To me Christmas represents the ultimate love story. It is the birth of the Savior, sent from a loving God whose heart ached from the loss of His precious children. Through the sin of Adam man had fallen from grace into the bondage of sin and it seemed there was no way of rescuing mankind back into the bosom of the Father. But the love of God was too strong and He made a decision that no demon expected. He decided to rescue man Himself by the only means possible. He would send His only Son to redeem man even though it meant terrible pain and suffering. The scriptures declare:
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Sometimes we believers are challenged by those without faith when they say things like, "You don't know that Jesus was born on December 25th. You may be celebrating some pagan holiday without realizing it." Well, it is true that the bible does not tell us the exact "day" Jesus was born. But it certainly does tell us that He "was" born. What is important is not the exact day. We are not celebrating the day, but rather we are celebrating the EVENT!
Isa 9:6 For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
I love how that verse is worded. As the Word, the "Son" had always existed with the Father. But He had never been in "human" form. When Jesus was conceived in the womb of Mary, only then did this eternal WORD take on flesh and exist in human form.
Joh 1:14 And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.
Truly the eternal Word, the Son, was "given." But in a Bethlehem manger, the Word was made flesh, God took on human form, and a child was "born." The Word has no beginning and no end. The child (in human form) had a beginning but He will have no end. His kingdom shall reign forever.
Luk 1:30-33 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. 31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. 32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: 33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Yes, every time we celebrate Christmas we are celebrating the greatest love story ever told. I have often meditated John 3:16 … how God so loved "the world." He loved the world even in its fallen state. He hates sin but he loves the sinner. Paul wrote how all of us prior to salvation had our time of rebellion in "the world" as we did what comes naturally to sinners. We sinned!
Eph 2:1-9 And you hath he quickened, who were dead in trespasses and sins; 2 Wherein in time past ye walked according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience: 3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others. 4 But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, 5 Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) 6 And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus: 7 That in the ages to come he might shew the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus. 8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: 9 Not of works, lest any man should boast.
I underlined the phrase "for his great love wherewith he loved us." When did He love us like that? After we got saved? No, even before we were saved … while we were still lost and full of sin … He loved us and sent His Son to die for us. The love of God astounds me.
My parents raised me right and always made sure I was in church as I grew up. Even though we moved from city to city often as my dad made a living in the construction industry, they always made sure we found a church and they made sure I attended. Yet as I grew into a teenager I rebelled and for many, many years I lived far away from the presence of God. I drank too much and for the most part my life was about making more and more money. In essence I had become an idol worshipper. I was spending my life worshiping mammon instead of God. I was exactly like the person Paul described in Ephesians quoted above. I spent my life pursuing "the lusts of the flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind."
But God loved Gary so much he looked down through the corridors of time and He was unwilling to spend eternity without me. Even at the pinnacle of my rebellion … He loved me … and He devised a plan to gather me again into His arms. He knew I was serious about not ever attending a church service again so He sent a man (like a guerilla fighter) across enemy lines over into the business world to bring the gospel to me again. And you know what? His plan worked. Sue and I were radically saved and we have never been the same since. He loved us, even at our worst, and sent His saving hand to gather us to Himself.
At this Christmas season let our hearts be full of gratitude and thankfulness to our heavenly Father who loves us perfectly. Let us remember to lift up loved ones and family members to Him in prayer asking Him to continue sending "laborers into the harvest" so they too can be saved. Christmas is the celebration of the greatest Love story!
Sue and I love you and appreciate you. We thank God for your generous and giving heart. God bless you!
Your friend and co-laborer,
Gary Carpenter Ministries|
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