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Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Star Barn train at Christmas
The train at the Star Barn in Elizabethtown, PA

"When Thou Camest To Earth For Me"

Message summary:
What a difference it makes to me personally when I personalize the incarnation of Jesus and consider that God has indeed "come to earth for me".

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"Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:5-7).

We, like many of you, especially enjoy music during the Christmas season. We value the songs we have sung from childhood like "Joy To The World", "O Come All Ye Faithful" and many others. We also enjoy new music such as "Behold The Lamb of God" a powerful new song by Andrew Peterson or "Another Christmas Closer" by the Collingsworth Family or "Make Room" by Casting Crowns (see links below).

But some Christmas songs that were once contemporary, such as "Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne" published in 1870 by Emily Elliot, are rarely sung in church settings anymore.  This song, like all songs, was at one time contemporary in its day and has been sung in many Christmas musicals over the years. As a side note Emily Elliot was the niece of Charlotte Elliot who authored the hymn, "Just As I Am" made famous in the Billy Graham crusades and still remains popular today.

Thou didst leave Thy throne and Thy kingly crown,
when Thou camest to earth for me;
But in Bethlehem's home there was found no room
for Thy holy nativity.

Miss Elliot originally wrote this song to teach children the truths of the advent and nativity. Considering the rich theological depth of the song, which focuses not only on Christ's birth, but also His life, suffering, death and ultimate triumph, it may surprise you that it was initially intended as a children's song.

Today let's focus on the words, "When Thou camest to earth for me". This describes what is theologically known as the incarnation. The noun "incarnation" is derived from the ecclesiastical Latin verb incarno, meaning "to make into flesh" or "to be made flesh".

In His incarnation God in Christ "came to earth". The apostle Paul, in his magnificent incarnation passage states, "Christ Jesus: who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness" (Philippians 2:5-7).

What a difference it makes to me personally when I personalize the incarnation of Jesus and consider that God has indeed "come to earth for me". C.S. Lewis wrote so poignantly, "The Son of God became a Son of Man that sons of men might become sons of God". That's right! Let's remember this wonderful truth today; this season, and all our lives! How blessed we are that God came to the earth to live among us! Let's always follow Him who gave His all for us!

When the heav’ns shall ring, and her choirs shall sing,
At Thy coming to victory,
Let Thy voice call me home, saying “Yet there is room,
There is room at My side for Thee.”

We would be remiss not to include the chorus of this sacred hymn that is really an invitation to make room in our hearts for Christ dwell therein. If you haven't already done so, make the following words the prayer of your heart:

O come to my heart, Lord Jesus,
There is room in my heart for Thee.

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Praying manDaily prayer: Jesus, You came to earth from heaven to take on flesh and dwell among us as You became the supreme example of God in the flesh, pouring out Your grace upon grace. In Your humanness You were victorious in the raging battle against the spiritual forces of evil when faced with temptations and trials common to all people. We stand in glorious victory as we follow Your example and hold to Your unchanging truths. We come alongside those who are grieving loss and enduring heartache in the midst of this glorious season, for it is in keeping with the season of giving, that we give ourselves in faithful prayer and kind acts toward those experiencing underlying grief. It is in the loving name of Jesus that we pray. Amen.

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We want to thank all who have financially supported our ministry this past year (and some for many years!). We realize there are many fine ministries and causes requesting support at this time but if the Lord would lead you we surely need and appreciate the financial support from our readers and listeners. Like many ministries, we typically see a spike in giving at the end of the year for which we are most thankful.

Our ministry labor is comprised of approximately half our time to Daily Encouragement and the other half to our chaplaincy ministry to companies for which we receive compensation. Each of these ministries essentially is the same as a part-time job (20+ hours weekly) for each of us. Our goal for many years is that each would provide half of our ministry expenses and income.

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Thank you,

Stephen & Brooksyne

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources

"Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne"  Video  Traditional version

"Thou Didst Leave Thy Throne"  Video  Another version

"Room For Thee"  Video  Ruth Hanna  Another version, a bit updated

"Behold The Lamb of God"  Video  Andrew Peterson, a musician we have really come to appreciate the last several years who wrote "Is He Worthy?"  Video

"Another Christmas Closer"  Video  Collingsworth Family This song is especially touching if you have loved ones waiting for you on the other side. Here's a comment: "Well, I thought everyone had covered most every topic in all the hundreds of Christmas songs out there but you've found a treasure in this unique song, Collingsworth family! What a blessing this will be to so many who have a loved one already in heaven waiting for them. Thank you for blessing the world with this song!!!"

"Make Room"  Video  Casting Crowns

Star Barn at Christmas
The Star Barn Village is one of our newer tourist attractions in Lancaster County with restored barns, a train, a covered bridge and other sights. We have the opportunity to attend a special event at the Star Barn tomorrow. If you life in central PA or are coming this way here is info: "Christmas Light Drive Through" at the Star Barn

Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)

Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to you, your family or church during this Christmas season.

"In Remembrance of Me" pdf  This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services over the years.  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.  Here's a great Communion Hymn for Christmas (Video)

"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 and love the tune.

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

My First Christmas In Heaven  This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year.  Brooksyne read and wrote about the poem in this message.  

Christmas Knowledge Test

We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).

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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, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. 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 make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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