1. Do you realize that there were a lot of people who missed the first Christmas? If I had more time, I would discuss a number of them ... but let me just focus on one: the innkeeper in Bethlehem. Now the nativity account in Luke 2 does not mention an innkeeper, but it does mention an inn. Therefore, there was an innkeeper. Since the Bible says nothing about this individual, we have no idea if he was hostile or sympathetic to the needs of Mary and Joseph. We don't know if the stable they found for shelter was offered by the innkeeper. But the fact that the Bible is silent about any innkeeper, makes me think that he missed that first Christmas. And just why would have have missed it? Simply because he was preoccupied with running a very busy inn. It was maxed out due to all the out-of -towners who had arrived for the Roman census (that is why, humanly speaking, Mary and Joseph were in town). I wonder how many of us are in danger of missing Christmas simply because we are preoccupied with the stuff of life? Hmm. Something to think about.
2. This morning I was reminded of a quote of William Carey, a man many consider the father of the modern missionary movement. He said, "Expect great things from God. Attempt great things for God." Now there's some good advice. I think for most of us (notice I said "us" - that includes me) our view of God is way too small. We (now I am speaking of the church of today) have lost the lofty view once held of God. J.I. Packer back in the early seventies put it this way in the preface of his classic book, Knowing God: "Christian minds have been conformed to the modern spirit: the spirit, that is, that spawns great thoughts of man and leaves room for only small thoughts of God." Hmm. What Packer wrote about Christian minds in 1973 is probably even more true today. So ... when you think about God ... how big is he? My guess ... not nearly big enough!
3. Finally ... let me invite those of you who will be around home (and if your home is in Lancaster, PA) to
join us this coming Sunday when I will take us back in time via The Camel Driver's Tale. Our services are held at 9:00 and 10:30. Then on Christmas Eve ... we will focus on the real meaning of the season: Jesus the Christ! Our two services will be held at 6 and 8 pm.
MERRY CHRISTMAS ... and thanks for stopping by . . .