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By Pastor Earl Herr

Thought for the Week

And It Came to Pass


December 26, 2019

Illustration by John McConahy

Scriptures to Read:

St. Luke 1:46-56

St. Luke 2:1-7

St. Luke 2:8-12

St. Luke 2:13-14

St. Luke 2:15-20

Galatians 4:4-7

Revelation 4:11 & 5:11-14

Vance Havner, a well-know gospel preacher of yesteryear, said that verse gave him great confidence when facing troubles and trials. He said, "It didn't come to stay, it came to pass." The phrase is actually used in Luke's Gospel alone more than three dozen times. It basically means "In the sequence of events." Often the phrase will indicate some fulfillment of God's promises or prophecies.

God has always been working out His plans in the lives of people and in the history of mankind. We cannot know exactly when God began to plan for the salvation of mankind, but it was likely before the Creation. We can imagine ourselves in "reviewing stands" as the parade marches by. We will marvel at what we see happening.

One of my favorites is, "And it came to pass ...she brought forth her first-born Son...." (St. Luke 2:1ff) Thus unfolds the birth story of the King of kings and Lord of lords. We must take time and care in unraveling this wonderful Story.

What a harrowing trip from Nazareth in Galilee to Bethlehem in Judea. It must have been a wearing journey of some 70 miles on foot (there is no biblical record of donkeys) for a woman in the ninth month of her pregnancy. Then to arrive and find no accommodations and be relegated to a stable where the marvelous birth took place. We speculate a lot but don't know if there was a mid-wife, other women to support and encourage, clean towels, warm water, how cold it was, if there were really animals in the stable.

But I do think we can let our imaginations be free. What a great sacrifice on the part of God and of Mary and Joseph. What a great sacrifice on the part of the Son of God: to leave the splendor and majesty of the Courts of Heaven to come to the most humble and primitive basic poverty of being a human baby.

We move from that stress to the marvelous triumph of shepherds, the angel announcement, the multitude of the heavenly host, praising God, "Glory to God in the highest," Mary pondering all these things in her heart. "The shepherds returned glorifying and praising God..."

This is such a great time: Visit a "live nativity." Attend a cantata. Go see Christmas lights. Give a gift to the Salvation Army or other charitable organization. If you are, have been, or expect to be, caught up in the wild scramble of the Christmas season, take your Bible, sit in a favorite chair, drink a cup of hot chocolate, read the Christmas story. Let your heart be still before God. Worship Him and thank Him for the best Christmas Gift of all time. Sing some Christmas carols. Do as Mary did; "ponder these things in your heart."

God has made a tremendous investment in you – in your eternal welfare – because He loves you more than you can fathom in your finite mind. Let the Holy Spirit whisper God's love into your ear and heart. Christmas "came to pass" but as it passes, it should make a deep and indelible imprint on every aspect of you, your family, your life and living. I hope it will.


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