Love Came Down

The First Day of Christmas

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen his glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (John bore witness about him, and cried out, “This was he of whom I said, ‘He who comes after me ranks before me, because he was before me.’”) For from his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace. For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ. No one has ever seen God; the only God, who is at the Father’s side, he has made him known. John 1:14-18 English Standard Version

It’s a popular approach from which to promote unity and harmony between all the major religions and their participants. Many people believe it to be true. “All major religions are essentially the same. We are all climbing the same mountain except from different sides. We ultimately end up at the same place (the top of the same mountain-close to God or their version of god)”. Christmas as presented in the scripture, presents a major problem with this line of thinking. See John 1:14. Only Biblical Christianity offers a differing approach. God Himself comes down from the top of the mountain (in the person of His Son, Jesus) and dwells with humanity. He doesn’t sit back and wait for humans to trek to the top to find Him and be together, but rather takes the initiative to communicate (His love, glory, nature, and character) and make an eternal relationship and friendship possible. Have you sensed His presence and nearness this season? He became flesh and dwelt among us. Have you worshipped a good and faithful God? He has kept ALL His promises! Have you taken note that a loving God has acted in time and history to make Himself known, find you, and call you into relationship? MERRY CHRISTMAS!!

Scott Lane

God = Word = Light = Light

The Twenty-sixth Day of Advent

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.”
John 1:1-5 NASB

Where light is, darkness cannot be. The beginning of John’s gospel reads like a study in the transitive property. (Remember A=B, B=C, so A=C?). God spoke the universe into existence. That Word was more than just a directive, it was by very nature God. God’s light is life. It is this light that shines for all to see. This light that dawns on the eve of Christ’s birth is available to all. The world that has turned away from the light will never comprehend this gift, this life, or the love that is offered freely. As you ready yourself for the next 48 hours of family, food, and festivities. Talk about the love that brought the light into the world. By that light and love we all have access to our great redeemer.

Aaron Hufty

The Gift of Love

The Twenty-fifth Day of Advent

“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life.” John 3:16 (New American Standard Version)

What’s the best Christmas gift you ever received? A bike? A car? An engagement ring? News of a coming grandbaby? The word “remission”?

Giving gifts is a big part of Christmas, even though the “Wise Men” brought their gifts to Jesus long after the time of His birth. Rather than carrying on the tradition of gold, frankincense, and myrrh, presenting gifts is a response to God’s sacrificial love in giving us His only Son, Jesus. And Jesus offers a most precious gift—never-ending life with God.

This verse became especially poignant to me this year when my mother died. With both my parents—the people who loved me longest and most selflessly—gone, eternal life means even more than before. It means that though their bodies perished, their souls will live eternally. It means I will see them again! Even better, it means we will all see Jesus.

Have you received God’s most important gift, borne of his enormous love for you?

Susan Spoon





Defining Love

The Twenty-fourth Day of Advent

A new command I give you: love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another. John 13:34-35    

How does one define love? A sense of attraction to or affection for another? Unselfish concern for another? Love may show these characteristics but even together they cannot define love.

Only God can do that, for he is love (I John 4:7-8). The Hebrews understood this. Their word “chesed” specifically denotes “loving-kindness”, embodying mercy, grace and steadfastness. It is central to Hebrew theology and ethic in scripture, and integral to God “repairing” his creation. Beyond feeling or affection, attraction or benevolence, loving-kindness is a virtue itself: it is God’s very nature.

When Jesus says “Love one another as I have loved you”, God himself gives this command. The Creator and Lord of all has become finite human in his son, and in his sovereignty, he sacrifices him to remove sin and to restore relationships.

So, we love one another as he loved us:

In the midst of life’s struggles

Just as we are, broken and lost

In spite of our failures, knowing god has greater plans for us

In spite of our sinfulness

The advent of Christ leads us to consider what kind of love causes a holy creator God to make that sacrifice for us, and then command us to do likewise.

Seth l. Witcher, Jr. D.D.S.

The Fullness of God

The Twenty-third Day of Advent

For the Lord your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt.  Deuteronomy 10:17-19 (ESV)

Fathom this, “For in Him [Jesus], all the fullness of God was pleased to dwell.” (Colossians 1:19) The incarnation of the Son of God is a mind boggling thing. When we read Deuteronomy 10:17-19 we are not led to think God small or mundane. The whole intent of those verses is to inspire love, faithfulness, and obedience in God’s chosen people. This is no less true of the incarnate Son, Emmanuel-God with us. When Jesus was born to Mary, all the fullness of God was wrapped in swaddling clothes; the God of gods and the Lord of lords, the great God, the mighty and awesome God, was revealed in the tiny body of a little baby boy. Fathom that, and worship the King!

Danny Panter

Deeper Love

The Twenty-second Day of Advent

Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God.  Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.  This is how God showed his love among us:  He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.  This is love:  not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. 1 John 4:7-12

1 John 4:7-12

As I reflect on things that I have loved in my life, it almost seems that I have no memory before June 30, 2009.  That is the day that I became a mother which brought a new kind of love into my world.  Holding my newborn child was unlike anything I had experienced up to that moment.  While my life changed drastically with the addition of this new little person in our house, it also changed spiritually.  I finally could begin to understand the love that comes from the Heavenly Father.  I began to “get” that His love is unconditional as this is the same sort of love formed for my own child.  I understand on a deeper level what it meant for God to give his only Son and the sacrifice made for us.  Isn’t it amazing that He provides these experiences on earth to help us understand His love and commitment to us and the joy He feels as our Father?  God is love.

Emily Lund



Rejoice Always

The Twenty-first Day of Advent

“Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.” 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, 

Rejoice always.

Pray without ceasing.

Give thanks in all circumstances.

These three verses can be a bit daunting if one takes into account all that goes on in this life. It is not always easy to rejoice in many everyday circumstances. Praying without ceasing seems pretty difficult. Being thankful no matter the circumstance is a tall order.

These verses are part of Paul’s closing remarks to the Thessalonians in his first letter to them. As a reminder, Paul is letting the Thessalonians know that life should not dictate how they go about their day or how they react to the curveballs that get thrown at them. Christ should.

Our relationship with the wonderful Prince of Peace should permeate every little thing that we do, feel, think, and say throughout our daily lives that there is no room for anything else but Him.

No matter the circumstances we find ourselves in this Advent season, we can and will find joy in our Lord if we seek Him and His will for our lives. We look to Him for our joy today, as well as our joy for tomorrow. We look forward to His return and the joy that awaits us with the return of our King!

Jimmy Gunn

True Joy

The Twentieth Day of Advent

“I tell you the truth, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy. In that day you will no longer ask me anything. I tell you the truth, my Father will give you whatever you ask in my name. Until now you have not asked for anything in my name. Ask and you will receive, and your joy will be complete.” John 16:20-24 (NIV) 

The Greek word:”chara”, the root of our English word “joy” means “to be exceedingly glad.” In our society, all too often we equate happiness with joy, and yet, they are so different in source and meaning! Happiness is temporal, fleeting and based on circumstances and other people. True joy is a permanent possession and gift from God derived from our faith, trust and relationship with our Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus shared with His disciples that events would soon occur that would make them very sad, his crucifixion, and those who hated Him would rejoice. Then he compared their anguish to that of a woman in childbirth, yet when she gives birth to new life, so would Jesus’ resurrection in three days give new life for the world.   This joy of new life did not replace their sadness, but it grew out of their sadness.

So it is in our life.  We experience trials and challenges in our life’s journey, yet as we persevere in faith, trusting God despite our circumstances, our sorrow is transformed to joy that can never be taken from us.

“Thank you, Lord, for this wondrous gift of Joy. May our daily prayer always be that Your Will Be Done as we trust You and experience that joy in all situations. Amen.”

Barbara Williams

How Real is Your Joy?

The Nineteenth Day of Advent

Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. 1 Peter 3:9 (ESV)

The Christmas season is not at all welcomed by some. To many in our culture, mantras of “Joy to the World” or “Peace on Earth” ring particularly hollow because their lives are neither joy-filled nor peaceful. Apparently, not everyone in our world is anxiously awaiting Jesus’ glorious return.

While it is wonderful news to us that Jesus will one day return, he instructed us that, while we wait for that, the world will hate us (Mathew 10:22; John 15:18-19). And, despising us, it will do and say hateful things to us and about us. Even during Christmas…maybe especially during Christmas.

The question is, what will that hatred bring out in us? Are we truly living such a joyful life in Christ that, when put under pressure, that joy is what comes out? Or is it rather pain and anger just under our surface so that, when persecution comes, those are the first responses squeezed out of us?

While we await Christ’s return, we would do well to consider: how real is our joy?

Blake Coffee

No Substitute for Joy

The Eighteenth Day of Advent

Galatians 5:22-23 (NIV)

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law.

Out of the nine fruits of the Spirit, the characteristic of joy is a very personal and intimate gift from God to each one of us. It is not something that we can muster up from within ourselves using our own strength and will, especially during times of frustration and sadness. We greatly desire it and tend to recklessly search for it only to find substitutes that are fleeting and lack depth. In chapters 5 of Galatians and 8 of Romans, Paul gives us clear instruction for obtaining this joy: do not gratify the desires of the flesh or sinful nature but let the Holy Spirit within you dictate how you live. Once we let the Spirit take over, then there is a manifestation of joy deep within ourselves. Not only do we receive this wonderful gift of joy, but we also have the opportunity to experience God’s supernatural intervention in our lives as we miraculously exhibit the fruit of the Spirit.

Richard Lombardini