Saturday, December 19, 2009

“Is not this the carpenter,
the Son of Mary?”
 (Mark 6:3)

An unusual Christmas text, perhaps, but it’s a theme that sticks with me…this thought of Jesus as a carpenter.

Jesus – learning His craft from Joseph – how to measure, hammer, nail, plane, saw and sand, how to use the right tools to produce the perfect effect, knowing just when to stop, lest He mar His work of art. No doubt He was skillful at His occupation, one who could be trusted to create a masterpiece.

No wonder Paul, years later, should remind us that “…we are His workmanship…” (Ephesians 2:10). I love that!  He is the one who is making us, shaping us, molding us – and He knows exactly which tools to use, when to stop and start, and how much pressure to exert, in order to create a masterpiece.

He is skilled at His occupation!

So I am asking myself, at the end of this year, and especially as heaven gets a little closer by virtue of age – am I squirming under the hammer, wriggling away from sandpaper, enduring the painful nails and the seemingly endless buffing? Am I complaining that He doesn’t really know what He’s doing?

Or am I submitting (as graciously as possible!) to the process, to become that work of art He has designed me to be?

I am trying to keep my eyes on eternity, since that's what this preparation is all about. Hope you are too.

I do pray that your Christmas celebration of our Saviour will be filled with a tangible sense of His presence, and that the New Year, in spite of the heartache and devastation so prevalent around us, will find you with your eyes firmly fixed on Jesus, and your heart resting in Him – the author and finisher of your faith.

He is an awesome carpenter!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Mystery of the Incarnation

This was written by Saint Augustine of Hippo fifteen centuries ago:

Maker of the sun,
He is made under the sun

In the Father He remains,
From His mother He goes forth.

Creator of heaven and earth,
He was born on earth under heaven.

Unspeakably wise,
He is wisely speechless.

Filling the world,
He lies in a manger.

Ruler of the stars,
He nurses at His mother's bosom.

He is both great in the nature of God.
and small in the form of a servant.

and, surprisingly, this was penned by
Mohandas Karamchand Ghandi

I have never been able to reconcile myself to the gaieties of the Christmas season. They have appeared to me to be so inconsistent with the life and teaching of Jesus.

How I wish America could lead the way by devoting the season to a real moral stocktaking and emphasizing consecration to the service of mankind for which Jesus lived and died on the cross.

Finally, I don't know who to credit for this, but it is a wise saying:

The manger lies in the shadow of the cross