Monday, December 24, 2007

Happy Birthday Jesus

I think it's much too easy to forget the real reason we celebrate Christmas. We hear the cliche, but has it really sunk into your heart that Jesus is the reason? It's much too easy to get caught up in the decorating and shopping and cooking and eating and forget why we're doing it all. Two thousand years ago, the God of all creation came to earth as a baby. If you've ever held a newborn in your arms, you know just how precious and fragile they are. Yet God came down to us as a baby. He came down knowing that one day he'd die on a cross, not for His own sins, but for my sins and yours. Has the truth of this season really impacted your heart? I received a letter in the mail today that really disturbed my spirit and felt that I needed to write a reminder of why we celebrate Christmas. We give gifts not because we expect anything from the recipient, but to celebrate our love and thankfulness for our family and other loved ones. We give because God gave the greatest gift of all to us. He gave us His one and only Son, to be our Savior. I leave you with this, taken from the NIV version of the Bible...

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.

4So 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. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and 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.

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."

13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When 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."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

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