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Christmas Thoughts

Greetings All,

     Since we're so close to Christmas (and I know I won't have time to send a thought next Tuesday) I decided to send some of my favorite collected 'thoughts' regarding Christmas.
     I do want to wish you all the best for the holiday season and pray that a midst the busyness and preparations and gift buying and wrapping you'll be able to keep your heart centered on that which is most important -- the miracle of the incarnation we celebrate, or the miracle that is Jesus. As the well-known Christmas carol admonishes us, "Come let us adore Him, Christ, the Lord." Enjoy.
     "...God descends to re-ascend... He comes down; down from the heights of absolute being into time and space, down into humanity. Down to the very roots and sea-bed of the nature He has created. But He goes down to come up again, and bring the ruined world up with Him. One has the picture of a strong man stooping lower and lower, to get himself underneath some great complicated burden. He must stoop in order to lift, He must almost disappear under the load before He incredibly straightens his back and marches off with the whole mass swaying on His shoulders."    C. S. Lewis

     "Let this Christmas season be a renewing of the mind of Christ in our thinking, and a cleansing of our lives by His pure presence. Let His joy come to our weary world through us."  Gerald Kennedy
     "The fact of Jesus' coming is the final and unanswerable proof that God cares."  William Barclay

     "It is here, in the thing that happened at the first Christmas, that the most profound unfathomable depths of the Christian revelation lie. God became man;... the Almighty appeared on earth as a helpless human baby, unable to do more than lie and stare and wriggle and make noises, needing to be fed and changed and taught to talk like any other child. The more you think about it, the more staggering it gets. Nothing in fiction is so fantastic as this truth of the incarnation."  J. I. Packer 
     "Christmas can be a difficult time for those who carry the burden of hard work, stressful family situations, and personal loss. But we should remember that Christ came into our world to lift up all who are bowed down... 'To proclaim that captives will be released...' (Luke 4:18).  Jesus came to lift our burdens so we can raise our eyes to welcome Him at Christmas."  David McCasland

     "The purpose and cause of the incarnation was that He might illuminate the world with His wisdom and excite it to the love of Himself."   Peter Abelard
     "The Son of God became a man to enable men to become sons of God."  C. S. Lewis

"Take Christ out of Christmas, and December becomes the bleakest and most colorless month of the year."  A. F. Wells
     "This is Christmas: not the tinsel, not the giving and receiving, not even the carols, but the humble heart that receives anew the wondrous gift, the Christ."  Frank McKibben

     "This Advent we look to the wise men to teach us where to focus our attention.  We set our sights on things above, where God is.  We draw closer to Jesus... [And] When our journey ends and we reach the place where Jesus resides in Bethlehem, may we, like the Wise Men, fall on our knees and adore Him as our true and only King."  Mark Zimmermann
     "For the great and powerful of this world, there are only two places in which their courage fails them, of which they are afraid deep down in their souls, from which they shy away. These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ. No powerful person dares approach the manger, and this even includes King Herod.  For this is where thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the lowly.  Here the rich come to nothing, because God is with the poor and the hungry, but the rich and the satisfied He sends away empty. Before Mary, the maid, before the manger of Christ, before God in lowliness, the powerful come to naught; they have no right, no hope, they are judged."  Dietrich Bonhoeffer 

     "The hinge of history is on the door of a Bethlehem stable."   Ralph W. Sockman
     Many advocate dropping the name "Christmas" and instead using the phrase "The Holiday Season." But such a tactic still fails to bring about its intended end.  For the word "holiday" is a compound word that comes from the two words,  "holy" and "day."
     So that's fine with me. It is a "holy day."  A day dedicated to God and set apart for a sacred purpose.  It gives me an even better opportunity to share, and opens the door for me to explain what makes it holy.  I plan to take advantage of each one!   I trust you will too.
With warmest regards and earnest prayers that you may enjoy a Christ-centered, Christ-filled and thus joyous celebration of the day, Pastor Jeff