Christ came to die! Nothing else explains his birth.
Through your tears, lift up your eyes and look again to Bethlehem. That sleeping child will rise to battle and no one will stand against him.
That’s the way it was that first Christmas night 2000 years ago. Baby sleeping, mother dreaming, father thinking, and God watching over it all.
Today as yesterday and tomorrow as today, Jesus is the answer to the deepest questions of life.
Jesus stands at the end of life’s road for all of us. There can be no middle ground. The ultimate question is not how someone else responds but how you respond to Jesus. That’s really the only thing that matters.
On the first Christmas morning the sun began to shine in Bethlehem. Now that he has come into the world, nothing can ever be the same again. Now we have light in the darkness, pardon from our guilt, and peace that passes all understanding.
This afternoon I read a bit from Faithfulness and Holiness by J. I. Packer. The book consists of Packer’s short biography of J. C. Ryle, the 19t5h-century Anglican bishop, and a reprint of Ryle’s justly-famous book called, simply, “Holiness.” I happened across this quote from Ryle’s chapter on “Sanctification” where he means to show that […]
“He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end” (Luke 1:33). “I’m gonna be famous.” That’s what Robert Hawkins wrote in his suicide note before going to the mall in Omaha last Wednesday where he murdered eight people and then took his own life. But he […]
Sometimes you’re reading along when suddenly a phrase pops out and you say, “Whoa! Where did that come from?” That happened to me this week as I was reading the Biblical Illustrator in preparation for this message. I ran across a statement by W. P. Balfern regarding my text, which has Matthew quoting Hosea 11:1 […]
Let me begin by saying right up front that no one knows exactly when Jesus was born because the Bible does not clearly answer this question. That doesn’t mean the question is unimportant, only that it is not essential to our Christian faith. As we approach Christmas this year, it is good to remind ourselves […]
Christmas reminds us that the world is full of “accidents from God” that are really part of his plan to save the world.
“Christmas is full of surprises.” Somewhere in my reading this week I ran across that sentence. While I am sure it is true, it doesn’t always seem true. Christmas poses a yearly challenge to those of us who have heard the story since we were children. After you have attended 20 or 30 or 40 […]
“If I had not come” (John 15:22). “But when the time had fully come, God sent his Son, born of a woman, born under law” (Galatians 4:4). In the first verse, which is really just a fragment of a verse, Jesus invites us to consider a possibility. What if he had not come to earth? […]
We begin with the words of Flannery O’Connor: “The truth does not change according to our ability to stomach it.” Truth is truth whether we like it or not. The fact that I personally may object to the truth doesn’t matter. Those things that are objectively true remain true even if I doubt them or […]
We live in a day when Christmas has become a controversial holiday. If you doubt that statement, just try putting up a manger scene on public property. Or try saying “Merry Christmas” instead of the ubiquitous “Happy Holidays.” Sometimes it seems as if there are more lawsuits than Christmas carols. Every year more and more […]
This isn’t exactly the sermon I planned to preach on the Sunday before Christmas, but I don’t suppose that will surprise anyone since Christmas itself comes as a relief at the end of a year that has not been what we thought it would be. If one searches for glimmers of light on the horizon, […]
This is Christmas Eve. Even though there is no command in the New Testament to celebrate Christmas, we happily join with millions of Christians around the world in remembering the birth of our Savior. “Joy to the world, the Lord is come!” And because he was born in Bethlehem, “the hopes and fears of all […]
Our text tells us how to celebrate Christmas. In its most literal sense, this passage describes the various responses of people to the birth of Christ. In his sermon on this passage, Charles Spurgeon points out that certain activities fit certain periods of the year. In our own culture Christmas means holly and mistletoe, parties, […]
Have you ever wondered when Christmas began? I’m not referring to the celebration of Jesus’ birth on December 25 because we don’t know exactly when he was born. It might be December 25 but it might be June 14 for all we know. The Bible doesn’t say and it doesn’t give us many clues. December […]
It’s amazing how simple some things really are. Take the Bible, for instance. At first glance, it’s an intimidating book filled with strange names, places we’ve never heard of, books we can’t pronounce, and verses we don’t understand. Even people who have read the Bible for years still have trouble understanding parts of it. Sometimes […]
If there is a single word that describes what Christmas is all about, it’s the little word “joy.” Several of our favorite carols mention it: “Joy to the world, the Lord is come,” “O come all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,” “Shepherds, why this jubilee, why your joyous strains prolong?” “Good Christian men, rejoice, with […]
“The rulers of this world are seldom friendly to the cause of God.” J. C. Ryle Last night the contemporary Christian musician Michael Card performed a Christmas concert at Wheaton College. As part of the build-up to the concert, the Chicago Tribune carried a brief article on Friday that begins with these words: Michael Card […]
One of the many important decisions confronting new parents is, “What shall we call our baby?” Most new parents spend hours debating this question. We all realize that names matter. Shall the new baby be named after his father, his uncle, a favorite friend? Should he be given a name that happens to be popular […]
There are only ten days left until Christmas. Have you done your shopping yet? Be careful, because there are some crazy people out there. Have you heard about this new doll called Tickle Me, Elmo? Every year there seems to be one new item that everyone has to have. A few years ago it was […]
You might call this text “The forgotten chapter of the Christmas story.” It is a genealogy—a list of names, most of them unpronounceable. Because of that, this is a portion of Scripture that we tend to overlook. We don’t know what to do with it. It’s not often read in public. For that matter, we […]
It had been a long, hard day on the road, and the two travelers were exhausted. It was a long trip no matter when you traveled, but this time of year the roads were so clogged that it took even longer. Three days had passed since they left Nazareth. Two more days and they would […]
Have you ever tried to explain the real meaning of Christmas to a child? It isn’t easy. There is so much tradition mixed up with spiritual truth that it’s sometimes hard to tell Jesus from Santa Claus and the Wise Men from the snowmen. Sometimes our children have a hard time understanding what it all […]