The longed for, long awaited day has arrived. Merry Christmas, everyone! It’s Christmas Day! The presents have probably already been opened and sounds of joy, squeals if there are children involved, and thanks have filled the home. But now as the tissue paper settles and the new gifts get neatly arranged, it’s time to take a moment and remember why we celebrate Christmas.
It’s finally here! The day thousands of children have been waiting for. The big deadline shoppers have been frantically preparing for. The day before Christmas.
We are now going to move our focus briefly away from Zechariah and take a look at his wife Elizabeth. In light of Mary, Elizabeth is one character of the Christmas story that is often overlooked. But we’re going to change that today. We’re going to take a close look at Elizabeth and her story, and see what lessons and insights we can gain from this righteous woman.
He was the first person to hear a divine word in over 400 years. He saw an angel while in the temple of the LORD. He was a priest who was well versed in the prophecies of old and miracles from ancient times. Yet despite all these things, he disbelieved Gabriel’s message and became mute for over nine months.
As we gear up for Christmas, let’s cast our minds back to where it all began. Over a year before the scene in the stable, God in His heavenly throne room summoned an angel and gave him a special assignment.
The Christmas season is upon us! Have you heard the bells ringing or the choirs singing? But Christmas isn’t just about the songs, bright lights, festivities, and colorful decorations, is it? No, it’s about much more! Christmas is about God doing an extraordinary thing through a simple girl from a small town called Nazareth.
Advent is here. Christmas is just around the corner. However, as we prepare to celebrate the birth of Jesus, there is an aspect of the Christmas story we tend to overlook or underemphasize. While flipping through the pages of Luke one and two and Matthew chapter one, we forget the lengthy gap that’s represented in the page that reads “The New Testament.” For us, the span between the Old Testament and New is merely a couple of pages, but for the Israelites it was 400 years.
Thanksgiving is over. The Christmas tree is coming out of storage and the house is being transformed into a Christmas wonderland. Lights are twinkling, Christmas music is playing, and the festive activities of the season are just beginning. But as we get ready for Christmas and the days leading up to it, God has brought to my attention a central theme to the season: Christmas is about worship.
Gratitude is a posture. A choice. We often overlook this truth and blindly believe that gratitude and thankfulness is a response to overflowing blessings. But Paul resets our perspective when he wrote to the Thessalonians:
“Give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
~I Thessalonians 5:18
It’s that time of year again! Christmas is just around the corner, and while you might not be thinking about Christmas yet, it will be here before you know it! So as we think ahead and prepare for all the wonderful, joyous activities that are coming up, let us not forget those who might not even know about Christmas—children who may have never received a gift.
Over on my Google Plus page* I’ve been sharing a few A.W. Tozer quotes which have encouraged and challenged me as I’ve been reading through Warren Wiersbe’s compilation titled “The Best of A.W. Tozer (Book One)”. One of the quotes I shared last week reads as follows:
“When God’s sheep are in danger, the shepherd must not gaze at the stars and meditate on ‘inspirational’ themes. He is morally obliged to grab his weapon and run to their defense. When the circumstances call for it, love can use the sword, though by her nature she would rather bind up the broken hearted and minister to the wounded. It is time for the prophet and seer to make themselves heard and felt again. For the last three decades timidity disguised as humility has crouched in her corner while the spiritual quality of the evangelical Christianity has become progressively worse year by year. How long, O Lord, how long?”
It’s a wrap! Over in the “Bible Study” section we’ve finally finished our adventure through the book of Hosea. After five months and forty-four posts later, we’ve come out of our adventure with a greater appreciation for God’s holiness, His justice, and mostly His incredible love--how far He’s willing to go to pursue His wayward children. At least that’s what I came away with and hope you did too!
Father’s Day was two days ago. Did you shower blessing and honor upon your father? Did you express how much you love and appreciate your daddy?
Just as our earthly father likes to be called daddy, so also our heavenly Father longs to hear the word spring from our mouths. Just as the toddler runs full speed towards his daddy, so also God wants us to always run straight towards Him. Just as a child turns to her father for every need, want, and desire, so also God wants us to turn toward Him. He wants us to view Him with the same trust, feelings of safety, and love that we associate with our earthly daddy. So He gave Himself a new name.
That word easily tumbles out of the mouth of a toddler as he runs to greet his father with a bear hug or spills out in the delighted squeal of a little girl as her father relentlessly tickles her tummy. Whether it’s uttered in joyful abandon, frustrated anger, deep-hearted sorrow, unwavering trust, or warm affection from the lips of a child or adult, the connotation remains the same.
As we continue to march through the days of June and prepare for summer, I look outside and am astounded by the abundance of greenery and beauty that accompanies spring and early summer. The songbirds have returned from their winter migration and fill the skies with their graceful aerial acrobatics and complex melodies. The deer and other wildlife have little ones by their sides, and the trees are budding forth with new leaves. All these speak loudly to me of one thing: LIFE.
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