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Archive for December, 2010

A Star Is Born

No one, no one is as famous as Jesus.  No other person ever born is as celebrated as Jesus from Nazareth (though many despise him as well).  No one ever said the things Jesus said, no one ever loved the way he loved, no one ever no one did the things he did.  No other person in the history of the world has ever compared to Jesus.  Kings are not born like Jesus, and no one has ever been given a star in the sky in their honor.  Stars, while eleventy billion miles from earth shine bright, but no star could compare with the light that is Christ.  He is the light of the world, the light that came into the darkness, and the light that has overcome that same darkness (John 1:1-14).  While every other star will burn out (including our own sun), his will shine eternally…”I did not see a temple in the city, because the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are its temple. 23 The city does not need the sun or the moon to shine on it, for the glory of God gives it light, and the Lamb is its lamp. 24 The nations will walk by its light, and the kings of the earth will bring their splendor into it” (Revelation 21:22-24).  So, today on December 25th 2010 we celebrate not a human star whose light will shine then fade, not a celestial star whose light will burn and then die out, but the greatest star of all, Jesus Christ whose light has come into the world and shines forever more.

Matthew 2:1-11

 1 After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi[a] from the east came to Jerusalem 2 and asked, “Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” 

 3 When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. 4 When he had called together all the people’s chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Messiah was to be born. 5 “In Bethlehem in Judea,” they replied, “for this is what the prophet has written: 

6 “‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
   are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;
for out of you will come a ruler
   who will shepherd my people Israel.’[b]

 7 Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. 8 He sent them to Bethlehem and said, “Go and search carefully for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.” 

9 After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. 10 When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. 11 On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. 12 And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.

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Planned to Perfection

 The birth of Christ was probably not what Joseph and Mary had envisioned, but it occurred just as God had planned.  In a manger (possibly with animals), while visiting another town, and with no other family around to help would hardly seem like the idyllic setting to give birth to God’s Son, but it would be perfect.  God rarely does things the way we think he should.  He does things then and now with so much more in mind that is still come.  The birth of Christ is a great example of his perfect planning.  It would have made sense to you and me that Jesus be born into royalty, with his birth surrounded by great nobility and fan-fare.  Perhaps a parade would follow the day after his birth, and then a week-long festival to celebrate his coming.  The king would be treated like a king from day one.  The birth of Christ was nothing like that, in fact it was the opposite of everything I have just described.  Jesus was not born into nobility, but to a peasant girl and a carpenter.  He was not born in a palace, but in a place normally reserved for animals.  God did not reveal his birth to heads of state or other prominent officials, but to lowly shepherds, and three very wise star gazers.  The plan of Christ’s birth was perfect way for the king to enter the world.  This king would be like no other before, and none that will come will ever equal his value.  His birth was to represent everything his life and death would be about, service and humility.  He embodied Mark 10:45 every moment of his earthly life.  His birth would foreshadow the way he would live and the way he would die.  God had orchestrated the perfect birth for the perfect king.  Our plan for the king while likely including a grand entrance at birth, would have never involved his death.  We like Peter, would have sworn he would never taste death by way of suffering.  It is very likely our messiah would have lived a very comfortable, posh life far from eating with sinners and suffering.  Thank God he didn’t ask our opinion, only our trust in him and his plans.  He devised a plan that demonstrate his great love in the greatest way.  A king who would first be a servant.  A king not of noble birth, but born of a virgin.  A king who would suffer and die for the sins not of his own, but of those who loved.  God planned the perfect birth for his perfect son.  A birth that not tells us much of the kind of king he would be.  The greatest king, born in the most unlikely manner.  We would have never conceived it, God would have had it no other way.

Mark 10:45      

45 For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”

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A Gift for God?

It’s Christmas, we all love giving gifts to others.  God has given us his greatest gift with the birth of his son.  So, I wondered today could we give God a gift for Christmas, and if so then what?  Well, obviously nothing in a material sense would do.  After all, he owns it all (Psalm 24:1).  Plus I don’t think any of the mail services currently deliver to heaven.  But, there is one gift I believe he would adore and treasure for Christmas…You.  I believe the greatest thing we could ever give God is our very lives.  It’s not as though he is lacking in any way and needs us, but he does desire us.  The greatest gift we could offer to God is just our very best, ourselves.  We are the only thing God wants.  John Piper was once asked what God wants from us, to which he responded, “all of us all of the time.”  God wants our whole lives to be completely under his Lordship and authority.  In Christ, God can make much of our lives.  Don’t think of it as owing God something, our gift in no way compares with his.  Think of it as worship, offering God the one thing that would be most pleasing to him.  You can’t offer on behalf of anyone else, you can only give what is yours.  And compared to what God gave us, our gift is not all that big.  But, it is the one thing he wants, that is guaranteed to please him, and you will end up being blessed beyond measure for giving it to him.  Thank you God for your son.  Here is my life it’s not much, but it’s the best I can give.  May my life be an offering of worship unto you.        

Romans 12:1

  1I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.

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I remember one Christmas night back in high school sitting in the living room of my Uncle Dani and Aunt Peggy’s house visiting and talking.  My uncle Dani by nature was doing most of the talking.  I mentioned that I felt disappointed by Christmas.  It had nothing to do with the gifts I received, how the day had gone, and I certainly was not disappointed with Jesus.  I had just so looked forward to this one day, and now in the waning hours it was nearly gone.  I had the Christmas night blues.  Then, my Aunt Peggy spoke and offered great Christmas wisdom.  She told me Christmas was best enjoyed as a season, not just one day.  I vowed from that night on to enjoy every day of the Christmas season.  So, how do I enjoy all that the Christmas season has to offer?  Here are a few ways…

-Each year, the day after Thanksgiving my brother and I go out into the woods and cut down a lowly looking pine tree and put lots of colored lights on it.  We place it next to the back door at my parents home.  It is our Charlie Brown Tree.  This year Perry Rose helped us find the prefect tree.

-On Thanksgiving night each year, I put up lights on the outside of my parents house.  

-I decorate the outside of mine and Tenly’s home with lights (some have referred to me as an exterior illumination expert, but you can be the judge of that).

– Perry Rose and I have our own mini official Charlie Brown tree we put lights on in our house.  We also put lights in Perry Rose room. 

-We try to attend one Christmas concert per season.

-As a family ride around some nearby neighborhoods here in Atlanta to look at Christmas lights.

-We attend the Christmas eve service at our church.

-We have several, several movies we watch each year including, Charlie Brown, The Grinch, The Nativity, Christmas Vacation, Frosty The Snowman, Rudolph, White Christmas (Tenly), It’s a Wonderful Life, and more.  

-We have a big Christmas night dinner here at our home with my mom, dad, and brother.

-I listen exclusively to Christmas music in my car during the season.

-This year, as a family we will read and talk about the birth narrative of Jesus from Luke chapter 2 on Christmas Eve Night.

-We will have the kids over from GT FCA for a Christmas party.

-We send out a Christmas card to family and friends.

-My wife will watch every sappy Hallmark and ABC Family Christmas movie ever made.

-Tenly and Perry make a ginger bread house.

-Tenly will make cookies for all my coaches @ Tech.

What are a few of the traditions you and family do around Christmas time?  Fell free to comment and I’ll post them in a few days.  Most of all, in all things this Christmas season, enjoy the birth of our precious savior and celebrate his coming to us!  Taylor

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