaiming, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.” So, the shepherds hurried to Bethlehem and found everything just like the angel said. They left the manger glorifying and praising God and spreading the good news.
From the Gospel of Matthew chapter 2: Sometime later, no one really knows how long, but … “behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem inquiring, ‘Where is He that is born King of the Jews, for we have seen His star in the east and are come to worship Him.”
Of course, the King was perturbed and called in his religious leaders to find out what was going on. They told the king that the prophets had said the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem. So, Herod told the wise men to go and find the “new king” and come and tell him where He was so he could worship Him too. Of course we know Herod’s evil heart.
“Lo, the star which they saw in the east went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy. And when they were come to the house, they saw the young child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshipped Him…”
Now the rest of the story:
“Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also you have received and wherein you stand; and by which you also are saved…
“For I delivered unto you first of all that which I received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the scriptures; and that He was seen…” (I Corinthians 15:1-5)
“For by grace are you saved through faith; that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast.”
That’s the story from the Bible, my gift to you. And now the “ribbon on the package:”
“For God SO loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes on Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” (John 3:16)
“Who is He in yonder stall, at whose feet the shepherds fall? Who is He in deep distress fasting in the wilderness? Who is He the people bless for His words of gentleness?
“Who is He to whom they bring all the sick and sorrowing? Who is He that stands and weeps at the grave where Lazarus sleeps? Who is He the gathering throng greet with loud triumphant song?
“Lo, at midnight, who is He prays in dark Gethsemane? Who is He on yonder tree dies in grief and agony? Who is He who from the grave comes to succor, help and save? Who is He who from His throne rules through all the worlds alone?
“‘TIS THE LORD! Oh, wondrous story. ‘TIS THE LORD! The King of glory. At His feet we humbly fall, crown Him, crown Him, LORD OF ALL!” (Benjamin R. Hanby. 19th century)
Wishing you all God’s gift of peace and joy at Christmas and always.