Merry Christmas!  No matter if you’re with family or not, it’s Christmas day, a time to celebrate!  For all that His birth means to us.  It’s really a lifetime of unwrapping all the gifts that make up Jesus Himself.

Just imagine a world without Him.  Unthinkable.  Dreadful.  Lacking songs and carols of hope.  No joy and wonder.  Or the laughter of little children relishing their gifts.  Missing out on the better life of giving than receiving.  A brighter future than the past or present.  For the best is yet to come.  All because of Jesus, Christmas’ best gift ever.

He’s the reason for the season, as we say.  But is he that in your life?  Or mine?  At Christmas, do I focus on Jesus preeminently?  Or on rather humdrum things?  No comment.  I’m hiding behind a pile of grandkids’ presents!  Not really.  But maybe.

So check out Luke chapter 2 today.  May need to wait ’til later in the day or even before going to bed.  Not to worry.  But read the whole chapter.  Too much to ask?  Are you kidding!  It’s got Christmas down to a T.  The in’s and out’s.  The inn and the outer stable.  Don’t speed read as I tend to.  Slow down, putting yourself in the picture.

Visualize being on Bethlehem’s hillside, tending your flock of sheep, when the sky lights up, not with Northern Lights, but with an angelic display the likes of which you’ve never seen before.  Traipse down the grassy slopes into that little town looking for the newborn babe and His parents.

Traverse the halls of Jerusalem’s Temple watching all the activities of the day, especially an old man and an old woman going gaga over a seemingly ordinary couple holding their baby boy who’s ready for circumcision, the naming ceremony and dedication to God.  Do you mean that this babe is someone special?  This little tyke?  You think?

Stand next to Simeon and Anna, hearing what they have to say about Jesus.  Celebrate already!  For it’s a day to give thanks.  And praise.  A moment without parallel as the Son of God comes among us.  Human and divine all wrapped up in One so exceptional.

It’s Jesus.  He’s still the only reason for the season.

Merry Christmas!

Thank you, Father, for sending your Son Jesus to be our Lord and Savior.  Amen.


‘O little town of Bethlehem’, which we visit on a Holy Land tour, leads us to imagine the elements of Jesus’ birth.  The census requiring Joseph and Mary to travel a far distance, the overcrowded inn, the remote stable and manger where the Babe is born and cradled.  The hillside shepherds, who come to gaze at the infant after seeing a cosmic display of angelic wonder.  Then, awhile later, the Magi roll into town bearing gifts fit for a regal birth–gold, frankincense and myrrh.  All in that little town of Bethlehem.

Not so tiny any more.  Going through walled gates, being checked out by armed military, having to exit our Jewish guide to take on a Palestinian one, we arrive at Bethlehem’s Church of the Nativity, where deep down within is thought to be the birth place of our Lord Jesus.  Difficult to verbalize how it feels being in that cave-like area where Jesus probably is born, which Joseph and Mary and those shepherds would have recognized.  Stunning.  Astounding.  Humbling.  Jaw-dropping… and much more.

Micah 5: 2-3–‘But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.  Therefore he shall give them up until the time when she who in in labor has given birth…’  When King Herod grills his religious scholars as to where the Messiah is to be born, they mention that little town of you-know-where (Matt. 2:5-6), quoting Micah again.

As we approach Christmas day, I know that what happens at Jesus’ birth involves no big surprises to God.  After all, Micah prophecies of it centuries before, which tells us that all the inconvenience, all the trouble, all the uncertainty, all those disturbing unknowns experienced by Joseph and Mary are all cared for and protected by God the Father.  Again, no surprises.  No little anything.  No last minute decisions.  No ‘hail Mary’ pass into Bethlehem’s end-zone.

No.  God knows all about our tears and worries.  Our fears and failures.  Nothing escapes Him.  Nothing.  Maybe Bethlehem should remind us of the Father’s care and watchfulness.  Over us.  Even with what seems little, puny, insignificant.  Especially then and there.

So, cast your life on Him.  All of it.  All?  That’s right.  Okay, I’ll try.  Two steps forward, one back.  Three back, two forward.  You know.  But little is much when God is in it.  Isn’t it?

Lord Jesus, I put my life today in your hands.  Amen.


Light becomes a premium item this time of year here in the Pacific Northwest of the United States. Wake up in the dark, and before too many hours pass by, socked in again with dingy inky gloom.

We enjoy an annual event called ‘The Lights of Christmas’ held at a Christian retirement and conference facility north of where we live, where literally millions of lights adorn trees, rooftops, wooden reindeer, whatever and wherever they can be strung!

Carolers sing. Hot chocolate and fresh donuts tempt us. Christmas skits add a cheerful angle to a familiar story. Jesus’ birth celebrates with lights galore! Sometimes we stay overnight, giving us extra hours to stroll those sparkling acres.

John 1: 4-5–‘In him was life, and the life was the light of men. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.’ The light of Christmas! Its source? ‘In him…’– in Jesus, that is. Not only do we find life…’in Him’…but also light for all who believe.

It’s maddening how society heads downhill morally, ethically, whatever, as far away from God’s ways as possible. Their moody, broody and nightmarish path keeps getting steeper and steeper as the speed to hades accelerates without any brakes at all. Dark. Ever more dark.

Yet there’s hope. Where? You know! God’s light, found in Jesus, shines everywhere that He’s wanted and asked for. No secret society membership or coded passwords required. No juiced-up, hyper-inflated entrance fees.

What then? Mere simple faith and trust in Jesus alone, giving us new hearts and minds which soak up His light, warmed and comforted, seeing what we hadn’t noticed before. Much clearer now when we dig deeper into our Bibles, close and ever closer to our Lord.

Raise up the curtains! Open the blinds and shutters! Let the light shine in! Thank the Father for the gift of His Son Jesus. After all, He’s still the only reason for the season.

Thank you, Jesus, for giving us life and light. Amen.


‘I give you my word!’ ‘A handshake will do it!’ ‘A man’s word is as good as…’ Well, you get the point. But today we need guarantees. No longer someone’s word or a handshake. Lawyers draw up papers with a slew and stew of boilerplate verbiage. Be sure to read the fine print, if you happen to have a super-duper magnifying glass. Trust no one, except me and thee and I’m not so sure about thee!

Words…words…words with nothing much to back them up. The Old Testament prophet Amos says this–“‘Behold, the days are coming,’ declares the Lord God, ‘when I will send a famine on the land–not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the Lord'” (Amos 8:11).

When people clog up their ears, shun anything heard from the Lord, He pulls back the moisture of His promises, ushering in hot sirocco winds of warning, blowing in at almost hurricane force, drying up everything in its path. Terrible times ensue. Acrid whiffs of hell permeate the air. Utter silence ensues.

How we need God’s Word. To hear from Him. Take it from me, I foolishly try living on less. As in a glance or two at my Bible, looking for some short psalm to speedread. A hop-to-it desperate prayer. Living on a spiritual diet fit for famine. And barely realizing it. Yet somehow I know that something’s not right. It’s me.

The results? Life clogs up on dead end streets. Aloneness settles in like an unwelcome fog. Until…I decide to get into my Bible. Commit to reading it every day. Start hearing from my Lord as best I could. Talking with Him more often than not, without begging selfishly to get out of some jam, mostly of my own making. Adding His praises for good measure… for a change.

That simple? Seemingly so. But true. Try it. I did and still do. Take my word for it? Well?

As we anticipate the birth of Jesus, the coming of God’s promised Messiah, let’s remember what the Apostle John wrote. His Christmas story in miniature–‘In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God’ (John 1:1); ‘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 1:14).

God’s Word, as good as gold and far better, takes on human flesh and lives among us. Hear from Him all through your Bible. Take Him at His Word. Tune in. Be attentive. Listen carefully and obediently.

As we get closer to Christmas, remember that Jesus is God’s Word given to us. Some gift, huh? Surely you can count on Him? Yes! Finally, someone whose word we can trust!

Thank you, Jesus, for being trustworthy always. Amen.