Christ a Winter Fire for the Unfortunate

Isaiah 9:2; 61:1; Matthew 4:16; Luke 4:18

Anyone thinking of the Holy Child as born in December would mean by it exactly what we mean by it; that Christ is not merely a summer sun of the prosperous but a winter fire for the unfortunate.

G. K. Chesterton (1874–1936)

Christ Became Man and Suffered Because of the Sins of His People

Colossians 1:16; Hebrews 2:14–18

You know the cause why Christ became man, and suffered as he suffered, was the sins of His people, that He might save them from the same. Consider the greatness of the sore, I mean sin, by the greatness of the surgeon and of the salve. Who was the surgeon? No angel, no saint, no archangel, no power, no creature in heaven nor in earth, but only He by whom all things were made, all things are ruled also, even God’s own dearling and only beloved Son becoming man.

John Bradford (1510–1555)

“Christ Is Born! Tell Forth His Fame!”

Psalm 68:4; Luke 2:14, 17–18

Christ is born! Tell forth His fame!

Christ from Heaven! His love proclaim!

Christ on earth! Exalt His Name!

Sing to the Lord, O world, with exultation!

Break forth in glad thanksgiving, every nation!

For He has triumphed gloriously!

Cosmas of Maiuma (8th century)

Christ Is One with All of Us Who Believe in His Name

Luke 1:53; Galatians 4:3–6; Ephesians 5:32

To those of us who are truly the people of God, the incarnation is the subject of a thoughtful joy, which ever increases with our knowledge of its meaning, even as rivers are enlarged by many trickling brooks. The birth of Jesus not only brings us hope, but the certainty of good things. We do not merely speak of Christ’s coming into relation with our nature, but of His entering into union with ourselves, for He has become one flesh with us for purposes as great as His love. He is one with all of us who have believed in His Name.

Charles Spurgeon (1834–1892)

Christ Knew Where His Life Came From

Matthew 10:40; Luke 1:26–38; 9:48; John 3:35; 5:23, 36–37; 6:44, 57; 8:16, 18; 12:49; 14:24; 17:21, 25; 20:21

God gave the power of the Holy Spirit in the virgin Mary, and it was by the almighty power of God that Christ was born, as a child, in Bethlehem. He was the workmanship of God. God sent the Holy Spirit to form Him, and to work everything in connection with His birth, in the virgin Mary. Christ always remembered that. He always told the people His Father sent Him. He was not His own master. He acknowledged that He had been sent by God. He always acknowledged that He had His life from God. The Father has given all things into the hands of the Son. The Father has given unto the Son to have life in Himself. That was Christ’s starting point.

Andrew Murray (1828–1917)

Christ Still Comes to Work the Salvation of Souls

Psalm 74:12; 1 Peter 1:9

As He once came visibly in the body to work our salvation in the midst of the earth, so does He come daily invisibly and in spirit to work the salvation of each individual soul.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)

Christ the Treasure Can Be a Treasure in Your Heart

Matthew 6:20; 8:20; Luke 9:58; 1 Peter 1:21

Christ is God’s treasure, and God’s delight, and the storehouse of all God’s riches. God had that treasure in heaven, but sent it down to earth, and in the babe of Bethlehem. In that Jesus who had not a place to lay His head; in that Jesus as an earthen vessel, there was that heavenly treasure of God. The Jesus that went down into the grave, in that broken earthen vessel, was the treasure of God. He lifted Him up to the glory, and then the Holy Spirit came down to bring that heavenly treasure into the hearts of men. And the treasure in heaven, that God delights in, can be a treasure in your heart, that you can delight in.

Andrew Murray (1828–1917)

Christ’s Birth in the Flesh Is an Earnest of Our Birth in the Spirit

John 1:12; 3:3–7; Romans 8:14; Galatians 3:26; Hebrews 2:11; 1 John 3:1–2

Our Savior’s birth in the flesh is an earnest, and, as it were, beginning of our birth in the Spirit. It is a figure, promise, or pledge of our new birth, and it effects what it promises. As He was born, so are we born also; and since He was born, therefore we too are born. As He is the Son of God by nature, so are we sons of God by grace; and it is He who has made us such.

John Henry Newman (1801–1890)

Christ’s Birth Magnifies Bethlehem

Micah 5:2; Matthew 2:6; Philippians 2:6–7

Behold what condescension! It is not in the royal city of Jerusalem, but in Bethlehem, which is the least of the thousands of Judah. O Bethlehem! O little Bethlehem! Once little, now magnified by the Lord! He has magnified you who, though great, became little in you.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)

Christ’s Coming Was to Bring Glory to God

Luke 2:14

God knows no higher design than His own glory, and Christ’s coming into the world was for the accomplishment of that design. And man can desire no greater happiness than what follows, peace and goodwill: and both these are born into the world, together with Christ.

Ezekiel Hopkins (1634–1690)[1]

[1] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

The Scandal of Pious People

The lowly God-man is the scandal of pious people and of people in general. This scandal is his historical ambiguity. The most incomprehensible thing for the pious is this man’s claim that he is not only a pious human being but also the Son of God. Whence his authority: “But I say to you” (Matt. 5:22) and “Your sins are forgiven” (Matt. 9:2). If Jesus’ nature had been deified, this claim would have been accepted. If he had given signs, as was demanded of him, they would have believed him. But at the point where it really mattered, he held back. And that created the scandal. Yet everything depends on this fact. If he had answered the Christ question addressed to him through a miracle, then the statement would no longer be true that he became a human being like us, for then there would have been an exception at the decisive point.… If Christ had documented himself with miracles, we would naturally believe, but then Christ would not be our salvation, for then there would not be faith in the God who became human, but only the recognition of an alleged supernatural fact. But that is not faith.… Only when I forgo visible proof, do I believe in God.

The kingdom belongs to people who aren’t trying to look good or impress anybody, even themselves. They are not plotting how they can call attention to themselves, worrying about how their actions will be interpreted or wondering if they will get gold stars for their behavior. Twenty centuries later, Jesus speaks pointedly to the preening ascetic trapped in the fatal narcissism of spiritual perfectionism, to those of us caught up in boasting about our victories in the vineyard, to those of us fretting and flapping about our human weaknesses and character defects. The child doesn’t have to struggle to get himself in a good position for having a relationship with God; he doesn’t have to craft ingenious ways of explaining his position to Jesus; he doesn’t have to create a pretty face for himself; he doesn’t have to achieve any state of spiritual feeling or intellectual understanding. All he has to do is happily accept the cookies, the gift of the kingdom.

Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

But we proclaim Christ crucified, a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those who are the called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.

1 Corinthians 1:23–25[1]

The Little One Instructs in Grace

Matthew 5:5; 11:29; Luke 1:32

In the Little One there has appeared grace for our instruction, because He will yet be great, as the angel Gabriel foretold. And they whom He, as a Little One, shall have instructed in humility and meekness of heart, He will afterwards exalt and glorify, when He shall come as great and glorious, Jesus Christ our Lord forever.

Bernard of Clairvaux (1090–1153)[2]

Manifest Yourself, and Save Us

Isaiah 7:14; Matthew 1:23; 2 Corinthians 3:18

O Immanuel, Savior of the world,

manifest yourself to us.

By your holy incarnation,

by your human birth,

by your pure and gracious childhood,

by your obedience and diligence,

by your humility, meekness, and patience,

by your extreme poverty,

by your griefs and sorrows,

by your prayers and tears,

by your having been despised and rejected,

by your cross and passion,

by your death and burial,

by your glorious resurrection and ascension,

Help us and save us.

May we all, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord,

be changed into the same image from glory to glory,

by the Spirit of the Lord.

Moravian Liturgy[3]

[1] Bonhoeffer, D. (2010). God is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas. (J. Riess, Ed., O. C. Dean Jr., Trans.) (First edition, pp. 24–25). Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press.

[2] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.

[3] Ritzema, E. (Ed.). (2013). 300 Quotations and Prayers for Christmas. Lexham Press.


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