MERRY CHRISTMAS EVE

I hope and pray you have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

LIGHT, our Christmas services at Grace, were an awesome time of celebrating the purpose of Christmas.   If you missed it and want to watch, go to gf.church/watch.

As you think about Christmas on this Christmas Eve here are a few verses that might be good to share with your family, or for you to reflect upon.

Approximately 700 years before Jesus was born, God chose the Prophet Isaiah to write the words of this prophecy.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.   Isaiah 7:14 NLT

The people who walk in darkness will see a great light. For those who live in a land of deep darkness, a light will shine.   Isaiah 9:2 NLT

 This Light was to be the promised Messiah, and Isaiah said of Him:

“For a child is born to us, a son is given to us…And he will be called: Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”     Isaiah 9:6 NLT

Jesus who is all these things and more, was born with a purpose.

But after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”  Matthew 1:20-21 NIV

The traditional Christmas story is found in Luke 2.

At that time the Roman emperor, Augustus, decreed that a census should be taken throughout the Roman Empire. (This was the first census taken when Quirinius was governor of Syria.) All returned to their own ancestral towns to register for this census. And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea, David’s ancient home. He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee. He took with him Mary, to whom he was engaged, who was now expecting a child. And while they were there, the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her firstborn son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.  That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, 10 but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. 11 The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! 12 And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”  13 Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying, 14 “Glory to God in highest heaven,  and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.” 15 When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.” 16 They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. 17 After seeing him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. 18 All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, 19 but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. 20 The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.         Luke 2:1-20 NLT

John who was an eyewitness of the life & death, the burial and resurrection of Jesus wrote several of the documents preserved for us in the New Testament.

In him [Jesus] was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.  The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.  John 1:4-5 NIV

Saul who hated the name of Jesus and violently persecuted Christians became a Christian when he had a personal encounter with Jesus after Jesus was raised from the dead. Saul became a new person with a new name, Paul, and wrote much of the New Testament including the letter to the Romans.

We are made right in God’s sight when we trust in Jesus Christ to take away our sins. And we all can be saved in this same way, no matter who we are or what we have done.    Romans 3:22 NLT   

For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life through Christ Jesus our Lord.   Romans 6:23 NLT

Sin brought about physical and spiritual death, but spiritual death is the result of rejecting the gift of life through Jesus Christ.   I believe Romans 6:23 is speaking about the 2nd death (spiritual death) for those who refuse to put their faith and trust in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord.  The 2nd death is referenced in several places in Revelation – chapters 2, 20 and 21.

Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. The lake of fire is the second death.  Revelation 20:14 NIV

The best news about Christmas is this…

If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For it is by believing in your heart that you are made right with God, and it is by openly declaring your faith that you are saved.   Romans 10:9-10 NLT

Yet to all who did receive him [Jesus], to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.  John 1:12 NIV

Jesus said “I am the light of the world. Whoever follows me will never walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.” John 8:12 NIV

Merry Christmas – I hope you experience Jesus the LIGHT of the World this Christmas.

About bjrutledge

BJ & Janet were married in July 1977 They have three grown children who are all married: Jeremy & Whitney Rutledge, Chris & Julie Hurst, and Josh and Hannah Rutledge. They also have four grandsons, and a granddaughter. BJ says perhaps our greatest legacy is even though our kids are PK's, they love Jesus and are all involved in ministry in the local church. BJ has served at churches in Dallas - Bossier City, LA - Houston - and was at Fellowship of the Woodlands (Woodlands Church) in The Woodlands before coming to Grace Fellowship. BJ is the Lead Pastor at Grace Fellowship Church in Paradise, TX.
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