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The Christmas Story- Up Close

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine
The Truth Network Radio
November 30, 2020 1:00 am

The Christmas Story- Up Close

Family Life Today / Dave & Ann Wilson, Bob Lepine

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November 30, 2020 1:00 am

Where is Christ in the busyness of the Christmas season? David Mathis, author and speaker from Desiring God Ministries, shares about his book, "The Christmas We Didn't Expect," giving insight on how to draw from the awe and wonder of the original Christmas story to refocus our hearts.

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Yesterday was the first Sunday in Advent.

This is the way the Christians have mainly talked about Advent.the history of the church's advent is a season of waiting. It's like the fast before the feast. And when you fast before feast. The feast takes all the better. And so, as you mark the Advent season with with weighted we grow in anticipation withdraw her patients and we ready ourselves for the combo to celebrate Christmas day. This is family like today. Our hosts are David and Wilson on Bob Lapine can find a some on the family like we can make this Christmas season. A more special season by embracing this time of waiting in preparation to talk more about that today and welcome to family life today. Thanks for joining us.

It is this your time of your and are you I love this time Sandy has been now does not argue the Grinch you're getting way better. I love Christmas. I love the store.

I love what it means yes but I don't love spending money on gifts married to the woman if we were millionaires we would give it all away. She is her love you, that you I am not giving gifts. I do know this about you. You may not like the trappings of the season, but when it comes to generosity and giving to kingdom work you get excited about that and it's because it's two separate things.

You know, when you buy gifts for Christmas which are on honestly is going a little over-the-top. I love that you know the time that I got is going to be gone five years, you know, the toys are going to be in a closet in five years.

But when you find a mission that's changing the world and you generously give that that's eternal and I gotta tell you, this is been one incredible year.

I mean, think about the year we just gone through and it's really been hard and it's really impacted in many ways and negative ways marriages there in trouble. There's people are struggling getting divorced through this year breaks our hearts like it's been really hard to hear we've received so many prayer requests here and we've been praying and we know that people more than ever are needing Jesus they need help they need help, and we want to help and we get to be a messenger for grace family life today speaks into marriages that are in trouble and it's critical.

Think about this and I want you to hear me this is a year of all years to support what were doing to be a partner with us because what we do brings help and hope and literally change it to change our marriage is change your marriage. I'm guessing it and you get to be a chance to help others. So I'm looking you right in the eye with me working to give generously were asking you to help us because we can literally be life for people in this moment from here to the end of the year is a significant time for us to family life.

What happens over the next few weeks will determine what 2021 is gonna look like for our ministry. We've had to make some hard calls this year because we faced financial challenges, and so we want to ask you to give.

And here's the good news about all of this when you make a donation today.

Whatever amount you give is gonna be matched dollar for dollar up to a total of $2 million.

We had some friends of the ministry who've agreed to provide this matching gift opportunity were pretty excited about that yellow you give a gift today.

Your gift of $100 is matched with $100 from a matching fund if it's $1000 is another thousand comes out of that matching fund. Whatever you give is, can we match dollar for dollar and to say thank you by sending you a couple of thank you gifts first will send you a copy of my book. Love, like you mean it, which is all about what the Bible has to say about what real love looks like a marriage relationship and will send you a flash drive. This is pretty cool. More than 100 of the best family life today programs from the past 28 years we've gone through and pulled out what had been listener favorites on marriage on parenting. Some of the great stories we've heard over the years. This flash drive is the best of the best features you guys, Dennis and Barbara Rainey guests we've had, will send the flash drive and the book as a thank you gift when you donate today go to family life to make your donation or you can call one 800 FL today and we just want to start this week off by saying will you help us out here at family like today. We need to hear from you. We also want to talk about Christmas and getting ready for Christmas and you and I think over the years as we've gone through this with our family. I've started to look forward more and more to the spiritual season of Christmas, not just the holiday and the traditions but keeping Jesus at the center of all of this is so, not only so important.

It's critical I can get such an opportunity for us as parents. It's like in volleyball. It's the set at the top of the net you have a chance to spike home some really good solid spiritual truth. Over the next several weeks and we got David Mathis joining us this week and family like today.

David welcome. Thank you Volga to be. Here is some of some statement is an author. He's a speaker you work full-time with this are going to do it and so if anybody goes to the desiring God website and these articles I benefited from so much of your writing there and now the Advent devotional that you put together called the Christmas we didn't expect which your your heart for this book is so that in the midst of a busy season. We can keep calling our hearts back to what the season is all about trying to keep Christ central in the season when we get the volleyball said yes that Christians would would spike that in our families and our churches with our neighbors how to spike think that's what you've done.

You've given us a tool and reminder Scripture.

I love your book because it really does give us a new insight may be that we haven't discovered in the Bible that we haven't noticed before. Explain advent because some people didn't grow up hearing about Advent. I didn't your church didn't do my thing though no one would have. It was so if there's a lot of people don't know what it means Advent space in the Latin word Adventist. That means coming or arrival.

And so it's the marking of the celebrating of the coming of God himself in human flesh and the person of Jesus Christ's advent is it the season of waiting for that great coming that great first coming and there is also the second coming is drawn in as well using Joy to the world the Lord is come. Isaac Watts wrote that about the second coming right and we sing at Christmas because there is this kind of mapping on of the first coming. The second coming.

The Old Testament saints waited for the first coming waiting for the second coming and so there's a there's an overlap there but that that first admit that main advent is the coming of Jesus. In that first Christmas that we celebrate our seasons. This is something that's been a part of church tradition in the church calendar for centuries. There's really not anything in the Bible that points us to advent as something were supposed to do what the Bible does point us to the events that happen before Jesus came in reflecting on that is really what Advent is about to try Bobby said many of the enemy an opportunity I like to say that Advent is not an obligation is an opportunity.

Romans 14 very clear that Christians are not mandated to celebrate days and feasts and seasons, so there is no biblical mandate that you must celebrate Advent during the December time or lent during the Easter season, or for a specific Christmas day, a specific Easter day. These are options. These are opportunities for us as a Christian and what I want us to do things most of us do celebrate some sort of Christmas season is. Let's make Jesus Central and Atlas make the most of that opportunity. That is advent and Advent also says don't start on December 24 right.

It's like back it up and take a month and try one way to say it is 24 hours of Christmas day is just too little time to celebrate how stupendous it is that God himself became human in tabernacle among us in the person of Christ. The one way to approach Advent is a say hey let's take 24 days and more to prepare our hearts and to LinkedIn out the celebrations.

That's one way that Advent serves. This is by lengthening the celebration of Christmas back toward our Thanksgiving back toward the early parts of December. Another aspect and this is the way that Christians have mainly talked about Advent.the history of the church's advent is a season of waiting. It's like the fast before the feast. And when you fast before feast. The feast taste all the better. And so, as you mark the Advent season with with waiting and with putting yourselves back into the shoes of God's first covenant people as they waited year after year century after century for this promise anointed one, the Christ, the Messiah to come. It's captured so well in the song Acoma coming Manuel with the minor courts how they waited a come come Emmanuel is a really good theme song for Advent is a season of waiting and so as we rehearse that together. As Christians we grow in anticipation we grow our patients and we ready ourselves for the opportunity celebrate Christmas and I'll just say if your church on the first Sunday of Advent did not say no, come, Emmanuel. You need to say it about the glory of the heart and leave the church and go fight with a rule in our church will come, Emmanuel, and come thou Long expected Jesus those are kind of the two Advent Carol's using them every first Sunday of Advent and if you didn't get it church you could do it in your home will you could play to start that we would have to leave the church, you consent to the same church it in the history of the church.

Some people have looked at Advent and looked at Christmas differently.

They've seen Advent as this time of waiting. They don't put up the decorations early.

They don't put presents under the tree early the kind of save everything for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day right. We've all heard about the 12 days of Christmas because we sing the silly song that Moses don't know what the 12 days of Christmas mean typically this this is more often than not in church history people have the church celebrated the 12 days of Christmas. I've said this is such a significant celebration. Let's a link than it out to 12 days so December 25 through January 6 dinner six being the Epiphany is Greek for appearing or coming to get get this Advent season of children is coming yet. January 6 celebrating the arrival of Jesus among us, and there's a 12 day season there to celebrate this great feast of Christmas and Advent then is the fast coming before the feast, and sometimes Christians have been strict in the sense of let's not do the Christmas tree is not of the decorations is not sing the bright happy Christmas songs that we love. Enjoy the world are clearly angels sing. Let's not sing that until the 12 days of Christmas which, if that's what you do. God bless you, that's fantastic. I'm not fighting that battle is your tree go up early at the mouth's house we do really think the most of the Thanksgiving weekend and go ahead and get it up and enjoy. We love the decoration and so what you want to do in your home. That's great. I want to help you keep Jesus Central in the seats in your waiting to Christmas Day.

If you're celebrating 12 days of Christmas in the way the church is done.

Traditionally, God bless you that's awesome, or if it's more typical these days that the whole month of December becomes this Advent season.

It's really kind of a pulling of Christmas back toward the end of November and celebrating Christmas and that that space. I want to help their's will in your blood you talk about how the first Christmas team with the unexpected. Even the title of your book the Christmas we didn't expect what he mean by that is amazing to reflect on how many things unexpected and at first Christmas for us.

It seems so obvious when we do it every of them with the wise men come every year. The shepherds come every year they were so used to the story right to put ourselves back there. 2000 years. And to think that with a Surprising Way, God did all the twists and turns that King David would talk about his great Messiah.

His great ancestor to come to great descendent would be coming in and be a thousand years denies they would prophesy every 700 more years, and Malachi would give us the last Revelation you'll test 400 more years after Malachi and then that the angel would come to an unwed woman, the virgin birth is one of the great surprises and then the angel come to Nazareth. Such an out-of-the-way place that all the Gospels have to explain what it is because readers have never heard of Nazareth. It is a backwater town. People heard of Bethlehem, no city of David is small compared to Jerusalem, but whatever. The Nazareth man is serious backwater one detail after another, that God would save his son by bringing him out of Herod's jurisdiction to Egypt. God save his people from Egypt. Now they're going to Egypt to save his son to. There is one unexpected thing after another.

The even in the early season when he goes the temple to be dedicated that Simeon and old man would say to Mary that the sword will pierce your soul as well. What you mean talking about this little baby swords can appear soon and in a storage unit. Pierce Mary soul as well. What what's going on what tragic what catastrophe is gonna happen to this child, and so it is one unexpected thing after another in the Magi and the shepherds are part of that as well.

Now when you go through the Advent season like with your family. Do you start talking about those kind of things we what's it look like for a family get twins write 10-year-old twin boys who were 10 my daughter, Gloria show the Christmas party.

The book is dedicated to Gloria to be six is Advent and then Mercy 3 1/2 so talk to me. A lot of families are listener like okay I will do this Advent thing. I never really done it won't look like I have all get your book. I gotta start there and then what city here's an idea if you're of father of us family like mine with young kids. The kids can handle a verse or two.

That's really direct and then daddy's heartfelt explanation of why that verse matters until we got them at the South last couple advents and do a very differently in my thing if I do it again this way this year is we take one verse for each day. So beginning December 1. I got a verse assigned that day all the way through December 24 we wrap up the verse you printed out wrap it up with a piece of chocolate and we take that verse of the day and unwrap it. I read the verse who gets the chocolate we all do all you have is as much good okay good mommy.

I get chocolate to unwrap the read the verse and give my explanation of why the verses Signet was the meaning of that verse related to Christmas and the season were celebrating and then we break up the chocolate and we all hold it up and I say Christ is come in all the kids say Christ will come again and read the chocolate if you want to know what my my 24 verses would be. There is a verse at the beginning of each chapter so day one day to all the way through chapter 20 4H as a banner verse. So one thing you could do it. One way you could use this resource for your own devotions during Advent as well as for your children is mom and dad could read the meditation on the verse enclosed the book put the book aside, gather the kids read the one verse and then just share from your heart. What comes to mind. From reading the devotional. Any thought anything that struck you share that with your kids, just briefly, and maybe have a chocolate together, pray together in one way to move through Advent while I'm in the beauty of that is we never done this. Now that I had in advance when you get tickets for great concert and start count the days you get so excited because you know I mean best thinking when your dog read that the NFL does this every week, if you think about what people do. It is crazy they watch pregame shows all week long.

I know I've done this when I watch the ball sit down to watch the pregame. I never do that to Michael. I'm so excited now for the game because I know some of the back story. That's what Advent students like taking a backseat that you are ready, get your heart ready, get your heart ready day after day after day, and it makes the day so much more significant. I can't believe we've never done this. I know so you dad's that would say our family devotions are really where we want to be like were doing it every day is the right length using there's always do I go way too long, or we don't have the devotions or doesn't know how what Advent is a great opportunity to work on that as a family. It's a good occasion to say nowhere. To do this daily is one verse. I married one verse, and I'll give you 30 to 60 seconds of why think that verse is important and must pray together and that I could be a great thing you do in your family to help just jumpstart a spiritual dynamic.

A family devotion that would be regular if it's not daily that you say in your book, Christmas is not a beginning. It's a becoming what is it me. Okay, let's talk about the incarnation about God himself becoming man that Jesus didn't start in Mary's womb, the eternal second person of the Trinity has always existed, and so Christmas is that since a is a becoming it's it's not Jesus beginning but God himself in the person of his son is taking on our full humanity. He becomes human, without ceasing to be God. This is amazing this important truth for us to understand humans that humanity and divinity are opposed to each other on the same plane of reality such that to be fully human means you can't be God for Jesus he's fully human and fully God, humanity and divinity operate on different levels of reality such that fully God can take on full humanity that God himself can become man without ceasing to be God, is that that's what we mean.

And in the book by saying it's a becoming is not a beginning, just didn't start in Bethlehem you can start Mary's womb, Jesus has always been there in happy joy and relationship with his father and the father sent the divine son who became human at that first Christmas, so we just got a little understanding of the hypostatic union is a hypothetical and throwing out a theological term like that and see what seminary you know that I literally just described determined before like wow that's a powerful concept. Well, a little insider to visit so much theological language is is really just to help keep in place.

Very simple reality yeah and so he does learn the terms you see how simple it can be hypostatic is just the Greek word for person. So you'd be much easier for us to call it the one person union and by that we mean is it united in the one person of the divine son, the eternal divine son in that one person there is the union of full divinity and full humanity and is never the same time. Jesus is always been fully divine life and fully God and then at Christmas is what we mark is what Christmas so significant he became one of us to the full fully human body human emotions human mind. Human will. He took on our human environment he identified with us in totality, except for sin, that he might come and save us. I love your enthusiasm about this because if you're talking and thinking kids forget this. You can explain it in a way that I mean God is fully tied but fully seeming to explain how to kick the can kind of start grasping it. If you're excited about it. Your canter can get excited about it. Our daughter-in-law puts out her nativity scene and as she does it at first time I went over to her house. I said why are all the shepherds over here across the room. She said oh, the journey has just begun into might not even be so fine to move the shepherds a little closer every day and explain what's going on in history right now because kids can get that visual and they can start to feel what's going on. Even the fact that the Angels came insane to be shepherds who were nobody out in the field.

I can be so fun to have a conversation about that with the kids. I'm in a find it. I thought maybe I could find it here my computer right now but I can.

One Christmas right before Christmas when our girls were still, I think, like seven and four, maybe six and three Marianne said come in here, sit down on the in the living room and she said the girls got something for you and I said what is said and so they stood by the fireplace and the two of them looked at each other and smiled. And they said in those days there were shepherds keeping watch over their flock by night in the fields and they went through Luke two, and they had memorized about 12 verses of Scripture, the Christmas story from Luke, that's impressive. It it was very impressive and I'm not sure Katie understood about half the words she was saying. But this is something Marianne had been working on with them during the Advent season and they gave it as a gift to daddy right before Christmas. This is how a mom and a dad can say working to make Jesus the center of December. There's a lot going on with so many activities and so much busyness that we can set Jesus off to the side and kind to get to Christmas even go oh yeah yeah about Jesus tomorrow and I think it David, this is what you're doing in this devotional you Britain. You're saying don't let this season become a distraction. Make sure our focus is on what it ought to be on the book that David is written as a devotional called the Christmas we didn't expect daily devotions for Advent.

I know Advent is underway, but you can get a copy of the book now and get caught up. Once the book arrives. Go to family life order David Mathis book the Christmas we didn't expect or you can call us for more information. Our number is one 800 FL today again the website is family life order David Mathis book the Christmas we didn't expect by calling 1-800-358-6329 that's one 800 F as in family L as in life and in the word today. Quick reminder we've already talked about this today. The month of December is gonna be a significant month for us here at family life. The month ahead, and we've had some friends who have made a significant offer to us. They have agreed that they will match every donation we receive this month, dollar for dollar up to a total of $2 million. The course were hoping to take full advantage of that matching gift opportunity were asking you to make as generous a year and contribution as you possibly can. If God has used this ministry in your life if you believe in what were all about here at family life. If you want to see family life today continue on your local radio station be as generous as you can be go online or give us a call and make a year and contribution will say thank you when you do by sending you two things a copy of my book.

Love, like you mean it, which is all about.

First Corinthians 13 and how that applies in a marriage relationship and will send you a flash drive that has the top 100 family life today. Programs of all time programs on marriage programs and parenting on family some great interviews we've done with names you will recognize through the years the flash drive is our thank you gift to you along with my book. Love, like you mean it when you make a year and contribution. Again, you can do that today you can get that out of the way. Get it done for the year. Go to family life to donate or call one 800 FL today to donate over the phone. Thanks in advance for your support of this ministry and we do look forward to hearing from you tomorrow morning. Continue to look at the details of the Christmas story to see the surprising things we learn about God and his grace by studying the birth of Jesus. David Mathis joins us again tomorrow.

I hope you can be with us as well. Think our engineer today. Keith Lynch along with our entire broadcast production team on behalf of our hosts Dave and Wilson on Bob Lapine will see you back next time for another edition of family life today.

Family life today is a production of family life of Little Rock, Arkansas crew ministry help for today hope for tomorrow

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