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Illustration results for isaiah 9:2

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Bruce Howell
 
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Illus.: “When Blind Eyes Were Opened”

D.L. Moody, the famed evangelist, told this story at one of his meetings: One evening just before Christmas, a man was walking through the streets of an Eastern city. The store windows were all beautifully decorated, and he observed three little girls intensely interested in one of them. He discovered that the girl in the center was blind, and the others were trying to describe the beautiful things in the window. “Why,” they said, “can’t you see that Teddy bear and that doll? Just look at that pretty pink bow!”
But the poor little girl stood with a blank expression on her face and could not appreciate the beautiful things before her. “Now,” said Moody, “this is an illustration of the effort we Christians are making to arouse the unconverted to an interest and delight in spiritual things. The reason we can’t do so is because the sinner is spiritually blind.” Moody had scarcely concluded when a reporter was on the platform asking him where he had heard that story. “Oh,” said Moody, “I read it in one of those daily papers. I have forgotten which one.” Then the reporter said, “I’m the one who wrote the story because I was there and saw the whole thing. I see now that I’m just like that little girl, spiritually blind.” That man was converted then and there.

 
Contributed By:
Aaron Hand
 
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[A Christmas Poem]

The King of Kings, the Lord of Lords
Came to earth for you and me.
The salvation I could not afford
He paid for on Calvary.

What could I ever give Him
That would thank Him for His Son?
I’ll confess, and turn from my sin
And live in the victory won!

I often lose sight of Jesus,
Because of Santa and Christmas trees.
Jesus Christ is more than enough
To grant me eternity.

He’s the Wonderful Counselor,
The Mighty God, Prince of Peace,
He’s the Everlasting Father,
And to think – He came for me!

He deserves no less than my all,
Though it’s easy to give Him less.
Though born in a humble stall,
God sent me His very best.

- Aaron Hand, 2007

 
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Sermon Central Staff
 
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THIS BABY IS FOR YOU

Pastor and author Richard Foster writes about genuine, joyous giving. "Giving with a glad and generous heart has a way of rooting out the tough old miser within us. Just the very act of letting go of money or some other treasure does something great within us."1 Such genuine, joyous giving awakens us to the true message of Christmas and reminds us of God's free, unconditional gift of Jesus to us. God generosity toward us in Christ opens us up to new possibilities of being generous with others.

It was like a beautiful tale from a storybook. The young couple had found each other and began their marriage together full of hope and anticipation. It all seemed so perfect. They were happy, with good jobs, a nice home, and a loving relationship. In time, they celebrated the incredible joy of the birth of their first and only child. They were loving, caring, and devoted parents. Life seemed rich and complete. They were a family.

Then the unthinkable happened. The beautiful little baby who had filled their lives with so much joy died suddenly. Their lives turned from hope and joyful anticipation to numbing emptiness and pain. They were devastated and agonized over their loss and wondered what they could have done to prevent such a senseless tragedy. Life no longer seemed complete. Instead of the excitement of new beginnings they were consumed by endings, darkness instead of light, as they struggled to hold their fragile love together.

It all seemed hopeless until a simple knock on their door changed their lives forever. There at the door, stood a Native man holding a small baby. He reached forward, handing the child to the couple. "Here, this baby is for you," he said and then he left.

I still feel my tears as I think about the young Native mother who gave her own baby to fill the lives of the grieving couple. Native people call it custom adoption. For me, it is much more. It is the ultimate gift of love.

Christmas is our celebration of God's ultimate gift of love. God saw our pain, our devastation, our hopelessness, our brokenness, and our fragile love and he loved us so much that "...he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

Jesus is God's ultimate gift. "Here, this baby is for you."2
"For a child has been born for us, a son given to us." Jesus, the greatest gift of Christmas--for you, for me, for everyone. Amen.

(1 Cited from: Clergy Talk, December 1998 (Sequim, WA), p. 11. 2 Cited from: Lee Barry, "This Baby is For You," in: Come Let Us Adore Him: LAMP 1995 Advent Devotions, p. 30.
From a sermon by Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson, Christ is the Greatest Gift, 12/20/2010 )

 
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A Light of Hope

There is a story about how the caverns north of Yellowstone National Park were discovered. As the story goes, one of the original explorers was walking along the top of that mountain and fell through a hole, and he dropped down several hundred feet into this cavern and was stuck in almost total darkness for over a week, no food, no water. He cried out every day, "Help me!" hoping that somebody would hear his voice and figure out that he was down there.

Sure enough a guy came along and heard this faint sound and looked around and found the hole. They dug him out and that’s how they found this giant cavern. They asked him, "How did you hold on to hope day after day after day in the dark without giving up?" He said, "There was one little pinhole ray of light that was coming through and I just kept focused on that ray of light."

Many around us in this nation today are like that man down in the cave. They are in darkness lookin...

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