[PC-USA] 1999-12-19 - Focusing on Christ

The Advent Passages Series, Part 4

Play rehearsal Saturday morning. Church Elders' Christmas party Saturday night. Run the Alternative Gift Market Sunday after church. Perform in the Christmas play Sunday evening. This is a sample of my week, and this is only the weekend! Let's not forget writing dozens of Christmas cards, buying presents, delivering collected toys for abused children, helping to lead the congregation in Christmas caroling. Etc. Etc. All of these activities during Advent are worthwhile, and can minister to people. But it's too easy to get caught up in the hubbub and forget the true REASON for all the activities. The true reason we celebrate Christmas. Sometimes we need to stop and remind ourselves to worship the man about Whom we sing those carols, remind ourselves that our presents should reflect our Savior's love for us and ours for the recipients, remind ourselves to pay attention to the words of the carols and what they mean, and not sing them by rote. Here are some passages that I hope will help us refocus on the Savior Whose birth we celebrate. I hope you will take a few minutes with me, to empty your minds of everything going on, and simply immerse yourselves in these passages.

(Isa 9:2-7 NNAS) The people who walk in darkness will see a great light; Those who live in a dark land, The light will shine on them. You shall multiply the nation, You shall increase their gladness; They will be glad in Your presence As with the gladness of harvest, As men rejoice when they divide the spoil. For You shall break the yoke of their burden and the staff on their shoulders, The rod of their oppressor, as at the battle of Midian. For every boot of the booted warrior in the battle tumult, And cloak rolled in blood, will be for burning, fuel for the fire. For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; And the government will rest on His shoulders; And His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of His government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, To establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness From then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this.

(Luke 1:30-33 NNAS) The angel said to her, "Do not be afraid, Mary; for you have found favor with God. Behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall name Him Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David; and He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and His kingdom will have no end."

(Mat 1:18-23 NNAS) Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: when His mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child by the Holy Spirit. And Joseph her husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly. But when he had considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, "Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. "She will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins." Now all this took place to fulfill what was spoken by the Lord through the prophet: "BEHOLD, THE VIRGIN SHALL BE WITH CHILD AND SHALL BEAR A SON, AND THEY SHALL CALL HIS NAME IMMANUEL," which translated means, "GOD WITH US."