Two of the greatest holidays are Christmas and Easter, they are connected by our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. We cannot celebrate one without the other one insight, with this in mind what is the greatest Christmas Gift? To answer this question, we need to remind ourselves what Christmas is really about, why Jesus Christ came into the world, and all the pomp and prestige which came with His birth on that starry morning.
God laid the foundation for Christ’s coming in Genesis when He said, “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heel” (Gen. 3.15, ESV). God had always planned for Christ to come, to be born of a virgin and save the world from their sins (Is. 7.14).
Throughout history, others prophesied of the coming Messiah such as the prophet Isaiah, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. Of the increase of his government and of peace there shall be no end, upon the throne of David, and upon his kingdom, to establish it, and to uphold it with justice and with righteousness from henceforth even forever. The zeal of Jehovah of hosts will perform this” (Is. 9.6-7, ASV).
Micah prophesied where the Messiah would be born; “Bethlehem Ephrathah, you are small among the clans of Judah; one will come from you to be ruler over Israel for me. His origin is from antiquity, from ancient times” (Mi. 5.2, CSB)
These are just a few, but it’s all amazing when we stop and think about how loving and merciful God is, to set in motion a plan thousands of years before this wonderful amazing event, the birth of Christ’s our Savior.
Over the centuries, traditions have been added to Christmas, however, we find in God’s Holy Word four major events associated with the birth of Christ:
As this spirit of Christmas moves over us, let us not forget the greatest Gift of all, the Gift God sent to earth so long ago in His Son Jesus Christ, Salvation. Christ came to be “the Lamb of God, to take away the sins of the world” (John 1.29). His birth brought to all humanity something we could not do for ourselves; restore our relationship with God.
Christ’s birth made it possible for us be reconciled with our Heavenly Father, something that without Christ was impossible. Paul writes, “For all have sinned coming short of God’s glory” (Rom. 3.23). ‘But the GIFT of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom 6.23). “For by grace you are saved through faith…it is a gift of God” (Eph. 2.8-9). This Gift of God, “has reconciled us to himself through Christ, and God was in Christ reconciling the world unto himself, not counting our sins against us” (II Cor. 5.18-19, ASV, emphasis added).
The greatest Christmas Gift is asking Jesus Christ into your life as your Lord and Savior. This is why He was born, died, and was Resurrected; He is waiting for you to receive His free Gift this Christmas. Will you accept ask the Messiah into your life today?
With school on the horizon there is a lot of anxiety in the air. The school administration is worried, “what will happen if or when one or more of the children come down with the Coronavirus?”, Or, “What about the staff?” The teachers have similar concerns and fears, they are not sure what each day will look like when students come in. Will they be sick? Are they carrying the virus? How can I best protect myself? Then there’s the parents who since March have had their children at home with them. Now they love them, but let’s be honest they are ready to send them back to school so they can get back to a normal life. Parents want to get back to work, see their children succeed in something other than video games and eating them out of house and home.
I want to thank the school board for their due diligence as they conducted meetings with the public addressing this very topic of when, how, and why we need to bring our children back to school. There was much discussion on virtual learning, in-person learning, home schooling and other avenues to make sure all the children received the best education they could. In the end, the decision comes down to the parents, what do they want for their children? How comfortable do they feel sending them back to school? How do the teachers feel? Can they handle this situation? I know none of these decisions were reached lightly nor can every situation or circumstance be foreseen.
However, I do know there is a God in Heaven who can calm all our fears and anxieties. Who calls us all to come unto Him and lay all our cares and concerns upon Him. The Psalmist writes, “When doubts filled my mind, your comfort gave me renewed hope and cheer” (Ps. 94.19, NLT2). We can all say, we have had doubts during this virus. Doubts about when to go out, when to stay in? Whether to go to work or stay home? Should we go to church or not? What are we to do? So much doubt, but yet when we are in Christ there is great peace and comfort.
The Apostle Peter, giving instruction to the church gives us some great advice for a time such as this. He writes, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you” (1 Peter 5.5-7, ESV). You who are younger, all of you children, teenagers going back to school need to listen to those ‘elders’, those who are in charge. I know sometimes you don’t want to, but I am here to tell you they are truly looking out for your best interest. Looking back at what Peter says, when we will subject ourselves to them, it allows us to ‘clothe ourselves in humility toward one another.’ Humility is not something many of us have these days, just look around the country, the attitude is, “It is all about me, what I want, what I desire.” This should not be our attitude, we must have an attitude of humility, Paul said, “Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others” (Philippians 2.2-3, NIV). Humility is always on the lookout for others to help, to encourage, to love, to lift-up, to protect, to make better, to befriend. It is when we humble ourselves before God that He in His perfect timing will lift us up. But more important than being lifted up, we find ourselves in a place as Peter puts it where we can ‘cast all our anxieties on Him.’
How amazing is this! We have a God who wants us to cast our problems upon Him, He does not want us to keep them to ourselves, but give them to Him. Why? Because He cares for YOU! How about it, will you let go and humble yourself and cast all your cares on the One who Cares For You?
 Tyndale House Publishers. (2013). Holy Bible: New Living Translation (Ps 94:19). Carol Stream, IL: Tyndale House Publishers.
 The Holy Bible: English Standard Version. (2016). (1 Pe 5:5–7). Wheaton, IL: Crossway Bibles.
 The New International Version. (2011). (Php 2:3–4). Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan.
It has been two and half months since school stated and it seems as if the year is flying by. We have finished Trunk-or-Treat and had our annual family and friend’s hayride and bonfire out at Tommie & Loretta Klein’s, what a wonderful day we had together. Thank you to those that help with the community project, I know that the individual that we help was very grateful, did it not feel good to get out and do something for others.
These activates remind me of the words that James writes in James 2.18, “But someone will say, “You have faith, and I have works.” Show me your faith without works, and I will show you faith by my works” (CSB). It is great to talk about your faith in Christ, but when you go out and show it in the community then you really are showing your faith through your actions. This is how people will know that you have the love of Christ in you, by how much you love one another (John 13:35). I know some of you did not make it, but hopefully we will see you at some of the other events and at Sunday School, Calvary CREW and Sunday Night Live.
 Christian Standard Bible. (2017). (Jas 2:18). Nashville, TN: Holman Bible Publishers.
Tomorrow, August 27th you all will be heading back to school for the 2019-20 school year. Some of you are excited and some of you are not. But what I want to encourage you with as you go back no matter your mindset about school is to think about school as a mission field.
Many of you have had the opportunity this summer to go on the mission trip to Wisconsin. You were part of the team that lead VBS in an apartment complex that saw a young girl come to know Jesus Christ as her Lord and Savior. You also go to go to Lake Michigan beach in Racine and witness to people on the beach. I know that was scary but many of you did it. Then there was the Baptist Tent at the MO State Fair, where you were able to give your testimony and yes someone came to know Jesus Christ that night as well.
You see this summer God used you (teenagers) to bring His Gospel message to lots of people. You planted seeds all over the place, and saw the harvest of 2 people for the Kingdom of God. You might be thinking God cannot use me, I have nothing to give Him, I am useless. On the contrary, you are exactly the person that God is looking for, but you must let yourself go - let go of everything and let God have full control of your life. then and only then will you be able to see His vast power flow through you.
Remember the words by the Apostle Paul in Romans 1.16 (ESV), "For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek."
So, again I remind you school in your mission field. each and everyday that you are there, there is an opportunity for you to present the Gospel of Jesus Christ to someone. You might not do it with words, but you can always do it with actions.
Keep your heads up, your eyes focused and your minds clear and allow God to use you in a mighty way this school year.
Serving His Kingdom,