Showing posts from December, 2015


Luke 1:26-38 [i] Christmas songs are playing on the radio and in all the stores, songs about mistletoe, Rudolf and white Christmases. We celebrate love and peace.  We celebrate the birth of a Savior.  We sing about peace on earth and joy to the world. Truly, the birth of Jesus Christ in the manger at Bethlehem is worth celebrating.  He is God with us, Emmanuel, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace.  He is our hope and salvation, and represents God’s favor toward us.  In spite of the celebration and the words we hear about God’s love for us, it may not seem that God loves us.  With all that happens in our lives and in our world, it can seem at times that God is not here.  Do we really enjoy God’s favor?  What does it look like to be favored of God?  Mary was a young virgin engaged to be married to a man named Joseph.  She was chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus.  She, of all people, represents what it means to be favored of God.  Mary said of hers

Why Change?

John the Baptist was a great man.  He is called “the Baptist,” because his ministry was characterized by a call for people to be baptized.  Luke 3:3 says, “Then John went from place to place on both sides of the Jordan River, preaching that people should be baptized to show that they had repented of their sins and turned to God to be forgiven.” [i]  This baptism is how we distinguish him from other men named John, such as John the Apostle.  John the Baptist did not write any Scripture.  The gospel of John, 1 st , 2 nd , 3 rd John and Revelation were all written by the Apostle John.  John the Apostle started out as a political zealot and ended up as the Apostle of Love.  John the Baptist was a wild man.  By “wild man,” I mean that he lived in the wild.  He wore clothes made for rough country and ate what food he could find in wild places. John the Baptist apparently isolated himself for a time.  There is no suggestion of the length of time he lived in the wilderness. 

The Morning Light from Heaven

Luke 1:67-79 [i] What does it look like when the world hates you? The Nazi regime targeted the Jewish people during the WW II era.  Millions died.  The Nazi death camps are still well known, and horrifying pictures from those camps are still available.  Is this what it looks like when the world hates you? In 2001 we watched in horror as airliners were flown into the twin buildings of the World Trade Center.  2,977 people died in those terrorists attacks.  Is this what it looks like when the world hates you? In part, this is what it looks like when the world hates you.  Recently in California and Paris, we again saw the devastating effects of sin, evil and hate. In 2011, there were 12,664 murders in the United States. [ii]   In the same year, there were 9,878 deaths from alcohol impaired driving.  These and other statistics like them are all the results of sin and evil in our world. These numbers touch us all.  We all know someone who has lost a loved one.

The Promises

People lose hope. Christmas is the season of joy, peace and celebration.  However, many do not feel joyful during this season.  The reasons for this lack of joy are as varied as the individuals we are talking about.  This year there will be some going through Christmas without a loved one.  Having observed the holiday for years with the same person, this year the loved one is no longer there. This year some will be exhausted by the busyness of the season.  Concerts, children’s plays, family gatherings, church gatherings, shopping, decorating and the endless expectations rob the season of its joy. Some do not have fond memories of holidays past.  Family conflict, splitting holidays between homes and other difficulties mar the season of joy and peace on earth. We live in a world damaged and torn by sin.  Sickness and disease attack our bodies.  Hackers and viruses attack our computers.  Thieves steal our identities.  Terrorists attack our cities. Jeremiah p