Matthew is the only gospel writer to include the story of the magi. He starts out their story by writing: "After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, in the time of King Herod, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem saying, “Where is the one who is born king of the Jews? For … Continue reading Who were the mysterious Magi?
Wow… what a day this must have been for Simeon. You get up like you do everyday. Nothing particularly different about this day. Next thing you know, you are face-to-face with the Savior. Luke records it this way… “At that time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon. He was righteous and devout and … Continue reading Just Another Day? Sometimes, but not always.
Happiness is based on circumstances, joy is based on biblical truth. In 1943 Nazi Germany, at the time Dietrich Bonhoeffer wrote the quote below, he was under severe persecution from the Third Reich for courageously standing against Hitler. Bonhoeffer’s classic, The Cost of Discipleship, is well-worn on my bookshelf. Bonhoeffer’s devotion to Christ cost him … Continue reading Why we sing “Joy” and not “Happiness” to the World
I often tell people that, within the context of Christian music, the words of most beloved hymns & carols boil down to this: those lyrics are someone's story put to music. As with the heart-breaking story behind Horatio Spafford's It is Well, we would do well to familiarize ourselves with the drama that gives life … Continue reading I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day
Last night (Christmas Eve), before we all turned in, I shared with the family “the other side of the nativity.” Award-winning author, Philip Yancey, in his book, “The Jesus I Never Knew” shares, “Christmas cards of the religious genre typically depict a serene manger scene with Mary and Joseph surrounded by shepherds, animals, etc. All … Continue reading Silent Night? Not So Much…
Happiness is rooted in circumstances. Joy, on the other hand, is rooted in biblical truth - regardless of our circumstances. This is precisely why, incarcerated for his faith, Paul, while still languishing in prison, could write, "Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!" Make no mistake: the type of joy … Continue reading Joy vs. Happiness
"I wear the chain I forged in life.... I made it link by link, and yard by yard; I girded it on my own free will, and of my own free will I wore it." Jacob Marley The quote cited above, of course, is from Charles Dickens' beloved story, A Christmas Carol - a story … Continue reading The Gospel According to Dickens’ “A Christmas Carol”
From Philip Yancey's award-winning book, "The Jesus I Never Knew": "When the Jesuit missionary Matteo Ricci went to China in the sixteenth century, he brought along samples of religious art to illustrate the Christian story for people who had never heard it. The Chinese readily adopted portraits of the Virgin Mary holding her child, but … Continue reading Bethlehem Happened for One Reason: Calvary
Christmas, 2012, was the last time I helped decorate our tree. Since our 19 year old son, Jordan, died the following May, decorating the tree is something I/we have simply been unable to do. Our tree is not a "decorative showpiece" like you see so beautifully decorated in some homes. Almost every ornament on our … Continue reading Christ, Christmas & the Loss of a Child
Below is a link to Chapter 2 of Philip Yancey's award-winning book, The Jesus I Never Knew. Published in 1995, it is one of my all-time favorites. Entitling this chapter, "Birth: The Visited Planet", Yancey brilliantly brings to light truth and nuance most of us would otherwise miss when considering the story of Jesus' birth. … Continue reading The Manger I Never Knew