Christ Comes to Us to be Love

A  Christmas   Poem

Cloistered within the confines
of Mary’s womb,
Light was entombed in darkness.

Bound within that frame
of fetal flesh,
finiteness cloaks the infinite.

What manner of love is this
that begets the impossible,
and confounds our imagination?

What Sovereign fierce love this
to send an only son,
made helpless in the hands
of his own creation?

The power of such love
is found in weakness,
for it was not the strength of nails
that held him to the cross,
love, it was, that held him there.

~Pastor Jack Matheis

Christ Comes to Us to Receive Worship

After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
Matthew 2:1-2, 11

Jesus is born! God’s grace in human form. God’s love gift to us.

“We’re on pilgrimage to worship him.” the wise men explain to Herod.

“Overcome, they knelt and worshiped him… and presented gifts…”

After a long hard journey, the object of their travels deserved their worship. There was no other possible response. They were overcome. They knelt before him. They worshiped him. They gave him gifts.

So many questions arise in my mind about these wise men. What prophesy told them to follow the star? How did they know it was the King of the Jews? Were they fueled by anticipation of what kind of king they would find? Were they really ‘kings’ with an entourage? Were they surprised the king wasn’t in Herod’s palace? And those gifts, so unusual, so impractical but then they did expect the baby was going to be found in a King’s palace.

Were they surprised to find their King in a stable? The King of Kings! The King Incarnate. I think they were because they were overcome, knelt and worshiped him.

Let us be so awestruck by our baby King this Christmas.

O come let us adore Him!

Christ the Lord!
~Nancy Matheis

Christ Comes to Us to Bring God’s Glory

“And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth.”
John 1:14
In the old testament, when God revealed himself to people to speak to them, far and away, the most common response was fear. Many view angels today as a cute little cherubs, or golden-haired girly-men. However scripture shows us over and over angels declaring to people, “Fear not!” Obviously their glory was terrifying.
When God revealed himself to the people of Israel to give them the law, the people were afraid and demanded that Moses go up and speak to God for them.
What becomes clear from reading the old testament is that for humans encountering God’s glory didn’t arouse fluffy feelings, but dread and terror.
 Jesus changed all that. He condescended to our level, so that we could know him intimately. He sat and walked and ate for three years with 12 ordinary men and made the glory of the father know to us. He did away with the horror of God’s glory by taking the wrath that we deserve and defeating death.
Jesus came to take our fear and our death and usher us into relationship with him and his Father.
As the fictitious demon in C.S. Lewis’ Screwtape Letters describes to another demon:
“What is blinding, suffocating fire to you, is now cool light to him, is clarity itself, and wears the form of a Man.”
~ Jim Randall

Christ Comes to Us to Bring Us Good News

“The Spirit of the Lord is upon me,
because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor
He has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives
and recovery of sight to the blind,
to set at liberty those who are oppressed,
to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
– Luke 4:18

“The truth hurts.” A trite and overused statement; yet difficult to deny. What physician or counselor would deny that a client’s best chance of recovery or restoration is connected to their ability to recognize their malady?

Jesus came with good news and bad news. The narrative of his ministry draws a strong distinction between those who say the truth in the bad news (“You are blind, you are sick, you need healing.”), and those who denied the bad news and found the successive part (“I will restore you, I will free you.”) of his message offensive.

Gospel means, “news that brings joy.” Jesus came to declare truth to us, the truth of why he had come: for our rescue and salvation, that we might be delivered from sin into fellowship with God.

The news that brings joy—this gospel—is a stumbling block. For what good is salvation if you do not need a savior? To know Christ, to know why he came, we have to accept the offense of the gospel, the ultimate delivery of good and bad news bundled together.

“The gospel is this: We are more sinful and flawed in ourselves than we ever dared believe, yet at the very same time we are more loved and accepted in Jesus Christ than we ever dared hope.” – Tim Keller

~Breanna Randall

Christ Comes to Us to Be Our High Priest

“For this reason he had to be made like his brothers in every way, in order that he might become a merciful and faithful high priest in service to God, and that he might make atonement for the sins of the people.  Because he himself suffered when he was tempted, he is able to help those who are being tempted.
Hebrews 2: 17-18

Priest: one who represents the people to God.  Often assumed to be a “better” person, held on a pedestal,  unapproachable, aloof.  Only later do we find they too, are sinners, broken , fallible, sometimes cold, hard, and insensitive.

Scripture tells us that Jesus IS our High Priest.  No assumptions here.  As God, Jesus is perfectly  Holy and Righteous, and able to represent His people to God the Father  face to face.

However, the God / Man Jesus came to earth as a helpless human baby.  Like us He lived and walked a human life.  He endured hunger (Lk 4:2), tiredness (Mt 8:24),  thirst (Jn 19:28), grief (Jn11:35), rejection (Jn 6:60), persecution (Mt 2:13), both mental and physical abuse (Jn 19:1-3),and temptation (Lk 4:1-13 & Heb 4:15) to become “like us in every way”, yet, without sin (Heb 4:15).

As our sinless High Priest, Jesus represents us before God, with tender love, care and understanding.   As God, HE Knows exactly how to approach His Father as our representative.  As one who has “been there”, HE Knows exactly what we need:  Forgiveness,  increased faith, healing, comfort, acceptance, understanding, boldness, insight and trust.

Trust in Him! and in the promises He has made:  “It is finished!” (Jn 19:30).  We have access to God directly through our Great High Priest, Jesus, who is EMMANUEL: God with us!
~Pam Herbert

Christ Comes to Us to Bring Us Peace

“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!  I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33

By coming to earth and paying for our sins, Jesus made peace between us and God.  Peace with God also makes possible peace within ourselves and with others.

Imagine believing we had to earn our way into heaven. We would rush around frantically working at the hopeless task of doing enough good works to fit ourselves for the kingdom, always with a gnawing anxiety in the back of or minds, “Am I good enough?” “Will I make it?”  Sins might leave us trembling in fear of judgment for the rest of our lives, and death would be the frightening deadline at which we are out of time to amass goodness.

We are not left to ourselves, though.

“Comfort, comfort ye my people saith your God. Speak ye comfortably to Jerusalem, and cry onto her that her warfare is accomplished, that her iniquity is pardoned. For she hath received of the LORD’s hand double for all her sins.”

Our comfort and our peace are in  knowing our sins our covered for us, that we have a pardoning God.   “It is finished” –finished anxiously trying to wash away our sins ourselves.

”Though  your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.”

“Let the wicked forsake his way and the evil man his thoughts. Let  him turn to the LORD, and he will have  mercy on him,  and to our God, for he will freely pardon.”

Of  course we still have trouble in the world, but His peace is shown to be heavenly, in that unlike the world’s transient peace, His peace lasts even through trouble.

I remember reading a story about a king who offered  a prize for whoever could paint the best picture of peace.  Many very peaceful looking sunsets and the like where submitted, but the painting  he chose surprised many.   At first glance it just looked like a storm in a forest.  Amid the wind and rain, though, a mother bird calmly sat on her nest in the crevice of a rock, safe.

While in the world we must still fight evil, but with the assurance the battle is won. Through all our trouble and sadness, when we fail miserably, and when we don’t know how things could turn out well, we have the peace of knowing our God, who knows what he is doing, is in control.  All sorrow will pass away and we will spend eternity with our Savior.

~Greta Suchy

Christ Comes to Us to Bring Us Great Joy

But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. For behold I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people.”
Luke 2:10

These shepherds certainly had good cause to be afraid! Think of the terror put on those who witnessed even the smallest part of God’s heavenly power and majesty.

But now we need not be afraid of the splendor of God’s holiness, his glory was now among us, soon to live inside us!
We need not to feel like an outsider because we are Gentiles, because we are sinners.

This good news is given to ALL the people!
God chose to announce his greatest gift to the lowly shepherds, and is announcing it to us, still a lowly people, to this day.
Christ gives us nothing to fear, and everything to be joyful about.

How could we not be joyful?
The curtain is torn, the angels sing to the shepherds, for the King is among us with salvation in his hands!
~Brandon Dieleman