Christmas and New Year thoughts

Display from Lettuce Lake, Arcadia, Florida

Display from Lettuce Lake, Arcadia, Florida

It’s Christmas 2014 and a New Year 2015!!!  The time of year when a man’s thoughts turn to prostate cancer, right?  Unfortunately, it seems that is true for those of us who have this condition.  Just recently, I saw an interview with retiring U.S. Senator Tom Coburn of Oklahoma who is currently undergoing chemotherapy and radiation for advanced prostate cancer.  I also recently noted the death of the former “infamous” Washington D.C. mayor Marion Barry, also a prostate cancer victim with whom I walked the halls of Johns Hopkins Hospital in late 1995.  He was a patient in an adjacent room and was always very congenial during our hallway conversations.  But Christmas is a season of gift giving and most gifts are delivered in a decorative, attractive wrapping.  The same is true of Jesus whose birth we celebrate at this time and who came to earth as a redemptive gift to rescue us from our sinful selves.  Jesus could have wrapped Himself up in a mind-boggling show of power, lighting up the sky with His presence in a celestial show of glory.  Instead in a humble manger, He “made Himself of no reputation, choosing to wrap Himself up “in the likeness of men.”  He did not replace His deity with humanity but added humanity to His deity.  Jesus, like us, is no stranger to our struggles.  He experienced deep loneliness, betrayal, was publicly shamed, misunderstood and falsely accused before being executed to pay the penalty for our sins.  Even in the humble stable of His birth, He did not cease to be God, but surrendered the independent use of His divine powers and the right to manifest His own glory that He had with God the Father before the world existed.  Jesus had a purpose in life.  He came to show us God’s true nature and to teach us how to live, walk and talk as spiritual people.  But more importantly, He came so that we might have a full, intimate relationship with the Father He knew so well.  Jesus’ purpose was to secure our salvation which He did at the cost of His life.  He came so that we might lay our sins and imperfections down at the foot of the cross. This is Jesus’ gift to us at Christmas.  Jesus is the best gift one could ever receive and when you think of this gift, keep the “wrapping” in mind and don’t discard it.  Remember “God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow……. and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Philippians 2:9-11).  Speaking of names, it should also be noted that Jesus was also given the name “Immanuel” meaning “God with us”.  Imagine His divine and human presence is available to each of us by faith alone.  WHAT A BEAUTIFULLY WRAPPED AND MOST VALUABLE GIFT.  MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!! THANK YOU ALL FOR ALLOWING ME TO SHARE A PORTION OF MY LIFE’S JOURNEY WITH YOU.

(Portions of the above were excerpted from Our Daily Bread devotional, December 22, 2014 written by Dr. Joe Stowell).

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