Saturday, December 13, 2008

Daily Digest #195

She will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins. —Matthew 1:21

I was just instructing my students to make a Christmas presentation in PowerPoint yesterday. When I asked them what Christmas is, I was surprised to find a 9-year old student's answer to be about Jesus Christ, as we are in a Buddhist country. I was reminded yet again that this season is truly all about Jesus. Since we have put commercialism on top of everything else, we have forgotten the significance of the celebration. Most people associate Christmas with Santa Claus and shopping rather than Christ. And most of us are more concerned about the gifts we will be receiving than what we'll be giving.

Allow me to share 2 articles from the Purpose Driven Life (see below). May we be enlightened and reminded what Christmas is all about -- how God loves each of us so much. May we develop a caring and generous heart. May we prepare ourselves as we honor our Savior's coming. Pray always.



"I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people." Luke 2:10 (NIV)

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This may come as a shock to you, but God really likes parties. God is into parties; God likes to party; God is constantly throwing parties. In fact, the Bible says that God's angels throw a party every time a single person trusts Jesus as the Lord and Savior of his or her life. They party for joy whenever someone turns away from self-centeredness and turns toward Jesus.

Christmas is a party; it's a birthday party for Jesus. It's why we say "Merry Christmas." Yet, we often leave the guest of honor out of our Christmas parties! Thinking about this irony, I started asking people, "What are you celebrating this Christmas?" This is what a few of them told me:

· "What am I celebrating? Not a lot."

· "The blessings that we've had in our family this year."

· "Just the Christmas spirit."

· "Being home and not being on the road for the holidays."

· "This Christmas? I'm celebrating the birth of Christ."

· "Nothing. I just want to get through it."

This last comment is true for a lot of people. Christmas may be a season of celebration, but they feel they have nothing to celebrate. Perhaps that's true of you, too. You're thinking, "I just want to get through Christmas. I just want to survive it. I've got nothing to celebrate."

But God, through his angel, tells us that embedded in Christmas is good news of such great joy that, if we believe it, we won't be able to contain the celebration within us.

But we get so frustrated in our circumstances or so busy simply getting ready for the celebration that we lose sight of the joy. The good news turns into the fact that your in-laws aren't coming this year or you managed to keep within the Christmas budget.

God's good news is so much more than that! The joy of Christmas is based on three things: (1) God loves us; (2) God is with us; (3) God is for us. Can you hear the celebration in that?!


For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16 (NLT)

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God loves you so much that he sent Jesus on a mission of love with a message of love. Christmas is a yearly reminder that God loves you. The Bible says God is love. It doesn't say God has love; it says God is love. Love is his nature – God is love.

And God created the entire universe; he created this planet; he created the human race; then, he created you because he loves you.

It could be said the reason you're alive is because God created you as an object of his love. God made you so he could love you and so that you could love him. God's love for you is the reason your heart's beating right now; it's the reason you're breathing.

God's good news is that he loves you on your good days as much as he loves you on your bad days. He loves you when you can feel his love, and he loves you when you can't seem to feel his love. He loves you regardless of whether or not you think you deserve his love.

There is nothing you can do that will make God stop loving you. You could try, but you simply can't do it – because his love for you is based upon his character and not on anything you do or say or feel.

God loves you so much that he sent his only Son, Jesus, into this world – "so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life" (John 3:16 NLT).

When the baby Jesus grows into a man, he will stretch his arms out as wide as the cross, saying, "I love you this much! I love you so much it hurts. I love you so much I'll die for you so that I won't have to live without you."

God's love surpasses all human knowledge, and it is difficult for any of us to grasp the width and length and height and depth of God's love for each one of us (Ephesians 3:17-19 NIV).

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