Posts Tagged ‘Christmas’

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 5

Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews?  for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.  When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.

Matthew 2:1-3

There is a famous saying that you hear and see around this time of year.  “Wise men still seek him.”  In this passage, we find the famous wise men.  They had studied the scriptures and had seen the star.  They came to worship Him, and, naturally, they came to the earthly “king” of that area – Herod.

We know the story about Herod’s anger and jealousy.  But today, we will focus on the wise men.

These wise men did not have to seek the Lord.  They were from a distant kingdom.  Many of the Jews, Jesus’ own people, did not worship Him.  Apparently, they weren’t even looking for Him or read for His coming.

But these wise men were looking for Him.  They searched for Him.  They did everything they could to find Him.  And, when they found Him, they worshipped Him.  It is no wonder that they are referred to as “wise men.”  They lived two thousand years ago, but the lessons that they give us still remain.  If we would be wise today, we must seek the Lord Jesus.  If we would be wise today, we must worship the Lord Jesus.  It is the same today as it was way back then.  We need to seek for Him.  And, once we find Him, we need to worship Him.

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 4

But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.  And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins.

Matthew 1:20-21

During this Christmas season, it is important for us to remember why we celebrate.  We see the signs (and maybe we even have one ourselves) that say “Jesus is the reason for the season.”  That is very true.  Jesus is the reason for the season.

But why do we celebrate Jesus?  It may seem like a simple question, but it is worth answering, especially at this time of the year.

I believe that we find the answer in verse 21: “…thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins.”  We celebrate Jesus because He is our Saviour.  We celebrate Him because He saves us from our sins.  We celebrate Him because He is the Way, the Truth and the Life.  We celebrate Him because, as Peter said, “Thou hast the words of life.”

During this Christmas season, let us never forget what Jesus has done for us.  Let us never forget that He came to save us from our sins.  We did not deserve it, but Jesus loves us and gave Himself for us.  That is the reason for Christmas.  That is why we celebrate.

Away in a Manger (Hymn)

Away in a Manger
Traditional Carol

Away in a manger, no crib for a bed,
The little Lord Jesus laid down His sweet head.
The stars in the sky looked down where He lay,
The little Lord Jesus, asleep on the hay.

The cattle are lowing, the Baby awakes,
But little Lord Jesus, no crying He makes;
I love Thee, Lord Jesus, look down from the sky
And stay by my cradle til morning is nigh.

Be near me, Lord Jesus, I ask Thee to stay
Close by me forever, and love me, I pray;
Bless all the dear children in Thy tender care,
And fit us for Heaven to live with Thee there.

Of all of the traditional Christmas carols, I think this one does the best job of “setting the mood” of what the night of Jesus’ birth was really like.  Of course, we know very little about that night and what really went on there where Mary laid the baby Jesus in the manger.  But it is interesting (especially during this time of year) to think about.  Even more interesting to think about is that God Himself lay still there in the manger, as a helpless baby.  And He did it for us.  What a wonderful Saviour!

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 3

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.  Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a publick example, was minded to put her away privily.  But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:18-20

Although he was not His father, Joseph was a part of the Christmas story.  He was the husband of the young woman that God chose to send His Son into the world through.  Joseph was, all at once, thrust into the role of providing for and protecting this young child who would be named Jesus and Emmanuel, because He would save His people from their sins and because He truly was “God with us.”  Joseph, from what we read about him, was up to the task.

In this passage, two things stand out about Joseph: he was good man and he was a thinking man.

Verse 19 says “Then Joseph her husband, being a just man…”  He was a good man.  He loved his wife.  Even when he found out that she was “with child,” he did not want to publicly humiliate her.  He was a good man.  It would be good if the same were said of us.

Verse 20 says “But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream…”  Joseph was a thinking man.  He was not rash or hasty.  He “thought on these things.”  He took the time to think things out before he acted.  We would save ourselves much trouble in our lives if we would do the same.

Joseph was a good person and a thinking person.  These things allowed him to have an intimate part in the life of the Saviour.  How are we doing?

 

Christmas from Matthew, Pt. 2

And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ. 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.

Matthew 1:16,18

I love the wording of the Bible.  If there is any doubt that the Bible is an inspired book, look at these examples and the perfect wording that they contain.

Mary was the baby Jesus’ mother.  But Joseph was not the father.  She was a virgin.  And the Bible is very clear about that (Matthew 1:23, Luke 1:27).  Notice the wording in verse 16: “And Jacob begat Joseph, the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus…”  He is referred to as “the husband of Mary,” not “the father of Jesus.”  There are two other verses that do the same thing: “And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him.” (Luke 2:33)  “…Jesus tarried behind in Jerusalem; and Joseph and his mother knew not of it.”  It is “Joseph and his mother,” not “his mother and father.”

The only time Joseph is referred to as the father of Jesus is when the Pharisees tried to trap Him in His words.  “And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know?”  The Pharisees said that Jesus was the son of Joseph.  Jesus never said that.  God never said that.  The Bible never says that.  The Christmas story here in Matthew begins with a clear explanation of who is who and who is not who.  Jesus=Emmanuel, the Saviour of the World.  Mary=Mother of Jesus.  Joseph=Husband of Mary (not the father of Jesus).

The Bible truly is an amazing book.  There is so much to learn about it.  We can even learn things from the way verses are worded.  We could study it every day for the rest of our lives and never come close to understanding everything contained in it.

Christmas From Matthew, Pt. 1

The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham.  Abraham begat Isaac; and Isaac begat Jacob; and Jacob begat Judas and his brethren; And Judas begat Phares and Zara of Thamar; and Phares begat Esrom; and Esrom begat Aram; And Aram begat Aminadab; and Aminadab begat Naasson; and Naasson begat Salmon; And Salmon begat Booz of Rachab; and Booz begat Obed of Ruth; and Obed begat Jesse;

Matthew 1:1-5

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.

Luke 19:10

Usually, around Christmas, I do a series of posts from the Christmas story in Luke.  This year, I thought we would look at the same story from the book of Matthew.

The book of Matthew and the entire New Testament begins with the genealogy of the Lord Jesus Christ.  We would expect this line of Jesus Christ to contain the greatest men in history.  We would expect to find kings, warriors, and wise men in this line of the King.  There are some great men in this line, but it is important to see who else made it into the line of the Lord Jesus Christ.

We have Thamar, with whom Judah (her father in law) committed incest.  We have Rachab (also known as Rahab “the harlot”).  We have David, the adulterer and murderer.  The list goes on and on.  We find liars, cheaters, harlots, adulterers, murderers, etc.  How did these people get into the line of the King?

I think that the answer in found in Luke 19:10, “For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”  Jesus came into the world to save sinners.  The people in His genealogy are just that – people.  They are people just like you and I are people.  They are sinners in need of a Saviour.  Just like we are sinners in need of a Saviour.  And that is what He came to do – to be our Saviour!

 

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Hymn)

I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow (1863)

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

I love the progression of this song.  It is easy to look around and feel despair.  It is easy to look around and see that there is no peace on earth.  We can see all of the hate and sin, and it does seem to mock the promise of “peace on earth and good will to men.”  But then we hear the Christmas bells and they remind us “God is not dead, nor doth He sleep…”  What a wonderful Saviour and what a wonderful time of the year is Christmas!

O Come All Ye Faithful (Hymn)

O Come All Ye Faithful
John Wade (1743)

O come, all ye faithful, joyful and triumphant,
O come ye, O come ye, to Bethlehem.
Come and behold Him, born the King of angels;

Refrain
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
O come let us adore Him,
Christ the Lord.

Sing, choirs of angels, sing in exultation;
O sing, all ye citizens of heaven above!
Glory to God, all glory in the highest;

Refrain

Yea, Lord we greet Thee, born this happy morning;
Jesus, to Thee be all glory given;
Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.

Refrain

“Word of the Father, now in flesh appearing.”  That phrase basically sums up the entire Christmas story.  God Himself came down to earth.  God became a man and took on flesh.  It truly is an amazing story and one worthy of celebration!  This year, maybe we should try to focus on the Saviour and all He has done for us for the entire Christmas season!

Joy to the World (Hymn)

Joy to the World
Isaac Watts (1719)

Joy to the world, the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King;
Let every heart prepare Him room,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and nature sing,
And heaven and heaven, and nature sing.

Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ;
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat the sounding joy,
Repeat, repeat, the sounding joy.

No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.

He rules the world with truth and grace,
And makes the nations prove
The glories of His righteousness,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders of His love,
And wonders, wonders, of His love.

It’s getting closer to Christmas (my favorite season of the year!) so I thought we would start looking at some Christmas hymns today!  To me, this is one of the most encouraging of the Christmas hymns.  Doctrinally, I believe that it is dealing more with Christ’s second coming and His millennial reign than with His first coming and Christmas, but it is a great hymn nevertheless.  He does bring joy to the world, and He is the only One Who brings joy to the world!

 

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing (Christmas Hymn)

Hark! the Herald Angels Sing
Charles Wesley (1739)

Hark! The herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King;
Peace on earth, and mercy mild,
God and sinners reconciled!”
Joyful, all ye nations rise,
Join the triumph of the skies;
With the angelic host proclaim,
“Christ is born in Bethlehem!”

Refrain
Hark! the herald angels sing,
“Glory to the newborn King!”

Christ, by highest Heav’n adored;
Christ the everlasting Lord;
Late in time behold Him come,
Offspring of a virgin’s womb.
Veiled in flesh the Godhead see;
Hail th’ incarnate Deity,
Pleased with us is flesh to dwell,
Jesus our Emmanuel.

Refrain

Hail the heavenly Prince of Price!
Hail the Sun of Righteousness!
Light and life to all He brings,
Ris’n with healing in His wings.
Mild He lays His glory by,
Born that man no more may die.
Born to raise the sons of earth,
Born to give them second birth.

Refrain

Come, Desire of nations, come,
Fix in us Thy humble home;
Rise, the woman’s conquering Seed,
Bruise in us the serpent’s head.
Now display Thy saving power,
Ruined nature now restore;
Now in mystic union join
Thine to ours and ours to Thine.

Refrain

Adam’s likeness now efface,
Stamp thine image in it’s place:
Second Adam from above,
Reinstate us in Thy love.
Let us Thee though lost, regain,
Thee, the Life, the inner man;
O, to all Thyself  impart,
Formed in each believing heart.

Refrain

I saved my favorite Christmas hymn for the Sunday after Christmas.  This hymn has more doctrine than we can deal with in one post.  Every verse is true, deep and powerful.  I think that I could just read this song and meditate on each verse all day long.  What a wonderful and powerful hymn – a good one to end the year on.