Christmas

Christmas is a time of mystery and wonder. The Virgin Mary was told by the angel that she would conceive and bear a son: "The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy - the Son of God" (Lk. 1:35). It is...
A Stew Pot One of the more frequently visited proverbs of my childhood came to me from my mother. “A stew pot never boils,” she would say. I felt what it meant long before I actually understood it. Explanation of the phrase came in its fuller version: “A stew pot never boils when watched .” It is...
Years ago, one of my favorite Rainer Maria Rilke poems gave me a new perspective on the night, and I’m reminded of this at Christmas time whenever we sing “Oh Holy Night,” one of the most beautiful songs that has ever entered my ear. Let me provide the poem first and then explain what I mean. You,...
Regard for the Lord's Day is on a steep decline, and, sadly, has been for quite some time. Disregard for the Lord's Day is evidenced by the fact that many churches have decided to cancel their worship services this Sunday in order to encourage families to spend time together on Christmas. The...
Early in my pastoral ministry a thoughtful young man came with an interesting question while our congregation was in the midst of celebrating the Advent season. The question arose from a hymn sung during a Lord's Day worship service. The hymn was the Isaac Watts classic "Joy to the World." The...
We all wrestle with feeling worthless at some time or another. The world imputes value to individuals, whether it admits such or not, on the basis of gender, race, age, physical appearance, profession, possessions, income, intelligence, accomplishments, character traits, ability to make others...
Exuberant over an experience, an oh-so-sweet manifestation of divine providence, you delightedly seek to give God praise in telling your story. “It was such a ‘God thing’,” you proclaim. As you see it, God wove together an otherwise inexplicable combination of events to deliver a wonderful—even...
Have you ever wondered why Matthew quotes Isaiah in the opening chapter of his Gospel? [1] Perhaps you would say, "Of course not! We already know why. The quote substantiates the virgin conception and birth of Christ!" Yes, but is that the only reason? Again, you may claim, "Isn't that reason...
In the midst of all the sermon and service preparations associated with the Christmas season we often fail to appreciate the role of the Holy Spirit in the events celebrated. While we are right to focus on the wonder of the eternal Son taking human flesh and entering our world, we can overlook the...
Scott Oliphint
One Christmas season our family went to see the "Christmas Spectacular" at Radio City Music Hall in New York City. It was an enjoyable show, in spite of all the secular trappings and symbols that have come to characterize Christmas. The most fascinating part of the program, however, comes at the...

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