When Jesus was born in Bethleham, deity invaded humanity, eternity invaded time, and royalty invaded poverty. Dr. David Jeremiah
I am writing our Christmas blog from the snowy northland of Minnesota. Pete and I have traveled here to say goodbye to two precious loved ones, his sister Clare and brother-in-law, Phil. As we held wrinkled hands and looked on faces for the last time this side of eternity, this is a time of great sadness for our family. But we have this:
Because of Jesus, our sadness is invaded by joy, the joy that comes from knowing Jesus Christ as our Lord, Savior, and closest friend.
This morning I opened my Bible to the Christmas story as recorded in Luke 2.
And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And the angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.
There are so many lessons in the Christmas story, so much that we can build our lives and ministries around. May I share just three?
Most important, as the angels proclaimed the message of the gospel is for all people. There is not one person excluded from the offer of salvation. Every person who comes to The Fellowship of Christian Farmers’ tent is a person the message of salvation is for. It is up to each individual to accept or reject. This is what drives us–the message is for all–from the poorest of the poor to the richest and most powerful, no one is excluded from Christ’s offer of salvation.
The second thing I take away from the Christmas story is that the lowest of the low at the time of Jesus birth were the shepherds. They were so low that they were not allowed to testify in court or enter the synagogues, yet they were chosen by God to be the first witnesses of the incarnation and the very first evangelists. This reminds me that when I witness, it’s not about me and my strengths and weaknesses. It’s about the power of the cross. I am no more than a lowly shepherd who has been visited by by the heavenly, a shepherd who has been given the greatest gift of all, a gift I want to tell the world about.
The final lesson I want to share is that even though the shepherds were filthy from sleeping on the dirty ground with stinky animals and had no clean clothes, no soap, no toothpaste, they didn’t take time to shower before they went to see Jesus. They went with haste, in their disgusting condition, to see our Savior. Jesus takes us as we are, filthy sin-drenched, stinky sinners, and He cleans us up. His blood, shed on the cross of Calvary, is the only thing that can wash away our sin. Nothing else will do.
May the Christmas story capture you in new and glorious ways this season. May you have joy equal to the joy of the shepherds as they first laid their eyes on the newborn King, joy equal to the joy you knew when you were first saved.
Thank you for a year of prayer and financial support. You have been an amazing gift.
Speaking of answered prayer…
Our application to set up a tent at the Cape Coral Art Fair on January 8-9 has been accepted! We can’t stop praising God for this open door. The attendance is 120,000. We will need lots of volunteers to help prepare sticks and share the gospel. If you are in the area and can help, please let us know. Thank you for praying for this event. Please continue to pray for workers.
One more thing…
We invite you to an old-fashioned ice cream social and time of thanksgiving (ice cream on us). Here are the details:
Place: The beautiful Sylwia’s Ice Cream Parlor
3571 Del Prado North, Cape Coral, FL 33909
Time: 2:00-3:30 on February 4 (for those volunteering at ECHO with Ron and Deb, this is the last day of the mission trip).
RSVP by text to: 239-233-4359.
Love, Pete and Sandy