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Sunday, December 13, 2009

In Church Today ...

The choir sang a Christmas cantata.

The Birth of Jesus
Matthew 1:18-25
This is how the birth of Jesus Christ came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be with child through the Holy Spirit. Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, "Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins."

All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"—which means, "God with us."

When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus. (KJV)

Luke 2:1-14
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. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests." (KJV)

The Visit of the Shepherds
Luke 2:15-20
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told. (KJV)

Why do we do it? Because we believe that there is no other explanation for the creation of the universe. Physicists and astronomers peer into the heavens at the beginning of time and the universe and try to assign a date and an event, but are at a loss to explain what preceded that … what was there before the Universe was created; before the “big bang?”

We have no other choice to either believe that the age of the universe is infinite with an infinite number of ‘big bangs” or that there was a beginning. The question then becomes, what caused the beginning? And at that point, human knowledge and theory hits a wall. How was time, reality and matter created? That is not a question that man has an answer for. That is a matter of reason coupled with faith. And faith and reason answers:

Before time, before the universe there as God: the creator of reality as we know it. And his is not a clockwork universe that he set spinning and walked away, but one in which his infinite power is expressed in every day and every way. So a little over 2000 years ago He manifested a little bit of himself in the flesh on this dirtball we call Earth to rescue part of his creation from his righteous judgment. Jesus was born, taught, and died to expunge the mess mankind has made of this part of God’s creation.

The God who stands outside of space and time cared enough to send his Son as a perfect and sufficient sacrifice for the sins of those who confess and believe. And this is the season to remind ourselves of the ultimate gift that we have that makes all the presents under our trees shrink into insignificance.

Never the less, it’s the thought that counts. We cannot out-give God, but we can show each other how much we appreciate them. Let us thank God for His blessings, for his gift, and let us hold each other tight because the love we have been shown can be reflected onto the people around us.

Merry Christmas

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