Monthly Archives: December 2012

Thinking of Jesus

It’s Christmas so I’m spending time thinkin about “What does it mean to me.”  It’s a jumble of Scripture in my head now and not a LOT of conclusions but I have this:

Where was Jesus before he came?

Colossians 1:15-17 NKJV

He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation. For by Him all things were created that are in heaven and that are on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or principalities or powers. All things were created through Him and for Him. And He is before all things, and in Him all things consist.

John 17:5:

And now, Father, glorify me in your own presence with the glory that I had with you before the world existed.

Before time began, Jesus was already with God in glory.

So why did he come?

He came to fulfill prophecy.
“I did not come to abolish, but to fulfill” (Matthew 5:17).
“Christ has become a servant . . . to confirm the promises given to the fathers” (Romans 15:8).

He came to seek the lost.
“For the Son of Man has come to seek and to save that which was lost” (Luke 19:10).

He came to save the lost.
“For the Son of Man has come to save that which was lost” (Matthew 18:11).

He came to serve.
“For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve” (Mark 10:45).

He came to give His life as a ransom.
“Just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:28).

He came that men might have life more abundant.
“I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly” (John 10:10).

He came to reveal the Father.
“Nor does anyone know the Father except the Son, and anyone to whom the Son wills to reveal Him” (Matthew 11:27).
“Jesus said to him, ‘He who has seen Me has seen the Father’” (John 14:9).

He came to do the will of God.
“Then He added, ‘Look, I have come to do Your will’” (Hebrews 10:9).

He came to preach.
“But He said to them, ‘I must preach the kingdom of God to the other cities also, for I was sent for this purpose’” (Luke 4:43).

He came to bring fire.
“I have come to bring fire to the earth” (Luke 12:49).
“He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire . . . He will burn up the chaff with unquenchable fire” (Matthew 3:11-12).

He came to be king.
“Therefore Pilate said to Him, ‘So You are a king?’ Jesus answered, ‘You say correctly that I am a king. For this I have been born, and for this I have come into the world’” (John 18:37).

He came to bear witness to the truth.
“For this I have come into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth hears My voice” (John 18:37).

He came to save sinners.
“Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (I Timothy 1:15).

He came into the world to be a faithful high priest.
“That He might become a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God” (Hebrews 2:17).

He came to put away sin.
“Now once at the consummation of the ages He has been manifested to put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself” (Hebrews 9:26).
“You know that He appeared in order to take away sins” (I John 3:5).
“Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
Compare John 1:35, Leviticus 16:20-22, Isaiah 53:6, II Corinthians 5:21.

He came to destroy the works of the devil.
“The Son of God appeared for this purpose, to destroy the works of the devil” (I John 3:8).
“Only as a human being could He die, and only by dying could He break the power of the Devil, who had the power of death” (Hebrews 2:14).
“Now judgment is upon this world; now the ruler of this world will be cast out.” (John 12:31).
“For the ruler of the world is coming, and he has nothing in Me” (John 14:30).

He came to send a sword.
“Don’t imagine that I came to bring peace to the earth! No, I came to bring a sword. I have come to set a man against his father, and a daughter against her mother, and a daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. Your enemies will be right in your own household” (Matthew 10:34-36).

He came to bear our sins.
“He Himself bore our sins in His body on the cross” (I Peter 2:24).
“Christ . . . having been offered once to bear the sins of many” (Hebrews 9:28).

He came to provide a pattern of holy living for Christians.
“Since Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example for you to follow in His steps” (I Peter 2:21).
“Learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matthew 11:29).

at small group last night, i took away 3 things:

1.) Jesus came for all these reasons and left his wonderful throne…but was here 30 years not doing ministry..and then only 3 years OF ministry before leaving..

2.) Jesus was sent by God to do a difficult thing and he chose to obey his Father.

3.) It is crazy that Jesus was willing to become a child. Look at these photos I’ve attached!Image

He may have looked like this.

Image

He may have looked like this!

If Christ himself has the humility to serve, and came to become the littlest, most confused, tiny-armed person possible, forsaking all his current glory for a time — can’t I start to change the way I put myself first in thoughts and actions sometimes?

In particular, humility is becoming to me more than “not being prideful and not caring what others think.”  Jesus didn’t just experience humiliation, nakedness and emotional pain.  He was humble enough to not care even what he experienced physically in his own body, because he made every person on earth more important than he —

Phillipians 2:3:

Don’t be selfish; don’t try to impress others. Be humble, thinking of others as better than yourselves.

shoo, much to learn from tiny baby Jesus, sent on a mission to die, not looking out for his own interests because of his humble love. became so so small. it is crazy.

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Oh Christmas Tree

One of the first things Matt and I ever owned together was a fake Christmas tree.  We found it at a garage sale in Cape Cod and the owners just gave it to us, no cost —

We wouldn’t have named the tree if it hadn’t had so much character.  The whole way back to Boston it rustled in its box, and Matt would turn around and say, “Quiet back there!  We’ll get there when we get there!”

Since we’d spent time with a dog recently that we both love whose name is Mr. Boof, we decided that the tree should be named Mr. Spoof.  Fake tree = spoof.  Perfect.

It was perfect until we moved into our new, 300 Sq. Ft. apartment.  We’ve looked and thought 100 ways, and there simply is no space for Mr. Spoof.  No room in the inn.  He sits today in a box in the basement at the Lilac Manor (beneath my old home).

So what can one do when no tree will fit, but one still desires Christmas and nice pine smells  in the city?  3 things:

1.) Go to a Christmas tree lighting with 7 of your best Arabic-speaking friends, your Community Group and your husband.  All the Middle Eastern friends were unaccustomed to FREEZING wind and it was funny but sad to watch the weather ruin the experience.  Our Community Group did our thing, meeting neighbors and eating pounds of cookies.  Before my arabic speaking friends left, they asked WHY we do this (stand in the snow and sing about santa claus around a huge tree).  I gotta say, I was a little bit embarrassed.  I had assumed trees started as some pagan tradition and became a beautiful way to celebrate Christmas because Jesus had a ..I mean, because there’s an angel on —i mean..wait, why do we have trees??  😦 Awkward, especially as a Christian who wants to share why we celebrate Christmas together at all.

2.) Put up sparkly lights in your apartment SOMEWHERE. ANYWHERE.  Matt hung ours around our bookshelf and down a wall.  They look cool. We may leave them up year round.  By this time, I’ve realized that I have no idea why we do trees anyways, even though I wikipedia-ed it and learned about lots of traditions, mainly from Germany and around the world…but we DO like the twinkle lights!

3.) Be very happy for your aunt has mailed you a fresh pine centerpiece from Maine!  It smells like a tree, is pretty and “Christmas-y”.

I guess the point is – I do love me some Christmas trees.  And I do hope one stands waiting in Rochester when we arrive on Dec. 21st or 22nd.  And I do love the smell and look of pine and sparkle that is involved.  And the tree does bring light and make me more thankful that God gave me another year on earth.  But…I should figure out traditions I can share in that do bring glory to God MORE than trees.

I don’t write this because I’m worried about a ‘war on CHRISTmas’ or anything like that – but simply because giving God honor and glory at this time of year — when it’s our turn to share why we celebrate, is done by acting out his love and using our words, not by going along with things we don’t understand and forgetting that some people might not know the story of Jesus yet.

There’s some seriously awesome stuff in the story of Jesus’ birth (Luke 2) that we could even miss as we read it, if we read it quickly.  I want to look closer at what I do and why and learn something about God that I never knew this year.

Now, to find a place in the apartment to stick a few ornaments..(jk).

PS: In my research I also came across this: http://www.mylcgs.org/martin_luthertree.htm — a hymn I LOVE. and this — the best explanation I’ve found personally, seems well-researched: http://www.orlutheran.com/html/chrtree.html.

PSS: In 2005, the city of Boston renamed the spruce tree used to decorate the Boston Common a “Holiday Tree” rather than a “Christmas Tree”.[64] The name change drew a poor response from the public and it was reversed after the city was threatened with several lawsuits.[65]

 

Lastly, as Martin Luther IS one of my heroes — it’s funny I had to dig so much to discover the origin of the tree—but the point of this post is basically that I should do the digging before people ask me things in the future.

:).

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