This blogpost is about experiencing the nativity in an out-of-the-box sort of way. It is a little of what you don’t expect at this time of festive baubles.
A CHRISTMAS MESSAGE
On Christmas Eve morning, I am doing a little Bible Study, part of my regular quiet time.
Thinking birth, nativity, rebirth, circumcision, and all enlightened regrowth.
The Message is a ‘colloquial’ adaptation of the Bible, and makes for very easy understanding. Here, I quote it below, verbatim.
The model in the image is my son, Hunter, captured unawares as we strolled near the British East Coast one day some months ago.
May your Christmas be enlightening and your life be touched with supernatural rebirth.
May the Christ child’s history on this precious garden earth have impact worldwide.
May everyone, everywhere know the peace that passes all understanding and may you walk in the light of love.
My take on Christmas encompasses mangers, light shining into darkness, growth, gifts, renewal, purpose, and thinking outside the box …
From our home to yours, Merry Christmas.
Galatians 6 The Message (MSG)
Nothing but the Cross
6 1-3 Live creatively, friends. If someone falls into sin, forgivingly restore him, saving your critical comments for yourself. You might be needing forgiveness before the day’s out. Stoop down and reach out to those who are oppressed. Share their burdens, and so complete Christ’s law. If you think you are too good for that, you are badly deceived.
4-5 Make a careful exploration of who you are and the work you have been given, and then sink yourself into that. Don’t be impressed with yourself. Don’t compare yourself with others. Each of you must take responsibility for doing the creative best you can with your own life.
6 Be very sure now, you who have been trained to a self-sufficient maturity, that you enter into a generous common life with those who have trained you, sharing all the good things that you have and experience.
7-8 Don’t be misled: No one makes a fool of God. What a person plants, he will harvest. The person who plants selfishness, ignoring the needs of others—ignoring God!—harvests a crop of weeds. All he’ll have to show for his life is weeds! But the one who plants in response to God, letting God’s Spirit do the growth work in him, harvests a crop of real life, eternal life.
9-10 So let’s not allow ourselves to get fatigued doing good. At the right time we will harvest a good crop if we don’t give up, or quit. Right now, therefore, every time we get the chance, let us work for the benefit of all, starting with the people closest to us in the community of faith.
11-13 Now, in these last sentences, I want to emphasize in the bold scrawls of my personal handwriting the immense importance of what I have written to you. These people who are attempting to force the ways of circumcision on you have only one motive: They want an easy way to look good before others, lacking the courage to live by a faith that shares Christ’s suffering and death. All their talk about the law is gas. They themselves don’t keep the law! And they are highly selective in the laws they do observe. They only want you to be circumcised so they can boast of their success in recruiting you to their side. That is contemptible!
14-16 For my part, I am going to boast about nothing but the Cross of our Master, Jesus Christ. Because of that Cross, I have been crucified in relation to the world, set free from the stifling atmosphere of pleasing others and fitting into the little patterns that they dictate. Can’t you see the central issue in all this? It is not what you and I do—submit to circumcision, reject circumcision. It is what God is doing, and he is creating something totally new, a free life! All who walk by this standard are the true Israel of God—his chosen people. Peace and mercy on them!
17 Quite frankly, I don’t want to be bothered anymore by these disputes. I have far more important things to do—the serious living of this faith. I bear in my body scars from my service to Jesus.
18 May what our Master Jesus Christ gives freely be deeply and personally yours, my friends. Oh, yes!
The Message (MSG)
Copyright © 1993, 2002, 2018 by Eugene H. Peterson
Click here to order “The Message” by Eugene Peterson – UK / Europe
Click here to order “The Message” by Eugene Peterson – USA / Worldwide
Note: This blogpost was written and posted, first, on Facebook on Christmas Eve morning, Tuesday 24th December 2019.
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