The Heart of Christmas

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For God so loved the world…
Can we comprehend His very big heart?
All the way back to Adam and Eve,
He loved us from the start.

God, the Father, would send a Savior
through Jesus Christ, His Son.
Born of the virgin, Mary–
through Jesus, His plans would be done.

Jesus, the Son, would die for our sins;
He would teach us about loving and giving.
I thank God for the gift of Jesus at Christmas,
who renews my faith always for living.

P. A. Oltrogge

“May the Lord direct your hearts into the love of God and into the steadfastness of Christ.” 2 Thessalonians 3:5 NASB

“All the paths of the Lord are steadfast love and faithfulness, for those who keep His commandments and His testimonies.” Psalm 25:10 RSV

“…I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 NKJV

“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another.” John 13:34

“For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16 NKJV

Photo/Porch of the Lord

A Very Present Help

“God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble.”
Psalm 46:1 KJV

Troubles come to all of us, trials are an unsolicited part of life;

but there is One who is a very present help in the midst of any kind of strife.

He’s not only present, but He’s VERY present amidst things which can be dire–

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego, remember, weren’t burned though engulfed by fire.
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The men had refused to worship the gold idol, as King Nebuchadnezzar had decreed–

Such a decree to these men of faith was something they simply wouldn’t heed.

Anyone who disobeyed would be cast into a fiery furnace that had been stoked very hot–

At the sound of the horn, flute, harp, or lyre, all were to bow down, but these three men would not.
__________

Called before the king, he gave them another chance to obey, but they bravely made it clear…

that their God could deliver them; yet if not, they served Him only and had nothing to fear.

Then, thrown into the furnace, divine intervention left them without even the smell of fire–

Their hair wasn’t singed, nor their clothes affected, because no other “god” was higher.
__________

In the midst of the fiery furnace, a fourth “man” had appeared, among the other three.

His appearance was “like the Son of God;” and He’d loosed them and had set the men free.

Though they’d initially been bound together, Nebuchadnezzar saw them unhurt and walking separately around–

This miraculous event became proof to him that there was no God but theirs to be found.
__________

God has promised to be our sure refuge, whom we can run to for shelter from any storm–

If the “winds” of life become threatening or cold, under His wings, we’ll be protected and warm.

He’s the strength upon which we’ve come to depend; and we’re blessed by the love He supplies.

Keep looking to Jesus, your very present help. In every circumstance, that will prove to be wise.

P. A. Oltrogge

(The poetic account is derived from Daniel 3)

…trials sometimes come, but confidence in God’s love and care for us (Psalm 91:4) and the presence of His Holy Spirit within strengthen those who believe….

Jesus said, “And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever; that is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not behold Him or know Him, but you know Him because He abides with you, and will be in you.” John 14:16-17 (and through 26)

Acts 1:8 and Acts 2:1-4

Star Gazing Leads to the Star to be Praising

“Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea, in the days of Herod, the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’

“When Herod the king heard this, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him. And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he inquired of them where the Christ was to be born. So they said to him, ‘In Bethlehem of Judea, for thus it is written by the prophet:

‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah,
Are not the least among the rulers of Judah;
For out of you shall come a Ruler
Who will shepherd My people Israel.’

“Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said, ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’

“When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

“Then, being divinely warned in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed for their own country another way.” Matthew 2:1-12 NKJV

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There’s something very compelling about a brilliant star;
and that, dear Lord, is what You are…

“The Bright and Morning Star,” is one of Your titles, which inspires—
“Glory to God in the highest” was sung at Your birth by heaven’s angelic choirs.

The wise men followed the guiding light of a certain star in the sky,
which led them to You, the Bright and Morning Star—
Jesus, the Son of the Most High.

P. A. Oltrogge

“I, Jesus, have sent my angel to testify to you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, the Bright and Morning Star.” Revelation 22:16 NKJV

“And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.” Luke 1:30-33 KJV

“For the Lord Most High is awesome; He is a great King over all the earth.” Psalm 47:2 NKJV

“Offer to God thanksgiving, and pay your vows to the Most High.” Psalm 50:14 NKJV

“He who dwells in the secret place of the Most High shall abide in the shadow of the Almighty.” Psalm 91:1 NKJV

Mary’s Lord, Elizabeth’s Lord, Our Lord—Jesus

“And in the sixth month, the angel, Gabriel, was sent from God unto a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David, and the virgin’s name was Mary. And the angel came in unto her, and said, ‘Hail, thou that art highly favored, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women.’ And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. And the angel said unto her, ‘Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David: And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.’ Then said Mary unto the angel, ‘How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?’ And the angel answered and said unto her, ‘The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. And behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. For with God nothing shall be impossible.’ And Mary said, ‘Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word.’ And the angel departed from her.” Luke 1:26-38 KJV

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Photo/The Nativity Story movie

As foretold, Jesus was divinely conceived in the virgin Mary. Thereafter, she visited her cousin, Elizabeth, who was expecting a child, John, as well.

Upon arrival to her home, Mary greeted Elizabeth. Between the two, there must have been much to share and tell.

On hearing the greeting of Mary, Elizabeth felt the baby, who was already filled with the Holy Spirit, inside of her own womb leap for joy.

And then, by the Holy Spirit, Elizabeth spoke loudly, declaring that God’s favor was great on Mary and her baby boy.

Elizabeth questioned why she was being granted such an honor, to be visited by Mary, “the mother of my Lord,”

but said that, through Mary, the world would have Jesus, the Savior—every believer’s greatest reward.

The Song of Mary

“My soul magnifies the Lord, and my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. For He has regarded the lowly state of His maidservant; for behold, henceforth all generations will call me blessed. For He who is mighty has done great things for me, and Holy is His name. And His mercy is on those who fear Him from generation to generation. He has shown strength with His arm; He has scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. He has put down the mighty from their thrones, and exalted the lowly. He has filled the hungry with good things, and the rich He has sent away empty. He has helped His servant Israel, in remembrance of His mercy, as He spoke to our fathers, to Abraham and to his seed forever.” (Luke 1:46-55 NKJV)

“And Mary remained with her about three months, and returned to her house.”
Luke 1:56 NKJV

…from Luke 1

Poinsettias for the Prince of Peace

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At the Christmas season, with decorations inside and out,
the poinsettias reflect what it’s all about.
Clean as the whiteness of a lamb or a dove–
the purity of ivory petals speaks of the Child sent from above.

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Pink reflects cheer and the joy that was proclaimed
by the angels about the Christ child–Jesus, He’s named.
Crimson red speaks of blood that was shed for mankind
by Jesus Christ upon the cross–our salvation defined.

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The lives of those who receive Him gain a new lease
in finding faith for living through this Prince of Peace.
So, in seeing the poinsettias, rejoice for the reason
that His birth in Bethlehem is what gave us this season.

P. A. Oltrogge

“And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David, a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.” Luke 2:9-11 KJV

“But as many as received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on His Name.” John 1:12 KJV

Photos/Pixabay