Tuesday, December 19, 2017


This is the eighth of a series of blog posts with my sister Betty Haynie about what we believe. Our thoughts are intentionally brief on subjects that could fill volumes.

By Betty Haynie 
The Christmas season is a special time of awe and wonder. Tune in to the miracle of life and the love of God. Enjoy Christmas events, specials on TV and inspiring worship. Be amazed by the greatest miracle of all, the incarnation - God as a new born babe. Jesus came as both the gift and the Giver - all wrapped up in one package.    

I’ve been thinking of what it must have been like for Mary and Joseph. Jesus’ coming had been foretold, not by physicians but by angels. If those angels were right - and how could they not be? - Here was a Messiah who had been the subject of poems, songs, dreams and prophecies for years. At least 800 years before Jesus was born a prophet named Isaiah predicted:

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.” Isaiah 9:6
Savior? Prince of Peace? Messiah? Perhaps Mary and Joseph stammered when they tried to speak those words. It must have been hard to believe that their baby was going to save the world; that He was the Messiah, God incarnate. Imagine looking at their sleeping infant and realizing that, not only was He their son, which astounds most of us when we see our newborns, but He was also the promised Messiah.

The Hebrew people had no idea their Messiah would come as a baby. They believed that the Messiah would be the ultimate military commander. He would arrive on horseback, with sword held high, crying out for vengeance and redemption in the name of the Lord and his favored nation.

Yet here was a baby - just a helpless, little baby. Joseph and Mary had to admit that He was a baby who seemed like any other newborn child, but if this was just an ordinary infant how could he be the Son of God? 
Scripture tells us that Jesus is the One, like no other ever born, for he was 100% human and 100% God - simultaneously. Nothing about his humanity could take away from his Godliness; nothing about his Godliness could take away from his humanity. Only because of this truth can he reconcile the Father in heaven with his children on earth. He is the Man of both worlds; He came as the bridge by which God comes to earth and people come to heaven.
So what about the certainty of the virgin birth? The Hebrew word for Virgin (alma) is translated from “ha alma” meaning “the virgin” not just any virgin. The Greek, however, three centuries before Christ was born, used the term “parthenos” which means clearly, specifically and scientifically “virgin.” This word is absolutely unambiguous!!

So first, we see that the Virgin Birth is the sign of Jesus divinity. He was not conceived like the rest of us. He came to the earth from outside, pure and clean, for He is in no way a product of this world.
Second, we see that His infancy is the sign of his humanity. He was carried in Mary’s womb and born like we all are. He is one of us. He arrived from heaven with perfection and Godliness, of which no man or woman is capable - yet he takes the full human journey. 

 He was man and He was God. He came as a child to confront and conquer every challenge and every temptation common to humanity. We trust Him with our lives because he is God. We love him with our hearts because we know that once He was a tiny baby, wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger, and because He TOOK OUR SINS AWAY.

Blessings, Betty
By Dottie Parish

Christmas is a happy, festive and joyful time. We celebrate Christmas with gifts, fancy meals, family gatherings and we enjoy marvelous, joyful worship. But in the busyness of the season do we miss the holy meaning of Christmas? Do we know what Christmas is really about?

It’s about the greatest miracle of all! The Incarnation of Jesus as a baby. As Betty said, Christ assumed human form in the person of Jesus and is completely God and completely man. The Son of God existed before the world was created. “In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. All things came into being through Him and apart from him nothing came into being that has come into being.” (John 1:1-3)

The divine Son of God existed with God and took on his human body in the womb of Mary. He was not the son of Joseph. He was the Son of God. Mary was a virgin and God impregnated her. Can you imagine this?

“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son and will call him Emmanuel, which means, God with us.“ (Matthew 1:23) In this scripture Matthew is quoting from Isaiah 7:14. Scholars for centuries didn’t know this could be taken literally. As Betty said they were expecting a different kind of Messiah. This is a promise greater than anyone expected. Mary is pregnant with the Son of God!

Angels run all through this holy story. The angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and said: You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.  He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David.  And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” (Luke 1:31-35)

Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.” The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God.” (Luke 1:34-35) Have you ever seen an angel?  Can you imagine this happening to a teen-age girl? What an amazing revelation!

When Joseph learned Mary was pregnant he planned to quietly end their relationship. Then an angel appeared to him in a dream and said: “Do not be afraid to go ahead with your marriage to Mary. For the child within her has been conceived by the Holy Spirit. And you will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” (Matthew 1:20-21) And Joseph listened and married Mary in spite of what the neighbors must have said.

Another angelic appearance came at the birth of Jesus. An angel appeared to the shepherds and said, “I bring you good news of great joy for everyone! The Savior – Yes, the Messiah, the Lord- has been born tonight in Bethlehem, the city of David! And this is how you will recognize him. You will find a baby lying in a manger, wrapped snuggly in strips of cloth!” Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others – the armies of heaven – praising God: “Glory to God in the highest heaven and peace on earth to all whom God favors.” (Luke 2:10-14)

How amazing that must have been for these shepherds to hear the angel’s message and then to see a vast number of angels praising God and announcing the Good News. Can you imagine the awe and wonder of this? Only Almighty God, Our Holy God could do this. Coming as a baby cost Jesus much. He gave up indescribable power and glory to become one of us.

There were witnesses to all these events and they have been studied and written about and pondered over for centuries. The star that guided the wise men from the East also attests to the divine nature of Jesus. He was both divine and human. He lived on earth, grew up and taught his disciples to love God and follow Him. And he died to save us. And he rose again! The Christmas “story” is the most amazing true story told and it is a TRUE story. It is His Story. Don’t miss this. Ask Jesus into your heart this Christmas.

“Unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”  Isaiah 9:6

Blessings, Dottie

Watch for the next Reasons to Believe post on WHY I BELIEVE IN HELL AND HEAVEN in mid January by Betty and Dottie

No comments:

Post a Comment