Christmas Week – The Cast: JESUS

He was

and is

and is to come

 

Always God,

never began

 

Infinitely wise

 

He,

Father

Son

Holy Spirit

 

– One together –

chose us

 

before the beginning of the world

 

And He knew of the sacrifice

before He even made us

 

The selfless

and the painful

sacrifice

 

for we would need rescuing

before all was said and done

 

And, God,

in relationship with Himself

 

gave us His Son

and told us He would be called Jesus

 

for He would be the Salvation

everyone would need

 

He would save us all

from our sins

 

And we would not hold Him

in high esteem

 

nor love Him like we should

 

He would be introduced into this world

in the humblest way

 

for that is His nature,

humble of spirit

 

And the angels who have always known Him

marveled that He would

 

do this thing

for those such as us

 

The angels would praise

and glorify

and announce the King who was a child!

 

And prepare those closest

to this infant

 

so they would know the gravity

of the appearance of God

 

But non could have fathomed

the greatness

and boundless love

 

of this One and only God

made flesh

 

Before time, His was the earth

as His footstool

 

His was heaven beautiful

and pure

 

His was the universe

and everything in it

 

and yet…

 

He became nothing,

poured out for all

 

And so,

He is Jesus

 

The greatest of The Cast

in this true story

 

Tiny baby human

completely Divine

 

But, hear this!

 

The next cast member

is you!

 

for you are part of this story as well

the story of humanity in time

 

seen by an infinite God

 

What will you do with this Savior

of all mankind?

 

There is no neutral,

for He came for all

 

You must choose to accept

or your choice is already made

 

Choose Jesus’ love,

dear friend

 

Choose the One

who came for you

 

 

– Susie Stewart

 

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; He is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen Him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, He was named Jesus, the name the angel had given Him before He was conceived.

– Luke 2:1-21 (NIV)

 

The people walking in darkness
    have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of deep darkness
    a light has dawned.

– Isaiah 9:2 (NIV)

 

For to us a child is born,
    to us a Son is given,
    and the government will be on His shoulders.
And He will be called
    Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
    Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Of the greatness of His government and peace
    there will be no end.
He will reign on David’s throne
    and over His kingdom,
establishing and upholding it
    with justice and righteousness
    from that time on and forever.
The zeal of the Lord Almighty
    will accomplish this.

– Isaiah 9:6,7 (NIV)

 

For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.

– John 3:16 (NIV)

 

Who, being in very nature God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to His own advantage;
rather, He made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,
    He humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
        even death on a cross!

Therefore God exalted Him to the highest place
    and gave Him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
    in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord,
    to the glory of God the Father.

– Philippians 2:6-11 (NIV)

 

 

He was despised and rejected by mankind,
    a man of suffering, and familiar with pain.
Like one from whom people hide their faces
    He was despised, and we held Him in low esteem.

– Isaiah 53:3 (NIV)

 

Even before He made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in His eyes.

– Ephesians 1:4 (NLT)

 

 

 

 

 

Christmas Week – The Cast: A Shepherd

Why would the starry heavens open

to reveal glory

 

to someone

such as me?

 

I tell you,

I know not why

 

But that is what happened

one unforgettable night

 

just outside of Bethlehem

 

It was a beautiful, clear night

as we watched our flocks closely

 

We live out in the wilderness

away from the town and the people

 

It was just us

and it was just the sheep

 

But God

noticed

us

 

Believe me when I tell you,

He sent angels

 

lit with His glory and light!

 

They were as prisms

radiating pure white color

 

We were overwhelmed

and terrified

and humbled

and awestruck

 

One of them spoke,

“Do not be afraid!”

 

This angel of the Lord

spoke to us!

 

He was bringing us great news

and he said it would bring great joy

 

for ALL PEOPLE!

 

Humble shepherds

told this important news

 

for all the world…

it was more than we could take in

 

But then I thought…

 

about how the Scriptures said

that the Lord is the good Shepherd

 

…The LORD

is the good Shepherd….

 

and I thought that just maybe

He truly cared about lowly shepherds

 

and small sheep….

 

The angel then revealed news

that we could hardly believe

 

He told us that in David’s home town

of Bethlehem

 

the Messiah had actually been born!

The Lord!

 

And he told us how to find Him

 

Imagine,

the Messiah Lord

being born…

 

and he was wrapped in swaddling,

just as a baby should be

 

or a person ready for burial…

 

But just as we wanted to jump up

and find this small King…

 

the entire sky lit up

with the glory of many angels!!

 

So many

we couldn’t count!

 

We shielded our eyes

but we couldn’t look away

 

The most beautiful sight

we had ever seen!

 

They were praising God,

of course they were!

 

And we bowed low

as we struggled to take it all in

 

“Glory to God in the highest heaven,

and on earth peace to those on whom His favor rests.”

 

The most inspiring, true words

I had ever heard

 

When they left we took a breath,

stunned to our very core

 

and we got up and ran into David’s town

to see what the Lord had told us

 

There we found Him,

the infant King just born

 

and the God of promise

solidified His oath

 

to bring us the One to save us,

the people of frail earth

 

And we had to tell all,

for everyone needed to know

 

about love Divine

Messiah small

 

Hope for all the world

 

– Susie Stewart

 

 

That night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep. Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them. They were terrified, but the angel reassured them. “Don’t be afraid!” he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people. The Savior—yes, the Messiah, the Lord—has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David! And you will recognize Him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”

Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others—the armies of heaven—praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in highest heaven,
    and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”

When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”

They hurried to the village and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the manger. After seeing Him, the shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child. All who heard the shepherds’ story were astonished, but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often. The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen. It was just as the angel had told them.

– Luke 2:8-20 (NLT)

 

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    He leads me beside peaceful streams.
  He renews my strength.
He guides me along right paths,
    bringing honor to His name.
Even when I walk
    through the darkest valley,
I will not be afraid,
    for you are close beside me.
Your rod and your staff
    protect and comfort me.
You prepare a feast for me
    in the presence of my enemies.
You honor me by anointing my head with oil.
    My cup overflows with blessings.
Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me
    all the days of my life,
and I will live in the house of the Lord
    forever.

– Psalm 23:1-6 (NLT)

 

 

I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep.

– John 20:11 (NIV)

 

I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me,

– John 10:14 (NLT)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In the Highest

Jesus,

You who always were

in the highest

 

and always were

the Highest

 

humbled Yourself

lowly

for me

 

And I am in awe

of the sacrifice

 

of majesty

and Sonship

and royalty

 

Because the highest place

and the highest position

and the highest praise

 

are what You deserve

 

A wooden animal trough

made by a carpenter’s hands

is where you came to be

 

And I will forever thank You

and I will forever bless You

and I will forever praise You

 

for You are the Highest

bent low

for me

 

– Susie Stewart

 

And in a flash there appeared with the angel a vast host of the armies of Heaven, praising God, saying, “Glory to God in the highest Heaven! Peace upon earth among men of goodwill!”

– Luke 2:13,14 (PHILLIPS)

 

For the Lord Most High is to be feared [and worshiped with awe-inspired reverence and obedience]; He is a great King over all the earth.

– Psalm 47:2 (NLT)

 

Applause, everyone. Bravo, bravissimo!
Shout God-songs at the top of your lungs!
God Most High is stunning,
astride land and ocean.
He crushes hostile people,
puts nations at our feet.
He set us at the head of the line,
prize-winning Jacob, his favorite.
Loud cheers as God climbs the mountain,
a ram’s horn blast at the summit.
Sing songs to God, sing out!
Sing to our King, sing praise!
He’s Lord over earth,
so sing your best songs to God.
God is Lord of godless nations—
sovereign, He’s King of the mountain.
Princes from all over are gathered,
people of Abraham’s God.
The powers of earth are God’s—
He soars over all.

– Psalm 47:1-9 (MSG)

 

 

I cry out to God Most High, to God who will fulfill His purpose for me.

– Psalm 57:2 (NLT)

 

Lord Most High, Your voice
thundered from the heavens.

– 2 Samuel 22:14 (CEV)

 

I will thank the Lord because He is just; I will sing praise to the name of the Lord Most High.

– Psalm 7:17

 

Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around Him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the One who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!”

– Matthew 21:9 (NLT)

 

Right at the crest, where Mount Olives begins its descent, the whole crowd of disciples burst into enthusiastic praise over all the mighty works they had witnessed: Blessed is He who comes, the king in God’s name! All’s well in heaven! Glory in the high places!

– Luke 19:37,38 (MSG)

 

 

Beautiful Child

Tender

and vulnerable

beautiful Child

 

Poor

and seemingly common

beautiful Child

 

Unassuming

and humble

beautiful Child

 

Highest of all

brought low

for us

 

You are the Answer

 

I love you

beautiful Child

my Savior

 

Willingly given

lovingly cherished

 

God’s beautiful Child

Our beautiful Child

 

Big God

so small

 

Our Prince

of Peace

 

– Susie Stewart

 

There were sheepherders camping in the neighborhood. They had set night watches over their sheep. Suddenly, God’s angel stood among them and God’s glory blazed around them. They were terrified. The angel said, “Don’t be afraid. I’m here to announce a great and joyful event that is meant for everybody, worldwide: A Savior has just been born in David’s town, a Savior who is Messiah and Master. This is what you’re to look for: a baby wrapped in a blanket and lying in a manger.”HAt once the angel was joined by a huge angelic choir singing God’s praises:

Glory to God in the heavenly heights,
Peace to all men and women on earth who please Him.
As the angel choir withdrew into heaven, the sheepherders talked it over. “Let’s get over to Bethlehem as fast as we can and see for ourselves what God has revealed to us.” They left, running, and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in the manger. Seeing was believing. They told everyone they met what the angels had said about this child. All who heard the sheepherders were impressed.

Mary kept all these things to herself, holding them dear, deep within herself. The sheepherders returned and let loose, glorifying and praising God for everything they had heard and seen. It turned out exactly the way they’d been told!

– Luke 2:8-20 (MSG)

 

For a child is born to us,
a son is given to us.
The government will rest on His shoulders.
And He will be called:
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

– Isaiah 9:6 (NLT)