Behind the “Seens” at the Pageant

                            And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us . . . John 1:14

Have you ever tried to grasp the concept of “eternity?”  I have.  However, my brain is incapable of understanding how far back “eternity past” extends!  Try as I may, my mind’s eye cannot see far enough into eternity past to experience its lack of boundaries, limitations, time!  The same is true of “space:” no boundaries, no limitations.  This vast expanse is where God has always been!  God is an invisible Spirit, filling the whole universe with His presence!  There is no place we can go, see, or imagine where God does not dwell.  John 1:1-4 says that Jesus, the Word, has existed from “the beginning” and that He created everything!  Genesis 1:1 declares that God created the world; therefore, John’s words strongly affirm that Jesus is God! 

God knew the humans He created would rebel against Him and break His laws.  He taught them that a blood sacrifice was necessary in order to atone for their disobedience.  For centuries, God’s people presented the sacrifices God demanded in order to become “right” with Him temporarily- – until they sinned again!  They acted in faith that He would forgive their sins.

But God had already planned the perfect sacrifice to accomplish complete atonement for man’s sins “once and for all.” (Hebrews 10:10)  But who could qualify:  God would offer Himself (Jesus) as the only sacrifice worthy to take our place on the altar.  He always has been the only sinless One, who did not have to die for His own sins!  But why would He do such a thing?  The answer is that He loved those whom He had created and had mercy on them.

But how could a spirit bleed and die?  The answer lies in the words of John quoted above.  The eternal, invisible, infinite God became flesh!  Note that He did not become God; he was already God.  But, miraculously, He conceived in the womb of Mary, a virgin Jewish girl, a body of flesh, uncontaminated by sin, uniquely acceptable as the sacrifice for the transgressions of the whole world!  Without His unlimited grace and immeasurable love, we would still be doomed to an eternity without God.  But, glory be to the Father, in His perfect time, He “sent forth His Son” to be our Savior and to give us the privilege of becoming children of God through “trusting Jesus as our Savior!” (Galatians 4:4-7)

That was no ordinary baby lying in the manger there in Bethlehem.  That Baby in the manger would one day be the Savior suffering on the cross, the victorious Lord rising from the tomb, the beloved Son ascending to His place with the Father, the Mighty King returning some day to take us to dwell forever in His presence. (John 14:3)  He was and is to come the holy Son of the living God, the eternal Spirit dwelling in human flesh!  Praise His Holy Name now and forevermore!  May you have a very Merry Christmas, and a deeply joyful one as you ponder these truths.

About the Writer:
Diana is a former high school teacher, Sunday School teacher, and Women’s Bible Studies teacher. For many years a stay-at-home wife and mother, she is now also a grandmother to three young Oklahomans, who call her “Gigi”.

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Will he know where I am?

I can remember this one Christmas at the age of  six or seven.  We were making the trek to Dallas from Houston, and the only real issue I had with this trip was that this was the year I was supposed to get an American girl doll.  It was a big deal, and I needed to know if Santa would know where I was.  Would he be able to find me and bring me my doll?  Would my doll be all alone in Houston while I was in Dallas?

For my little girl heart, it was a real question.

Later in life I learned the truth of Santa and the realization that my doll was never going to be alone in Houston.

But have you ever asked yourself these questions of God?Will He know where I am? Will I be alone in this new city or new adventure?  Will He be able to find me?

The beauty of Christmas is the reminder that God loves us so much He sent His son for us.  In that truth, there is the hope and peace that He knows where we are always, and loves us so much that He sent His son to this world so that we may be saved through Him.

What a calming peace!

I remember walking down the stairs Christmas morning to see my doll there waiting for me.  The joy that I found at that moment is one I can still remember.

How much more joy is found in knowing that I never have to question if God knows where I am.  I never have to wonder and wait for a sign. I can stand boldly on the truth that he knows everything about me.

Psalm 139 teaches us this:

Lord, you have examined me
    and know all about me.
You know when I sit down and when I get up.
    You know my thoughts before I think them.
You know where I go and where I lie down.
    You know everything I do.

As a child of God, I am sure He knows me, and,  if you are a believer, He knows you, too.  There is no question, no reason to wonder! This Christmas rest on the truth that Christ came because of God’s love for us.  And, in that loves comes the truth that He knows us personally.

About the Writer:
Liz, just a girl who spends her days teaching 6th graders the value of math and science while also displaying the love of Christ, and her evenings with her friends laughing and challenging the definition of community to be something much deeper. If you need her you can probably find her watching Dancing with the Stars while on Pinterest.

Christmas Traditions That Point to Jesus

Many Christian moms strive to make sure the Christmas season doesn’t get swept away in commercialism, but is truly a time of joy. What an opportunity we have to celebrate with our family the greatest miracle the world has even known!  God coming to earth as a baby named Jesus to rescue us from the curse of this world is worthy of jubilant celebration. Christian moms know this and desire this for our families, but cutting through the expectations of the season and getting to the heart of Christmas can be difficult. What’s the solution?

There is no formula. What works best for one family doesn’t create a mandate for others to do the same. Some mothers excel at and relish in Pinterest-worthy advent projects.  Others find doing simple things like reading stories that point to Jesus’ coming in the Old Testament best for their family. I humbly share a few things our family does with our young children to celebrate Christmas. Perhaps one of these strikes a chord with you or gives you an idea all your own.

  1. Our girls love playing the “Star from Afar” game. My husband and I move the star every night, and the girls wake up each morning to search for the star. Upon locating it, they move the wise men under the star as they follow it on their path to meet the new King! When my girls wake up Christmas morning the star is over the manger and they along with the wise men find the Savior!
  2. We host an annual Happy Birthday Jesus party, normally on Christmas Eve. It’s small and simple. We have a cake and sing “Happy Birthday” to Jesus. We sing a few Christmas songs and read the Christmas story from Luke 2. The children put on a play of the Christmas story using things we have around the house like sheets, sticks, and blankets as costumes.
  3. We snuggle on the couch and watch a YouTube video of Joy Williams song “Here with Us” set to scenes from The Nativity Story.

Children thrive on rhythms and routine. Having a few traditions in your family that clearly point to the wonder and awe of Jesus’ birth will seal in the lives of your children the miracle of Christmas. Celebrate and rejoice!

About the Writer:
Caroline is a wife and mom who loves Jesus. She also has a career in commercial real estate investing. God has given her a heart for encouraging other women. She and her husband, Eric, are the directors of the Fellowship Class, a young married Sunday School class, at First Baptist Dallas.

The Greatest Story ever Told

For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. (Isaiah 6:7 NASB)

My favorite time of the year is Christmas. I anticipate its arrival with great enthusiasm. Every year as the season emerges, my adulthood mannerisms quickly shift to childlike behavior, as I watch my Mother prepare for a magnificent holiday time.

Family Gifts

Preparations are constructed months in advance for Christmas at Mother’s house with various individuals in the community offering helping hands. People dash in different directions, with a mission to find whatever gifts Mother is seeking for her kids and grandkids. Surprises always await her family.

 

Christmas Décor

Decorations are taken out of storage and arranged neatly throughout Mother’s home. Each room contains some type of Christmas décor displaying Mom’s most treasured adornments. Several trees are embellished with ornaments and placed in various quarters, adjacent to numerous Santa Clauses displayed. Then comes the moment my mother looks forward to the most. The walk through:  highlighting one special room.

The Manager Scene

A gentle voice exclaims, “Follow me.” Mother leads her family to a significant area in the middle of her home. The atrium. A room occupied by flowers throughout most of the year, is emptied out weeks before Christmas to display a beautiful manager scene for all to behold. As the family arrives, Mother stands in front of the exhibit with a smile on her face as she reflects on the true meaning of Christmas. While carols play in the background, Mother begins to convey an amazing story still impacting the world to this day.

In the same region, there were some shepherds staying out in the fields and keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. This will be sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.” (Luke 2:8-12 NASB)

Jesus left the comforts of Heaven to be born in a manger. The Lamb of God, rejected by many, gave His life on a cross for the redemption of all mankind. A Savior arose the third day, with a promise to return for His own. Jesus offers Salvation to all who will believe.

In the midst of all the rush of the Holiday season, let us gather our families together to disclose the true meaning of Christmas. May we never forget to remember the greatest story ever told.

For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. (John 3:16 NASB)

 

About the Writer:
Shea is the mother of two and nana of five and enjoys both roles tremendously. She loves the opportunity to serve through various ministries at First Baptist Dallas as well as Entrusted Hope Ministry.  She also speaks to women’s groups, assists with biblical counseling when opportunities arise and is constantly working to develop women’s Bible studies. Shea received her bachelor’s degree in Christian Ministry from Blue Mountain College in Blue Mountain, Mississippi; her master’s degree in Biblical Counseling from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas; and began her doctoral work at Southwestern this past fall.