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Old 11-21-2008, 11:10 PM
JMWHALEN JMWHALEN is offline
 
Join Date: Oct 2008
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Default A Christmas Prayer- The Significance of "The Season"

(bold my emphasis)


"For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord" Luke 2:11
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"For whatsoever things were written aforetime were written for our learning, that we through patience and comfort of the scriptures might have hope." Romans 15:4

"It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter." Proverbs 25:2

With "Christmas" fast approaching", I thought perhaps the below would be edifying("to build up") to you, and all my fellow believers in Christ. I would ask each of you, and encourage each of you, if you have a Christmas message that would be "for our learning", to please share it with others, for "Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised...."(Psalms 145:3). I can think of no better way for believers, excepting our "walk", to witness to, and praise"... the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ"..(Titus 2:13) through the gift of a Christmas message! If you have "search(ed) out a matter", and feel it would "...teach others also..."(2 Timothy 2:2) , please share this message and yours with others.




A Christmas Prayer
By John M. Whalen

Heavenly Father,

We acknowledge that when our Saviour, the only Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ, was born King approximately 2000 years ago, the world ignored Him and "put up with Him" at its best, and turned it's hostility toward Him at its worst.

At the time of His first coming, He offended and troubled(Genesis 45:3, Matthew 2:3)the majority, and many wanted to destroy Him and erase the mention of His name from the earth. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says "there is no new thing under the sun." And so, not much has changed in 2000 years. The sin nature of man has not changed, nor has the spiritual battle raging against the LORD God's Christ, His word, and those who believe His word and are called to set their affection on things above, not on things of the earth(Colossians 3:2), and to mind the things that be of God, and not those that be of men(Matthew 16:23).

The Lord Jesus Christ is just as unwelcome today in this so-called "enlightened, modern" society/culture as He was at the Inn in Bethlehem(Luke 2:7)-His honoured name(Psalms 66:2) is less and less mentioned at this time of the year, and noticeably absent in our daily conversation(try to recall the last time you heard his name uttered outside of a "church setting", excluding using His name profanely). Most, like king Herod and Jerusalem of old, are troubled by Him, are offended by Him, and ignore, reject, and try to forget Him. Most feel more comfortable acknowledging Him once a year, pretending He never came, or denying His existence.

The real issue at Christmas is the identity of the babe lying in the manger. To the predominantly Christ-rejecting world, a baby lying in the manger is harmless, and is comfortable and content to leave Him there, since He is no threat there- the world smiles, winks, and since, they "don't have any time", moves on. Like King Agrippa of old, conviction is substituted with "lip service", as they murmur: " ... Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian"(Acts 26:28).

But proclaim the truth that this same babe is the incarnate, only begotten Son of God, fully God and fully man, the "Word made flesh who dwelt among us"(John 1:14), who was born in a wooden crib to die on a wooden cross reserved for criminals, you and me, who arrived in grace, but also will return in judgment as "...a man of war..."(Exodus 15:3), then this man is a threat-a threat to our time, a threat to our "worldly comfort", and a threat to our often misplaced priorities. The world views this baby as a truth it must attempt to subdue and "bridle."

Christians, however, are called to look at the manger and see God in the flesh, and to proclaim that this is no babe who may be "domesticated." The babe in the manger cannot be separated from the "...man Christ Jesus..."(1 Timothy 2:5), the King of Kings, the resurrected Lord of Lords, and the Head of the Body of Christ, who claimed "I am the way, the truth, and the life: no man cometh unto the Father , but by me"(John 14:6). The manger led to the cross, where this wonderful Saviour(Isaiah 9:6) died in our place as our substitute, bearing our sins, and purging our sins forever, and later rose from the dead. He is no longer in a manger, nor is He on the cross-He is risen, for we serve "...not the God of the dead, but of the living"(Matthew 22:32). The wonder of the incarnation cannot be separated from the blood of Calvary, nor from the hope of the resurrection. The incomprehensible truth of Christmas is that this babe was born to die, and to die for sinners, so that all who trust solely on what He accomplished by His death, burial, and resurrection, might live. He came not to make "good" people better, but to make dead people alive.

This truth demands that we must never trivialize or sentimentalize Christmas because it is warm, fuzzy, reassuring, or comforting. We must separate ourselves from the world's attempt to tame the Lord Jesus Christ, keeping Him in a manger, helpless, and dependent on us. The Holy Bible never leaves Him in a manger, and neither should we, and neither can we.

This same divine babe, as the song goes, is tender, meek, and mild, but He is also the one who holds all things together by the word of His power(Hebrews 1:3), the same one who was wounded for our transgressions, and bruised for our iniquities(Isaiah 53:5), who will judge both the living and the dead, and who has the only name under heaven whereby we must be saved(Acts 4:12).

Believers are called to preach this Christ to a dying world, this "...Christ crucified..."(1 Corinthians 1:23, 2:2; Galatians 3:1), and this "...Christ risen from the dead..."(1 Corinthians 15:20), and to speak boldly the whole truth we know, regardless of the cost. We are to bear witness to the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ of the Holy Bible, and not the Lord Jesus Christ of our opinion, our emotions, our fantasy, our traditions, and to make certain that when we say "Christmas", the world knows we speak a word of truth.

Christianity stands or falls on this central truth: that God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself(2 Corinthians 5:19). Christianity rests not only on who Christ is, God in the flesh, which we remember at this time of the year, but also on what this great God and Saviour(Titus 2:13) accomplished for us through His death, burial, and resurrection(1 Corinthians 15:1-4)-the "good news"(gospel)! The babe who came is the Messiah(Hebrew), the Christ(Greek) who alone can save. He is also the Lord who reigns.

From a biblical viewpoint, hope means "confident expectation." Therefore, my hope in writing this is:

1. Let us daily remember the hardship the Lord Jesus Christ was willing to bear for our sake. We cannot fully comprehend the degree of humiliation He endured when He took "the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men...and humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross"(Philippians 2:7,8). But we can thank Him, by both what we say and do, not to obtain His favor, but for the gift, the favor, He has already bestowed upon us. We need to appreciate that "the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord"(Romans 6:23).

2.Lets us understand and remember:

The word's misconception of the true meaning of Christmas is related with mankind's view of God, and mankind's relationship to the Lord Jesus Christ. We have been programmed by "religion" and "...this present evil world..."(Galatians 1:4) to view the King of this universe as "a great Santa Claus", instead of a just, Holy, righteous, and jealous LORD God, who does hold us accountable to His word, and His standards, not ours. We forget that His favor, His gifts toward us are designed to conform us to His image(Romans 8:29), not satisfy all of our earthly desires. We forget, and cannot fully comprehend/apprehend, the amount of humiliation the only begotten Son of God endured on our behalf. His lowly birth in Bethlehem, the "house of bread", should remind us of the hardships He was willing to bear for our sake, not diminish His exalted status and position as Lord, nor the seriousness with which he calls His own to "...savourest .... the things that be of God....", not "...those that be of men"(Matthew 16:23). He surely grieves, He surely cries(John 11:35), at this time of the year , when men turn worshipping this "young child" "... born as King of the Jews...."(Matthew 2:11, 2:2) into self-indulgence, who turn "love thy neighbor" into "that (bleep) took my parking space, my airplane seat.......", when forgetting your cell phone causes more stress than forgetting to read your Bible, and when men turn "...Glory to God..."(Luke 2:14), into "if you are good, Santa will give you......", and "if you are good, God will save you."


3. Let us daily remember that only God's peace and goodwill toward men can bring love and "good tidings of great joy"(Luke 2:10). Let us be truly like the "wise men" and be wise, who worshipped the King, and not a baby(Matthew 2:2). Let us praise the LORD God for the greatest gift of all, the Lord Jesus Christ. And let us not seek relief from our burdens and seek happiness in the glitter and merry making of the "holidays", but rather let us seek this in the person of God's only begotten Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Let us look not for the season to give joy, but rather let us look to the person of the season for joy. And finally, let us not expect from the season what only God can provide: the peace of God, "which passeth all understanding"(Philippians 4:7).

I would ask, and I pray that all of you "..think on these things.."(Philippians 4:8), and like the LORD God's servant of old, Mary(Luke 1:48), ponder these things in your heart(Luke 2:19).



Father, we thank you for the gift of your only begotten Son, for we know that eventually one day, this same "babe....lying in a manger..."(Luke 2:12), will be acknowledged as "...the blessed and only Potentate, the King of kings, and Lord of lords..."(1 Timothy 6:15), and "... at the name of Jesus, every knee will bow, and every tongue will confess, that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father"(Philippians 2:10,11).

We pray this in the name of the risen, ascended, and glorified Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

In and with Christ,

John M. Whalen
The King James Bible Page SwordSearcher Bible Software
 

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