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Steve’s Newsletter – December 2023

Once again at this time of year we turn our thoughts to the birth of Jesus; but all too often the wonder of this awesome event is obscured by the trappings of Christmas – holidays, presents, food, television, etc. It is worth having a much closer look at the wonder of God coming to earth as a baby. Think of any photos you may have around your house of babies; maybe your children, grandchildren or great
grandchildren, or even babies your friends and families may have had?

When we consider the ‘life’ of a baby, what are the characteristics of babyhood? Total dependence for warmth, food and love; languageless; everything is ‘new’; inability to move where you want to; nappies, teething etc. When we think about such things we start to marvel that the eternal Son of God would submit Himself to the state of babyhood.

Christian author Philip Yancey once said; “The God who roared, who could order armies and empires about like pawns on a chessboard, this God emerged in Palestine as a baby who could not speak or eat solid food or control his bladder, and depended on a teenage couple for shelter food and love.”

• You, Jesus, were willing to lay aside everything – your glory, your position, your power – for our sake.
• You were obedient to your Father in coming to earth.
• And in coming to earth as a helpless baby, not only were you trusting yourself to a young, inexperienced couple, but you were making yourself vulnerable to the attack of the devil through Herod. And yet you trusted your Father to keep you safe.

The Bible says; ‘For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.’ [Isaiah 9:6 KJV]

Given this wonderful description, readers of the Old Testament could be forgiven for expecting a glorious, triumphant entry into the world by the Messiah. Nevertheless, Jesus chose the way of obscurity, of humility and servanthood; yet those who seek Him will find Him to be the glorious Messiah described in Isaiah chapter 9.

What a wonderful example to us today is the incarnation of God, setting forth the pattern that Jesus would grow up to present to us; a pattern for living, a pattern of gentleness, humility and love.

And what a challenge for us as Christians!

As this season unfolds for another year, may we not only give physical gifts to others, but also gifts of our own gentleness, humility and love, as we follow the example of the baby in the manger.

May you be richly blessed as you celebrate the birth of Christ.

Pastor Steve