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Pondering the Arrival of the Prince

by Various

Meditations on the Wonder of it all!

Supernatural, Then And Now

by John R. W. Stott

The campaign to “put Christ back into Christmas,” with which every Christian must sympathize and agree, immediately raises this question: What sort of a Christ shall we restore to Christmas? Many modern theologians in England, in America, and on the Continent, are telling us that we can only keep the picturesque Christmas story if we are willing to concede that the Incarnation is a “myth.” That is to say, we can no longer accept it (we are being told) as historically or literally true. It contains a spiritual truth, to be sure, but the story which enshrines it is a legend and the virgin birth frankly incredible.

In opposition to such popular but empty chatter, we need to assert in clear confident tones that we believe “the old, old story.” What we say in the Apostles’ Creed we mean: “conceived by the Holy Ghost, born of the Virgin Mary.” Borrowing an expression from St. Paul, we would ask: “why is it thought incredible by any of you” that the world’s Savior should be born of a virgin? From first to last Christianity is a supernatural religion. Christ’s life began with a virgin birth: our Christian life begins with a new birth. Both are frankly supernatural. That is, they involve an interruption of the course of nature. Both are attributed in Scripture to the sovereign activity of the Holy Spirit. Those who have been born of the Spirit today find no great difficulty in believing that Christ Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit years ago. Similarly, it is really no more miraculous that the Son of God once dwelt in a virgin’s womb than it is that He now dwells in our hearts by faith. What should occupy our attention is not the supposed impossibility of it, but its marvelous condescension. Of this we sing in the Magnificat. Have you ever thought how extraordinary it is that we should take upon our lips a hymn sung by the virgin Mary when she learned that she was to bear God’s Son? How can we possibly sing her words? Only because her experience, which was utterly unique in one sense, is in another sense repeated in every Christian believer. When Christ is born in our hearts, we too can sing with humble astonishment: “He who is mighty has done great things for me.”

RECONCILIATION REJECTED

by David Johnson,
Minister of Turkey Creek, LA Church of Christ

Elizabeth Barrett Browning was a gifted English poet. Her marriage to Robert, another poet, was so strongly disapproved by her parents that they disowned her. Almost weekly, Elizabeth wrote tender love letters to her mother and father, asking for reconciliation. They never replied. After ten years of letter writing, Elizabeth received a huge box in the mail. She opened it, only to find to her heartbreak that the box contained all of her love letters to her parents. And not one of them had ever been opened!

Today those same letters have been published and are among the most beautiful in classic English literature. Whereas two un-reconcilable hard hearts could not forgive, thousands of others have had their hearts melted by the tenderness that flowed from the heart of Elizabeth Barrett Browning. Had her parents opened and read even just a few of the letters, a reconciliation might have been ignited.

The Bible is God’s collection of love letters to us for the purpose of reconciliation. The Bible has been a bestseller for generation after generation. Only God knows the number of people who have been reconciled to Himself by the conviction of the Holy Spirit through His Word to us.

Sadly far too many people never open God’s letters to us. It is as though God’s attempt to communicate has been returned un-opened. And it breaks His heart. Today, God’s letters have been published and are available so that all may be reconciled with Him. In God’s letter to the Romans 5:10-11, it is written: “For if, when we were God’s enemies, we were reconciled to Him through the death of His Son, how much more, having been reconciled, shall we be saved through His life! Not only is this so, but we also rejoice in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have now received reconciliation.”

HIGH AND HOLY, meek and lowly

by Ephraem of Syria (300-379 A.D.)

Child of Bethlehem, what contrasts you embrace! No one has ever been so humble; no one has ever wielded such power. We stand in awe of your holiness, and yet we are bathed in your love.

And where shall we look for you? You are in high heaven, in the glory of the Godhead. Yet those who searched for you on earth found you in a tiny baby at Mary’s breast. We come in hushed reverence to find you as God, and you welcome us as man. We come unthinkingly to find you as man, and are blinded by the light of your Godhead….

Never was there a king like you! Instead of royal isolation, you made yourself available to everyone who needed you. Instead of high security, you made yourself vulnerable to those who hated you.

It is we who need you, above anything in the world. You give yourself to us with such total generosity, that it might almost seem that you need us. There never was a king like this before!

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They all were looking for a king
To slay their foes and lift them high;
Thou came, a little baby-thing
That made a woman cry.
–George Macdonald

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I would have liked to have seen the baby Jesus. But the glo­rified Jesus yonder at the right hand of the Majesty on high was the baby Jesus once cradled in the manger straw. Taking a body of humiliation, He was still the Creator who made the wood of that manger, and made the straw. — A. W. Tozer

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Our trouble is we want the peace without the Prince. –Addison Leitch

* * *

A little girl said she liked Santa Cause better than Jesus be­cause “you have to be good for Santa only at Christmas but for Jesus you have to be good all the time.” Much of the Christmas observance at church is not far removed from that attitude. –Vance Havner




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Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves have received from God.

2 corinthians 1:3-4