Pt 8: Twelve Days of Christmas

We often know the right thing to do, but choosing to do it is the real test.

Some Difficult News

Imagine, your fiancé has just informed you that she is pregnant. You know the baby couldn’t possibly by yours. You are beyond disappointment, you are devastated. The two of you were promised to each other and the promise was based on you both being virgins. Sadly, your dream of a sweet life with her has ended.

How could she do this to you?

Unbelievably, she swears she hasn’t been with a man. “So how can you be pregnant,” you ask her. She says, “The baby is from God, through the power of the Spirit. Gabriel appeared to me and said this was going to happen, I promise!”

You respond with, “Uh huh, okay.” Then, with a bitter soul, you bellow out your anger, tell her it’s over, and leave forever.

Doing The Right Thing

Instead of being bitter, what if you chose to be considerate. You decide not to embarrass her with shame and public disgrace. That’s exactly what Joseph did. He must have been broken hearted but he still chose compassion over vengeance. He chose to be righteous.

Then the angel explained everything to him. Can you imagine the next conversation between Joseph and Mary?

joseph and mary

To Think About

Jesus is Lord, King, and the Savior of the world. But some 2,000 years ago, in a small Galilean village, it almost ended before it started. A lesser man would have walked away and called for the stoning pit for Mary. But Joseph wasn’t a lesser man.

Jesus Did The Right Thing

When the time came, Jesus chose compassion instead of wrath and judgment. He gave up his right to condemn. Even on the cross he forgave those who were violently cruel to him.

Yes, Jesus did his Father’s will. But from the human perspective, Jesus turned out just like his Dad. Joseph must have been a wonderful example to his son.

TheNativity (600 x 300)

In Closing

We don’t know much about Joseph. But he was heaven’s choice to be the Messiah’s earthly father. In this season of Immanuel, I am deeply grateful for Joseph.

Because he was a righteous man, we are all blessed beyond measure.

Merry Christmas

Pt 7: Twelve Days of Christmas

I turned to my Dad for help when I was kid, but I didn’t always listen. 

Speaking of Help

When I was 13, I built a large, balsa-wood plane from scratch. It was harder than I imagined so I asked my Dad for help. He was a pilot, an expert in aviation, and he advised me to build the plane in ways I thought were totally unnecessary. I didn’t listen to him, didn’t want to do all the extra work. But as it turned out he was right. I should have listened, I should have done what he said. I guess I didn’t believe.

16_73_14_father_and_son_modeling_toy_airplane_in_garage
Fathers and Sons: How Many Planes Have Been Built Together?

The Father’s Son

Our heavenly Father said a lot about his son. That he would be born in Bethlehem, that it would be a virgin birth, and that he would be called Emmanuel. The Messiah would sit on David’s throne and have the Spirit’s anointing. He would be called, Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, and Prince of Peace.

He said his son would be despised, forsaken, and pierced; that he would be abandoned and sold for 30 pieces of silver.

Have we listened, do we believe?

In A Few Days

Believers all over the world will be celebrating the birth of Christ. Millions will attend a candle light service. At home, fireplaces will share their warmth, stockings will be hung and presents placed under the tree. Christmas morning we’ll be standing knee deep in wrapping paper, it will be chaotic, and so very glorious.

Before the glorious morning arrives, we should take a moment to reflect on the Father sending his son to die for a sinful world. And why did he die? Because we needed him to. Because we were lost and helpless. And because Jesus our Messiah listened to his father, he believed, and so he came for us. 

nativity-baby-jesus-christmas-2008-christmas-2806967-1000-5581_810_500_55_s_c1

In Closing

That plane I built was really sweet. It looked great and flew like the wind, once I built it just like my father said. I should have listened the first time, I just needed to believe.

Merry Christmas

Down to the River

Carmacs-bridge_across_Yukon_River.jpg
Scary Bridge Over Scary Water!

It unnerved me as a child when we crossed over rivers. It seemed so far down, and took so long, and the water seemed so dangerous. I closed my eyes, held my nose, and tried not to put my full weight down on the seat. But in time, the rivers became less threatening, and with more time, they became places of spiritual refuge and great beauty. Great things can happen in rivers.

rsz_pikiwiki_israel_29585_jordan_river
The Jordan River 

Seeing the Jordan River for the first time just flooded my mind with bible stories. The Jordan River, between the Sea of Galilee and the Dead Sea, played host to some magnificent moments. Joshua led his people across the Jordan and into the Promise Land. Naaman washed in the Jordan to cleanse his leprosy. Both Elijah and Elisha were active on both sides of the river. It’s where John baptized thousands, and where even I have baptized people. But more than anything, it’s where Jesus was baptized.

When you stand the on the bank where it’s believed John immersed the Messiah, it’s easy to imagine them in the river. Talk about a moment in history! Jesus wasn’t immersed because of sin. He had nothing for which he needed to repent. He was there because the greatest man ever born of woman, John the Baptist, would proclaim he witnessed God’s Spirit come upon Jesus, and that the voice of God celebrated, “This is my son!”

jesus site
Traditional Site of Jesus’s Baptism

At his birth, the angel declared a savior had been born. The shepherds found the infant Messiah and told everyone what they had seen. The Magi presented gifts of royalty, the gifts of kings. Collectively, they all pronounced that Mary’s son was the son of David, the Son of God. They coronated a King and proclaimed to Jerusalem, to Israel, and to the world that God Emmanuel had arrived. Thirty years later, a second proclamation was made. John announced that Jesus of Nazareth was in fact the Son of God, the son of David. Redemption and salvation had come to our world.

Mary washed her infant son with water, wrapped him in cloth, and placed him in a manger. John washed Jesus with water, saw him wrapped in the Spirit, and then placed in the desert for forty days.

Jesus came to the Jordan. He came out of the water knowing exactly what he was destined to do.

He came out of the Jordan so he could go to Calvary. It’s a new birth, to born again, filled with the Spirit.

God bless you.