Love at Christmas, Part Two

Grace For The Journey

Christmas is a season filled with excitement, busyness, and noise.  Greens and reds fill the stores, and twinkling lights adorn our homes.  It’s become a big and bright holiday – not at all associated with quiet, peace, or love.

We save the love stuff for Valentine’s Day.  But …

Love came down

On Christmas Day!

At the birth of Jesus,

Our world received

The greatest demonstration

Of love ever.

Imagine reframing and returning the Christmas season back to the season of love.  Our calendars might still be full, but our hearts and attitudes would shift.  Our homes may still be bright, but they will be filled with a better light.

As we move into my second blog on preparing for Christmas, we are focusing on how much God loved the world to send Jesus to be born in the tiny, insignificant town of Bethlehem to fulfill the hope the ancient prophets foretold.

The theme of today’s blog is love.  On the Second Sunday of Advent, some churches light what is known as the Bethlehem candle.  This candle symbolizes the journey to Bethlehem, where love entered the world.

As we spend time reflecting on Mary and Joseph’s journey, I challenge you to join in their anticipation.  As someone has said:

“In a moment everything changed,

On a silent night

Came the promised Child.

In a stable so humble and poor,

Unto us was born

The Savior of the world.

Love came down,

Hope was found.”

God could have chosen any way for His Son to come into the world, but He chose to send Him as a helpless baby born like the rest of us through a young, humble girl.

Mary was not anyone special, but God knew her heart and willingness to serve.  In Luke 1:38 the Bible reminds us of Mary’s humble answer to the angel’s message. “I am the Lord’s servant. May your word to me be fulfilled.”

Then, Mary carried the baby in her womb, gave birth to the Savior of the world, watched Him grow, and wept as He was crucified.

In addition to carefully selecting a humble, unknown girl to be the mother of Jesus, God also chose a tiny, insignificant town for the birthplace of our Savior.

Bethlehem was a fulfillment of Old Testament prophecies. God orchestrated miracle after miracle as Mary and Joseph obeyed Caesar’s edict.  God says in Micha 5:2,4,

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times. He will stand and shepherd His flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord His God. And they will live securely, for then His greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.”

As poet Mark Schultz penned,

Bethlehem, through your small door,
Came the hope we’ve waited for.
The world was changed forevermore,
When love was born. Hallelujah!

We can’t celebrate Christmas without looking toward Easter.  It’s why the song “Mary, Did You Know?” is popular.

Mary, did you know that your baby boy
is Lord of all creation?
Mary did you know that your baby boy
would one day rule the nations?
Did you know that your baby boy
is heaven’s perfect lamb?
That sleeping child you’re holding
is the great I Am.

The reason we say “love was born in Bethlehem” is because we are celebrating the birth of the Savior of the world.  The baby would grow up to be “heaven’s perfect lamb” and die on the cross for our sins so we may have eternal life and the right to be children of God.

We celebrate His birth

Because He met

Our greatest need

With everlasting love.

This is God’s Word For Today … This Is Grace For The Journey

Rest and Rejoice in this eternal truth!

Pastor Terry

Ephesians 4:7 – “But to each one of us grace has been given as Christ apportioned it.”

Hebrews 4:16 – “Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.”

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