“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God,
and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things
were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life,
and that life was the light of all mankind. The light shines in the darkness,
and the darkness has not overcome it…. The true light that gives light to
everyone was coming into the world. He was in the world, and though the world
was made through him, the world did not recognize him. He came to that which
was his own, but his own did not receive him. Yet to all who did receive him,
to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of
God—children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband’s
will, but born of God. The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We
have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the
Father, full of grace and truth” (John 1:1-5, 9-14).
This is the Christmas story according to John. This is the
reason for all of my descendants and many other relatives being Christian
My wife Bessie received Christ in 1935 at the age of 15 at a
revival meeting in Edmonton, Alberta. I received Christ on October 18, 1947, at
a Youth for Christ meeting in a Presbyterian church at the corner of North
Avenue and St. Paul Street in Baltimore, Maryland. It was after a football game
my second year at the Naval Academy. I had turned 20 on October 6.
The message preached that evening was by a Filipino
evangelist, Gregorio Tingson. His text was Psalm 40:1-4: “I waited patiently
for the LORD; he turned to me and heard my cry. He lifted me out of the slimy
pit, out of the mud and mire; he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place
to stand. He put a new song in my mouth, a hymn of praise to our God. Many will
see and fear the LORD and put their trust in him.”
After the meeting was over, Willard Peterson (USNA class of
’49) took me to another room and introduced me to the Father through Jesus
Christ. I wanted to sing for joy! If you do not know the Father, please read
the next five chapters of the Gospel of John.
My favorite Christian carol is Isaac Watts’ “Joy to the
World, the Lord is Come.” Watts did not write this for Christmas day. He did
not believe in celebrating Christmas. Let’s look at it. Verse 3:
No more let sins and sorrows grow,
Nor thorns infest the ground;
He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse is found,
Far as the curse is found,
Far as, far as, the curse is found.
It sounds like the Second Coming when there will be great
Look at Luke 10:17-21:
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the
demons submit to us in your name.” He replied, “I saw Satan fall like lightning
from heaven. I have given you authority to trample on snakes and scorpions and
to overcome all the power of the enemy; nothing will harm you. However, do not
rejoice that the spirits submit to you, but rejoice that your names are written
in heaven.” At that time Jesus, full of joy through the Holy Spirit, said, “I
praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these
things from the wise and learned, and revealed them to little children. Yes,
Father, for this is what you were pleased to do.”
“Rejoice that your names are written in heaven.”
“But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered,
‘This man welcomes sinners and eats with them’ … ‘In the same way, I tell you,
there is rejoicing in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who
repents’ … ‘The son said to him,
“Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to
be called your son.” But the father said to his servants, “Quick! Bring the
best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.
Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. For this
son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.” So they
began to celebrate’” (Luke 15:2, 10, 21-24).
God is into parties when sinners are saved.
This post coordinates with today’s reading in the To
the Word! Bible Reading Challenge. If you are not in a daily reading plan,
please join us at TotheWord.com. We would love to have you reading with us.