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Christmas Eve Special

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman
The Truth Network Radio
December 24, 2022 1:00 am

Christmas Eve Special

Building Relationships / Dr. Gary Chapman

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December 24, 2022 1:00 am

Don’t miss a Christmas Eve Special broadcast from Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. You’ll hear music and voices of the past celebrating the true meaning of Christmas. God showed his love to us in the Word made flesh. That relationship changes every other relationship in our lives. Enjoy the warmth of conversations on a Christmas Eve edition of Building Relationships with Gary Chapman.

Featured resource: Hosanna in Excelsis: Hymns and Devotions for the Christmas Season

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Hi, everyone. My name is Emma, and I serve as a producer here at Moody Radio. I want to take a quick second to tell you about our newest podcast, 52 Weeks in the Word. This podcast hosted by Trillia Newbell will walk you through the Bible cover to cover in 52 weeks. Each week, Trillia sits down with a guest for a 10-minute conversation about the weekly reading, Bible reading habits, and spiritual disciplines. Some of these guests include our very own Chris Brooks, Jen Wilkin, Nancy Guthrie, and many more. If you've ever wanted to read the Bible in a year, now's your chance. Listen to the trailer, follow and subscribe on the Moody Radio app or anywhere you listen to podcasts.

Episode one drops on January 1st. God often visits and disrupts our very ordinary lives. He comes among the most ordinary people. Christmas songs and Christmas carols are all around us, and I think it's a wonderful way to introduce the gospel in a non-threatening way to the world. I think we need to help those growing up in this culture today to understand there's a whole different issue at Christmas, and Santa is not God. Those who keep the law, God says, I'll walk with you and be your God, and you'll be My people. It's what the cross was about. It was what the incarnation was about. So Immanuel is what it is all about.

Welcome to Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Merry Christmas on this Christmas Eve. We have a fantastic celebration for you as we think of what happened in Bethlehem 2,000 years ago. Peace on earth, goodwill to men is straight ahead, and no matter what's going on in this season of your life, there is rest, there is peace, there is joy because of the lengths to which God went to show His love to us. We're going back in the archives of several years of Christmas programs to present a cavalcade of guests.

Oh, now there's a good word. And here's another, a cornucopia of Christmas guests and topics. And of course, we have a featured resource for you from two of our guests. David and Barbara Lehman wrote a book we talked about a few years ago titled Hosanna in Excelsis, Hymns and Devotions for the Christmas Season. You can find out more about that at our website, buildingrelationships.us.

Just go to buildingrelationships.us. Before we hear from the Lehmans, we want to start with a bit of conversation Gary had with author and speaker Dan Darling. This is from 2019. They were talking about a little book called The Characters of Christmas. I think this will set the tone of our program today as Dan talks about the ordinary, everyday people who were living their little lives in the middle of something extraordinary that was happening in their sleepy little town. Here's Dan Darling talking about what motivated him to study the characters of Christmas. You know, I've always loved, loved Christmas ever since I was just a little kid. All the traditions that we had and growing up in the church, I loved when December comes around.

I still do. Just kind of how our hearts are turned toward the baby in the manger, the festivity, the lights, but most importantly, that we have an opportunity to focus on the story of God visiting us in Jesus, God coming among the ordinary. I've always been intrigued by the ordinary people who are swept up in this story of Christmas. Those people around our nativity sets, those people that we dress up to be like in our pageants, and what their lives must have been like in that first Christmas. Why do you think that through the years in our country, Christmas seems to become more and more commercial, more and more secular, rather than focusing on the sentiment of Christ's birth?

You know, it's interesting. I think there's a couple of reactions to Christmas that we can have. One is to be rightly sort of, you know, one wrong reaction is to get caught up in everything around Christmas instead of the actual story. I think there is a way to sort of celebrate it without actually focusing on the good news of Jesus coming.

I think the other way is to kind of go the opposite. Sometimes Christians can be cranky. I find myself sometimes having to fight that. We're so much against that that we're sort of the cranky people. I think at the heart of it is joy, is of God coming to earth in the form of a baby. Because of that, we can celebrate. Because of that, we can give gifts and we can celebrate if our King has come to renew and restore the world, but also to renew and restore our hearts.

We should rejoice. The whole thing of gift-giving, of course, is a big thing at Christmas in our culture. Kids look forward to the gifts they're going to get.

Even adults look forward to the gifts they're going to get. Sometimes I hear Christians say, well, you know, it's just become a gift-giving thing and we don't really concentrate on Christ. But we're not against gift-giving, right? I mean, that's one of "The 5 Love Languages" . Gift-giving.

Yes, I'm not going to be against gift-giving when I'm talking to the author of the love languages. But I do think, I think you're right. I think there's a way that it gets out of hand. And I think in our families, we have to be the ones that are keeping our kids from making that everything. What am I getting?

And how come I'm not getting this? In focusing us on this, our kids on the story at hand. At the other hand, you know, being cranky about it. I mean, if Jesus has come and if this story is true and he is the King and he has come to save us from our sins, it's time for celebration. It's time for feast and for gift-giving to each other.

I mean, all through the Bible, we see this, right? That God compelled his people to celebrate with gift-giving and with celebration. So we shouldn't swing the pendulum back so far that we're sort of like these utilitarian, cranky people that no one wants to be around on Christmas.

Yeah. So we're giving. If we just communicate clearly, you know, we give gifts to each other, seeing what God did for us, the great gift he gave us. Tying that together is important, I think, in a Christian home, right?

I think it is. And I think it's incumbent on parents to set the tone. And I think one of the ways we can do that is having regular times where we go through the Christmas story, celebrating Advent every day or whatever our rhythms are, and allowing our kids to really meditate on the story in a way that's fun, in a way that helps them interact with Christmas. Christmas is like a multifaceted diamond.

There's so many wonderful spiritual truths that emanate from the story that there's so much that we can easily take several weeks before Christmas and get our hearts ready. Yeah. So what you do in this book is you're really digging into the lives of the people who were there that first Christmas, not just Christ, you know, born in Bethlehem, but the people surrounding all of that, which I think is a fascinating approach to explore the broader picture of what was happening at Christmas.

Yeah. I mean, when we think about Christmas, 2,000 years later, all these people are larger than life. They're characters in our Christmas pageants and they're around our nativity sets. But we have to remember that that first Christmas, these were ordinary people.

They didn't know this was coming. There was not big neon signs saying, you know, 25 days till Christmas for the shepherds and the wise men and the innkeeper and Mary and Joseph even. I mean, so it tells us, I think, that God often visits and disrupts our very ordinary lives. He comes among the most ordinary people. And this tells us a little bit something about the kingdom of God. Who is the kingdom of God made up of?

It's made up of the ordinary, the forgotten, those who are humble enough to receive Jesus. We hope you're enjoying this special Christmas Eve edition of Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. He's the author of the New York Times bestseller, "The 5 Love Languages" . Our featured resource today is a book by David and Barbara Lehman titled Hosanna in Excelsis, Hymns and Devotions for the Christmas Season. Find out more by going to buildingrelationships.us.

That's buildingrelationships.us. David and Barbara Lehman are both graduates of Biola University School of Music. David's retired director of music and worship. Barbara has taught music at a private Christian school in Dallas, Texas, and they joined Gary last year in 2021. And Barbara talked about why singing together is so important.

I speak to young moms, first grade moms every year, teaching them why singing is important and why music is important. I said, well, the first thing I think is because it's important to God. Take your Bible and open it to the middle and you will find the largest book of the Bible there called the Psalms. It's basically a hymn book right in the middle of the Bible. And these were written to be sung. It's not just poetry. They're Psalms to be sung in praise to God. So God has given us this huge amount of poetry and beauty to praise Him with.

So that's why it's important, number one. Number two, I tell them that it's important that we sing because we are redeemed people. We have a song to sing. The very first hymn recorded in the Bible is in the book of Exodus after the crossing of the Red Sea.

And the people had left their enemies behind and they were rejoicing. And the first thing they did was sing, I will sing unto the Lord for He has triumphed gloriously the horse and rider thrown into the sea. The Lord is my strength and my song and He has become my salvation.

That is our song. We are redeemed people. So it's important that we sing and it's important that we sing together because it creates a solidarity. The family becomes united.

The generations become united. The hymns that we have chosen are cross-denominational. So the denominations become united in one voice of praising God for our redemption. David, many churches have moved away from traditional hymns and they sing more contemporary songs. What are we missing by not singing the hymns that people have been singing for hundreds of years? If you think of our song canon in churches, what we generally sing, as like a photograph book of a history of your family, by not singing the hymns, it's as if we've pulled out all the pictures of grandma and grandpa or great-grandma and great-grandpa and said, we only want to see the people that are alive today. There's nothing wrong with seeing the people that are alive today or singing contemporary songs. But shouldn't we look at what the legacy was left for us by people who wrote these hymns hundreds, even thousands of years ago that are so good, there's such quality that we still sing them today.

They've passed that test of time. So while we think that we can sing all kinds of hymns and songs and hymns and spiritual songs, according to the apostle Paul, we wonder if we've left off too many of the ones that really nurture us and feed us, both on the Christian wisdom that people like Charles Wesley, Isaac Watts, and others bring to us. But we really give only what's contemporary the priority. And there's, again, nothing wrong with the contemporary.

We're not against that. We're just saying, don't throw out that which has stood and served us and still teaches us today. One of my favorite carols in the book is probably the oldest text that we have in the book. It comes from the fifth century, and it's carol number eight, Of the Father's Love Begotten.

The tune name is Divinum Mysterium, Divine Mystery. And it makes the incarnation and the birth of Christ so mystical and so beautiful. And I love it because it basically originates in John 1. In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him was not anything made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.

The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it. And then verse 14, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. And we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. Those words are mysterious when you read them in a way, and the carol, I think, underscores that. Of the Father's Love Begotten, ere the worlds began to be, He is Alpha and Omega, He the Source, the Ending He.

Of the things that are and have been, and that future you shall see, evermore and evermore. It's put to a playing song chant from the 12th century that is so well paired with the words. And then the second verse has a phrase in it talking about that Mary has, by the Holy Ghost, conceived and bore the Savior of our race. And the Babe, the world's Redeemer, first revealed His sacred face. When I first taught that to the children that I was teaching, it just grabbed me in a way that suddenly in the manger we had all of human history. We had from the promises and the prophets and the history of Israel. Suddenly the promise was here, and there was His face right before them.

And that just explodes my imagination. I think of Simeon in the temple. Four hundred years of silence he was aware of since they had heard from the prophets, and yet he held in his arms and wanted to behold that sacred face. And what a blessed story that is. In our Christmas chapel that we did every year at my school, this was held a very special place, this particular song. And the children that read that scripture before it, from John 1, were usually a first grader and a second grader. And these children would read that. It was a service of lessons of carols that we put together for our Christmas program. And after they would read that, we would sing that carol.

It was just a very moving and stunning moment in our chapel. You know, Barbara, you divided this collection into three sections. Tell us what they are and why you divided them this way. Well the Christmas season has three portions to it. And I think in America today we think about Christmas Day, and that's Christmas is one day of the year. But in the Christian year it begins four Sundays before Christmas with Advent. Advent is a word that means waiting or coming. And we're celebrating the waiting or the coming not only of Christmas that year, but we're remembering the long wait that Israel had waiting for their Redeemer.

And I think it's important that we remember that and we teach our children that. And then I have a little poem again back to my teaching days, Advent Christmas Epiphany Lent, an Easter Alleluia and a Pentecost event. Christian year, Christian year, celebrate the seasons of the Christian year.

As our children learned that every year, it helped them. I felt like it helped to introduce the gospel story through the life of Christ to children. I did not grow up in a liturgical church that celebrated the different seasons of the Christian year, but I found that I grew to love them as an adult when I understood them better, when I understand the coming of Christ and waiting and lighting the Advent calendars. That brings great meaning and anticipation to something besides opening up presents on Christmas morning. And then, of course, Christmas is our second section, and in our book we call it the Nativity. All the songs in that section start before Christmas, but they're all songs of the angels and Nativity, the story of the birth. And then after Christmas Day begins the season of Epiphany.

I think this one is probably the least known of the three, the three sections of the three seasons of the Christmas year to us. And yet to me, it's wonderful because Epiphany is about the story of the three wise men coming. They follow the light. Light is a sign of Epiphany. Epiphany is a word that means, I get it.

I finally understand. It's an epiphany to me. The light bulb goes on. And the light bulb that goes on that is so amazing is that Jesus did not just come to the Jewish people, the Israelites. He came for all of us.

We Gentiles are the ones who were afar off and brought near. So I think Epiphany is totally appropriate for us to celebrate after Christmas because it's the part of the Christmas story where we come in that includes us. And I love teaching that to the children every year as we go through those, the various carols. I wanted to make note too that we have a section that describes each of those in our book at the Nativity and Epiphany.

But we also placed old English poetry that we found by Robert Herrick before Advent. What sweeter music can we bring than a carol for to sing? The next two sections of John Milton poem on Christmas morning, we took selections from that to help just add beauty to the book describing a more beautiful way those three seasons of Christmas.

Yeah. You know, I'm guessing, Barbara, that a lot of us who did not grow up in liturgical churches really have never really sensed the depth of what you just walked us through, you know, Advent, Nativity, Epiphany. And that's why I think this book is going to be kind of a fresh light on the whole Christmas season for many Christians who did not grow up in liturgical services. So, you know, to me, I think you're giving a great service just in those three things and focusing on those three things.

Thank you. David, we usually use the term Christmas carols, but you're calling them Christian hymns. What's the difference?

Well, they're really synonymous, but with a distinction. A carol is not necessarily a sacred song. The people would call Jingle Bells a Christmas carol. Maybe as Christians we wouldn't, but to the world that's what's seen. And generally the word carol defines something that's a little bit lighthearted and you can dance to it, has that sense.

But these songs in the book could be called carols, but we call them hymns because hymns are always a sacred text, a text about a deity. And so that's what they are to us. But again, they're both. Yeah.

Okay. So we have a choice. We can sing Christmas hymns or Christmas carols.

I like that distinction because I think you're exactly right. Barbara, give us another carol and give us the story. Once again, this is a carol by association.

I love by association. It's called Once in Royal David's City. It was written by an Irish woman, Cecil Alexander, who started writing poetry very young and continued to write. And she decided to do a set of poems to teach children the meaning of each of the phrases of the Apostles' Creed. And she wrote Once in Royal David's City for the part of the Creed that says, born of a virgin and laid in a manger, born of the Virgin Mary. And so it begins with telling that sweet, simple story. Another word about her that I just wanted to say is that I want us to remember that these people who wrote these, they were poets, they were learned people.

And of this particular author, one time she wrote a poem called The Burial of Moses, and it caused Alfred Lord Tennyson to say that it was one of the few poems by another author that he wished he himself had written. And I tell that story just to say it elevates who we're reading and the worth of why it is important for us to pay attention to these kind of old dusty poems maybe that we haven't thought about in a long time. Again, this song is used in the Lessons in Carol service that King's College does.

And each year it begins the service. And several years ago at the encouragement of one of our parents, school parents and board members, his name is Stephen Nielsen. I don't know if any of you are familiar with Stephen, but he's a concert pianist who used to be part of the duo, Nielsen and Young. And he suggested to me, why don't we do a service of Lessons in Carols?

And then he proceeded to help us each year put this together. And also, I just want you to know that the piano recording we have of all these carols is Stephen Nielsen playing. So you can sing as a family being accompanied by a concert pianist if you care to do that. Anyway, at the beginning of the service, we have the service starts with my great privilege every year was to choose the child that would learn the first verse and would sing it a cappella unaccompanied to begin the service. And the most poignant point of that service to me was after a beautiful prelude, the church is quiet, probably a thousand, twelve hundred people sitting in silence, and they're all waiting for one thing. They're waiting to hear that small voice from the back of the room begin a cappella and walk down the aisle singing this one simple, beautiful verse alone. And then we join on the second verse, the whole congregation. To me, that was more moving than any Christmas pageant that you could ever put on, because it was a group of people and parents and students and children joining together and singing that wonderful story and waiting for that moment when the story was told, Once in Royal David City stood a lonely manger shed. And then it goes on to talk about Jesus as our childhood pattern and our eyes that last shall see Him.

It takes us on to have all of the stories there. Jesus is our childhood pattern, day by day, like us He grew. He was little, weak and helpless, with tears and smiles, like us He knew. And He feels for all our sadness, and He shares in all our gladness. And our eyes that last shall see Him, through His own redeeming love.

For the child, so dear and gentle, is our Lord in heaven above, and he leads his children on to the place where he is gone. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman, author of the New York Times bestseller "The 5 Love Languages" . On this Christmas Eve edition of the program, we're hearing some special moments from past programs. And in this segment, we'll hear more from David and Barbara Lehman. They put together our featured resource, Hosanna in Excelsis, Hymns and Devotions for the Christmas Season. You can find out more at buildingrelationships.us.

That's buildingrelationships.us. Barbara, in this past segment, you gave us a visual picture of a student, a young student, maybe a first grader, singing a cappella, the first stanza of this song. So we got this picture in our minds now.

We're seated there with these 1,200 people. Read that stanza again, and let us all experience the truth about which this child is singing. Well, happily. Once in Royal David City stood a lowly cattle shed, where a mother laid her baby in a manger for his bed. Mary was that mother mild, Jesus Christ, her little child.

Wow. I think all of us can feel that, you know. We can see that child singing it, and we can see what the child is singing about. So I did that because I want our listeners to get a feel for what this devotional book can really do for them individually, as well as for the family. So David, give us another carol and the story. Let me talk about one that, when it was written in the 1800s, would never have been sung in church. And the reason is, it would have been considered much too frivolous, too happy. And they were sober and severe in their celebration of worship.

And yet it was probably used because the people loved it so much, but no one claimed the authorship. It's totally anonymous because they didn't want to be censored by the church. You have any guess as to what that carol is? It's God Rest You, Mary, gentlemen. Oh.

Yes. So we don't know exactly when it was written, a precise date, and obviously who wrote it, but somewhere in the 1800s. And it brought joy to people. Charles Dickens employed the song in A Christmas Carol, but it was way too much joy for Scrooge.

He rejected it at all. He proclaimed. But we think it's a wonderful song. It's a little bit more horizontal in direction than vertical toward God. It's really to encourage one another. God Rest You, you see. And don't let anything dismay you.

Remember, Christ our Savior was born on Christmas Day to save us from Satan's power when we had gone astray. And then it always ends with this short refrain, O tidings of comfort and joy. Two pillars that the songwriter said we need in our lives.

And oh boy, is it not true today. Comfort and joy. And so it's a great song to take. We always try to do some caroling in our neighborhood. I play the accordion and I strap it on and grab another few Christian families and walk up and down our street singing songs like God Rest You, Mary, gentlemen, and others that are familiar. Because we think it's a wonderful way to share Christ at Christmas with our neighbors.

Well, I hope COVID will not keep you from doing that this year. They can stand six feet apart while they sing. Okay, of course.

Absolutely. You know, Barbara, I know that you have a heart for those who feel intimidated about singing with others, you know, in a public gathering or maybe sometimes even in the family. They feel like they can't sing well, you know, and so they're reticent.

What would you say to those people? Well, the first thing I would say to them is sing. God has given us a gift of song to all people and every person that can speak can sing. And I think that the culture has given us a different message telling us, well, there are singers and there are listeners. And I often have people say to me, oh, you don't want to hear me sing. And I would like to say to them, oh, yes, I would love to hear you sing. And I think that the fact is that people feel because of this performance mentality that we've had, which has really only been around the last couple of hundred years.

I think before that everyone's saying more. That was the only music. If you wanted music, you provided it for yourself. But that performance mentality has given us a sense that we're being judged by our singing and no one should ever feel judged by their singing. And so I would simply encourage people, even if you haven't grown up singing or you're not used to it, just try.

Just get it out there. I think parents of young children know that your young child can learn to sing. It's much harder as an adult, but little children can all learn to sing. And so that's one of my vocations in life is to encourage people to sing. You know, I'm thinking also if you're standing in a congregation singing and you happen to be a musician, I mean, you know, a trained musician, I hope in hearing the person next to you, maybe missing a note here or there, you would just say, God bless them. I'm glad they're singing. Amen. Amen.

Absolutely. Well, David, there's a song you included that I don't think I've ever heard. Why did you include, and here's the name of the song, on Jordan's bank, the Baptist cry? Well, it's not talking about Baptist by denomination. It's talking about John the Baptist, who obviously had a very important part in the Christmas story because he was a foreteller of Jesus.

And I think he needs to have some recognition for that. And so this great hymn, it is true. I'm not surprised you don't know it. Not very many people sing it, although would you believe it's found in 145 modern hymnals. But it was written in the late 1600s and by a person who was trying to teach people against some of the doctrines of the Catholic Church. And it's only the first verse that really refers to John the Baptist. From there on, it goes on to exclaim the Christmas story, the mystery of the incarnation, and it guides us through our repentance that is part of the Advent expression. So it is in our Advent part of the book. And it encourages the gift of grace by which without were doomed as flowers bright for a season, then gone.

We know that the only way that our current political issues and social problems will be solved is by the power of Christ and the grace of forgiveness. And so it has that all in this book, in this song. And we just felt we have 43 hymns and it was not easy choosing which ones should go in this. We stopped at 43 because we wanted one for every day at the beginning of Advent, which is four weeks, the Sunday four weeks before Christmas Day, and then through January 6th, which is the epiphany. And so that's how we came up with 43. And we tried to use all the most familiar carols, the first Noels and Silent Night and so forth.

But then we were able to include a few of these, like on Jordan's bank, that are not as familiar. This is Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman. We hope you're enjoying our Christmas Eve special. And we're going to end with a guest whose music is known by generations of Christians around the world. Singer, songwriter Michael Card. Michael joined us 11 years ago and we talked about the people who populate the Christmas story. And then we got personal when Michael talked about his own relationship with God.

Here's Michael Card. Well, I grew up in a Christian home. Both of my grandfathers were Baptist ministers.

So I mean, Jesus was always this person. He was always this presence in our house. My father was a doctor, but he was a Christian doctor who prayed with his patients. My mother loved the Scriptures. I grew up in a very good context.

I'm very thankful I grew up in this context. I don't have a real flashy testimony. I walked the aisle when I was eight. But I would still say there's this moment in everyone's life when it has to become your own, when you have to make it your own.

God has no grandchildren. And for me, I didn't do it very gracefully, to be honest with you. I was in high school and got real serious with reading my Bible, didn't have much of a prayer life. She said, when you're 16, you don't have to go to Sunday school anymore. And so the day I turned 16, buddy, I was out of there because I was very serious about the Bible and very critical of my church and became very critical of my family and was a complete jerk. And so when I came to faith on my own and made it my own, I'm afraid I didn't do it very gracefully.

But God still brought me back around and blessed me, and my parents forgave me. You know, Michael, I think you put your hand on something there, walking away from God because of what you see in the church, maybe as an organization or sometimes in people. And I wonder today, when people see Christians in America, I wonder if they're drawn to Him or if they see in us things that push them away from Him.

Yeah, and I'm afraid we all know the answer to that question. But the good news is that I think God is still doing His thing and that there's still so many individuals, there's so many people who love the Lord and are on a one-on-one basis, are doing racial reconciliation, doing neighborhood renewal, reaching out to, you know, AIDS victims. All those people that oftentimes for theological reasons the church quits reaching out to, I've still got to believe, you know, God's doing His thing.

But it breaks my heart, Gary, that so often we're our own worst enemy. But again, the fleet of the life of Jesus, what happens early in the ministry of Jesus, He's, just like Paul, He's preaching in synagogues, and He preaches that sermon in Nazareth where He says that there are all these times that God reached out to the Gentiles before He reached out to the Jews, and that's it. They kick Him out of the synagogue, He never goes back. So organized religion, you know, didn't embrace Jesus very well either.

So it's always been a struggle. Chris brought up the concept that one of the names of Jesus is Immanuel, which means? Which means God with us, which is His incarnation name, and it's the perfect name. Because what I like to think that it embraces the whole Bible, because it's the deepest desire of God is to be with us.

That's what the garden, we saw in the garden after the fall, right? After the fall, God is still saying, Adam, where are you? Because His deepest desire is to be with us, and He gives us the law. The purpose of the law is that we might be with God, the promise in Leviticus is that those who keep the law, God says, I'll walk with you and be your God, and you'll be my people. It's what the cross was about, it was what the incarnation was about, it was the last words from His lips were, behold, I'm with you, see, I've got the God who's with us. And then the climax of the Bible in Revelation 21, John hears a loud voice saying, At last the dwelling of God is with men and women, and He will live with them.

So Immanuel is what it is all about. Yeah. You know, I was reading just recently again, Michael, Matthew chapter one, where it lists the genealogy of Jesus traced back through Joseph.

And I was astounded at so many people in that list who were liars, who were murderers, who were prostitutes, and they're all in the genealogy of Jesus. Right. That gives hope, does it not, for people today who may feel no hope in their life, in their relationships? Oh, absolutely.

And I, you know, when I look at my own life and see what a liar and what a cheater and what, you know, how in so many ways I've fallen short, I always look back and realize, you know, but that's all God has to work with, is people with mixed motives and the people in that genealogy. Right. And God, you know, God love him. I mean, I love the man, but I think Billy Graham would tell you all he's got is mixed motives. Right.

That's all any of us have. And so isn't it wonderful that God allows us to be part of this? I saw this in Mark for the first time. Jesus begins his preaching ministry before he calls his disciples.

He could have done it without them. But isn't it amazing that after he begins his preaching ministry, he calls us to be part of what he's doing? And wow, what an incredible privilege that is. Yeah. You know, you mentioned Billy Graham. I was up at the Cove, the Billy Graham Training Center just recently, and I saw a quote on the wall in the little museum part there where Billy had said about his ministry and his life, I just feel like a spectator standing back watching God work. Wow.

Wow. And for Billy Graham to say that, I mean, it's one thing for Billy Graham to say that, but that's true for us all, isn't it? I mean, my approach to ministry, I mean, whenever I do a concert or speak or whatever it is I do, I always stop and say, okay, one, don't humiliate yourself. Two, don't mess up what God's doing, right? God's doing something. Don't you dare mess that up, okay?

So now go do whatever it is yourself. Don't get in his way. Don't get in his way. Well, Michael, it's been great to have you on the program today, and we're going to close with your song, Immanuel. Can you tell us how you came to write this song? Well, this song came from our wedding.

The sermon that was preached at our wedding 30 years ago by William Lane was, it was a Christmas wedding, December 14th, and the message that Bill preached was, in the context of marriage, Immanuel, if God is with you in the context of your marriage, who could ever be against you? And I wrote that song, it came out maybe a year later, and Bill called me and said, oh, Michael, I just heard your song, Immanuel, what a marvelous use of scripture you have. And I laughed. I said, Bill, that was your sermon that you preached at our wedding. And he laughed, he belly laughed on the phone. And he said, well, I did think it was particularly fine.

But that's where that song came from. That's how our marriage started, was hearing this word, if God is with you, then who could be against you? Well, Michael, it's been great to have you with us today. God bless you. Hope you have a wonderful Christmas season. Thank you so much. And the same right back to you, Dr. Chapman, and Andrea and Chris, always good to be with you guys.

Michael Card from a conversation more than a decade ago, and we hope you've enjoyed this Christmas Eve edition of our program. For our featured resource, go to buildingrelationships.us, and you can see the Lehman's book, Hosanna in Excelsis. You can also find simple ways to strengthen relationships right there.

Go to buildingrelationships.us. Our thanks to Steve Wick and Janice Backing. Next week, our final Dear Gary of 2022.

Don't miss it. Building Relationships with Dr. Gary Chapman is a production of Moody Radio in association with Moody Publishers, a ministry of Moody Bible Institute. Moody Radio is so thankful for a 2022 filled with biblical programming, impactful messages and relevant discussion. If you'd like to help us start 2023 strong, consider a gift at GiveToMoody.com. That's GiveToMoody.com.
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