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Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Christmas Day
Miller home at Christmas Eve
Miller home
Last night following our Christmas Eve service we joined our friends Stan and Deb along with others for a time of fellowship in their 1800's farmhouse near Manheim, Pennsylvania.

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"Unto Us"

"For to us a child is born, to us a son is given" (Isaiah 9:6a).  "For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord" (Luke 2:11b).  "In the past God spoke to our forefathers through the prophets at many times and in various ways, but in these last days He has spoken unto us by His Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, and through whom He made the universe"  (Hebrews 1:1,2). 

It's a beautiful Christmas day here in rural Lancaster County and the Weber family was up quite early (5 am). We shared a Christmas reading together and thanked the Lord for His greatest gift.

The first two daily texts are well known to believers in Christ, often recited by children at the annual Christmas program.  One was prophetically declared by Isaiah some 700 years before the birth of Christ, the other by an angelic visitor to some lowly shepherds at His birth.  In a few words they contain the essence of the gospel message.  They describe the greatest gift.

The challenge during this season is to remember the real message of Christmas.  It's not the gifts we give or receive from others.  It's not the abundance of gadgets that retailers offer to materialistic America.  It's the gift of God's Son to an unreceptive, apathetic, undeserving, and mocking world.  Will you gratefully receive His gift this Christmas?

The writer of Hebrews begins his rich epistle in such an interesting and powerful way.  All other epistles except 1 John begin with some identification of the human author.  Hebrews starts right off in a stately manner dealing with God's message to mankind and the absolute preeminence of His Son. 

However let us notice just one tiny phrase in the daily Scripture text which really is a "Christmas" verse, "He has spoken unto us by His Son."  Aren't you glad God has spoken and indeed continues to speak!  I recall a book I read in college by the late Francis Schaeffer titled, "He is here and He is not silent."  How very true. 

He speaks to us in many ways, but primarily and fundamentally through His Son.  What a great blessing it is that He has not ignored us!  After the Fall He began His quest for us and called to Adam, "Where are you?"  He's been speaking to His people and calling them ever since.  Today He continues to lovingly hearken to the human race, but relatively few pay attention. 

What about you?  Are you listening?  Are you responding in faith and obedience?  Let us rejoice that God has indeed spoken to us!

Be encouraged today and have a joyous Christmas,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Daily prayer:  Father, even as You spoke to the prophets of long ago You still speak to the hearts of Your people.  You've called us out from among the world to stand for righteousness in a godless society. You will not be silenced in a world full of noisy gongs and clanging symbols.  As we contemplate the Christmas story we think of young Mary who heard Your special message through the angel. She is a prime example of one whose yielded heart withstood the ridicule and awkwardness of her special role in the conception and birth of the Savior of the world. You continue to speak to us who choose to fear the law of God rather than the law of man.  Help us to turn our ears away from worthless noisy gongs and turn our hearts toward Emmanuel, God with us. 

Veah with Brooksyne

Yesterday we had our friends Matt and Shannin and their baby Veah over for dinner before our Christmas Eve service. We know them through our chaplaincy ministry and have become good friends. Veah really enjoyed our small active Christmas decorations that Ester pulled out for her.

Darrel and Kelly

Darrel and Kelly have been dating practically the entire time since we moved down this way as we recall. They recently announced their engagement. It was good to see them both at the service last night!

Weber Christmas morning 2007

Ester still gets up early on Christmas morning and our pets, Roxie and Dottie, joined us around the Christmas tree as we read the Christmas story and prepared to open our gifts.  You might notice their gifts they received last night.  They each got a new bed so they're getting comfortable in their new quarters.  It would appear that Dottie feels hers is a bit small so she decided to extend her tail to Roxie's bed. Thankfully, Roxie's very good natured about sharing her Christmas gifts.

2007 Weber family Christmas newsletter - We welcome all of our daily encouragement readers to read our annual Christmas newsletter. This year's edition has more photos than usual.

Resources for Christmas celebrations

It is our desire to share resources that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season.

Christmas Memories  Here's a collection of Christmas memories sent in by daily encouragement readers several years ago, along with an opportunity to share your own story. 

"In Remembrance of Me" Last night we read this Scripture reading together at our Christmas Eve service. (Audio) This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Stephen and I have used this reading with great receptivity during  Christmas Eve services.  We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.  pdf

"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with the tune and some churches have already exhausted the usual list of Christmas carols.

Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18  pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him"  

My First Christmas in heaven A poem Brooksyne shared two years ago in memory of my Mom. This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year.

Here's a test for those who like tests!  
Christmas knowledge test

have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes with these posts, here and here.

Suggested Music

"Silent Night" (Audio)  The soloist is Herb Basso, a friend from the church we pastored in New England. The violinist is Laura Silvia, the daugher of a pastor friend of ours who is now serving on Cape Cod. We have great memories of our association with Herb and his wife Cecilia. Herb is about as Italian as anyone I've ever met and a very colorful man. Before we moved from New England they took us to an authentic Italian restaurant in the Federal Hill section of Providence, Rhode Island (Little Italy). I remember Herb eating Escargot. However my favorite memory is when I went to Boston to see him in the hospital after he had open heart surgery and Ester, who was about 7 at the time went with me.  Herb invited us to watch a video about his recovery but Ester who was being disciplined at the time and had been told by her Mom she couldn't watch any videos solemnly informed me, "Daddy, I can't watch it, I am not allowed to watch any videos."

"Hallelujah Chorus"

"Joy To The World"  (Instrumental Audio)

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission; and the King James Version.
Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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