Monday, December 26, 2011
We pass this “Christmas farm” near Elizabethtown, PA.
We usually see it from a four lane highway (Rt 283) on our way to Harrisburg but this view is from Ridgeview Road. This photo is from Lancaster Farming used with permission.
Our family had a touching experience Friday evening in a Harrisburg hospital room. Naomi, an elderly friend whose photo we featured last Tuesday playing the harmonica, was admitted to the hospital with stroke-like symptoms. After a long day of many tests in the E.R. it was nearly 8:00 PM before we were able to see her. With Christmas just around the corner the hospital seemed unusually quiet as we walked into her dark room where she lay curled up in the bed. She awakened at our greeting though she was confused and didn’t recognize us.
Knowing Naomi’s love for music Brooksyne knelt down at her bedside, took her hand, and began to sing “Away In a Manger”. Halfway through the 1st verse she began to hum along. By the third verse Naomi began to softly sing the words with Brooksyne. I thought how appropriate the lyrics were as I looked on and considered the fragile state of our dear sister: “Be near me Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay, close by me forever and love me I pray. Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care and take us to heaven to live with Thee there.”
Over the last several days earnest believers gathered all over the world to give focus to the true meaning of Christmas. We worshiped through song, read Scripture, prayed, heard the Christmas narrative, partook of communion, in addition to other ways we honored our Lord. We gathered in churches, homes, classrooms, hospitals, rehabs, prisons, soup kitchens, and in many other settings to express our faith in the very heart of the Christmas story; “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Biblical truths are being mocked and ridiculed and sadly there are those in the visible church who feel we must compromise in disbelief to be accepted by the world. After all there are those who concede that the Creation record in Genesis is a legend, the Biblical miracles aren’t real, and the Bible characters are myths. It should not surprise us that the critical events in the life of our Savior; His birth, death, and resurrection are similarly ridiculed.
The epistles give little emphasis to the birth of Christ. Apart from the historical record in the narratives of Matthew and Luke, and the prophecies foretold centuries earlier, we have no other information on our Lord’s birth. It’s not mentioned in the Acts of the Apostles or in the epistles with any detail. Actually there’s no record of the early church celebrating Christ’s birth as we do today.
But they certainly believed in it! Paul introduces a saying that appears to be an early creedal statement of the primitive church. He introduces it as a “trustworthy statement” (literally a “faithful word”), easily memorized, and perhaps used to teach and reinforce the faith in earliest believers. “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” is an absolutely trustworthy statement that impacts the lives of every human born into the world and evident in those present during the time of Christ’s appearing:
- It was declared by Mary, during her visit to Elizabeth, in the Magnificat: “My soul exalts the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior” (Luke 1:46).
- It was the reassuring message from the angel to Joseph: “She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins” (Matthew 1:22)
- It was the message of the angel of the Lord to the frightened shepherds: “For today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11).
- When Simeon took the infant Jesus in His arms he declared: “For my eyes have seen Your salvation” (Luke 2:30).
This message “deserves full acceptance.” Although most of the world’s population has not accepted this truth; from its earliest declaration, to this day and throughout eternity it truly deserves full acceptance. I have accepted this truth, live by it, and trust that each of you have as well: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.”
Be encouraged today,
Stephen & Brooksyne Weber
Daily Prayer: Father, how grateful we are that Jesus came into this world to save sinners; to turn despair to hope, darkness to light, and death into life. All that we have need of and presently rely on is abundance from Your generous Hand. You are worthy of our trust and deserving of our fully surrendered life. From the cradle to the cross Jesus is Lord of Heaven and Lord of earth. We celebrate the birth of Your Son, Jesus, our Savior, and give thanks for all that it means to us. Amen.
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