[via xkcd. Can’t even say how much I love that site.]
For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder…
Isaiah 9:6 (ESV)
Suppose one of you has a hundred sheep and loses one of them. Doesn’t he leave the ninety-nine in the open country and go after the lost sheep until he finds it? And when he finds it, he joyfully puts it on his shoulders and goes home.
In Isaiah it says that the Messiah will carry the government on his shoulder (singular), but in Jesus’ parable the shepherd carries the sheep home on both. God is within his capabilities to carry the whole of world politics on one shoulder, but when it comes to you his love is so great that he uses two. Our salvation is absolutely secure, because Jesus is carrying us home on the full width of his back. We’re in safe hands.
[This isn’t carried in all translations (the NIV for instance), but the ESV is pretty reliable. Either way, the fact is true: heaven is secure, because it’s God taking us home!]
Let’s skip the intro and get straight into this: At Christmas, God broke gloriously into history in a way that no-one could have imagined. The eternal God somehow confined himself to the womb of a first century woman, to an embryo, to a helpless baby. This incredible truth is the ‘incarnation’, God becoming man, and it’s one of the most confusingly brilliant parts of Christianity. It’s also one of the parts I’ve understood the least.
I think I often imagined Jesus, the first century carpenter, as a sort of human avatar for God, as if his flesh was something like a shell, and the real divinity of Christ, the actual God part, was spiritual. I mean yes, Jesus was God, but surely the cells and hairs and bones and nails aren’t included in that? I mean, God is spirit, isn’t He? So surely that bit must be the holy part, with the humanity sort of draped around the outside as a temporary covering.
Thing is, though, that’s a load of rubbish. The truth is far more real, far more gritty, and far more unexpected again.
26 days, my friends. 26 days. That’s 274 days in dog years, the time it takes light to travel 418.5 billion miles, or the amount of time CCTV Cameras spent not working in Coventry last year (Google is a marvellous thing). Whichever way you look at it, it’s far too long to leave you lot without a post. I could make excuses, but I won’t. I could complain about revision, Christmas, and general laziness, but I will try to refrain. You are worth more to me than that. I simply offer my sincerest and humblest apologies, and hope that maybe, just maybe, you can find it in your heart of hearts to forgive me for my thoughtless leave of absence.
When I was born, apparently, mum and dad got a nativity set for me, and every year I’d set it up in the dining room. Starting a couple of years ago though, the nativity scenes started to take a turn for the surreal (think wise men arriving by paper aeroplane etc.), so I thought I’d put this year’s one up for posterity. I was forced to revise at Christmas, and so I don’t see why anyone else should be free of exams…
[Click on the picture for a larger image, apologies for the appalling photo editing!]
Quick! Follow @Natwivity on Twitter! All december the Christmas story is getting told through tweets from each character’s perspective…
#Natwivity They’ve been waiting. For so long. For something. For someone to turn their world upside down
#Natwivity “Those who walked in darkness have seen a bright light and it shines upon everyone who lives in the land of the darkest shadow”
#Joseph Ever get the feeling something really big’s coming your way? I’m thinking a large supply of balsa wood and a new chisel.
Looks to be pretty good!
I found this post in my drafts, and I have no idea why I relegated it there, cause it’s really good! It’s by a friend called Rebecca Coates, so hopefully it’ll be a bit of a different perspective to my normal spiel…
Some people love Van Gogh, the colours, the swirls and the atmosphere; it isn’t photographic, but it is art. Others love Warhol and his bright controversial experiments; again, it isn’t traditional, but it is art. Still others love Picasso, the shapes and the boldness; it isn’t perfect, but it is art. Art is personal, it is what you make it, it’s a response to something that makes you think.
That got me thinking… Ephesians 2:10 says ‘You are my work of art, individually created by me for a purpose’. I love this verse! I love art, as you might have guessed, and I love the fact that God has a special plan for each of us. He knows us and loves us, and has spent our lives so far changing us and shaping us into his new creations. Because of that, just as there are so many different styles of art, each of us as God’s child is beautiful and special and different and unique.