The Devil in the Details

details Anyone can make a mistake so I try not to be pedantic or act like the grammar police when people express themselves less than perfectly when speaking or writing. But sometimes a comma in the wrong place or a single misplaced article can make a big difference in the message. So please take with a grain of salt the following examples of little things that could make a difference in our perception of the Christmas story.

“Joy to the world, the Lord is come.” The well known Christmas hymn does not say the Lord has come. The inspiration for the song in general, and I would argue that line in particular, is the angel appearing to the shepherds in Luke 2. He brought good tidings of great joy, declaring that this day in the city of David a savior is born. Jesus identifies himself as I AM in John 8 just as God identified himself to Moses in Exodus 3.

“And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” Luke 2:13-14  The angels were saying, not singing. Angels are not beautiful women in choir robes nor chubby babies draped in loin clothes. The heavenly host is the army of God.

“For to us a child is born,
    to 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 is yet another well known passage of Advent scripture. The above quotation is from the ESV. The verse looks very similar in the NIV and HCSB. But the King James and New King James have a common between Wonderful and Counselor. Now the original text has no punctuation so it would be tough to determine or even make a strong case for either way being more correct. But it does make a difference. If there is no comma we cannot say his name is Wonderful. 

 

Advent Joy

advent candlesAnd in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

   “Glory to God in the highest,
    and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

The angel brought good news of great joy. Good news is the Gospel, but today let’s focus on joy. Miriam-Webster.com defines joy three ways:

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Advent Faith

advent candlesIn the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth,  to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph,of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary.  And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.”

And Mary said to the angel, “How will this be, since I am a virgin?”

And the angel answered her, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you; therefore the child to be born will be called holy—the Son of God. And behold, your relative Elizabeth in her old age has also conceived a son, and this is the sixth month with her who was called barren. For nothing will be impossible with God.” And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. -Luke 1:26-38 ESV 

Now the birth of Jesus Christ took place in this way. When his mother Mary had been betrothed to Joseph, before they came together she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit. And her husband Joseph, being a just man and unwilling to put her to shame, resolved to divorce her quietly. But as he considered these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not fear to take Mary as your wife, for that which is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.” All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had spoken by the prophet:

   “Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a son,
    and they shall call his name Immanuel”

(which means, God with us). When Joseph woke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him: he took his wife, but knew her not until she had given birth to a son. And he called his name Jesus. -Matthew 1:18-25

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The Other Christmas Stress Factor

ornament, dollarI had a few ideas in mind but nothing written down when I wrote The Christmas Stress Factor. One thought that missed the post completely was the financial stressor. I’m not talking about maxing the credit cards buying presents for every man and his brother (that stress usually hits in the middle of January when the bills arrive). I’m talking about all the good causes that will ask during this time of year. Continue reading