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December 2021

Dec. 8


Christmas is about receiving presents, but consider how challenging it is to receive certain kinds of gifts. Some gifts by their very nature make you swallow your pride. … Some gifts are hard to receive, because to do so is to admit you have flaws and weaknesses and you need help. … There has never been a gift offered that makes you swallow your pride to the depths that the gifts of Jesus Christ requires us to do. Christmas means that we are so lost, so unable to save ourselves, that nothing less than the death of the Son of God himself could save us. That means you are not somebody who can pull yourself together and live a moral and good life. To accept the true Christmas gift, you have to admit you’re a sinner. You need to be saved by grace. — Tim Keller

Dec. 7


For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given. (Isaiah 9:6, KJV)

How gentle the coming! Who would have had sufficient daring of imagination to conceive that God Almighty would have appeared among men as a little child? We should have conceived something sensational, phenomenal, catastrophic, appalling! The most awful of the natural elements would have formed His retinue, and men would be chilled and frozen with fear. But He came as a little child. The great God “emptied Himself.” He let in the light as our eyes were able to bear it. — John Henry Jowett

Dec. 6


They bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. (Matthew 2:11, NIV)

The Three Gifts by G.K. Chesterton
There were three things prefigured and promised by the gifts in the cave of Bethlehem concerning the Child who received them; that He should be crowned like a King: that He should be worshipped like a God: and that He should die like a man. And these things would sound like Eastern flattery, were it not for the third.

Dec. 5


In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, asking, “Where is the child who has been born king of the Jews? For we observed his star at its rising, and have come to pay him homage.” (Matthew 2:1-2, NRSV)

The wise men were experts in the movement of the stars and signs in the heavens. Their inquiry thrusts the provincial village into a cosmic concern. It is not scientific data they are searching out, but a person to worship. True wisdom is not gathering information; it is adoration of God’s revealed truth.                                                                 — Eugene Peterson

Dec. 3


In the time of King Herod, after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem. (Matthew 2:1, NRSV)

The two names, Jesus and Herod, are in contrast. The general (“in the time of Herod”) gives way to the particular (“Jesus was born”). Kingship comes into focus. Rule is personalized. Geography and politics slip into mere background as Jesus centers all history. — Eugene Peterson

Dec. 2


Matthew does not begin his story of Jesus’ birth by saying, “Once upon a time.” … “Once upon a time” signals that this probably didn’t happen or that we don’t know if it happened, but it is a beautiful story that teaches us so much. But that is not the kind of account Matthew is giving us. He says, “This is the genealogy of Jesus Christ.” That means he is grounding what Jesus Christ is and does in history. Jesus is not a metaphor. He is real. This all happened. — Tim Keller

Dec. 1


Christ, the second Person of the Trinity, has always been, is always, and always will be available to all people and at all times. We are so focused on the Incarnation, on Jesus of Nazareth, that sometimes we forget that the Second Person of the Trinity didn’t just arrive two thousand years ago, but has always been. Christ was the Word that shouted all of Creation into being, all the galaxies and solar systems, all the subatomic particles, and the wonderful mix of Creation that is what makes up each one of us.
Jesus said, to the horror of the establishment people, “Before Abraham was, I am.” — Madeleine L’Engle