Give me a word, Lord: IT MEANS MORE!

Isaiah 7:14 All right then, the Lord himself will give you the sign. Look! The virgin will conceive a child! She will give birth to a son and will call him Immanuel (which means ‘God is with us’).

Isaiah 6:9-7 For a child is born to us, a son is given to us. The government will rest on his shoulders. And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace. His government and its peace will never end. He will rule with fairness and justice from the throne of his ancestor David for all eternity. The passionate commitment of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will make this happen!

The Grinch story written by Dr. Seuss years ago has been made into cartoons and movies for the whole world to see. The old green Grinch is a despised character with a tiny heart, sad and lonely, and his desire was to make the whole town of Whoville be as miserable as he was. He thought that he could steal Christmas, and if he took away all of the packages, ribbons, and tags, and even the lights from their trees and the roast beast, he would ruin Christmas for the Whos! He expected the town to wake up sad and broken the next morning, but to his great surprise, he had not stopped Christmas. The village came together singing a Christmas song with great cheer the next morning as they celebrated Christmas despite the absence of the material things of Christmas. This puzzled the Grinch, but he suddenly realized that maybe Christmas was something more. His old shriveled lonely heart grew three sizes, and he returned to Whoville with all of their belongings and celebrated a Whoville Christmas feast with the Whos. My favorite quote from the book is “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.

Isn’t it awesome that Dr. Seuss reminded children all over the world of his simple, fantastic fact in a children’s book. As we wake up on this cold and icy Christmas morning, the lights of our tree are shining brightly. There are packages neatly wrapped beneath the tree, and all is well in the Hodge home. But, it’s not the pretty lights nor the brightly colored packages that bring us the sense of Christmas. It is the fact that we are celebrating the birth of our Savior! We are celebrating the day that our Lord came to earth to be with His people so that we may have a way to spend eternity with Him!

God orchestrated the birth. Isaiah prophesied the coming King over 700 years before the birth of Christ. Micah again prophesied it 400 years before the birth. It had to occur in the tiny city of Bethlehem, and God made it happen. A census was ordered that brought Mary & Joseph to the Bethlehem just in time for the King to be born in the city of David. It was pre-ordained, and God work it out behind the scenes so that it would occur just as He planned. The birth event was something so extraordinary, something that have never before occurred. A miraculous virgin birth. Jesus came to us, fully God and fully man. Jesus left His heavenly throne and came to earth to live among man. God gave us the best gift ever on the very first Christmas day!

That baby grew up and walked with man. He felt all of the things that man felt. He felt joy, laughter, sadness, and tears. He felt pain and aches just like we do. And one horrific day, He suffered unimaginable pain on that old rugged cross so that we may be made right with the Father. That terrible dark day Christ died for our sins, and that dark day became the brightest day for us. His gracious, merciful act made us right with God so that we may be joined eternally with Him.

You may have received what you think is the best gift you could have ever received today, or you may have received the worse gift. No matter what kind of gift you received, it can not compare to the greatest gift ever given. Today we celebrate the birth of our King! He wasn’t born is an ornate castle with servants galore. He arrived in a stable, and was placed in a manger, a feeding trough for the animals. He wasn’t clothed in fine linen robes. He was wrapped in swaddling clothes. He wasn’t surrounded by a paparazzi of people wanting to catch a glimpse of the King. He was born in a lowly stable surrounded by cattle, and poor, dirty shepherds were his first visitors. Christ didn’t arrive with all of the pomp and circumstance that one would expect, but He arrived just as it was prophesied and right on time. Dr. Seuss couldn’t have said it better! “It came without ribbons. It came without tags. It came without packages, boxes, or bags. Maybe Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store. Maybe Christmas perhaps, means a little bit more.” Christmas really doesn’t come from a store. Today, let us give thanks to our heavenly Father for orchestrating the very best Christmas ever which changed our lives forever! Merry Christmas, my friends! Celebrate the Reason for the season today and everyday!

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