A Classic Nativity Devotional

A Classic Nativity Devotional

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Overview

A Classic Nativity Devotional by James Stuart Bell

The Nativity is one of the most vibrant traditions we celebrate today. Everything from fresh mistletoe to the Christmas pine tree is rooted in rich traditions. This year spend Christmas surrounded by the words of historical spiritual figures including Spurgeon, Chambers, Luther, and Moody. It’s guaranteed to deepen your experience of Christmas. Make this Christmas the one you’ll remember for years to come.

This advent season, enjoy the timeless wisdom of some of the greatest spiritual and literary figures of all time. From the inspirational words of Martin Luther, Charles Spurgeon and Saint Augustine to the lyric poetry of Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, John Milton, and Christina Rossetti, this classic collection of devotional thoughts, traditional carols, and memorable hymns will warm your heart and touch your soul as they rekindle the joyous spirit of Christmas.

This classic collection includes timeless readings from such noted authors as
Martin Luther
John Wycliffe
George Whitefield
Samuel Taylor Coleridge
J. C. Ryle
Billy Sunday
Evelyn Underhill
Henry Vaughan
Ben Johnson
Charles Spurgeon
Christina Rossetti
John Milton
Saint Augustine
Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
And many more . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781414315010
Publisher: Tyndale House Publishers
Publication date: 11/01/2006
Pages: 288
Product dimensions: 5.30(w) x 7.10(h) x 1.10(d)

Read an Excerpt



A Classic Nativity Devotional



By James Stuart Bell


Tyndale House Publishers, Inc.


Copyright © 2006

Whitestone Communications, Inc.

All right reserved.

ISBN: 1-4143-1501-5




Chapter One


God's
Loving Gift

In the Bleak Midwinter
In the bleak midwinter
Frosty wind made moan,
Earth stood hard as iron,
Water like a stone;
Snow had fallen, snow on snow,
Snow on snow,
In the bleak midwinter,
Long ago.

Our God, Heaven cannot hold Him
Nor earth sustain;
Heaven and earth shall flee away
When He comes to reign.
In the bleak midwinter
A stable-place sufficed
The Lord God Almighty,
Jesus Christ.

Enough for Him, Whom cherubim
Worship night and day,
Breastful of milk
And a mangerful of hay;
Enough for Him, Whom angels
Fall before,
The ox and ass and camel
Which adore.

Angels and archangels
May have gathered there,
Cherubim and seraphim
Thronged the air,
But His mother only,
In her maiden bliss,
Worshipped the beloved
With a kiss.

What can I give Him,
Poor as I am?
If I were a shepherd
I would bring alamb,
If I were a Wise Man
I would do my part;
Yet what I can I give Him:
Give my heart.
-Christina Rossetti (1830-1882)

There is nothing we can give God to repay him for the gift of
his Son, Jesus Christ. But what we can do is give to him what he
came to claim for himself in the first place: our hearts. God has
already given us the greatest Christmas gift in history. All he
wants in return is all that we are.

Christ's Nativity:
God's Gift Just for Us

Adapted from a sermon by John Wycliffe (1324-1384)

For to us a child is born, to us a son is given,
and the government will be on his shoulders. And he
will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.
Isaiah 9:6

According to the joy the Bible reveals, we may say on Christmas
Day that a child is born to us-for we believe that Jesus
Christ was born on this day. It is God's spoken and written
Word that tells us, both in figure and in letter, that a child
is born to us, and it is in him that we should have this joy.
And three short words are to be spoken from Isaiah's speech
so that men may afterward joy in the service of this child.

First, we believe that since our first elders had sinned,
there must be satisfaction made by the righteousness of God.
For as God is merciful, so is he full of righteousness. But how
should he judge all the world unless he kept righteousness
in it? For the Lord against whom this sin was done is God
almighty; and no sin may be done except against God. And
the greater the Lord is against whom the sin is done, the more
is that sin to be punished by this Lord. It would be a great sin
to act against the king's bidding; but that sin which is done
against God's bidding would be even more without excuse.

According to our belief, God told Adam not to eat
of the fruit. But he broke God's command, and he was not
excused in that sin, neither by his own folly (or weakness),
nor by Eve, nor by the serpent. And so by the righteousness
of God this sin must always be punished. And it is a light
word to say that God must of his power forgive this sin without
the justification that was made for this trespass. For God
might do this if he would; but his justice will not permit
anything else except that each trespass must be punished,
either on earth or in hell. And God may not accept a person,
and forget his sin, without satisfaction-else he must
give men and angels free permission to sin. And then sin
were no sin, and our God were no god. And this is the first
lesson that we take from our faith.

The second teaching that we take is that he who should
make satisfaction for the sin of our first father must be both
God and man. For as mankind trespassed, so must mankind
make satisfaction. And therefore it could not be that an
angel should make satisfaction for man, for neither has he
the right, nor was his the nature that sinned here. But since
all men are one person, that person makes satisfaction for
man, if any member of this person makes satisfaction for all
of this person.

And in this way we see that if God made another man
who was after the nature of Adam, he would be obligated to
God as much as he might be for himself, and so he might not
make satisfaction both for himself and for Adam's sins. And
since satisfaction had to be made also for Adam's sin, as it is
said, such a person that must make the satisfaction must be
both God and man; for the worthiness of this person's deeds
must be equal to the unworthiness of the sin.

The third teaching that must follow these two is that the
child is born to man to make satisfaction for man's sin. And
this child must be God and man, given to man. And he must
bear his empire upon his shoulder and suffer for man. And
this child is Jesus Christ, who we suppose was born today.

If we truly desire that this child be born to us, we have
joy of this child, and we follow him in three virtues: in
righteousness, and meekness, and patience for our God.
For whoever condemns Christ unto his death, against the
spirit, shall be condemned of this Child, even as all others
shall be saved. And thus the joy of this child that was meek
and full of virtues should make men to be little in malice.
Then they observe well the season.

To them who will fight and chide, I say, to this child
who is born as Prince of Peace, and loves peace; and
condemns contrary men, who are contrary to peace. For we
study how Christ came in the fullness of time when he
should; and how he came in meekness, as his birth teaches
us; and how he came in patience from his birth to his death;
and we follow him in these three because of the joy that we
have in him. For this joy, in this patience of Christ, brings
us to a joy that shall last forever.

Jesus Christ came to earth two thousand years ago-born as an
ordinary infant but still possessing all the attributes and character
of divinity-as God's gift to a needy, sinful, lost humankind.
It was our sin that made it necessary for him to come, but it
was our heavenly Father's incredible grace, mercy, and love that
made the event possible.

On the Morning of
Christ's Nativity

This is the month, and this the happy morn
Wherein the Son of Heav'n's eternal King,
Of wedded Maid, and Virgin Mother born,
Our great redemption from above did bring;
For so the holy sages once did sing,
That he our deadly forfeit should release,
And with his Father work us a perpetual peace.

That glorious Form, that Light unsufferable,
And that far-beaming blaze of Majesty,
Wherewith he wont at Heav'n's high council-table,
To sit the midst of Trinal Unity,
He laid aside, and here with us to be,
Forsook the courts of everlasting day,
And chose with us a darksome house of mortal clay.

Say Heav'nly Muse, shall not thy sacred vein
Afford a present to the Infant God?
Hast thou no verse, no hymn, or solemn strain,
To welcome him to this his new abode,
Now while the heav'n, by the Sun's team untrod,
Hath took no print of the approaching light,
And all the spangled host keep watch in squadrons bright?

See how from far upon the eastern road
The star-led wizards haste with odours sweet:
O run, prevent them with thy humble ode,
And lay it lowly at his blessed feet;
Have thou the honour first thy Lord to greet,
And join thy voice unto the angel quire,
From out his secret altar touched with hallowed fire.
-John Milton (1608-1674)

On the morning when we celebrate the scene known as the Nativity,
we celebrate the day that Jesus Christ-the one and only
begotten Son of the everlasting God-was born. It is the day
Jesus left everything in heaven behind and came to earth to
become one of us!

Our Savior's Humble Birth

Adapted from a sermon by the Reverend Alfred Barratt

When Jesus Christ was born in Bethlehem he did not have a
Christmas tree. The children born in those days were not as
fortunate as children of today. The parents of Jesus were very
poor. His house was not a palace, but a stable; his bed was
not a pretty cot with a silk floss mattress, but a manger filled
with hay.

And yet in spite of his poverty and humility he was the
only begotten Son of God, who left his throne in heaven
above and came to earth in human form to live among the
sin-bound people of this world to teach them the love of
God and to show them how much love God has for us.

On the day of his birth, the heavenly choir of angels
gave a grand concert in Bethlehem. They sang their sky-born
carols away up in the sky over the place where the lowly
Child Jesus lay cradled in a humble cattle shed. One of the
most beautiful songs the angels sang on that never-to-be-forgotten
day was "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth
peace, good will toward men."

It must have been grand for those shepherds who
were "abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock
by night" to hear such beautiful singing. But they did not
celebrate this wonderful event by gathering around a Christmas
tree. They just left their sheep and went down into
Bethlehem to seek the newborn King, and when they found
him they worshiped him.

The idea of a Christmas tree was not thought of in
those days. The first Christmas tree was originated 732 years
after the birth of Jesus Christ. Perhaps the children who were
looking anxiously and with joy and great expectation to see
the Christmas tree may like to hear the legend of the first
Christmas tree. Yet it may not merely be a legend, but
history sending forth its radiant light through the dreary
mists of traditions.

It is an old German story-that Saint Wilfred transformed
the heathen Teuton worship in the forest in the
Christmas ceremony. About 732 years after the birth of
Jesus Christ, he took a band of priests with him and sought
to convert the worshipers of Thor. It was on Christmas Eve,
while they were fighting their way through the deep snow in
the dense forest, that they came upon a savage tribe assembled
under a thick oak tree, which was symbolic of the god
of thunder, Thor. The old, white-haired priest of the tribe
was about to offer as a sacrifice to Thor the young, beautiful
son of the tribe's chief. When Wilfred saw it he rushed
forward and warded off the arm that was about to slay the
child. The tribesmen were all delighted at the saving of their
favorite, and because of this act they very soon became
converts to Christianity. Saint Wilfred then took his ax and
started to cut down the old oak tree. As it was about to fall,
lightning struck it and rended it into many pieces, and in
its place there sprang up a little fir tree, green and sparkling.
They carried this little fir tree to the chief captain's
hall, and set it in the middle of the room and round it
they all made merry. It was about this first Christmas tree
that the old, old story of Jesus and his love was told to
the Teuton tribes, and in a short time they all became
Christians.

Let us not forget that Christmas is the birthday of
Jesus, and while we gather around the Christmas tree let us
give our little hearts to Jesus as a Christmas present. He says
today, "Give me your heart." If you will do this, he will give
you in return a new sense of joy and peace that will not only
shine through the Christmas season, but will remain with
you throughout your earthly life. This would be a very fitting
time to give your heart to Jesus, while the angels are singing
again the Bethlehem anthem, "Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace, good will toward men." Will you do this
for your own sake, and for Jesus' sake?

Jesus humbled himself to come to earth and be born in the
humblest of circumstances so we could know the heavenly Father
who sent him in the first place. There is only one thing we can
give him in return for this act of love and generosity, and that's
our hearts.

(Continues...)





Excerpted from A Classic Nativity Devotional
by James Stuart Bell
Copyright © 2006 by Whitestone Communications, Inc..
Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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