Gifts From God

Podcast 44 Transcript

Hello, and good day. I am B. R. Maul, and you are listening to Living God’s Way In An Ungodly World. Today, I am talking about gifts from God. Our God is so wonderful. Our God is breathtaking. Our God is awesome. These thoughts come to me over and over again, but they come more often during Christmas time, because Christmas is the season of giving.

Of course. As Christians, it’s always a season of giving. But to see the world join us, and when I say us, my brothers and sisters in the faith, where people focus on giving, I know that there is Much commercialism to Christmas these days. And yes, as we get closer to the day, the returning of our Lord, Jesus Christ, it is becoming more and more about the individual.

However, with that said, I want to focus on what the Lord has given us. It’s December, Christmas is only a few weeks away, and I want to take this episode just to worship our God because of just how wonderful and breathtaking and awesome He truly is. During this time of year, it’s nice giving presents to one another. Some like to go out shopping more than others, but it’s fun to wrap up the gifts, pick out the Christmas wrapping, if you’re able, put a bow on the present, and once it’s all wrapped up, setting it under the Christmas tree as it waits to be handed to the one who’ll become its owner. And it’s a blessing to also give to those in need.

This is a time of year that the world is reminded that it is far better to give than it is to receive. And for us to go the extra mile to extend a helping hand to individuals and families who are indeed in need. As Christians, we know that that blessing falls upon a person as soon as the gift is given.

And whether it is money to help those in need for food or clothing, or perhaps it is Your time that you’re taking to sit down with somebody who usually is just overlooked in life. The person whose family is either gone or no longer interested in them. As you take the time, the very time that God himself has gifted us and loved that person by giving back some of that time to them.

And sometimes it’s giving our talent, right? I guess for me it’s speaking and writing, storytelling, but there are those who are able to give beautiful gifts that are handmade because they have talents of building, making things out of wood, artistic, those who can draw up something beautiful or paint something beautiful. There are many different talents, and those that really seem to shine this time of year are those who God has given them the ability to cook up and bake up some delicious food. What a way to bless other people. So this time of year, the world is reminded of that. And as Christians, we get to just keep on going.

I like that when the new year comes, well, nothing really changes. Take the Christmas tree down, yes, the lights, sure, but we just keep on giving. And why do we do that? Because of all the gifts that we can give to other people, all of it combined pales in comparison to the gifts from our Heavenly Father, and of course, most of all, THE Gift.

So, as we get closer to Christmas, with each passing week, the gathering of presents under our Christmas tree continues to grow. It’s fun. Our kids are at the ages now where they’re going out to the store and wanting to pick out their own presents and use some of their own money to buy for family and friends. And I really do enjoy how they take the time and think about what the person they’re seeking for, for that gift, what they would really appreciate, or maybe what it is they need. And that’s part of the fun, really thinking more of our loved ones. And sometimes, well, we have to think just a little harder. What does that person really need? Or what could that person use? Or what would they like?

As I sit by the Christmas tree, and the lights blinking in the darkened room, looking at the presents underneath the tree, I can’t help thinking back to when I was a boy. The anticipation of Christmas was so strong. The heart of a child, so innocent in many ways. And at the same time, I have to admit, what a year, or I should say time of year, for the greed to really kick in. Now, when I was growing up, in the United States, there’s a store called Sears. And before the internet, this great big store chain would send out the store catalog in the mail. And of course, they timed it just right in time for Christmas. My brother and I, we looked forward to that. We would find that magazine. And of course. A red pencil or a red pen was the best, because you wanted a color that would really stand out. And we’d go through the toys section, and we would circle item after item. Even things that we never even thought of having before looked mighty fine. I remember there were times that I even put them in category. Things that I wanted the most. But things that I would also accept that were pretty good, too. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, but I can look back now and I understand the selfishness in me.

Now again, this is an episode in just worshiping, praising the Lord for what he has given us. So I’m not going to focus on the negative aspects. But they do need to be brought up because part of the gift that we get from our Lord is what he does when we become his children. Because as his child, the presents don’t mean that much to me anymore, not in the way they did when I was a little boy. As a child, life certainly has a different perspective. The world seems much bigger and rotating around the child. Because as a child, we don’t understand much. There’s still so much to learn. And in the time that I was growing up, of course there was television and eventually cable TV, and so we still had ample opportunity for entertainment. And so the world continued to get louder and louder, and yes, eventually the world took Christmas for its own and started reshaping it. And so yes, it became the commercialized holiday that it is.

But even among that, isn’t it beautiful how God still has within this very time of season the seed that has grown into a mighty tree that is still towering over all the commercialism? The being with family and friends, loving other people, giving a helping hand, and even amongst those who don’t believe in God. Over and over on the radio stations, even on TV ads, there’s still many who sing about, talk about, and show little baby Jesus. In a manger, the Lord sure does know how to take what’s the most important and keep it alive.

I love that about my God. Looking under the tree as a boy, I couldn’t help but to pick up the presents, move them around, look at them, of course count them, shake them up, and I loved trying to figure out what they were. And looking at the tree when I was a little boy, time did just seem to almost come to a standstill, as if that moment was never going to leave, and I was never going to be able to step into the morning of Christmas. But, of course, every year it came.

Now as I sit by my tree, and I look at the presents underneath it, what comes to mind is so much different. Because as much as things around me have changed, and the times have changed, so have I. Earlier I mentioned that the presents themselves don’t mean all that much to me. Instead, it’s the people I’m giving the presents to, or when receiving a present, the person giving the present to me. These are far more than the presents themselves. They are far more important. But the presents are still symbolic. They are a symbol of the many gifts that God gives us every day of our life. And of course, the presents are a part of the grand celebration, as around the world people celebrate Christ coming down to earth.

It’s amazing, I’ve recently heard that far more people, there are more people who celebrate Christmas than any other holiday. And more people celebrate Christmas than people who actually believe in the Christ. Now part of that is sad news. But there’s some hope in there. That maybe, just maybe, this Christmas season, some more of those who currently don’t believe in Jesus Christ.

So I look at all those gifts under our tree, and I think about James 1:17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. That’s amazing. That is so beautiful.

And I bring that up because when I look under our tree, I ask myself, what really makes the items underneath the tree a gift? Is it because they are wrapped up? Or is it because one person purchased them to give to another? What do you think? Because many of those items under the tree, aside from some very unique ones, perhaps things that are made, but many of those items are purchased throughout the year by people just to have them. Some nice clothes, you go to the store and you purchase them, bring them home and hang it up in your closet, well, they’re not a gift. You just bought it. How about something even a little bigger, like a television set? Go to the store, buy a television set, bring it home, plug it in, turn it on, start watching it. It’s not a gift. It’s a new item, but it’s not a gift. But wrap it up, put a bow on it, and set it underneath the tree, it’s a gift. So where I’m going with this thought is that as I look at the presents under the tree, I think to myself, well It’s not because they’re wrapped up. I think that makes a present more fun to give and more fun, of course, to receive and open it up, because it’s a surprise, but really that doesn’t really make it a gift.

So the gift is one handing it over to another and doing so with love and compassion. I mean, after all, if I was forced to give my family the gifts under our tree Well then, it’s really not gifting it to them, I may be giving them something, but I’m not really gifting it.

Alright, what do I mean by all this? Everything under the tree is a gift, even before we give it to somebody else. Think about that. Because everything I went out and bought or anything that I put together and made is already a gift to me. God has given us the gift. He has given us everything. As James says, every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. Think about this for a moment. We could wrap the food in our cupboards. All the food in our refrigerator, the food you may have packed in a pantry, and put those under the tree because they’re gifts. None of them belong to me or you. God gave them to us. He gave us the ability to make money, to purchase the goods.

He gave people the ability to farm, to make food, to manufacture, everything. To be able to transport, to be able to market. All of that stuff, everything, every good gift and every perfect gift, is from above. But we could go even further. Not just the food in our kitchen, but all of our dishes, the cookery, washcloth, dish towels, the sink, right? The plumbing, the ability for plumbers to put that system together, the water to go down the drain, the medicines in our medicine cabinets, clothes in our closets, toiletries, the toys and toy boxes, tools in toolboxes. Lawn mowers, snow blowers, rakes, shovels, gardening tools, cars, houses, even beyond our stuff, we have our health, arms, legs, fingers, toes, our imagination, our ability to think, to discover, and to improve, the privilege to pray directly to God the Father. And, for God our Father to hear our prayers, the gift to have the Holy Spirit of God residing in us, and of course the gift of Jesus Christ when he died for us, everything. There’s no way of fitting everything under a Christmas tree, is there?

This year, to remind me and my family that everything we have is a gift from God, I’m doing something I haven’t done before. I am taking random items around the house and I’m going to wrap them up and place them under the tree just to open them. And as a reminder that everything we have is a gift and that it doesn’t have to be wrapped up with a bow on it to be a gift. Bye! Since it’s fun to unwrap presents, I’m going to wrap some up anyway, so my wife and my kids and even myself can open up gifts that are around our house from God.

In celebration of this time of year, I want to read to you Luke 2:1-20. And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Cornelius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee out to the city of Nazareth into Judea to the city of David. Which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. Because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph in the babe, lying in a manger. Now when they had seen him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen as it was told them.

What a beautiful story. There is so much there. Of course, this episode isn’t about unpacking all of that, but enjoying it. Of course, I can’t resist. I need to unpack a little bit. I praise God for coming down in such a humble way. He could have just came down in a big, huge bolt of lightning at the age of 30, did a very quick ministry by pretty much making people follow him out of either fear, or, Or complete reverence from all the power he would, he could and would display, then just could have done his thing and went right back up to heaven.

But no, God our Father has his plan, and it’s a great, great plan to save mankind. Coming down as just a little baby to a virgin woman, a very young woman, a very modest family, and being wrapped in swaddling clothes. And in a manger, not a nice little bed, not a castle, nothing grand, but just in a manger.

And then he went ahead and told the message to the most lowly shepherds. I thought about this, this scenario that I heard many times growing up of course, but it never really dawned on me just how shocking that scene would be. If I place myself in the situation, a shepherd in ancient times, it’s nighttime, I’m watching my flock, I more than likely have a fire going, but it’s ancient times, so there’s no electricity. There are no distant lights from the nearest town or house. I don’t have flashlights, portable lamps, so the darkness around would be just that, very dark. And then it says, and behold, an angels of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shown around them, suddenly this bright light, which they would never have been accustomed to or even seen for that matter at nighttime, bright and brilliant.

So, of course they’re afraid, and I love how angels are so quick to say, Do not be afraid. Obviously, the look on people’s faces when angels appear, quite frightening. But then after the message is given to the shepherds, it says, and suddenly, Boom. Just like that. The snap of your finger. There was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. The shepherds would have understood the magnificence of this, because, keep in mind, it has been hundreds of years since the Jews have heard anything from God. And the last time, God didn’t have a whole lot of good stuff to say about him, other than, Someday I’ll be back. So, by the angels saying, or singing, On Earth peace, goodwill toward men.

They’re saying God isn’t your enemy anymore. God is sending you a gift that will bring you back to him. Isn’t that wonderful? God has loved humanity even when we don’t love him. And he has done so much. In this wonderful plan of his from Genesis to the current time and of course Revelation is to come and when it’s all complete Yes, we will be in eternity with God our Father Christmas is when we celebrate the great gift from God the Father Sending down his only begotten Son for the sole purpose of saving mankind. He loves us people. He made us in his image, and he wants so much for everyone to love him. And so to be reconciled, that is what we are celebrating. Jesus coming down as a little baby, because sin entered this world because of flesh and blood. And it is the only way to get rid of it, is through the blood of mankind.

And he knew none of us could do it. Not a single one of us could ever do it. And so he came down and did it. And what a marvelous, wonderful gift. We are so blessed. I hope this Christmas season you get the chance to spend with loved ones, family, and friends. If you’re not a Christian, what a time to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, because we all need a Savior.

And it’s not becoming good enough to approach Jesus. No, it’s coming just as you are, sin and filth and all. And you just tell the Lord that you regret not following him and that you are a sinner and that you need him and that you believe that he lived a perfect life, a sinless life, the perfect Lamb of God. So when he was crucified, that pure blood of his washed away your sins. And you believe that God the Father raised him from the dead. And, beloved, you only need to believe it in your heart. You don’t need head knowledge. You don’t need physical proof. You don’t need that. There’s time for that later, because there is a ton of proof. But start out with just the faith, believing in Jesus Christ. And then, this Christmas, truly celebrate him coming down as a baby, living those thirty years without any sin, and then three more years in a ministry, change the world, and then died, washed away the sins of the world by rising again. Isn’t that marvelous?

And beloved, if you are born again, oh, do indeed. Spend that time with family and friends, whether you’re gathered around a Christmas tree, sitting around a fire, whether you celebrate with a big meal with all the trimmings and all the goodies, or if you have yourself some pizza, maybe a little pop, however you celebrate, just celebrate in your heart.

Remember to forgive those, anybody who has done you wrong. If you haven’t, beloved, take the time to forgive, because you’re forgiven. Isn’t that great? And I’ll end with Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

And as a child of God, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you should have peace. Just look to him. Look to him and away from the world. Look away from any of the stress that you see the world pouring down upon people. Of having to have so much money in your checking account. The stress of preparing for retirement, which God says nothing about. The stress of living up to the Joneses. The stress of not being good enough, the stress of always seeing somebody who has more or who is better skilled or better looking, no, look away from all of that and look to Jesus Christ. Read God’s word. Take in the blessings of the words that the Holy Spirit breathed into men to speak right to you.

Our God is so wonderful. Our God is breathtaking. Our God is awesome. Thank you so much for joining me. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. Think of all the blessings, all the gifts that God has given you as you open presents.

And until next time,

God bless.

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Gifts From God

Podcast 44 Transcript

Hello, and good day. I am B. R. Maul, and you are listening to Living God’s Way In An Ungodly World. Today, I am talking about gifts from God. Our God is so wonderful. Our God is breathtaking. Our God is awesome. These thoughts come to me over and over again, but they come more often during Christmas time, because Christmas is the season of giving.

Of course. As Christians, it’s always a season of giving. But to see the world join us, and when I say us, my brothers and sisters in the faith, where people focus on giving, I know that there is Much commercialism to Christmas these days. And yes, as we get closer to the day, the returning of our Lord, Jesus Christ, it is becoming more and more about the individual.

However, with that said, I want to focus on what the Lord has given us. It’s December, Christmas is only a few weeks away, and I want to take this episode just to worship our God because of just how wonderful and breathtaking and awesome He truly is. During this time of year, it’s nice giving presents to one another. Some like to go out shopping more than others, but it’s fun to wrap up the gifts, pick out the Christmas wrapping, if you’re able, put a bow on the present, and once it’s all wrapped up, setting it under the Christmas tree as it waits to be handed to the one who’ll become its owner. And it’s a blessing to also give to those in need.

This is a time of year that the world is reminded that it is far better to give than it is to receive. And for us to go the extra mile to extend a helping hand to individuals and families who are indeed in need. As Christians, we know that that blessing falls upon a person as soon as the gift is given.

And whether it is money to help those in need for food or clothing, or perhaps it is Your time that you’re taking to sit down with somebody who usually is just overlooked in life. The person whose family is either gone or no longer interested in them. As you take the time, the very time that God himself has gifted us and loved that person by giving back some of that time to them.

And sometimes it’s giving our talent, right? I guess for me it’s speaking and writing, storytelling, but there are those who are able to give beautiful gifts that are handmade because they have talents of building, making things out of wood, artistic, those who can draw up something beautiful or paint something beautiful. There are many different talents, and those that really seem to shine this time of year are those who God has given them the ability to cook up and bake up some delicious food. What a way to bless other people. So this time of year, the world is reminded of that. And as Christians, we get to just keep on going.

I like that when the new year comes, well, nothing really changes. Take the Christmas tree down, yes, the lights, sure, but we just keep on giving. And why do we do that? Because of all the gifts that we can give to other people, all of it combined pales in comparison to the gifts from our Heavenly Father, and of course, most of all, THE Gift.

So, as we get closer to Christmas, with each passing week, the gathering of presents under our Christmas tree continues to grow. It’s fun. Our kids are at the ages now where they’re going out to the store and wanting to pick out their own presents and use some of their own money to buy for family and friends. And I really do enjoy how they take the time and think about what the person they’re seeking for, for that gift, what they would really appreciate, or maybe what it is they need. And that’s part of the fun, really thinking more of our loved ones. And sometimes, well, we have to think just a little harder. What does that person really need? Or what could that person use? Or what would they like?

As I sit by the Christmas tree, and the lights blinking in the darkened room, looking at the presents underneath the tree, I can’t help thinking back to when I was a boy. The anticipation of Christmas was so strong. The heart of a child, so innocent in many ways. And at the same time, I have to admit, what a year, or I should say time of year, for the greed to really kick in. Now, when I was growing up, in the United States, there’s a store called Sears. And before the internet, this great big store chain would send out the store catalog in the mail. And of course, they timed it just right in time for Christmas. My brother and I, we looked forward to that. We would find that magazine. And of course. A red pencil or a red pen was the best, because you wanted a color that would really stand out. And we’d go through the toys section, and we would circle item after item. Even things that we never even thought of having before looked mighty fine. I remember there were times that I even put them in category. Things that I wanted the most. But things that I would also accept that were pretty good, too. At the time, I didn’t think much about it, but I can look back now and I understand the selfishness in me.

Now again, this is an episode in just worshiping, praising the Lord for what he has given us. So I’m not going to focus on the negative aspects. But they do need to be brought up because part of the gift that we get from our Lord is what he does when we become his children. Because as his child, the presents don’t mean that much to me anymore, not in the way they did when I was a little boy. As a child, life certainly has a different perspective. The world seems much bigger and rotating around the child. Because as a child, we don’t understand much. There’s still so much to learn. And in the time that I was growing up, of course there was television and eventually cable TV, and so we still had ample opportunity for entertainment. And so the world continued to get louder and louder, and yes, eventually the world took Christmas for its own and started reshaping it. And so yes, it became the commercialized holiday that it is.

But even among that, isn’t it beautiful how God still has within this very time of season the seed that has grown into a mighty tree that is still towering over all the commercialism? The being with family and friends, loving other people, giving a helping hand, and even amongst those who don’t believe in God. Over and over on the radio stations, even on TV ads, there’s still many who sing about, talk about, and show little baby Jesus. In a manger, the Lord sure does know how to take what’s the most important and keep it alive.

I love that about my God. Looking under the tree as a boy, I couldn’t help but to pick up the presents, move them around, look at them, of course count them, shake them up, and I loved trying to figure out what they were. And looking at the tree when I was a little boy, time did just seem to almost come to a standstill, as if that moment was never going to leave, and I was never going to be able to step into the morning of Christmas. But, of course, every year it came.

Now as I sit by my tree, and I look at the presents underneath it, what comes to mind is so much different. Because as much as things around me have changed, and the times have changed, so have I. Earlier I mentioned that the presents themselves don’t mean all that much to me. Instead, it’s the people I’m giving the presents to, or when receiving a present, the person giving the present to me. These are far more than the presents themselves. They are far more important. But the presents are still symbolic. They are a symbol of the many gifts that God gives us every day of our life. And of course, the presents are a part of the grand celebration, as around the world people celebrate Christ coming down to earth.

It’s amazing, I’ve recently heard that far more people, there are more people who celebrate Christmas than any other holiday. And more people celebrate Christmas than people who actually believe in the Christ. Now part of that is sad news. But there’s some hope in there. That maybe, just maybe, this Christmas season, some more of those who currently don’t believe in Jesus Christ.

So I look at all those gifts under our tree, and I think about James 1:17. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of Lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning. Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. That’s amazing. That is so beautiful.

And I bring that up because when I look under our tree, I ask myself, what really makes the items underneath the tree a gift? Is it because they are wrapped up? Or is it because one person purchased them to give to another? What do you think? Because many of those items under the tree, aside from some very unique ones, perhaps things that are made, but many of those items are purchased throughout the year by people just to have them. Some nice clothes, you go to the store and you purchase them, bring them home and hang it up in your closet, well, they’re not a gift. You just bought it. How about something even a little bigger, like a television set? Go to the store, buy a television set, bring it home, plug it in, turn it on, start watching it. It’s not a gift. It’s a new item, but it’s not a gift. But wrap it up, put a bow on it, and set it underneath the tree, it’s a gift. So where I’m going with this thought is that as I look at the presents under the tree, I think to myself, well It’s not because they’re wrapped up. I think that makes a present more fun to give and more fun, of course, to receive and open it up, because it’s a surprise, but really that doesn’t really make it a gift.

So the gift is one handing it over to another and doing so with love and compassion. I mean, after all, if I was forced to give my family the gifts under our tree Well then, it’s really not gifting it to them, I may be giving them something, but I’m not really gifting it.

Alright, what do I mean by all this? Everything under the tree is a gift, even before we give it to somebody else. Think about that. Because everything I went out and bought or anything that I put together and made is already a gift to me. God has given us the gift. He has given us everything. As James says, every good gift and every perfect gift is from above. Think about this for a moment. We could wrap the food in our cupboards. All the food in our refrigerator, the food you may have packed in a pantry, and put those under the tree because they’re gifts. None of them belong to me or you. God gave them to us. He gave us the ability to make money, to purchase the goods.

He gave people the ability to farm, to make food, to manufacture, everything. To be able to transport, to be able to market. All of that stuff, everything, every good gift and every perfect gift, is from above. But we could go even further. Not just the food in our kitchen, but all of our dishes, the cookery, washcloth, dish towels, the sink, right? The plumbing, the ability for plumbers to put that system together, the water to go down the drain, the medicines in our medicine cabinets, clothes in our closets, toiletries, the toys and toy boxes, tools in toolboxes. Lawn mowers, snow blowers, rakes, shovels, gardening tools, cars, houses, even beyond our stuff, we have our health, arms, legs, fingers, toes, our imagination, our ability to think, to discover, and to improve, the privilege to pray directly to God the Father. And, for God our Father to hear our prayers, the gift to have the Holy Spirit of God residing in us, and of course the gift of Jesus Christ when he died for us, everything. There’s no way of fitting everything under a Christmas tree, is there?

This year, to remind me and my family that everything we have is a gift from God, I’m doing something I haven’t done before. I am taking random items around the house and I’m going to wrap them up and place them under the tree just to open them. And as a reminder that everything we have is a gift and that it doesn’t have to be wrapped up with a bow on it to be a gift. Bye! Since it’s fun to unwrap presents, I’m going to wrap some up anyway, so my wife and my kids and even myself can open up gifts that are around our house from God.

In celebration of this time of year, I want to read to you Luke 2:1-20. And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Cornelius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city.

Joseph also went up from Galilee out to the city of Nazareth into Judea to the city of David. Which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary his betrothed wife, who was with child. So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger. Because there was no room for them in the inn. Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid.

Then the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. For behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you. You will find a babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men. So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, Let us now go to Bethlehem, and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.

And they came with haste, and found Mary and Joseph in the babe, lying in a manger. Now when they had seen him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen as it was told them.

What a beautiful story. There is so much there. Of course, this episode isn’t about unpacking all of that, but enjoying it. Of course, I can’t resist. I need to unpack a little bit. I praise God for coming down in such a humble way. He could have just came down in a big, huge bolt of lightning at the age of 30, did a very quick ministry by pretty much making people follow him out of either fear, or, Or complete reverence from all the power he would, he could and would display, then just could have done his thing and went right back up to heaven.

But no, God our Father has his plan, and it’s a great, great plan to save mankind. Coming down as just a little baby to a virgin woman, a very young woman, a very modest family, and being wrapped in swaddling clothes. And in a manger, not a nice little bed, not a castle, nothing grand, but just in a manger.

And then he went ahead and told the message to the most lowly shepherds. I thought about this, this scenario that I heard many times growing up of course, but it never really dawned on me just how shocking that scene would be. If I place myself in the situation, a shepherd in ancient times, it’s nighttime, I’m watching my flock, I more than likely have a fire going, but it’s ancient times, so there’s no electricity. There are no distant lights from the nearest town or house. I don’t have flashlights, portable lamps, so the darkness around would be just that, very dark. And then it says, and behold, an angels of the Lord stood before them and the glory of the Lord shown around them, suddenly this bright light, which they would never have been accustomed to or even seen for that matter at nighttime, bright and brilliant.

So, of course they’re afraid, and I love how angels are so quick to say, Do not be afraid. Obviously, the look on people’s faces when angels appear, quite frightening. But then after the message is given to the shepherds, it says, and suddenly, Boom. Just like that. The snap of your finger. There was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host, praising God and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men. The shepherds would have understood the magnificence of this, because, keep in mind, it has been hundreds of years since the Jews have heard anything from God. And the last time, God didn’t have a whole lot of good stuff to say about him, other than, Someday I’ll be back. So, by the angels saying, or singing, On Earth peace, goodwill toward men.

They’re saying God isn’t your enemy anymore. God is sending you a gift that will bring you back to him. Isn’t that wonderful? God has loved humanity even when we don’t love him. And he has done so much. In this wonderful plan of his from Genesis to the current time and of course Revelation is to come and when it’s all complete Yes, we will be in eternity with God our Father Christmas is when we celebrate the great gift from God the Father Sending down his only begotten Son for the sole purpose of saving mankind. He loves us people. He made us in his image, and he wants so much for everyone to love him. And so to be reconciled, that is what we are celebrating. Jesus coming down as a little baby, because sin entered this world because of flesh and blood. And it is the only way to get rid of it, is through the blood of mankind.

And he knew none of us could do it. Not a single one of us could ever do it. And so he came down and did it. And what a marvelous, wonderful gift. We are so blessed. I hope this Christmas season you get the chance to spend with loved ones, family, and friends. If you’re not a Christian, what a time to come to the Lord Jesus Christ, because we all need a Savior.

And it’s not becoming good enough to approach Jesus. No, it’s coming just as you are, sin and filth and all. And you just tell the Lord that you regret not following him and that you are a sinner and that you need him and that you believe that he lived a perfect life, a sinless life, the perfect Lamb of God. So when he was crucified, that pure blood of his washed away your sins. And you believe that God the Father raised him from the dead. And, beloved, you only need to believe it in your heart. You don’t need head knowledge. You don’t need physical proof. You don’t need that. There’s time for that later, because there is a ton of proof. But start out with just the faith, believing in Jesus Christ. And then, this Christmas, truly celebrate him coming down as a baby, living those thirty years without any sin, and then three more years in a ministry, change the world, and then died, washed away the sins of the world by rising again. Isn’t that marvelous?

And beloved, if you are born again, oh, do indeed. Spend that time with family and friends, whether you’re gathered around a Christmas tree, sitting around a fire, whether you celebrate with a big meal with all the trimmings and all the goodies, or if you have yourself some pizza, maybe a little pop, however you celebrate, just celebrate in your heart.

Remember to forgive those, anybody who has done you wrong. If you haven’t, beloved, take the time to forgive, because you’re forgiven. Isn’t that great? And I’ll end with Isaiah chapter 9 verse 6. For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. And the government will be upon his shoulder, and his name will be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

And as a child of God, as a follower of Jesus Christ, you should have peace. Just look to him. Look to him and away from the world. Look away from any of the stress that you see the world pouring down upon people. Of having to have so much money in your checking account. The stress of preparing for retirement, which God says nothing about. The stress of living up to the Joneses. The stress of not being good enough, the stress of always seeing somebody who has more or who is better skilled or better looking, no, look away from all of that and look to Jesus Christ. Read God’s word. Take in the blessings of the words that the Holy Spirit breathed into men to speak right to you.

Our God is so wonderful. Our God is breathtaking. Our God is awesome. Thank you so much for joining me. Merry Christmas to you and your loved ones. Think of all the blessings, all the gifts that God has given you as you open presents.

And until next time,

God bless.