(Image courtesy of http://heraldsgospelsinengland.blogspot.com.)

A Christmas Poem
I love flannel shirts.
They keep me warm, yet make me feel "cool" at the same time.
I think they're stylish.
But even if I had all the flannels in the world, I wouldn't have complete warmth.

I love athletics.
I enjoy playing sports.
Physical exercise and moving around brings life to my body.
I especially love playing pick-up basketball games.
But even if I won all the games I ever played, I wouldn't be satisfied.

I love food.
Turkey, potatoes, corn, and a big slice of grandma's apple pie sure do taste good.
I often go back for seconds.
But even if I ate all I wanted, I wouldn't be full.

I love snow, especially bundling up in warm clothes and going outside to work or to play.
Sledding and skiing are two things I especially love to do in the snow.
But even if I played all day in the snow, I wouldn't have joy.

I love my family.
From grandparents to uncles and aunts, to cousins and siblings, to mom and dad, I love the good times I have with them all.
I laugh when I remember the memories we made together.
But even if my family never left me, I wouldn't have complete love.

That is because these gifts (peace, contentment, joy, and love) do not come from my experiences on this earth.  No!  Peace and warmth came wrapped in a bundle of cloth.  Satisfaction and contentment came in the cries of a newborn baby.  Laughter and joy came in the dawn of day.  And love came in the manger filled with hay.

These gifts do not come from temporary things; these gifts are not ideals.  They exist - oh, praise God, they exist! - in the glory of baby Jesus - Emmanuel - God with us.  For He is with us indeed.

The light that gives light to men; the stone that causes the proud to stumble; the judge who holds all accountable; the Lamb led to the slaughter; the Savior, the King, the Messiah, the Redeemer - all these He is!

Don't miss Jesus this Christmas!

In Micah 5:2, 4-5, over four hundred years before the Messiah was placed in a manger, God spoke these words through His prophet: "But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times....  He will stand and shepherd his flock in the strength of the LORD, in the majesty of the name of the LORD his God.  And they will live securely, for then his greatness will reach to the ends of the earth.  And he will be their peace."

These words speaking about the Messiah, as I said, were written over four hundred years before the birth of Jesus.  Yet how many people still missed the Savior on that Christmas morning over 2,000 years ago?

In the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), we read the account of the baby born in Bethlehem.  This is what we find: King Herod missed the Messiah.  The priests missed the Messiah.  The inn keeper, seeing a pregnant teenager right in front of him also missed the messiah.  Even the townspeople, hearing the cries of a newborn baby, missed the Messiah.

On the other hand, Zecheriah - the father of John the Baptist - anxiously awaited the arrival of Jesus.  Joseph and Mary eagerly anticipated the arrival of the Messiah into the world.  The lowly shepherds - somewhat like our homeless outcasts or migrant workers in today's society - raced to see the Savior wrapped in swaddling cloths lying in a manger.  And the wise men - the magi - traveled for years in the hope and faith of seeing what the prophets and the stars had foreseen hundreds of years before.

So why did some people miss Christmas, while others did not?

Jesus says in Matthew 7:7-8, "Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened."

Could it be that those who missed the very first Christmas were not seeking it?  And on the other hand, could it be that those who sought the Messiah did, indeed, find Him on that first Christmas morning?

What are you seeking this Christmas?

Are you seeking appreciation and love in the gifts and even family?  Why not begin to seek out this Jesus - "the reason for the season" - and find for yourself what He's all about.  If you seek Him, you will most assuredly find Him.

He came that all would know His Father.
He came to put an end to the lies and deception.
He came that we might have life, and have it to the full!
He came that you might not only feel loved, but that you would be loved - all of the time!

Seek The Light this Christmas.  Don't be left in the dark.
(John 1:9: "The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.")