Category Archives: Advent/Christmas

Bread in Bethlehem

This communion meditation was given at King’s Cross Church on December 18, AD 2022.

In both Matthew and Luke’s nativity accounts we are told how Christ was born in Bethlehem, the birthplace of King David.

This was to fulfill the words of the Prophet Micah when he declared unto Bethlehem that though they are too small a city to be among the clans of Judah, from them shall come forth one who is to be the ruler of Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient of days (Micah 5).

There is another significance to the location of Bethlehem, for Bethlehem in Hebrew means “House of Bread.”

It’s interesting that in his narrative, Luke points out a seemingly minor detail not just once but three times. He notes that Mary laid her firstborn son in a manger, for there was no place for them in the inn. This detail surely highlights the humility of the incarnation, that our Lord and King was not born in a palace but a stable.

But it also points to something else. Here in Bethlehem, in the House of Bread, lays a child in a feeding trough—the One who is the Bread of Life. And here at this Table, we remember how from that day on His humility increased. This Bread of Life was eventually broken for us and for the life of the world.

So come, and welcome, to Jesus Christ.

Prepare the Way of the Lord

This exhortation was given at King’s Cross Church (Moscow, ID) on December 18, AD 2022.

Before the coming of our Lord, God sent John the Baptist, to ready His people for the great arrival of their Messiah. He was a forerunner, a herald whose cry of repentance was to prepare the Bride to meet her Bridegroom.

As it was written in the Book of Isaiah,

“The voice of one crying in the wilderness:
Prepare the way of the Lord,
Make his paths straight.
Every valley shall be filled,

And every mountain and hill shall be made low,
And the crooked shall become straight,
And the rough places shall become level ways,

and all flesh shall see the salvation of God.”

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An Advent Eucharist

This sacrament which we are about to partake of together is a visible reminder of our Lord’s first Advent.

The true physicality of the incarnation is matched here by the physicality of this Supper. The eternal Son, begotten of the Father, truly became man.

You could behold Him with your eyes. You could reach out and touch Him with your hands. Just as you see and touch this bread and wine here today.

And this is sacrament is also a reminder of Christ’s second Advent. As the Apostle Paul says in the words of institution proclaimed each week, “For as often as you eat this bread and drink this cup, you proclaim the Lord’s death until He comes.”

So here at this Table we look back at our Lord’s first Advent and His work on our behalf.

We look forward to His second Advent, awaiting our blessed hope, the appearing of our great God and Savior. 

And we behold now our Lord, for He comes to us here in this moment in simple bread and wine.

So come and welcome to Jesus Christ.

Christmas for the Aucas

This excerpt is from ‘Through the Gates of Splendor’ by Elisabeth Eliot.

“One Sunday afternoon, December 18, Nate Saint sat at his typewriter to tell the world why they were going—just in case. In speaking these words he spoke for all: ‘As we weigh the future and seek the will of God, does it seem right that we should hazard our lives for just a few savages? As we ask ourselves this question, we realize that is is not the call of the needy thousands, rather it is the simple intimation of the prophetic Word that there shall be some from every tribe in His presence in the last day and in our hearts we feel that it is pleasing to Him that we should interest ourselves in making an opening into the Auca prison for Christ.

As we have a high old time this Christmas, may we who know Christ hear the cry of the damned as they hurtle headlong into the Christless night without ever a chance. May we be moved with compassion as our Lord was. May we shed tears of repentance for these we have failed to bring out of darkness. Beyond the smiling scenes of Bethlehem may we see the crushing agony of Golgotha. May God give us a new vision of His will concerning the lost and our responsibility.

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Ryle: A Happy Christmas

“Saying, What think ye of Christ? whose son is he? They say unto him, the son of David” (Mt. 22:42).

Christmas is a season which almost all Christians observe in one way or another. Some keep it as a religious season. Some keep it as a holiday. But all over the world, wherever there are Christians, in one way or another Christmas is kept.

Perhaps there is no country in which Christmas is so much observed as it is in England. Christmas holidays, Christmas parties, Christmas family-gatherings, Christmas services in churches, Christmas hymns and carols, Christmas holly and mistletoe,—who has not heard of these things? They are as familiar to English people as anything in their lives. They are among the first things we remember when we were children. Our grandfathers and grandmothers were used to them long before we were born. They have been going on in England for many hundred years. They seem likely to go on as long as the world stands.

But, reader, how many of those who keep Christmas ever consider why Christmas is kept? How many, in their Christmas plans and arrangements, give a thought to Him, without whom there would have been no Christmas at all? How many ever remember that the Lord Jesus Christ is the cause of Christmas ? How many ever reflect that the first intention of Christmas was to remind Christians of Christ’s birth and coming into the world? Reader, how is it with you? What do you think of at Christmas?

Bear with me a few minutes, while I try to press upon you the question which heads this tract. I do not want to make your Christmas merriment less. I do not wish to spoil your Christmas cheer. I only wish to put things in their right places. I want Christ Himself to be remembered at Christmas! Give me your attention while I unfold the question—”What think ye of Christ?”

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Mary, Our Example

This exhortation was given on December 8, 2019 at Christ Church Downtown.

Many years ago, a messenger of God named Gabriel visited a young virgin in the city of Nazareth. Her name was Mary, and she was betrothed to a man named Joseph, of the house of David.

After greeting Mary and comforting her, the angel Gabriel presented her with a message from the Lord:

“Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end” (Lk. 1:31–33).

“But how can this be?” asked Mary in all sincerity, “since I do not know a man?”

Gabriel answered, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Highest will overshadow you; therefore, also, that Holy One who is to be born will be called the Son of God” (Lk. 1:35).

And Mary, in all meekness and humility, responded to the greatest mystery of our faith saying: “Behold, the maidservant of the Lord. Let it be to me according to your word” (Lk. 1:38).

This Lord’s Day I want us to consider the Virgin Mary, our example in the faith.

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