Encounters with the Living God
Come with me to Bethlehem to touch upon the fulcrum of history. After Mary had delivered her son, Jesus, Luke records a sequence of events that overwhelms us with pure wonder and delight.
“Suddenly” shakes us to the core. The shepherds were guarding their sheep as usual when the dramatic invaded their quiet evening from the highest heavens. Out of the silence “an angel of the Lord” was among them. The long awaited Messiah had come, fulfilling the myriad of prophetic predictions throughout the Old Testament. Did this Messiah come as a babe in the palace? No! The very opposite type of arrival is announced.
“Radiance” permeated the atmosphere of these flock keepers, suffusing the breadth of the entire night air. The fireworks of holy glory surprises every one of these men to the very core. “Don’t be afraid” the angel insisted. This was not something that was to petrify them. In fact, the opposite response is called for.
“Good news. . . . Great joy. . . . All people.” God is not the God of isolation. I love to hear the Chief Minister of West Bengal declare how Christmas is proudly celebrated as a holiday in her state, as opposed to the decision to stop observing Christmas as a national holiday in India.
Persecution is at such a high level in this population of 1.4 billion that it has a worldwide recognition. However the indigenous missions are effectively permeating all the lower scheduled castes and tribals. Word of mouth is the primary method. Our links to these networks in Bangladesh, India, Indonesia, Myanmar, Nepal, are God given.
“The Saviour—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—. . . . Born today” reminds us of the overwhelming potential of the birth of a baby. This Baby, Jesus is the centre of the most magnificent carols, cantatas and powerful anthems of all time worldwide.
For example, Marilyn and I welcomed our grandson, Jude, to Zach and Stephanie Ward, a couple of months ago. The birth of a baby is incredibly wonderful. God sent His Only Son to redeem us. I celebrate Christmas every day of the year! The virgin birth is the theme of my ministry and Engage Today!
How anyone can resist the message is unimaginable. This past year, my only brother, Wes, at the age of 71 was born again, baptized, and joined the Baptist Church in Grand Bend, Ontario. What a year! The birth of our 11th grandchild and the new birth of my brother!
“The baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth” opens the window of wonder beyond anyone’s imagination. Jesus is lying in an animal feed trough, but heaven is present at His birth. Our Humble King is worthy of all praise and adoration. He emptied Himself! “Instead, He gave up His divine privileges; He took the humble position of a slave and was born as a humble being. When He appeared in human form, He humbled Himself in obedience to God and died a criminal’s death on a cross” (Philippians 2:7–8)
On behalf of our excellent staff and volunteers, our Board of Directors, and our partnering churches, may the glory of this season characterize every day of 2022!