Of course, Christ came to save His people from their sins. Hallelujah! Praise God! Yet even in the reality of this mission, Christmas is not about us. Christmas is about the God-man who condescended to earth and was obedient to God the Father, even unto death (Philippians 2:8). The baby in the manger who had come to save His people from their sins (Matthew 1:21) could only accomplish those purposes through His atoning, sacrificial death (Hebrews 10:10-14), and because Christ was raised on the third day, those who are His shall also live forever (John 3:16).
Christmas is about Christ. It is not about presents or music or cookies. Nor is it about a divine "naughty or nice" list that requires you to check the boxes of your good deeds in order to find favor with God. Christmas is about Christ. It sounds obvious, but is it obvious in our lives? With our gaze fixed upon the person of Jesus Christ, as we seek to know Him—not just His teachings, but Jesus Christ Himself—through His Word, our pursuits, desires, and deeds will be continually sanctified as we grow in His likeness. Then, one day, we will be with Him forever. Now that is a lovely Christmas present, indeed.
From manger to cross to empty tomb to Second Coming, all of history is ultimately about Christ.
With that, and with only a couple of days left to clean your house and bake (or eat!) your cookies, I hope you still find a few quiet moments to enjoy your week in review (kind of):
- An interesting update on Anne Frank.
- I've seen lots of good free ebooks being offered this week. Here is one by Spurgeon on the birth of Christ.
- If you missed the Grace Community Church Christmas concert, here's the link to watch the recording. (Side note: I always love how simply yet beautifully Grace Church is decorated for the season!). As always, the talent in that church is phenomenal, although I admit, there were a few songs I felt could/should have been excluded. Nevertheless, John MacArthur gave a wonderful devotional Christmas message, and the choir closed the concert, as usual, with the Hallelujah Chorus. Loved it.
- This is a fascinating account and emphasizes the importance of doctors and specialists.
- Why is the Jewish Messiah so important?
- Yes, that's pretty much what happens when there is a box lying around!
- An account of a typical Lord's Day in the 1850s.
- Well, it's supposed to be 50+ degrees and raining here on Christmas, so, like Bing, I guess I'll just keep dreaming of that white Christmas.
- "Peace, peace."
- "In the Bleak Midwinter" is one of my favorite carols. I know, I know, it's not meteorologically accurate, but for the record, John MacArthur has said that Christina Rossetti is one of his favorite poets of the 19th century. I appreciated Denny Burk pointing to this brief article that was published last year and gives a bit of history about the woman behind this song.
- So many churches nowadays seem to ignore or shun the concept of the Advent season, which I find sad and unfortunate. This article demonstrates that the season of Advent is not just for Christmas.
- Um, I also buy my own shoes, but no one ever wants to take a selfie with me when I'm doing it. Am I doing something wrong?
- How do justification and sanctification differ?
- Here's your weekly dose of adorable.
- How Martin Luther preached about Christmas.
- The shepherds' gospel.
- Did you hear about the attack at a Berlin Christmas market that happened early this week? Here's the latest.
- Um, no. Don't. Please. Stop. Now.
- Well...I guess we could admire his persistence?
- On King Jesus.
- I've really enjoyed John MacArthur's recent sermons teaching about what the Magi mean to Christmas. Below is Part 1 of that short series. Go here to listen to Part 2.