Gospel Meditations for Christmas by Chris Anderson, Joe Tyrpak, and Michael Barrett is the latest in their “Gospel Meditations” series (some of you might know Chris Anderson as the author of hymns such as His Robes for Mine and My Jesus Fair). The booklet is divided into 31 pages, one a day through the month of December (or any time, really, since these truths are eternal). Each page lists a Bible passage to read and then delves into some facet of the passage for a handful of paragraphs. The primary focus of the book is the Incarnation, and different aspects of it that the book covers are Christ’s humility, holiness, human ancestry; His being our peace, our mediator, our shepherd,; prophecies and promises about him; various names applied to Him; His Deity and humanity; and more. Quite a lot for 31 pages!
The best way to give you a flavor of the book is to share a few quotes from it:
Only as man could He die as a substitute for other men. And only as God could He suffer infinitely, paying for the sins of all the redeemed. (Day 4)
Escaping judgment begins with acknowledging that you deserve it. (Day 5)
Matthew begins his account of the good news with a record of Jesus’ ancestry. This isn’t some boring list of personal details that Matthew came across in research and decided to include as space-filler. No, this genealogy is Matthew’s attention- grabbing introduction, and it’s jam-packed with significance. (Day 7)
Consider whether your mental picture of Jesus fits the picture that Micah paints. The King that was born in Bethlehem is no longer a cherubic Baby. He’s a strong Shepherd, a majestic King, and the greatest military Commander of history. Jesus is the returning King and Judge before Whom every human will give account. Jesus is no longer a small Baby evoking your tender sympathy; He’s the world Sovereign demanding your total submission before it’s too late (Acts 17:31) (Day 9)
Having a biblical view of Jesus shouldn’t only lead you to lifelong submission; it should also lead you to patient perseverance. Like Micah’s original audience, we may respond in faith, yet die, having never seen the promises fulfilled. We must let it sink in that Micah’s generation never saw God make good on these words. Like them, we may spend our entire lives in unfulfilled longing. But if this Christmas prophecy that Micah uttered makes any difference to us today, it should fuel our persevering hope in God’s promises. Christian, even though we’re almost three millennia removed from Micah’s prophetic messages, keep longing for the return of the Shepherd-King from Bethlehem. Don’t lose heart. (Day 9)
What is a word? Don’t overthink it. It’s basically a means of communication. It’s a message, spoken or written, from one person to another—a form of revelation…Jesus Christ is God’s best and final communication to mankind. The Bible is God’s inspired Word. But Jesus is God’s incarnate Word—God revealed in human flesh. One of Christ’s great purposes in coming to earth was to reveal the unseen God. The apostle John returns to this motif throughout his writings. (Day 13)
This experience was so deeply satisfying for Simeon that he could say: “Now I’m ready to die.” God doesn’t promise us (like He had promised Simeon) that we’ll get to physically see Jesus before we die. But God does promise everyone who follows King Jesus that we will see His face and live in His presence after we die, and forever! To know and love and see the Lord is what we were made for. So the only way we can die in peace is if we have embraced the gospel by faith and if we are confident that very soon we are going to see the King with our very eyes. (Day 27)
Christmas sentimentality doesn’t help in tough circumstances. As I look back over the past decade and remember what Decembers have looked like for me, I recall many happy memories, but a lot of hardships, too. At Christmastime I’ve visited halfway houses, nursing homes, and funeral homes. I’ve received news of birth defects and of strokes, of terrorism and of persecution. And I’ve spent much time with loved ones who still don’t see their need for Jesus. When such burdens weigh heavily in December, Christmas lights don’t help. But Christmas truth does! (Day 31)
This is an excellent resource to focus your hearts and minds on Jesus and what was involved in His coming as well as many ways His incarnation should affect us personally.