It Wasn’t About A Baby

What kind of baby captures creatures in heaven and on earth? What kind of baby prompts learned men to go on a quest that took years, from many, many miles away, to come find him? What kind of baby, before He is born, causes another baby, also not yet born, to leap in the womb? What kind of baby causes shepherds to leave their livelihood unprotected and unwatched? What kind of baby causes a powerful king to come apart at the seams in fear that he will be overthrown?

A baby who is so much more than a baby, that is who! The baby that we celebrated at Christmas came to earth as a baby, yes. But He was GOD, THE GREAT I AM, EMMANUEL, YAHWEH, THE CHRIST, MESSIAH in a baby’s skin. Isaiah 9:6-7 says:

“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given”   (that is the part about the baby)
“and the government will be on his shoulders. And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the greatness of his government and peace, there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne and over his kingdom establishing and upholding it with justice and righteousness from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty will accomplish this.”   (that is the part about the KING)

He lived:

  • by being conceived by the Holy Spirit, not a man.
  • a sinless life
  • showing us how very much we are loved by our Creator,
  • teaching us how to live in such a way as to receive God’s best for us
  • teaching us how to bring that same God glory
  • to die for ALL MEN for all the ways that we fall short of perfection.

The baby had a mission. WE are that mission. He came to seek and save the lost. He came to quench the hunger and thirst that we mortals have for life and discovering its meaning. He came to provide a way for us to live with Him forever. He came because His created needed to be told in a way that we could understand how precious we are to Him. And that baby, who grew up, lived well, pointed us to God, and died so that we could be united with God, rose from death to SEAL THE DEAL!! “If Christ has not been raised…then our faith is empty.”  I Corinthians 15:14.

If we cannot be moved by a baby that:

  • brought kings as well as outcasts to their knees,
  • had heaven herald His birth,
  • lived and loved with the purpose of drawing us to Himself,
  • paid a debt for us that He didn’t need to pay for Himself, and that we could never pay for ourselves,

then we have missed the point of Christmas!

Christmas wasn’t about the baby…it’s about the KING OF kings, and LORD of lords coming to US! And next time He appears on the scene, the GREAT I AM won’t come as a baby. This time, He will come as KING!

Hallelujah and let’s go into the new year remembering the gift of Jesus!

Joy to the World

Have you ever heard something for what seems like years, and all of the sudden you actually HEAR it with not just your ears, but your brain and your heart? Sort of like when you have a gonging clock in your house, but you don’t hear it until someone points it out to you. That’s what has happened with the concept of Advent for me. I’ve always known that the four weeks prior to Christmas were called the Advent season. I’ve had and seen advent wreaths with the four candles around the edge and one in the center. When I was 6, I burned my finger on a lighter trying to light my advent candle by myself (surprise, mom!). I have read a liturgy for the lighting of an Advent candle from stage during a church service. I remember learning that the candle in the center was the Christ candle. But, that is the extent of my retention of the information. This year, however, the word/the season, ADVENT, drew me in and I had to investigate more of what it meant. Although there is much more than I could write in a brief article, I am sharing a summary of what I found.

The definition of advent is: the arrival of a notable person, thing or event; a coming into being. Additionally, the name Advent was adopted from the Latin, adventus, meaning “coming” or “arrival”. In the New Testament of the Bible, this is the same term used when referring to the second coming of Christ. From this standpoint, Advent season in the Christian calendar anticipates the “coming of Christ” in 3 different ways:

During the advent season, a wreath lying flat with 4 or 5 candles that are lit consecutively on each of the 4 Sundays prior to Christmas, is used to commemorate each of the themes of the advent season. There is some differentiation between various denominations, churches and people who celebrate Advent, but here are some commonly held representations for each candle as it is lit to kick off the coming week of Advent:

When the wreath is complete, it resembles a crown. This reminds us that our great and coming King, came first as a humble baby, and yet was still a King. When He returns, there will be no doubt!!

As we celebrate this Advent Season, let’s share the message of hope contained in its meaning: Joy to the world, the Lord, our Christ, is come…and will come again to claim His own! May all be ready by having received Him, so that we can spend eternity with Him.

Getting Our Praise-giving On

If you had asked me about singing rocks prior to today, the only ones I could have brought to mind would have been the rock trolls from the movie Frozen. In doing a Google search just to see what would pop up, there are actually rocks called “ringing rocks” that have a whole commemorative park in Upper Black Eddy, Pennsylvania. These sonorous rocks resonate like a bell when you strike them. The Musical Stones of Skiddaw in England, the Ringing Rocks in New South Wales, the Bell Rock Range of Western Australia are a few more rock ranges where these special stones can be found. What led me to this melodic finding was my pondering Luke 19:40 where the Jesus’s disciples had been joyfully and loudly praising Jesus for who He was and for the miracles they had seen him do. The nay-saying religious leaders, jealous of the attention and homage that Jesus was getting, told Jesus to rebuke His followers for the ruckus they were causing. Jesus, instead, said to these dissenting leaders, “if these were silent, then the very stones would cry out.” This made me ask myself the question, “do I really want to get outdone by a ROCK?!” The answer is NO! I have received such incredible blessings from Jesus, the lover of my soul, that I do not want anything to praise Him more than I do ! And it is HARD to not be outdone by nature! The Rocky Mountains, a personal favorite rock grouping, all seem to strain toward and point to heaven, shouting “praise to God, the Creator and Giver of life!” After reading a note from my incredible mom, I had the idea to take a praise day! I thought it would be a fun and meaningful exercise, especially with this being Thanksgiving week, to have one FULL DAY of ONLY praising God! What could it do for my soul’s relationship with God to not ask for one thing for an entire day, but rather delight in the God of my salvation?! To prepare for my Praise-giving Day I am reminded that praise is differs from thanks. Praise focuses on who God is; thanks focuses on what God has done. Praises to God are things for which He might say “thank you”. Thanks would elicit a “you’re welcome”. On our selected “Praise-giving Day”, when we find ourselves saying “may I please…” or “would you please…”, we can turn it into a praise…. For example, in place of the request: “please help me be your hands and feet today”, turn it into “I praise you that YOU ARE love; YOU ARE way-maker and miracle-worker; YOU ARE light in the darkness; YOU ARE the good shepherd who goes after His sheep.” Isaiah 42:21 explains that praise is one of the reasons we were created, “This people I have formed for Myself; they shall declare My praise.” Hebrews 13:15 confirms this: “Through Jesus, therefore, let us continually offer to God a sacrifice of praise – the fruit of lips that confess His name.” When I praise Jesus, MY heart fills with adoration and it is easy to continue. Dr. Caroline Leaf, a Christian and cognitive neuroscientist (a smart doctor with lots of degrees), has noted that the brain is at its highest functional level, and the endorphins (happy hormones) are at their highest level, during and immediately after prayer and meditation – added bonuses! Praise also reminds us to whom our worship is directed. He is Almighty, Sovereign, Omni-present, Omniscient, Omnipotent, Master of the Universe; and He directs all of that into His love for us. So, let’s get our Praise on!! Psalm 100 Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. Worship the LORD with gladness; come before Him with joyful songs. Know that the LORD is God. It is He who made us, and we are His; we are His people, the sheep of His pasture. Enter His gates with thanksgiving and His courts with praise; give thanks to Him and praise His name. For the LORD is good and His love endures forever; His faithfulness continues through all generations.