Tag Archives: why was jesus born

Hark The Herold Angels Sing

This time of year, it becomes obvious that we don’t remember much more than the first verse of most Christmas Carols. As we lead up to Christmas this week, I want to explore some powerful verses in some of my favorite carols.

I have an angel as part of my annual Christmas decorations for my yard. This year, my son has been asking me, “Dada, what’s he saying?” I tell him, “And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (Luke 2:10-12 KJV). Then several other angels joined him and they started singing!”

We can only imagine what that celebration looked like. The farther we get from an agrarian society and into a technological one, the harder it is to imagine sitting on a hillside at night, watching sheep, and having angels pop out of no where. In 1739, Charles Wesley must have been imagining that incredible night as he composed, “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing”. Nor did George Whitefield in 1758, who adapted it to what we sing today.

The verse I want to focus on is this:

Christ by highest Heav’n adored, Christ the everlasting Lord; Late in time behold-Him come, Offspring of the Virgin’s womb. Veil’d in flesh the Godhead see, Hail th’ incarnate Deity! Pleas’d as Man with Men t’ appear, Jesus our Emmanuel here.

My favorite part of that is the second half. This time of year, we celebrate that God came down, took on the form of a human, so that He could be Emmanuel, God with us. He veiled Himself in flesh so He could better be acquainted with all we experience. Philippians 2:6-7 puts it this way, “Though he was God, he did not think of equality with God as something to cling to. Instead, he gave up his divine privileges; he took the humble position of a slave and was born as a human being” (NLT).

This Christmas season, let’s not forget that the baby birth we are celebrating was God veiled in flesh. He came to being peace on earth and goodwill toward men. The Angels celebrated that night and we have been celebrating since. Our God came to us so that we could be with Him. This baby grew up and died a criminal’s death in order to pay for our sins. When we think of that, we can celebrate with those heralding angels that God and sinners are able to be reconciled.

Photo by Charmoré Nel on Unsplash

Each year, I take a one week sabbatical from writing to refresh and to spend time with my family. Each devotion this week will be a past favorite. Enjoy and I’ll see you next week.

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O Little Town Of Bethlehem

This time of year, it becomes obvious that many of us don’t remember much more than the first verse of most Christmas Carols. As we lead up to Christmas, I want to explore some powerful verses in some of my favorite carols.

A few years ago, we were preparing for Christmas. I was putting gifts in boxes, then sliding them to my wife who was wrapping them. After she would wrap, she would ask who the gift was for. On one such gift, she looked at me with pen in hand expectantly. I looked at the box, smiled and said, “That one is for you!” She had been so busy wrapping that she couldn’t remember what was on the box.

That’s kind of how God snuck the gift of our savior into the world. It wasn’t a big showy presentation. It was delivered in a barn through an humble girl who was barely known. The world would expect the King of Kings to get around the clock coverage, tweets wondering what His name would be and hashtags so everyone could follow. But that’s not how God did it. He did it oppositely from the way we would have done it.

The lyrics of “O Little Town Of Bethlehem” described it like this:

How silently, how silently, the wondrous Gift is giv’n;

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His Heav’n.

No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive Him still, the dear Christ enters in.

God silently sent us His gift of redemption. The path to Heaven was illuminated by a star instead of spotlights. It was announced to shepherds instead of people of social stature. Those who were looking and listening found a baby lying in a manger in the small town of Bethlehem, which wasn’t even the capital. God entered this world silently so that those who are seeking Him will find Him. Those who find Him and receive Him will have His peace live in their heart and their sins forgiven. Oh what a gift that was given in the little town of Bethlehem.

Photo by Dan Kiefer on Unsplash

Each year, I take a one week sabbatical from writing to refresh and to spend time with my family. Each devotion this week will be a past favorite. Enjoy and I’ll see you next week.

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A Son Is Given

Throwback Thursday is a new feature I’m using to help build some margin into my schedule to pursue other writing ventures. Each Thursday I’ll be bringing you a previously written devotional that still speaks encouragement to us from God’s Word.

I saw a Christmas play a few years ago where they told the story of Jesus’ birth as seen through the eyes of two angels. They were reading Heaven’s newspaper when they saw the headline that Jesus was going to earth. They were ecstatic thinking of what all it could mean. As they read on, they were suddenly confused. “Wait! It says here that He’s going down there as a baby,” said one of the angels. The other replied, “How will He fit into something so small?” The God who is bigger than the universe He created, came down and entered our world as a baby.

He didn’t just come as a baby, but He came as a boy. When you think of it culturally and in that time period, a boy brought honor to his family. It meant that their lineage would continue. Since Joseph was a descendant of King David, it meant the royal line would continue and provide hope to Israel that at some point one of David’s heirs would rule the nation again. Everyone knew the promises God had made to establish David’s throne forever. They had been waiting for centuries for the House of David to return to the throne. The government of that country would once again be on the shoulders of the king.

Not only was that part of it important, but the fact that He was a boy has other implications. When a boy grows up, he gets married and his spouse takes his name. God came to earth to win our hearts. He came to propose marriage to each of us. In that time period and culture, a dowry was needed to secure a bride. It was usually something very expensive that would cost the groom everything he had. He had to work for years just to afford the dowry of engagement. After that was paid, He would have to provide a paid off home so that they could live together without worry. She would give up her family name and take his. She would leave her father and mother and cleave to him.

What does that have to do with Jesus? Everything. He came to pay a price that was equal to your worth. He came to win you over with His love. His life was all about proving how much He loved you and me. He did miracles, signs and wonders in an effort to get our attention. He bled and died in order to pay the dowry for you to be engaged to Him. He gave up everything He had to come in the form of a child, lived His life trying to get our attention and paid that price just to ask if you would marry Him. When you accept His proposal, all of Heaven rejoices just as we would for one of our friends. You then take on His name, Christian, and leave the life you once lived.

John 14:2-3 says, “There is more than enough room in my Father’s home. If this were not so, would I have told you that I am going to prepare a place for you? When everything is ready, I will come and get you, so that you will always be with me where I am” (NLT). He is following the culture and customs of that time in His proposal of marriage to you. Revelations says that we will be going to the wedding feast in Heaven one day. You and I are the bride of Christ if we accept His proposal. He’s coming back for us once He’s finished preparing it. I can’t wait to see it. If He made this world in 6 days, can imagine how incredible Heaven will be after 2,000 years? I can’t wait for the wedding, how about you?

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God Revealed

Around Christmas, we begin to see clever signs like the ones that say, “Wise men still seek Him” or “Born to die”. As Christians, we tend to spend a lot of our attention on that last one because salvation hinges on it, and our reconciliation with God is made possible. The truth is that Jesus didn’t come down to earth just to die for our sins. He had another mission as well – to reveal who God Really is.

We’ve all been misunderstood at some point in our lives. We did something with the best of intentions, and someone else took it the wrong way. Depending on how that person or group of people react, determines how hurt you got from their misunderstanding of you. If we misunderstand people’s intentions, how much more so do we misunderstand God? Part of what Jesus was here for was to clear some of that up.

One of the greatest misunderstandings about God is that He’s our God collectively instead of our God personally. This idea that God wanted to have a personal relationship is one of the things that angered the religious people of Jesus’ day. They couldn’t get past their misunderstanding of Him, so Jesus went to the people who weren’t so set in their ways to educate them and to reveal God to them.

What misconceptions do you have of God? Are you so set in your belief that He’s a certain way, that you’re refusing to let Jesus reveal who He really is to you? Don’t let your misunderstanding of who God is keep you from a deeper relationship with Him. John 1:18 says, “No one has ever seen God. But the unique One, who is himself God, is near to the Father’s heart. He has revealed God to us” (NLT). Pray today that Jesus would reveal who God really is, and to help you get past your misunderstandings of Him.

A friend of mine wrote a book called “Misunderstood: A Refreshing Guide To Dumping Religion For Good And Diving Deep Into A Personal Discovery Of The God Who Changes Everything.” You can check it out here.

Photo by Stefano Pollio on Unsplash

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The Angel’s Announcement

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In my front yard I have one Christmas decoration aside from lights on my house. It’s an angel that is lit up. Every time I see it, I hear the words in my head, “Fear not: for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you, you shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger (Luke 2:10-14 KJV).”

To me, the Angels played an integral role in the birth of Jesus. They got to be the ones who announced His birth. I know there had to be excitement in Heaven that day. As soon as that angel finished the announcement, the Bible says that a multitude of the heavenly hosts joined him praising God. They said, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.” I wonder what it was like for those shepherds to experience such an announcement. We know that as soon as the Angels left, they went to Bethlehem.

God used Angels that night to announce the birth of His son. The Angels sent people to the manger where they could worship their Savior. Their task must have seemed simple. Go to the hillside where you will find shepherds and tell them to go to Bethlehem. They took what God gave them to do and did it with joy. We don’t know if Angels appeared to others to let them know about the birth of Jesus. We don’t know if others went. What we do know is that this group of Angels made such an impression, the shepherds went immediately to the manger.

Before jesus left this earth, He gave you and I the same task that was given to the Angels. “Go everywhere and announce the Message of God’s good news to one and all (Mark 16:16 MSG).” Each of us have this call to announce His birth, death and resurrection wherever we go. Our job is to point people to the place where they can be saved. We celebrate Christmas in memory of the birth of Jesus. Without Him coming into this world, living a sinless life and dying on a cross to pay for our sins, there would be no salvation. Go out today and announce it.

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