A Baby vs. the World

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A Baby vs. the World

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A Christmas message came to my mind a few years ago as I stood shivering in the autumn chill at the grave side of Father Jerzy Popieluszko. Jerzy was a young pastor who once delivered the dynamic messages that stirred the Polish people to overthrow their Communist oppressors.

His theme was always the same: The Christian is called to defend the truth and overcome evil with good.

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Christmas 2020

What Christmas is all about? 


From all of FSM and FSMWO to all of you

Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy,  prosperous and safe New Year

Daily Verse: Isaiah 9:6 | PRAISE 106.5

“May God give you peace with yourselves; may he give you good will towards all your friends, your enemies, and your neighbors; and may he give you grace to give glory to God in the highest.” – Charles Haddon Spurgeon

Creation, the Incarnation, and Christmas

Creation, the Incarnation, and Christmas

Among all the other wonderful blessings of Christmas, at its core, this season is a celebration of the gift of life through the birth of a baby. Of course, any time a baby is born it’s a glorious event worthy of a decent party. My wife and I have 4 children, and our friends and family have greeted each birth with joy and excitement, and rightly so. ..

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The People Who Missed Christmas

In this 5 part series from Grace to You Blog and John MacArthur we explore those who missed Christmas.  We are not talking all the glitz and party of modern “christmas” but the true meaning of “CHRISTMAS”

Our Deepest Need at Christmas

Our Deepest Need at Christmas

He shall stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the Lord, in the majesty of the name of the Lord his God. And they shall dwell secure, for now he shall be great to the ends of the earth. And he shall be their peace.—Micah 5:4–5

December 18, 2020

There is a peace that must happen before there can be peace on earth. There must be peace between us and God. Our unbelief and his wrath must be removed. That is our deepest peace—and our deepest need at Christmas…

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Daily Devotional – Underdogs and God?

Micah 5:2 - Sorry, no Eternal Jesus here - YouTube

MICAH 5:2


COMMENTS

I was greatly surprised to find in my research a number of posts arguing against this being a Prophetic Messianic verse.  The vast majority of what I consider established or Old School commentators, would disagree, taking the position it is definitely a verse prophesying about the coming messiah.

Here are three links I think most helpful in this. 

Does Micah 5:2 predict that Jesus would be the Messiah?

Is Micah 5:2 a Messianic prophecy?

Messianic Prophecy


CONTEXT

Chapter 5 begins with the siege of Jerusalem, v.1, and immediately shifts to our text. It is a beyond a doubt (no matter the naysayers) a Prophetic chapter and verse. 

“But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah; From you One shall come forth for Me [who is] to be Ruler in Israel, His goings forth (appearances) are from long ago, From [a]ancient days.” (AMP)

Even though Jerusalem be under siege all the land of Judah laid destroyed HOPE reigns  in the a little town called  Bethlehem Ephrathah.  For there God has chosen the Messiah to be born, From you One shall come forth for Me [who is] to be Ruler in Israel.  Some of these modern critics have argued that the text does not support a trinitarian or messianic view. However a careful reading of the Hebrew text (no I do not read Hebrew, I rely on those that do) His goings forth (appearances) are from long ago, From ancient days {literally from eternity} can only in the Hebrew language refer to God the Great I AM. 

In reading the text I had to ask, what is it about underdogs and God?  He seems to have a habit of choosing the least likely the weak and insignificant to carry out the most important tasks. Think about it for a minute I bet you can name a few: 

Moses: Abandoned as a child, leads a nation 

Joseph: Sold into slavery, saves a nation

Mary: Unwed nobody chosen to birth the Messiah

Peter: Denies Christ, then the church is built upon him 

Paul: Mass murderer to greatest writer and evangelist in New Testament 

And the list goes on…

So today my prayer is if you feel overwhelmed or maybe ill equipped remember God has a plan for each of us and equips us for each plan. He never choses wrong.


O little town of Bethlehem

In 1865, Phillips Brooks spent some time in Israel, and was in Bethlehem for Christmas. He rode on horseback through the fields around Bethlehem, and attended the Church of the Nativity on Christmas Eve. At that time, Brooks was rector of Holy Trinity Episcopal Church in Philadelphia. This hymn was probably inspired by this journey, but Brooks did not complete the hymn until 1868. That year, he commissioned a tune for it from his church organist so that it could be sung at the Sunday school service at his church for Christmas on December 27, 1868. It was originally written in five stanzas, but the fourth is usually omitted.

The hymn focuses on the relative silence of the birth of Christ – Bethlehem was just a little town, and only a few people paid attention to the event. The heraldic chorus of angels is minimized in the lines

“While mortals sleep, the angels keep
Their watch of wondering love.”

The final stanza is a prayer that Christ would come and transform our lives.

 

 

🎄 The Glorious Incarnation: God With Us

The Glorious Incarnation Logo

If we could condense all the truths of Christmas into only three words, these would be the words: “God with us.” We tend to focus our attention at Christmas on the infancy of Christ. The greater truth of the holiday is His deity. More astonishing than a baby in the manger is the truth that this promised baby is the omnipotent Creator of the heavens and the earth!

John MacArthur

This is just one of some 25+ short posts on my friend Steve’s website The Whole Armor of God, Here is the link to the rest: 

SERIES LINK: THE GLORIOUS INCARNATION 

Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? Jesus Is Myth Become Fact

BreakPoint Daily

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Is Christmas a Pagan Holiday? Jesus Is Myth Become Fact

Several years ago, in a documentary called “Religulous” (clever, right?), Bill Maher claimed that most of the story of Christ, especially the parts about His birth, were cribbed from pagan mythology. After all, Maher claimed, the Egyptian God Horus was born of a virgin on December 25th, was baptized, had twelve disciples, performed miracles, and ultimately died and rose again. Christianity, said Maher, is nothing but a cheap knockoff…

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Today in Church History

Christmas Eve 

Christmas Eve

Why is Christmas Eve on December 24th?

The Bible does not clearly answer this question. Evidently, the first Christians didn’t make a point of celebrating the birth of Christ. If they knew the precise date of his birth, they didn’t make an issue of it. One writer notes that various leaders in the early church suggested the following dates for Jesus’ birth: January 2, January 6, March 21, March 25, April 18, April 19, May 20, May 28, November 17. All we can take from this is that the precise date was hidden and unknown to them even though they were much closer to the historical event than we are.

The traditional date of December 25 goes back as far as A.D. 273. Two pagan festivals honoring the sun were also celebrated on that day and it is possible that December 25 was chosen to counteract the influence of paganism. To this day some people feel uncomfortable with Christmas because they think it is somehow tainted by the pagan festivals held on that day. But Christians have long believed that the gospel not only transcends culture, it also transforms it. In A.D. 320 one theologian answered this criticism by noting, “We hold this day holy, not like the pagans because of the birth of the sun, but because of him who made it.”

Having said that, you may ask, “Does it really matter?” In one sense, of course, the answer is no. No doctrine of the Christian faith rests upon knowing the exact day and year of Christ’s birth. And no stress is put upon the date of his birth in the New Testament. No one is ever told to celebrate Christmas. The emphasis always rests on the fact of his birth, not the date. But that doesn’t tell the whole story. Christianity is a faith based on certain historical facts. Let us on this Christmas Eve rejoice in this great truth:

“For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11). Pictured below: A portrait of the birth of Christ

Origins of Christmas

Origins of Christmas Eve

For centuries, Christmas was celebrated not as a single day, but as a whole season in parts of the world, beginning with this day, December 24, Christmas Eve. Perhaps the practice of celebrating the evening before the big day is an echo from ancient Jewish reckoning. Among earlier Jews, a day began at six in the evening and ran until six the following evening. Had not Moses written: “An evening and a morning were the first day”?

Christmas means “Christ-mass.” Although the date is a guess, the tradition of observing it goes back to at least the fourth century. Under the influence of the church, Christian traditions replaced pagan solstice festivals throughout Europe. Often the more innocent pagan practices (such as bringing in a Yule log, decorating with holly and the like) were carried over into the Christmas observance, transfigured with new meaning.

Celebrations of Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve (the evening before Christmas day) was then celebrated with roaring fires, story-telling, feasting, drinking, dancing, and sometimes clowning. Sir Walter Scott described its festive air in a poem:

On Christmas Eve, the bells were rung;
On Christmas Eve, the mass was sung.

The damsel donned her kirtle sheen,
the hall was dressed with holly green;

All hail’d with uncontroll’d delight,
And general voice the happy night
That to the cottage, as the crown,
Brought tidings of salvation down.

Holiday History

Luther and his Christmas Tree

Things weren’t always so pleasant, however. On Christmas Eve, 1521, with the Reformation gaining steam in Germany, crowds rioted in Wittenberg. Against the orders of Elector Frederick, Andreas Carlstadt had given them both the bread and wine at mass. Zealous for more “reformation,” the mob smashed church lamps, sang ridiculous songs to drown out the choir and intimidated the priests.

Luther is supposed to have cut the first Christmas tree. The story may be apocryphal, but we know that on Christmas Eve, 1538, he was in a jolly mood, singing and talking about the incarnation. Then he sighed, saying, “Oh, we poor men, that we should be so cold and indifferent to this great joy which has been given us.”

Despite Luther’s lament, others would make warm memories on Christmas Eve. In his memoirs, Sir John Reresby told how he invited his poor tenants for a feast on Christmas Eve, 1682. During World War I, the famous Christmas Truce began for many troops on Christmas Eve, 1914, demonstrating the power for good that is inherent in the season.

Portions of this article were adopted from Christmas Eve Then and Now by Dr. Ray Pritchard from Christianity.com

Questions about Christmas

While I do not always agree with their point of view QOTW normally strikes a balanced answer and leaves it up to the reader to be a Berean  examining for themselves what they read and seeking out the whole counsel of God daily. For that reason I chose to post this here in hopes y’all would do the same, Merry Christmas – Mike

QOTW – Special Edition: Questions about Christmas

We receive a lot of different questions about Christmas. Rather than focusing on any one particular question, we thought it would be more helpful for us to give you the list of our most frequently asked questions related to Christmas. Whether or not you choose to celebrate Christmas, rejoice with us that Jesus was born. Without that day around 2000 years ago in Bethlehem, Jesus could not have become the Savior of the world.

Should Christians celebrate Christmas?

What is the true meaning of Christmas?

Is Christmas a pagan holiday?

Do some Christmas traditions have pagan origins?

How should Christians respond to the War on Christmas?

Should we have a Christmas tree?

Does giving gifts take away from the true meaning of Christmas?

Why is the virgin birth so important?

Was Jesus born on December 25th?

Is Christmas related to Saturnalia?

Was Jesus actually born in September?

What does the Bible say about the three wise men?

What should parents tell their children about Santa Claus?

What is an advent calendar? How does an advent calendar relate to Christmas?

Should a Christian celebrate Hanukkah (Christmaskah)?

What is Epiphany / Three Kings’ Day and should Christians celebrate it?

What is Christmastide?

What was the star of Bethlehem?

Does Luke’s claim that Jesus was born in Bethlehem at the time of Quirinius’ census match the historical record?

Why did the Magi bring gold, frankincense, and myrrh to Jesus?

Is it wrong to say “Xmas” instead of “Christmas”?

What year was Jesus Christ born? When was Jesus born?

What is the origin of Christmas?

What is Kwanzaa? Should a Christian celebrate Kwanzaa?

What is a Christmas nativity?

Why was Jesus born in a manger?

What does it mean that baby Jesus was wrapped in swaddling clothes?

What is the meaning of Noel?

Where was Jesus born?

What is Advent?

What is the Annunciation?

What are holy days?

What are Chreasters?

Why do we celebrate Christmas?

Do the narratives of Jesus’ birth contradict each other?

Who/what is Krampus and what does it have to do with Christmas?

What is Yule, and what does it have to do with Christmas?

What is the Massacre of the Innocents?

Is the little drummer boy in the Bible?

Recommended Resource: The Case for Christmas by Lee Strobel