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Tuesday, December 24, 2013

From the food bowl to the cross... and how He can sympathize.

Yesterday I read the Nativity Story to some little children in our town. I explained how "the manger" wasn't a cute wooden bassinet with fresh yellow hay but really more similar to their dog's food bowl, in a sense. The Son of God in a food bowl. The One Who Holds Eternity and "in Whom All Things Hold Together" in a stinky stone or clay bowl. Emmanuel, "God is with Us." He humbled Himself to be able to save us. 

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But today I'm pretty bummed... one part of our adoption process that was supposed to take 3 days is taking weeks, and therefore pushing back our estimated travel time by weeks... and I'm thinking of Katie. I truly appreciate all the sweet words from friends but it is true that until you have your child separated from you, not by an umbilical cord, but by an ocean, I'm not sure you could totally understand. But Jesus does. I can be sure He knows heartache and suffering... because of Christmas and Easter... From the cradle to the cross. God sent His Son to leave the Throne Room of Heaven to go to a dirty, stinky animal barn and to experience pain and hardship and disappointments and evil... so that, according to Hebrews: 

"Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has ascended into heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess. For we do not have a high priest who is unable to empathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet he did not sin. Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Hebrews 4:14-16

Are you hurting right now? Jesus has "been there, done that", and can sympathize. He came down from heaven on High, to " be one of us" so He could represent us, in His death, to pay our debt of sin, and reconcile us to God. The Gospel in a nutshell. 

He's able to sympathize with a mother's aching heart. He's able to sympathize with the orphan crying herself to sleep-- or the situation I fear the very most-- the orphan who does not cry because she learned years ago that no one comes to comfort her anyways. 

He's able to sympathize with those of you hurting because of family disputes and quarrels, or those of you today feeling alone and full of sadness. I had a sweet friend come by yesterday to bring me a Christmas card and a thoughtful handmade gift. I simply looked her in the eyes and asked how she was doing. A river of TEARS came, and her shoulders shook, and pain and grief spilled out... grief over losses, grief over family situations, true grief... at "the MOST wonderful time of the year"-- (as the popular carol ironically promises). I hugged her tightly and thought... WOW! So many people must be hurting this time of year. He is ABLE to "go there" with us... and He WANTS to. When we know Jesus, He INVITES us to "approach God's throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need." Is it your time of need? If you know Jesus, He is the mediator between you and God. Because He is fully God and fully man He is the best mediator. You don't have to be in a sanctuary or in a confession booth with a priest to be forgiven or find mercy and grace. You simply need to come to Jesus. He makes us right with God. 

He has been one of us. The INCARNATION changed EVERYTHING. Jesus Christ=God Incarnate. 

If you've never felt that you have received mercy and grace from God... I invite you to come be with us, celebrate His Incarnation with us, tonight, at our church at the candlelit Christmas Eve service. And find me or Doug there... we'd love to give you a hug! More Info:

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