It would be foolish to say we love a person we had never met. Only a love-struck individual, in love with being in love, would make such a claim. True, we may see someone and be instantly attracted, but until we get to know that person we are not in a position to definitely say whether or not we love them.

The best way of getting to know someone is through personal communication and spending time in each other’s company.  Only then do we truly learn who they are.  Before that point we can only say we love the ‘idea’ of that person.

When we first become a Christian it would be impulsive to say we love God when we know next-to-nothing about Him.  True, we may be instantly attracted to His magnificence, His power and the things He has done and is doing on our behalf.  However, until we learn about His character and His beliefs, we are simply love-struck Christians who quickly declare undying love for a Person we know little about.

We get to know God through communication.  He talks to us through the Bible (His Word which is alive and powerful).  If we study, we will learn about His character and His beliefs.  We also get to know God by working with Him (Christian service), talking with Him (prayer), and relaxing with Him (faith in God to solve our problems).

As with all successful relationships, it’s about each party getting to know the other.  Our God already knows everything about us (and amazingly still loves us).  He has graciously given us an eternity to get to know Him.  As we come to know Him, it will soon become evident that God is a perfect candidate for our personal, unreserved and everlasting love. (See 1 John 3:18)

The story of Christmas is a story of humility. A young, unmarried Jewish girl faced the prospect of being ostracized in her community. She was pregnant. Would her betrothed still consent to marry her? What would her family say? What would her friends say?

A census was commanded by Caesar Augustus for the little country. Each had to return to his ancestral home for the count. At nine months pregnant, Mary and her betrothed, Joseph made the long, arduous journey to Bethlehem. As they entered the little village, they longed for a place to lay their weary bodies. However, as they sought a room at an inn, there was none available – only a stable.

The entry of Mary’s son into the world did not occur in a mansion with servants in attendance but in a place prepared for cows and donkeys. Her son did not have a soft feathered bed to greet him but a feeding trough.

The prophet Isaiah had proclaimed more than seven hundred years earlier:

“To us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government will be upon his shoulder,
and his name will be called ‘Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.’”

His birth and life were unique, and so was His death.

To understand the total forgiveness of sins, we have to understand the value of the person Who sacrificed Himself on the cross for us.

He was the only man in history who willingly died to make the payment for ALL of your sins, so that you would never have to be punished by God.

This carpenter from an obscure village in Galilee?  This man with no earthly possessions?  Who would believe it?  Yet many have, and do. As the Bible states of Him:

“...who though He was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped,
but emptied himself, taking the form of a servant, being born in the likeness of men.
And being found in human form He humbled himself and became obedient unto death, even death on a cross.

Therefore God has highly exalted Him and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”

This is the story of Christmas: God the Son coming down to earth as a little baby and taking on Himself the sins of the world. So that you can experience life abundantly and eternally in heaven with Him.

I hope you remember these things as we celebrate
The Reason for the Season

Computers operate via a series of coded instructions called programs.  Although few of us ever meet the originators responsible for these programs, we don’t delude ourselves thinking computers programmed themselves without an original programmer.

How do birds know how to build a nest?  How do bees know how to make honey?  How do beavers know how to dam a river?  How do spiders know how to design a web?  How can certain fish and birds migrate thousands of kilometres then return each year with satellite accuracy?  How do blind, miniscule, newly born kangaroos know how to wriggle their way from the birth canal all the way to the mother’s pouch to suckle milk? There are so many inexplicable natural phenomena swept under the carpet with the word, ‘INSTINCT’.  Do we delude ourselves thinking everything in nature has programmed itself?

In fields such as engineering, academic minds continue to learn complex lessons from nature.  Shouldn’t we be asking where nature learnt these lessons, or will we casually say - given time they happen by themselves? 

For anyone who believes in the “BIG BANG” the Challenge for you is to satisfactorily answer the questions found in Job Chapter 38 of the Bible.

The Bible declares that in nature, everything is created by God.  Therefore, He is the Original Programmer who wrote the coded instructions we call instinct.

Two bushmen, who lived in the remote outback, went for a long walk and stumbled upon a city. “Wow!  How do you think that got there?” one asked the other.

The second bushman, who considered himself quite scientific, replied: “Well, there are two theories.  First, there is the ‘Big-Prang Theory’ where two mountains collided and all the rocks accidentally fell into place, forming what you see before you.  The second theory, which most educated people accept, is known as the ‘Ever-Popular-Solution’ or ‘Evolution’ for short.  This is where, given the right circumstances and enough time, rocks and minerals arrange themselves into complex mathematical shapes, complete with flashing lights and strange vehicles whizzing around them.”

The first bushman scratched his head, saying: “I don’t know, mate - it seems as if someone designed it.”

“Don’t be stupid,” laughed the second. “You’ve gotta be pretty simple-minded to believe that.”

It is just as unlikely for a city to accidentally form itself, as a DNA molecule (the most efficient information storage system in the known universe) is to form accidentally.  Or, to use another example, frayed dinosaur scales transforming into symmetrical bird feathers is as likely as a frayed t-shirt transforming into an Armani suit.

Many eminent scientists, who see the enormous problems in outdated and unproven theories, are re-examining the scientific facts and concluding that everything in creation has intelligent design.   So if there is intelligent design to creation, wouldn’t that indicate there is an Intelligent Designer? (See Hebrews 11:3)

Generally, to say we love someone when we know little about them is foolish.  Yet young children rarely know much about their parents, but still they love them.  The reason is simple; children know instinctively three very important facts: their parents unconditionally love them, support them and protect them. 

For Christian growth, it’s very important to learn about God – the more we know about our heavenly Father, the greater will be our love for Him.  However, as we study and mature, we often forget the simple fact that Christianity is like the life of a child.  

We must remember Christianity is essentially a very personal relationship between us and our Heavenly Father.  The simplicity of our relationship with God can be easily overshadowed as we learn advanced doctrines and busy ourselves with many Christian commissions.  But when difficulties and adversities push us around, we should remember the simple fact that we have a Divine Father who unconditionally loves, supports and wants to protect us.  He patiently waits for us to run to Him with all our difficulties.  

No matter how we have failed, the mistakes we have made or when the world overwhelms us, we can confidently rush into the comfort of Father’s open arms and fearlessly poke our tongue at all of our problems.

In life, we will always be dealing with bad circumstances and bullies, but when we place ourselves in God’s all powerful arms we can relax and enjoy peace-of-mind, confident that all things will work together for good, (see Romans 8:28).

“See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are!..“ 1 John 3:1