Once again we find ourselves at that time of year…
It is Christmas Day and with it we will see them once again on our TVs and reported on in newspapers
Various Church leaders of different denominations will again give their Christmas messages.. AND not just them, but also the Queen.
Invariably these messages focus on peace and goodwill between people here on earth Also about meeting the needs of others……..
YET the Christmas event is not about horizontal relationships first of all
“When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.” (Luke 2:17-20, NIV)
To truly appreciate Christmas we need to look back to the amazing event it was THEN and still is for us NOW!
- GOD WITH US!
- THE GLORY OF GOD REVEALED IN THE PERSON OF JESUS
- CRUNCH TIME
Readings reproduced on this page:
The Holy Bible: New International Version. 1996, 1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan
Ezra 1 (NIV84)
1In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord spoken by Jeremiah, the Lord moved the heart of Cyrus king of Persia to make a proclamation throughout his realm and to put it in writing:
2“This is what Cyrus king of Persia says: “ ‘The Lord, the God of heaven, has given me all the kingdoms of the earth and he has appointed me to build a temple for him at Jerusalem in Judah.
3Anyone of his people among you—may his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem in Judah and build the temple of the Lord, the God of Israel, the God who is in Jerusalem.
4And the people of any place where survivors may now be living are to provide him with silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with freewill offerings for the temple of God in Jerusalem.’ ”
5Then the family heads of Judah and Benjamin, and the priests and Levites—everyone whose heart God had moved—prepared to go up and build the house of the Lord in Jerusalem.
6All their neighbors assisted them with articles of silver and gold, with goods and livestock, and with valuable gifts, in addition to all the freewill offerings.
7Moreover, King Cyrus brought out the articles belonging to the temple of the Lord, which Nebuchadnezzar had carried away from Jerusalem and had placed in the temple of his god.
8Cyrus king of Persia had them brought by Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah.
9This was the inventory: gold dishes 30 silver dishes 1,000 silver pans 29
10gold bowls 30 matching silver bowls 410 other articles 1,000
11In all, there were 5,400 articles of gold and of silver. Sheshbazzar brought all these along when the exiles came up from Babylon to Jerusalem.
Ephesians 1:3–14 (NIV84)
3Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.
4For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love
5he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ, in accordance with his pleasure and will—
6to the praise of his glorious grace, which he has freely given us in the One he loves.
7In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace
8that he lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.
9And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ,
10to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment—to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.
11In him we were also chosen, having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will,
12in order that we, who were the first to hope in Christ, might be for the praise of his glory.
13And you also were included in Christ when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation. Having believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit,
14who is a deposit guaranteeing our inheritance until the redemption of those who are God’s possession—to the praise of his glory.
Luke 2:1–7 (NIV84)
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.