A New Year – A New Church?

At the end of the first week of 2021 I am thinking of all the new things we will be facing in the next 12 months. Things can change so quickly. I mean, who would have thought that we would be living through a worldwide pandemic in 2020? And, who could imagine how the pandemic would change our daily lives? And, did anyone think that we would still be living within the confines of the pandemic almost 12 months later?

2020 was not an easy year. 2021 has started with major restrictions because of the pandemic. And now we have been hearing of new strains of Covid that spread more rapidly and are moving from country to country around the world. We are living in uncertain times.

God’s people have often lived in uncertain times where the familiar was gone and their way of life was changing. In one such time God spoke through the prophet Isaiah (43:19) and said,

For I am about to do something new. See, I have already begun! Do you not see it? I will make a pathway through the wilderness. I will create rivers in the dry wasteland. (NLT)

Be alert, be present. I’m about to do something brand-new. It’s bursting out! Don’t you see it?There it is! I’m making a road through the desert, rivers in the badlands. (MSG)

I am doing something brand new, something unheard of. Even now it sprouts and grows and matures. Don’t you perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and open up flowing streams in the desert. (TPT)

I believe that God is taking this opportunity to bring massive changes to His Church. And, let’s admit it, the Church needs to change. A church built upon programs and personality is no longer working. If, in fact, it ever did work. A church that is simply a powerless sub-culture of the prevailing culture is not the church. God created the Church to be a counter-culture and to powerfully impact the culture like leaven in the loaf. So, in a season when we have been forced to “do Church” differently I believe God is bringing massive change to His Church if (and that is a big if) we will listen for His voice and watch for what He has already begun to do.

As The Message Version states… “Be alert, be present…” We need to be aware that change is already happening even if we don’t fully understand what is happening and how it is happening. And we need to be living in the present with an eye to the future and not living in the past, anchored to traditions.

As The Passion Translation states… “something brand new, something unheard of…” What God is doing right now – here and now – in His Church is something brand new. It is not an old idea recycled. It is not the same old, same old. It is something we have not heard of in the past. Something new (to us), better, exciting, challenging, dynamic, powerful, and of God.

And the question is valid: “Don’t you see it?” “Don’t you perceive it?” And the answer is ‘no’ if you are wanting the status quo. If you are safe, comfortable, and secure and want it to remain that way then you will not perceive it. You will not see it. But others who are dissatisfied with what is; those who have a holy discontent on the inside; those who ask “Is this all there is? Will perceive it and eventually see it. Because, as an older version states, “Behold” It’s here. It’s now. It’s real. Just let go of what you know as Church and grab hold of what Jesus is now doing. He is doing a new thing and many (including this author) have been speaking and writing about it for over a decade. But, it is happening now – in the midst of a continuing pandemic when so many things have changed … the Church is changing. Behold! Don’t miss it.

God is making a way where there is no way. He is showing us the way in the midst of a spiritually desolate time. A time when the Church has been wandering around in the wilderness having lost her way over the past hundred or so years.  Especially over the past 12 months. And many in the Church today will miss what He is planning and already doing because they are not looking for change, a challenge. They are comfortable and apparently feel secure in what is and don’t want to stretch for what could be.

But for those who are hungry and who are willing to step out in faith risking the familiar and the comfortable…. “Behold!  I am doing something brand new and totally different. Grab hold of it as it is a new and better way. My way. And you will be refreshed and will be refreshing like a stream or a river in the desert place.”

I for one am very excited. It is a tremendous time to be alive and a believer.

2021 – Living What You Believe – Part Three

We are looking at how we, as believers, can determine if we are living with integrity in 2021. In the past two days we have examined four elements of our life that need to be regularly examined and front and center in daily life if we are going to live life in a manner that lines up with what we believe as Christians. It would be good for you to examine your own lifestyle to see if your priorities are set within biblical parameters; to see if your focus is truly on the Kingdom. Remember, Jesus did say, “Seek first the Kingdom…”

1> Practice what you believe (Leaders: Practice what you preach)

2> Intimacy with Jesus is foundational and a serious priority

3> Love for the lost is essential

4> Passionate prayer unleashes power

Continuing on…

5> Biblical conviction keeps our vision clear

One of the quickest ways for a believer to see their integrity wane is to begin compromising their biblical beliefs. When a disciple of Jesus no longer holds to the Scriptures as the absolute truth of God’s Kingdom vision dies.

Nonbelievers will often disagree with Biblical Christians, but most will maintain a level of respect if we hold our convictions with grace-filled confidence. When born again believers are quick to apologize for the Bible, sand off the sharp edges of our doctrine, and adjust the teaching of the Word of God to accommodate the ever-changing norms of our culture, our integrity goes out the window. 

Jesus was clear that following Him would not be easy. If our goal is to fit in, get along and seem normal in this world, we are walking the wrong path. Integrity in the life of a believer means knowing, loving, and following the teachings of the Bible, even when it is awkward or downright painful.

6> Invite accountability and seek wise mentors

We all have blind spots. It is easy to deceive ourselves and get off track. When we have godly, strong, honest people in our lives who speak the truth (even when it hurts), we have a much greater chance of maintaining a life of integrity. 

Every believer should have a mentor and every believer should be mentoring or discipling a younger believer. In other words, every Timothy needs a Paul and every Paul needs a Timothy. Since just after I was born again and baptized in the Holy Spirit I was blessed with a powerful man of God as my mentor. He lived in the state of New York and I lived in Central Canada but we stayed in touch. This was pre-internet and email but he wrote letters almost on a weekly basis (remember snail mail?). And, during each calendar year he spent two different two week periods of time in my city during which we spent time together daily. This went on for 30 years. When he died I felt like an orphan. I immediately went searching for another man of integrity and experience who might be willing to mentor me and speak into my life. I found him and he is still speaking into both my personal life and my ministry.

Throughout my ministry I have always mentored (discipled) younger believers and those with a similar call of God on their life as exists on my life. Some of these young men have even travelled overseas with me over the past 20 years. 

In a world where integrity can seem old-fashioned and believers live life on the surface – often an inch deep and a mile wide – Christians are wise to look closely at their heart and lifestyle. Anything and everything we can do that leads to greater integrity will forward the work of the Gospel and bring honour to our Saviour. 

2021 – Living What You Believe – Part Two

Let’s continue with our look at living a life of integrity in 2021 as believers and followers of Jesus Christ. We saw last time:

1> Practice what you believe (Leaders: Practice what you preach)

2> Intimacy with Jesus is foundational and a serious priority

Too many leaders and followers in the church have become religious hypocrites. They go through the motions, doing only what is required of them by their local assembly – the bare essentials. They know the right words. But they have forsaken their first love (Revelation 2:4). Leaders can teach about Jesus but spend little time at His feet. And, people can call themselves believers and also spend little to no time with Him and yet claim to follow Him. We can tell others to follow Jesus while we wander away from Him.

For Christians, modelling integrity means we hunger to be in the presence of our Saviour. We long to become more like Jesus and live in ways that grow our faith. Every believer should pause and do a heart check: Am I really following Jesus and becoming more like Him – enjoying time in His presence and experiencing His peace – or am I simply doing my thing and covering a non-biblical lifestyle with a thin outer coating of “Christian”? 

If you are a church leader and on staff with a church or ministry you should also do a heart check: Have I become a church staff professional doing my job with no passion behind my ministry?

Everyone should ask themselves: Am I propelled into each day with a love for Jesus that guides and moves me?

When we love Jesus and it shows, people are drawn to Him. To live with integrity we need intimacy with the Lord on a daily basis.

3> Love the lost is essential

Jesus was a friend of sinners (Matthew 11:19). The religious leaders in His day were upset that sinners liked Jesus and He seemed to like them. Church leaders and believers in Jesus (disciples of Jesus) who avoid nonbelievers and spend all of their time with church folks can’t fulfill Jesus’ call to make disciples of all nations (Matthew 28:19).  

Living with integrity calls us to live like Jesus, and sometimes that will mean making new friends and spending less time at church or fellowshipping with other believers. Christians understandably tend to gather with others who believe the same way that they do. However, we can then become narrow in our focus and neglect those who do not yet know Jesus as Lord and Saviour. And, we can also end up with a “we” and “they” mentality. This is simply not healthy. We need to find a place where we can hang out with nonbelievers and frequent it often so as to stay in touch with the real world out there and build relationships with those who live without hope. A gym, the baseball diamond, a hockey rink, a weekly card game…

4> Passionate prayer unleashes power

Systems, programs, and tricks of the trade will never bring lost sheep home to the Good Shepherd. The best worship services with the finest music and the most articulate gospel presentation are powerless if the Spirit of God is not present and at work. Only when God moves will people surrender their hearts to Jesus.

This is true as well in the life of a believer. If we are not praying passionately for the lost then we will not influence or impact the lost. We can befriend them without prayer but we cannot see them come into the Kingdom if our prayer is weak and inconsistent. And, if we simply neglect praying for those we know who are lost. Working to influence and win the lost without praying for the lost from a heart for the lost sucks and seriously lacks integrity. 

True power resides in the prayers of believers and the prayers of the corporate church when we weep for the lost and seek God’s face on behalf of those who are in spiritual darkness. We need to ask God for His heart for the lost. That prayer, when answered, will transform your life and witness and help you to live a life of integrity.

Prayer and the power of God are central to living lives that bear witness to the nonbeliever. And, as we live with a heart for the lost then we will obey Jesus and live with biblical integrity. 

2021 – Living What You Believe – Part One

As we enter the first full week of the New Year 2021 my thoughts turn to behaviour and lifestyle. 

As a leader I realize that I can’t lead what I don’t live. In other words, my actions can speak louder than my words and nullify what I am saying. As a leader I can’t ask my people to do what I am not willing to first do myself. 

As believers we should take the start of a new year to examine what is it we believe as Christ-followers and then see if how we live lines up with what we say we hold to be the truth. Again, often the way we live, the way we speak, and the way we behave can speak louder than what we say we believe deep in our hearts. One contradicting the other. Our talk and our walk must line up. What we believe on the inside must effect and even transform how we live on the outside – in our family, at work, in the community, and even in the church fellowship itself. 

This is a question of integrity. Living what we say that we believe. Leading in a way that shows what we truly believe. 

We are flawed, weak and broken people being put back together by the grace of Jesus. That is all our God has to work with. Even the apostle Paul, after being transformed by the grace of Jesus, was still in awe that God would use “the worst of sinners to accomplish heavenly purposes” (1 Timothy 1:15).

So, how do we live (and lead) with integrity when we are broken vessels?

I have been a follower of Jesus and a leader in the Church and ministry now for45 years and have some thoughts that help me to navigate this journey with Jesus that we are all on. Life as a believer can be complex, complicated, and often challenging. As I walk with Jesus year after year I have become stronger in my faith. But, I have also become more aware of my personal weaknesses. I am humbled to be called a child of God, and amazed that the Lord would use me as an instrument to expand His Kingdom and even lead His Church. There is a tremendous obligation on each of our lives to live and relate in such a way as to impact those who do not know Jesus and to share the Gospel of the Kingdom with the lost, the least, and the last. Maybe you feel the same way. To fulfill this mandate we must be people of integrity.

Here are some reflections on growing to be more like Jesus and thus living with integrity in our hearts and lives. These ideas apply to every aspect of life and ministry.

1> Practice what you believe (leader: Practice what you preach)

We believe that there is no other way into Heaven other than by being born again and receiving the gift of eternal life which by biblical definition is to have a personal and intimate love relationship with the Lord and with His heavenly Father (see John 17:3). 

We believe that the Lord has called each one of us, as believers and followers, to take this message out into our personal world – where we live and work and play. And then even to the whole world. We call this The Great Commission (Matthew 28:18-20). Jesus came to “seek and save the lost” (Luke 19:10) and commands us to work with him and complete this task. 

Do we live what we believe?

In my experience most church leaders do very little to reach the lost outside of the formal church services and programs. It is not a way of life for them. The same is true for those who attend church services on a regular basis and are thus “active Christians.” 

To lead and to live with integrity is to align our lifestyle with the things the Bible teaches and what Jesus expects from us as followers. Jesus said, “Follow Me and I will make you fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). He expects us to fish – to seek the lost, the least, and the last – and not to rest until every people group in every nation (including where we live) have heard the gospel of the Kingdom (Matthew 24:14). I once heard a preacher say, “If you are not fishing, you are not following. You are simply deceiving yourself that things are good between you and God.”

This will mean learning how to share our faith in a natural and organic way. We need to be praying for the lost, building deep and decent friendships with people who are far from God, and regularly having spiritual conversations with people in our lives. This alignment of words, actions, and beliefs is a powerful witness. 

A Fresh Start – A New Year

Well, I stayed up all night to welcome the new year as I wanted to make sure 2020 really did come to an end. It has been a very different year with many disappointments and challenges. And yet, it has been an exciting year as we learned to live in a new normal which is still with us.

As I think about entering 2021 I am aware that it is, in some ways, an opportunity to do things differently. It’s a brand new year and we have an opportunity to adjust and change so as to live differently and maybe even impact the lives of others among whom we live – and maybe even those in another nation.  Yes, Covid may limit us in some ways but we can still touch lives for Jesus. Nothing can nor should stop us from doing that.

However, the one thought that dominates today, on the first day of a new year, is that if we do what we have always done we will simply get what we have always gotten. Poor English but a great though nonetheless. It can’t be “business as usual.” We can’t just have the same old same old… We are living in a ‘new normal’ and things will not go back to how they were before the pandemic. The pandemic has brought many changes to the way we live and some of those changes will remain with us. For example, we will value time with family and friends more than before. We will no longer take “life” for granted. We will hopefully make the most of every day we live and see it as a gift and not a given.

The Church has also been greatly impacted during this past 10 months. And, it too has made major adjustments in how it does life. Limitations on numbers who can meet together; meetings by Zoom; using technology as never before; learning to ‘do church’ without programs and personalities. The new year will see continued change as we adjust to the new normal and learn to reach out effectively to those who do not know Jesus. Church as usual is finished. The pandemic has given those of us in leadership the opportunity to think about what we do, how we do it, and why it is done the way it is. Change is inevitable.

I believe that the pandemic has brought and will continue to bring the Church back to basics and the result will be a Church more like the New Testament Church. House churches will be the norm – and many current church buildings will be sold off or given away. Leadership will rise up from within the body and not come in from a seminary. We will see the continued rise of the fivefold ministry within the Church that Jesus is building. And, the continued rejection of the fivefold ministry from those who are content with what is and the status quo. Outreach and evangelism will become the main focus as we now realize how quickly death can happen as we have watched tens of thousands die from Covid including friends and family that we did not witness to and share with when we had the opportunity.

January 1, 2021 is a fresh start to a new year. In 2020 we saw so many things that we simply took for granted removed, torn down, altered beyond recognition. 2021 will be a year to carefully rebuild both our personal way of life, our communities, and the Church. Let’s be wise and not simply go back to business as usual. Let’s take this God-given opportunity to rebuild wisely, building on the biblical model of life lived in the presence of God so that we experience His peace and walk in His power.

We have been given a new year, a new world in which to live, and a new opportunity to see and be a part of the Church that Jesus is building.

I am excited and expectant.

Being and Doing 2021

Many years ago the Lord spoke very strongly and clearly that I needed to realize that I was a human being and not a human doing. That He created me to ‘be’ first and then to ‘do’ second. That He was more interested in my character (be) than in my activities (do). And, that what I do should flow out of who I am (be).

Up until that time I was what you would call a workaholic. Someone who was task oriented. If there was a need I met it. If there was something that needed attention I was your man. I got my sense of self worth from what I did. I gained value from what I accomplished. And, in reality, I did not really know who I was because I did not spend time on the inside working through feelings and thoughts … I simply pushed them down as they were in the way of accomplishing all the stuff that needed to be done.

When the Lord spoke to me about “being” before “doing” I realized I needed to make some major changes. I needed to take personal time and make personal space to get in touch with the real me – who I was on the inside. And that was a very painful process because there was a lot of accumulated garbage in my heart and mind . You know, things like unforgiveness, resentment, anger, bitterness, judgemental attitudes, pride … the list could go on. But, you know what I mean. So I began to wade through the garbage tossing what I could and seeking help to do so when I needed help. 

In the midst of this process – and it took a number of years – I came to a point where I realized that I needed to discover who Jesus saw when He looked at me. I needed to discover who I was “in Christ” (2 Corinthians 5:17). Who did Jesus say I was? Who did Jesus create me to “be?” Another part of the journey.

So, I was removing the world’s influence and a lot of the pain and clutter from experiences and past relationships… while discovering who I really was based on God’s Word and His plan for who I am. During this process character became a focus along with discovering and experiencing the Fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23). Over the years a completely new foundation for my life was laid upon which He then began to build my ministry and what He had called me to do. 

Now I don’t find my identity nor my sense of self-worth in what I do. I find my identity and self-worth in who I am – in my relationship with Jesus and who He has created and called me to be. I know who I am “in Christ.” That’s different than “Christ in me.” And, equally important. 

Out of this identity, knowing who I am, I can then set out a direction for my life with greater wisdom and insight than before I discovered this truth. I can look at the coming new year and determine where the Lord wants me to go and what He wants me to be involved in. And, none of that effects my identity as they are in the “do” category and not a “be” issue. As a result change is much easier; criticism is not personally destructive, I am not devastated when people don’t like me or reject my ministry … I am secure in who I am. And open to whatever the Lord wants me to do. And, because of this transparency I continue to see growth in the area of my character, gifts, calling, skills, and talents. 

So, before you set your goals for 2021 it might be a good idea to review who you really are separated from what you do for a living. Who are you “in Christ.” Then begin to set some goals that enable you to be the best you that you can be. Leave the “do” for later… first things first. Major on the major issue and not on the minor issues.

That will, of course, bring great honour and tremendous pleasure to God, your heavenly Father. 

Goals for 2021

As 2021 is just about upon us my mind turns to goals for the new year. There are two steps to this for me personally and professionally.

First off, I review my 2020 goals seeing which ones were accomplished, partially finished, or simply never touched. I revamp the ones that were not achieved if they are to be carried forward into 2021. Fine tuning them because I have moved forward in life and made substantial changes during the past 12 months. If they were not accomplished and are no longer part of where I am at and where I am heading, I simply remove them from the list of things I want to do or feel that the Lord is telling me to do. 

Then I add to the list those new goals that appear because of the circumstances I am now facing – such as Covid and being unable to travel. And, I add any new ones the Lord leads me to set for the gift of a new year of life, health, and ministry. As well, any personal goals that I would like to aim for – weight loss, learning to paddle board, trying out new campgrounds.

These are all jotted down on paper or on screen and then comes the time to arrange them and fill in the details of the goal… 

I do this by listing the general categories … 

      • Personal – weight, exercise, rest, reading…
      • Family – gatherings, birthdays, anniversaries
      • Financial – saving, investing, spending, house repairs, budget
      • Friendship – what I am looking for in a friend (another list)
      • Fun (vacation and days off)
      • Faith goals – what I am believing God for 
      • Household goals – repairs, painting, decorating
      • Ministry goals – the call and the message for the new year 2021 
      • Study and reading goals – number of books and areas to study
      • Marriage goals
      • Writing goals – blogs and books

And then filling in the goals for that area being as specific as I can. Of course, a goal can be changed, adjusted, revamped, or eliminated as the year begins and situation and circumstances dictate. These goals are simply to help me to know the direction I am aiming in each of these and other categories. Remember, if you aim at nothing you are sure to hit it. 

I schedule time in my annual calendar for a review and revamp every three months. So, the goals are solid but fluid. Change is inevitable. But the overall direction of life for the year remains the same as determined by the big picture of all the goals together. 

So, much more detailed than …

    • More sleep
    • More music
    • More coffee
    • More books
    • More sunsets
    • More creating
    • More long walks
    • More laughter
    • More hugs
    • More dreaming
    • More road trips
    • More fun
    • More love

However, if this is your first time doing goals for your life and the new year this would be a good start as an outline that then needs to be filled in somewhat.

The Coming New Year

Well we have managed to get past Christmas and are now heading into a brand new year. So, my thoughts turn to the future and what it is that the Lord would want me to focus on in 2021. Oh, I set personal goals in many areas of my life … financial, relational, friendships, spiritual, family, personal growth and development, and on the list goes. But, before any of that is examined and goals set I first want to know what the Lord has for me to be doing – my involvement with Him in 2021. Once that is settled and agreed to then I can fill in the other areas of my personal life.

Of course, whatever the Lord calls me to focus on is first founded upon the call that is on every disciple’s life. That is to “follow Him” (Matthew 4:19). Our task is to walk closely with Jesus in a personal love relationship. This is a daily walk. And, as we walk with Him we will find Him bringing changes to the way we think, what we believe, and how we live. These changes are part of the process of Him “making us into fishers of men” (Matthew 4:19). This is the foundational call on every believer’s life. 

So, I am focusing on building a deeper relationship with the Lord than I have experienced in 2020. Every year I work to do more than stay in touch with the Lord. I work at changing whatever needs to change to deepen my relationship so as to know His heart better and to hear His voice more clearly. Often this means changing routines, adding something after removing something. I try not to get hung up in the structure as it can and does change … different time, different version of the Bible, different place, different approach to prayer, different way of reading and studying the Bible. Everything is up for grabs as these are all just tools to get to know Jesus better. Sometimes we see them as rules – read 3 chapters a day, pray for an hour… But really they are simply tools to build a better and deeper relationship with the Lord. 

Then the second thing I focus on is evangelism or sharing God’s love with others. I first examine the track record from the current year and see what apparently worked or didn’t work. Again, the methods are not sacred, just the message. So, I look at the methods I have used and fine tune some while tossing others and adding new ideas. Then I have a look at what I should be doing to become more effective and even more efficient in this task of winning the lost. This is the mandate of the Church and we are the church. So, everyone of us is called to “seek and save the lost” as Jesus did (Luke 19:10). He expressed it in Matthew 28:18-20 when He said, “Go into al the world and make disciples.”

Only then do I then concentrate on what He has called me to do for Him. I look at my apostolic ministry and see what changes need to be made. Some changes and adjustments are made because of the leading of the Lord. Others simply because society has changed and adjustments need to be made so as to continue to influence and impact the culture. This is much more than the message and how it is presented. It involves the upcoming changes the Lord is making in His Church worldwide and my role in announcing and implementing those changes. After all, this is foundational to the Church that Jesus is building (Ephesians 2:20 and 4:11-15).

So, it is a week of looking back, forward, up and inward as I prepare for 2021. 

If you feel like sharing what you do to prepare for your New Year of life … please comment.

Christmas Day 2020

A short prayer …

“After the season is over, the Christmas lights come down, the fragrance of pine dissipates into the air, and the Christmas music no longer plays on the radio, we may ask, ‘What happens next?’ The wonder and awe of Christmas is just a beginning. Christmas reminds us that the babe born in Bethlehem has given us purpose for living, and what happens next to us largely depends on how we embrace our Saviour, Jesus Christ, and follow Him.”

An ancient prayer…

“The feast day of your birth resembles you, Lord

Because it brings joy to all humanity.

Old people and infants alike enjoy your day.

Your day is celebrated

from generation to generation.

Kings and emperors may pass away,

And the festivals to commemorate them soon lapse.

But your festival

will be remembered until the end of time.

Your day is a means and a pledge of peace.

At your birth heaven and earth were reconciled,

Since you came from heaven to earth on that day

You forgave our sins and wiped away our guilt.

You gave us so many gifts on the day of your birth:

A treasure chest of spiritual medicines for the sick;

Spiritual light for the blind;

The cup of salvation for the thirsty;

The bread of life for the hungry.

In the winter when trees are bare,

You give us the most succulent spiritual fruit.

In the frost when the earth is barren,

You bring new hope to our souls.

In December when seeds are hidden in the soil,

The staff of life springs forth from the virgin womb.”

— St. Ephraim the Syrian

A comment …

We remember the birth of the Son Of God, Jesus, in the crib in the manger in Bethlehem

However, we need to remind ourselves that His birth is directly connected to His death on the cross.

Jesus was born to die – to die for our sins. So, without the cross, the crib really has little meaning.

And, as we look forward to His second coming we remember that He is King and so He wears a crown. 

He was born King … and He died King. He will return as King to rule forever. 

Crib — Cross — Crown – the full meaning of the birth of the Saviour that we remember this Christmas Day 2020

Christmas Eve 2020

My favourite Bible passage for Christmas Eve … often used at Christmas Eve celebrations around the world regardless of the tradition or denomination a local church belongs to. 

The Scripture: 

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 any thing 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.

There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. He came as a witness, to bear witness about the light, that all might believe through him. He was not the light, but came to bear witness about the light.

The true light, which gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through him, yet the world did not know him. He came to his own, and his own people did not receive him. But to all who did receive him, who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God, who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

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.

This is from the Gospel according to John, Chapter 1, verses 1-14

This is what Christmas is all about. It is more than a baby in a manger. It is God taking on human form and dwelling among us. He experienced life as a real human being and so, as God, can relate to what we face in daily life. And, He revealed to us the heart and nature of God, His Father. He knows and understands what it means to be human and to live life from our perspective. And we come to know God by knowing Jesus who is God in human flesh.

For those who believe they become the children of God. They are born again. And, God gives them a gift of eternal life

Romans 6:23b  “…the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

This gift of ‘eternal life’ is not to live forever because every person ever conceived lives forever. So He would not give us a gift of something we already have. The definition for the gift called ‘eternal life’ is found in John 17:3

“And this is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent.”

This is truly what Christmas is all about … God becoming one of us so He could experience the life we live. And, God becoming one of us to revel to us who He really is – His heart for us, His nature, His character, and His plan for each one of us as His children. 

Christmas is about “knowing” God … having a personal, intimate, love relationship with the God of the universe. Nothing more and certainly nothing less.