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christmas eve I

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We receive it as a fact, more fully established than any other fact in history, that the Son of God became man, was born at Bethlehem, wrapped in swaddling clothes, and laid in a manger.

Church of the Nativity 

a stairwell leads down to small cavern

 a silver star on the floor is inscribed with the words “here Jesus Christ was born of the Virgin Mary” 

 tradition dating back around 200 AD

an unknown place---really of no importance until centuries later

long after shepherds were dead

did the wise men ever return?

Did Mary? perhaps she told her other children

Perhaps she told John

No holiday inn, not a pretty sight

center of the room was designed to house the animals of people lodging there.  Around the perimeter a platform on which people slept.  No rooms, no beds, no privacy.

Giving birth to a baby in an abandoned car in an urban alleyway.

National geographic pictures

The One who said let us make man

Once said let us save man.

Ken Gire reading

Unto us  a child is born

Unto us a Son is given.

So blind. Yet we think we see.

So poor. Yet we think we are rich.

So naked. Yet we think we are clothed.

He alone can open our eyes.

He alone can open our ears.

He alone can cause us to hear the heavenly voice.

He alone has borne the anger and displeasure of the Creator.

He alone offers us meaning and purpose.

He alone. Offers Himself  To you.

To make

you beautiful in His sight.

To make you acceptable.

To make you loved.

Do we know What has been given to us.

 A child. A Son. 

The exact image of His Person,

The brightness of his glory.

23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

 “God with us.” My soul, ring these words again, “God with us.”

God with Us.” It is hell’s terror.

 Satan trembles at the sound of it;

Let him come to you suddenly, and do you but whisper that word, “God with us,” back he falls, confounded and confused.

Satan trembles when he hears that name, “God with us.”

It is the laborer’s strength; how could he preach the gospel, how could he bend his knees in prayer, how could the missionary go into foreign lands, how could the martyr stand at the stake, how could the confessor own his Master, how could men labor if that one word were taken away? “God with us.”

It is the sufferer’s comfort, it is the balm of his grief, it is the lightening of his misery, it is the sleep which God gives to his beloved, it is their rest after exertion and toil.

It is “God with us,” —

Walter Wangerin reading

23“Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.”

Has there been a change effected by divine grace within you?

Are your loves the very opposite of what they were?

Do you now hate the vain things you once admired, and do you seek after that precious pearl which you at one time despised?

that he might glorify his name, by revealing the riches of his grace, and of his boundless mercy.

Can you say that unto you a child has been born, a son given?

That the government of your life is upon His shoulder?

Let us celebrate His birth.

Stand if he is in You

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