Wednesday, 20 December 2017

Celebrate the Baby

Celebrate the Baby
“Christ the Saviour is born! The Saviour has been born this day in the city of David. Bethlehem!”
 Luke 2:11
December 20, 2017
                How are you celebrating Jesus’ birthday? Will it
be different from how you celebrate your own birthday? Will there be cake, and ice cream, candles and presents? Will there be balloons or funny party hats and games? Will there be close friends and family around? Wait—this sounds like a regular birthday party doesn’t it? But what is so different is that we celebrate Jesus’ birth –as an infant yet when we celebrate our own it is not when we were first born, but who we are now. Why is Jesus’ birthday celebration different than our own birthdays?
                Because Jesus was born to save his people—his purpose was to die yet when he was born it was not just an ordinary day. Had there been Twitter back then, the 140 characters might have said-
Important baby born in stable, star appeared, angels too, shepherds visited and left glorifying God. Not sure of parents who stayed in a stable but all is well. Bethlehem not such a sleepy town any more. Who is this baby given such a heavenly welcome? Anyone know?
                But we do know because of what happened in years which followed. This baby Jesus grew up to be the Saviour of the world. But when he was an infant those who saw him had no idea what he eventually would accomplish as an adult. But they celebrated his birth and we are forever grateful because Jesus’ birth was the most remarkable event in human history- changing the world as it was known and still changing us one person at a time.
                Jesus was this tiny baby who had created those who worshiped him. This baby grew up and lived a perfect life and then taught his followers how we should live. And then he fulfilled his purpose by willingly dying for our sins.
                How do we make Christmas complete? We celebrate the baby and trust the Saviour. Celebrate Jesus’ birth with special guests, food, decorations, traditions and laughter. Celebrate with others or take time alone and reflect on Christmases of the past. Pray enjoy and know that Jesus of the manger is the resurrected Lord and Saviour. Rejoice and know he is with us- Emmanuel forevermore.
God of grace we praise you for Jesus’ birthday celebrations around the world filled with many traditions, joys and wonders. Help us to remember that it is Jesus’ coming into this world as a human infant that we are celebrating. He became like us to save us and to show us how to live and love. Help us to hear and know this message with new meaning and with hope. Bless us O God as we celebrate Jesus’ birth. Amen.
Blessings to all for Christmas and as we look to 2018!

Watch for the next Reflection on Jan 10,2018!

Friday, 15 December 2017

Joshua Jesus

Joshua Jesus
She will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus for he will save his people from their sins.”
 Matthew 1:21

December 13, 2017
                What calls parents to name their children as they do?
Is there something about a character in a story, a precious stone or jewel, a time of year when something amazing occurred or is it because of family and tradition?  Some names given to children in recent times have included the name of a fruit – “Apple”, precious stones “Emerald” or even Old Testament prophets- “Isaiah” or “Jacob” and also “Elijah”. But tradition also prevails in the names of George or Charlotte. But what about your name? After whom or what did you receive your name? Why do you think your parents named you this?
                Before Mary had her firstborn son an angel of the Lord told Joseph that Mary, his betrothed wife, would have a son and he was to name him Jesus. Jesus purpose in coming to earth was in his name as he was to save his people from their sins. The reason for his coming to earth was to enable people to be reconciled with God and offer to them the gift of forgiveness. Jesus is the Greek form of Joshua (Hebrew) which means the Lord saves. In that day and in that region many children would have been named Jesus but only this baby born to Mary and Joseph came to die so that all who receive Him might live eternally through the gift of forgiveness. This Joshua/ Jesus was born to die so that we might live eternally. His name and mission are the same- He came to save us.
                What about you? What is your mission as you live on this earth? Maybe before we can answer this we might answer the question about whether Jesus’ birth is significant for you because of why he came. Jesus was born to save his people and enable reconciliation with God to occur. Have you prayed to Jesus for this to occur? Do you know the baby born to Mary and Joseph and laid in the stable feed trough? This is the Son of God born for you? His purpose is his name. What is your purpose in life other than to follow him? Are you willing to know Jesus by name so that his life’s purpose may be fulfilled in you?

Wonderful and loving God we thank you for Jesus born of Mary and raised in love with Joseph. We thank you that through Him we might be reconciled with you and receive the gift and promise of eternal life. Help us to understand what having hope in Jesus means not only for this Advent/ Christmas time, but always. Hear our prayers O God. We ask in the name of Jesus, our Saviour. Amen.  

Friday, 8 December 2017

A Thrill of Hope!

A Thrill of Hope!

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as
you trust in him.  Romans 15:13
                One of the most loved Christmas hymns of praise which tell of Jesus’ birth is “O Holy Night.” This song reminds us that part of the purpose behind Jesus’ birth was to offer the hope that the world needs. This hope is still yearned for and desired by many people around the world.
                “A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices
                For yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.
                With Jesus’ birth there is hope for our weary hurting world and it may be found in the baby who comes and rests in a manger. This same baby also died and rested in a tomb only to rise again and give to us the gift of new life. But are we willing to look to this baby with hope?
                When Jesus was born the world of the holy land was not hope filled. It was under Roman rule and every lone lived under the established religion of the time. There was a cynicism because the people had hoped for someone to change the ruling people but this did not happen. Yet Jesus came as an infant and was born in Bethlehem, a small sleepy town where nothing exciting seemed to occur. It was not the centre of the established nation, nor was it a spectacular village. It was a nice community where Joseph’s family had lived in years past. In order to fulfil Roman law, Joseph took his betrothed Mary to register for the census back to the community of his family. But the town was busy with the details of this registration process and the innkeepers were kept busy. When it was time for sleep, Joseph pleaded with an innkeeper for a safe warm place for his wife. And sure enough, she gave birth that night. Nothing too odd about having a baby in a barn because of a shortage of beds. Yet the ordinary resident of the community would not know what had happened. Unless they had heard the angels and saw shepherds running to the stable. Yet in that manger bed was hope personified in an infant. Hope for a bright future, for the forgiveness of sins and for God to be present always.
                Do you have this hope in you? Jesus came to give you something better than the disappointments of life. When you receive him as Saviour you can have a hope that is no longer iffy, but truly confident for what your future may bring. Where is your hope as we draw closer to celebrating Jesus’ birth?
                PRAYER from Romans 15:13
I pray that God the source of hope will fill you/ me completely with joy and peace because you/I trust in him. Then you will overflow with confident hope through the power of the Holy Spirit.

May the God of hope go with you every day! Amen.