Pastoral Notes for Sunday, December 23, 2018


“The whole life of Christ was a continual passion; others die martyrs, but Christ was born a martyr. He found a Golgotha even in Bethlehem, where he was born; for, to his tenderness then, the straws were almost as sharp as the thorns after; and the manger as uneasy at first, as his cross at last. His birth and his death were but one continual act, and his Christmas Day and his Good Friday are but the evening and morning of one and the same day.”—John Donne  


“How shall I fitly meet Thee, And give Thee welcome due?

The nations long to greet Thee, And I would greet Thee too.

O Fount of Light, shine brightly Upon my darkened heart,

That I may serve Thee rightly, And know Thee as Thou art.”

—Johann Sebastian Bach


“So, basic to ‘the true meaning of Christmas’ is this: God has kept his promises.”—Sinclair Ferguson


“On the first Christmas night—and this is the heart of the Christmas story, and the heart of the Christian faith—God took on flesh. The voice that made the cosmos could be heard crying in the cradle. The hands that placed each star in his place grabbed Mary’s fingers. Her son was fully human, and fully God. In this man, divinity met humanity.”—Alistair Begg



I in him surrender

to the crush and cry of birth.

Because eternity

was closeted in time

He is my open door to forever.”—Luci Shaw

“For it is good to be children sometimes, and never better than at Christmas, when its mighty Founder was a child Himself.”—Charles Dickens

“For the great and powerful of this world, there are only two places in which their courage fails them, of which they are afraid deep down in their souls, from which they shy away. These are the manger and the cross of Jesus Christ. No powerful person dares to approach the manger, and this even includes King Herod. For this is where thrones shake, the mighty fall, the prominent perish, because God is with the lowly. Here the rich come to nothing, because God is with the poor and hungry, but the rich and satisfied he sends away empty. Before Mary, the maid, before the manger of Christ, before God in lowliness, the powerful come to naught; they have no right, no hope; they are judged.”—Dietrich Bonhoeffer