THE BIRTH OF THE ANCIENT OF DAYS Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world— to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18: 37
This is a great Christmas text even though it comes from the end of Jesus’s life on earth, not the beginning. The uniqueness of his birth is that he did not originate at his birth. He existed before he was born in a manger. The personhood, the character, the personality of Jesus of Nazareth existed before the man Jesus of Nazareth was born. The theological word to describe this mystery is not creation, but incarnation. The person— not the body, but the essential personhood of Jesus— existed before he was born as man. His birth was not a coming into being of a new person, but a coming into the world of an infinitely old person.
Micah 5: 2 puts it like this, 700 years before Jesus was born: But you, O Bethlehem Ephrathah, who are too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you shall come forth for me one who is to be ruler in Israel, whose coming forth is from of old, from ancient days.
The mystery of the birth of Jesus is not merely that he was born of a virgin. That miracle was intended by God to witness to an even greater one— namely, that the child born at Christmas was a person who existed “from of old, from ancient days.”
Guest Post by John Piper.
From: Good News of Great Joy: Daily Readings for Advent
I had just finished reading a mystery by Elizabeth George. Near the end she used the word phantasmagorical to describe the Detective Inspector’s trip to find the woman he loved.
Writers should not use words like that; they stop the reader and can distract them enough to lose the flow of the story. However, it was near the end and I was focused on whether it would end “happily ever after;” and did not stop reading. But I looked it up in the dictionary.
It means dreamlike, illusionary, or as an event swiftly changes; change the ph to a f and you’ll recognize it as fantasy-like.
Because it is Advent and I am contemplating the wonders of Christ’s birth, I thought of Mary when the angel, Gabriel, told her that she was the chosen one to bear God’s Son. I also thought of Joseph as Gabriel told him that Mary was telling him the truth; and of the old priest, Zechariah, when an angel told him that his barren wife Elizabeth, Mary’s cousin, would bear a son. That son would be called John; he would prepare the way for Jesus’ ministry including baptizing Jesus.
Each event must have been phantasmagorical. If the foretold births had not taken place, Mary, Joseph, and Zechariah would have thought the angel was an illusion, a dream, a fantasy of the imagination.
Gabriel and the angel, visiting the old priest, were messengers of God, who were preparing for God’s mercy and love to be demonstrated through the birth and death of Jesus, God’s only Son. A part of Himself had to come to earth for there is no sin in heaven… no death. He came to remove our separation from Him… to bring us back to Him, who created us.
“Amazing love, how can it be …”
Selah-think on this…
What a joy it is. Each day I add a pictured I’ve colored along with a “sticky note” relating to the event of the day. In addition there are readings that correlate with the tree. They contain Scripture, a brief comment and then a suggestion for the day on how to apply that truth. (All are from Ann Voskamp’s* website, A Holy Experience, and are free.)
Today’s thought is “Looking at Things Inside Out” from 1 Samuel 16:7. A perfect verse for re-tuning my heart: People look at the outside…but the Lord looks at the heart. Let’s remove the wrapping paper from our eyes and look within ourselves and others today.
*Ann has a talent for expressing herself & I love her writing. She is Canadian, a farmer’s wife & home-school’s her 8 children. Yet still has time to write and capture breath-taking photos for her website.
I have tried to count my blessings, but like counting the stars, I find it impossible. Likewise, as Ann Voskamp wrote, “Today I will not let myself be overwhelmed with the season.” Instead I will use this day to be a blessing to others.
“Twinkle, twinkle little star” was the first song I learned to play on the piano at age seven. Little did I know that music would play a huge role in my life. It comforts me, it brings me joy, it expresses what words cannot, it helps me to concentrate when I write, it is something that I can share. Music is a unique part of who I am.
You, too, are unique…a shining star. Be not overwhelmed with the season, just shine via a smile to an overworked clerk or pass on a deed of kindness.
As for me, I’m making ornaments for a felt Christmas tree to be given to a little boy. Think I’ll make a star next.
Recently I read a post from Lion Bites (from Glasgow, Scotland) reminding me that the Lord longs for harmony. I want to sing words of righteousness, hope & encouragement but I need to remove the thoughts and fellings that don’t honor God. So I’m re-tuning my heart.
Im beginning by blog chatting with folks like you because…
I’d like to take you on this journey with me.
So, let me update you about me:
I now have a 70 year old body with a 30-something heart and mind. For many years I have had a mission statement (see next post about that) and it is unchanged: to encourage spiritual joy through the written and spoken word.
In keeping with that I must grow spiritually:
- Thus I am doing an in depth Bible study of the Old Testament, which includes studying Hebrew. (Really keeps my little gray cells synergizing.) I attend a study group as well as my own personal study. Plan to open a blog site to faciltate/share my Genesis study in 2015.
- I have completed the research for my book A Forgetful People-a study of remembering. The preface and chapter titles are completed and after the holidays I will begin chapter one. (The first drafts are in my head already.) A new website will be opening soon dedicated to the book & its journey. I have a prayer team for support, encouragement & accountability.
Have to continue growing as a writer as well:
- The final editing is taking place for several short stories for publication & a contest.
- I am returning in January to FaithWriters for encouragement & the discipline of meeting writing deadlines.
Currently I’m the knitting gramma as I stitch away making vests for my son, his wife & three children plus ornaments, & other goodies. I’ll post a photo of my family in their vests in the New Year. I live in a senior retirement apartment and I am the volunteer librarian for our building. I attend the knitting group weekly and several times per year I host a tea, a dinner or other event for gathering to chat.
Physically, I need the energy and ability to concentrate/focus and continue my “work”:
- Seeking some answers and possible treatments for current new health issues.
- Trying harder to eat well-I hate cooking for one-and taking medication regularly.
This is where YOU come in. Travel this journey with me, help hold me accountable & encouraged by leaving comments, join my study and/or my prayer team, and be one of the first to buy my book-you have plenty of time to save your pennies.
In closing, A Forgetful People uses a combination of storytelling and scripture to look at items in my home: silver boxes, Pogo, a crystal frog, bees and apples, a wildflower collage, teacups, a basket, a dandelion paperweight and snowflakes to learn how simple things can bring us into God’s presence, promises, provisions and pleasure.
[think on these things]
I had the unexpected pleasure of watch a heavy, wet snowfall in the wee hours of the morning. Prior to the snow there had been high winds with heavy gusts, but they had passed by the time the snow came. Now over 12 hours later, it is raining and washing away the slush that man created all day; but 2-4 more inches of snow is forecast for tonight.
By 8 a.m. we received over 6 inches of pristine, unique snowflakes joining together to weigh down tree limbs and wires causing power outages. Cars and roads were covered- a good day for 4 wheel-drive and driving slo-o-owly. Schools & many offices were closed. The Red Cross has set up an emergency shelter… 500-1000 in the county are without electricity this evening.
I wonder how many saw the beauty of all those lacy ice crystals as well as its mighty power. If I was younger, I’d build a snowman and make snow angels. I hope my gran’kids did.
But with all this beauty, I am remembering a young girl from the Middle East on the radio shortly after 9/11. She & the women with her were risking their very lives by talking to a male reporter of the abuses women in Islamic countries face every day. I don’t remember any words except for hers, “I can’t even go out and make a snowman.”
Nearly 10 years later, I am still affected by her simple words. I shall never see snow or a snowman without remembering the freedom we have.
Yes, the snowfall early this morning was beautiful, mighty & a reminder never to take our freedoms for granted.
P.S. Check my website for Valentine give-aways: http://www.4him2u.com
Names will be drawn February 28th for free books & journals.