December 22

Today's Bible Reading
     II Chronicles 26
     Revelation 13
     Zachariah 9
     John 12
''And he who sees Me sees Him who sent Me." (John 12:46)
            Our memory verse is the essenceof the Christmasseason. Jesus Christ has come into a dark world to make changes. One of my favorite Christmas stories is a quaint, short story by Brett Harte, a story that does not seem to be about Christmas at all. It is entitled, The Luck of Roaring Camp.
            A poor prostitute, the only woman in Roaring Mine Camp, died in childbirth. The only legacy she left behind was a newborn baby, and since the men were not sure who the father was, they felt responsible to take care of the baby. The baby 's ''cradle'' was a candle box on a pine table; but the men quickly realized that such a box was not fit for a baby 's crib, so they sent one of the members 80 miles on a mule to Sacramento to get a rosewood cradle. When the cradle came, the men then realized that the rags in which the baby was sleeping seemed out of place. So the man was sent back to Sacramento to purchase some clothes - lacy, frilly clothes.
            When the baby was dressed it its lovely new garments, and placed in the rosewood cradle, the men observed for the first time that the floor was dirty, so they scrubbed it clean. Then they noticed the walls and ceiling were also dirty, so the scrubbed and whitewashed them. Then they opened the windows and put drapes on them.
            Because the baby needed to be quiet at times, they remained still and ceased their rough language and rowdy ways; in fact, they slowly dropped their bad language and bad conduct because of the baby's presence in the town. When the weather permitted, they took the cradle out to the mines; then they discovered that the mining area could also be cleaned and flowers planted to make the surroundings as lovely 'and attractive as the baby.
            Finally, the men themselves began to improve both their inner character and their outer appearance; thus, the coming of a baby resulted in the regeneration and transformation of Roaring Mine Camp into a new and attractive place filled with new and attractive people. These previously rough miners began to realize the change produced among them by the baby. It occurred that the baby had brought ''luck'' to Roaring Camp. They named him ''The Luck." The story becomes even more similar to the Gospel story when the baby dies tragically at the end, thus fixing the redemption of the camp to the baby's death as well as to his life.
            The true result of Christmas is a change - a change in the person and a change in the culture.
So the message of Christmas is really too good to be false. Dear friend, if the Holy Spirit has made you aware that you have a serious problem - you are away from God and helplessly lost in sin, the answer to your problem is in Jesus your Savior. As you frankly admit your sin, come to Jesus and trust Him today to work the miracle of His salvation in you - to remove your sin, and replace your love for sin with a greater love for the Savior.
            Though Christ a thousand times in Bethlehem be born, If He is not born in you, your heart is still forlorn. Holy Child of Bethlehem descend on us, we pray, Cast out our sin, and enter in; be born in us today.  Our Gospel is, indeed, too good to be false.
            Pray for Third World countries throughout the globe to have such a move of the Holy Spirit of God in this new century that every nation will hear the call of God to send out missionaries from their Christian constituency no matter how small it may be. May the idea that the Great Commission is for the U.S. and Britain be a passing idea, and may all of God's people realize that it is for every nation on the planet.
            “Hope is like the cork to a net, which keeps the soul from sinking in despair; and fear, like the lead in the net, which keeps it from floating in presumption."