A Child is Born


“She gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger”
(Luke 2:7)

And so on a silent night, when the herald angels sang, in the little town of Bethlehem, in Royal David’s city, while shepherds watched their flocks at night, unto us a child is born. And softly so as not to disturb the quiet babe the faithful down the centuries come to whisper in amazement and awe – Hallelujah!

It had to be night when the Saviour of the world slipped quietly in – for the world was locked in a spiritual darkness. Just as our own lives are in darkness until the Light of the World comes to us and into our lives. Although we do not see it at the time He comes to us very much like the babe of Bethlehem – small and unthreatening and even dependent upon us.

But then over the years He grows within our minds and spirits and understanding into the majestic and glorious and awesomely holy Son of God. And as He finally begins to reign supreme within us we realise just how small was our original knowledge and understanding of Him.

Come let us adore Him – with a cluster of shepherds, a small group of wise men from afar and the encircling bands of angels. For just a moment it does not matter where the world is – but it does matter where we are.

Am I with God and He with me?

Lord I come to You – just as I am


“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favour rests.” (Luke 2:14)


(Adoration of the Shepherds by Gerrit van Honthorst)

(I’ll be back on New Years Day –
thank you for being a part of the journey.

May our most glorious Lord bless each and every one of you
with the wonder of His love)


Can you see?


“And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby,
keeping watch over their flocks at night.
An angel of the Lord appeared to them,
and the glory of the Lord shone around them,
and they were terrified.
But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.
I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.
Today in the town of David a Saviour has been born to you;
he is Christ the Lord”
(Luke 2:8-11)

Quietly and humbly a momentous event was taking place in Bethlehem. The Son of God and Saviour of the world was born. With all the hustle and bustle of the town, filled with visitors returning for the census, the Light of the world slipped in through the relative silence of the night. There was no town-crier to proclaim the event, nor squad of medical personal to ensure that nothing went wrong – just a man and a woman and, maybe, one or two others who happened to be aware of a birth.

Outside of the town there were a group of shepherds, watching over their flocks as they bedded down for the night. They were probably talking quietly to each other and, perhaps, looking up at the overwhelming grandeur of the night sky. Shepherds did not have a good reputation in Israel where they were generally considered to be unreliable and dishonest. And so it is both amazing and wonderful that God chose to make the announcement to them – ‘the most stupendous good news the world has ever heard.’

An angel appeared, and the glory of the Lord shone all around them, and the announcement was followed by a great company of the heavenly host praising God. We cannot begin to imagine what this was like, the effect of the praise of the multitudes of angels, and the blessing that it brought to these earthy men. But their response tells us a lot.

They went to Bethlehem to see for themselves. They did not wait for the morning but ‘hurried off’ and found Mary and Joseph and the baby. When they had seen Him they could not keep the news to themselves but ‘spread the word concerning what they had seen and heard.’ Then they ‘returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen.’

They did not remain in the stable or settle around the manger – instead they returned to their jobs and homes and families. But although these would still be the same the men themselves would be different – they had seen the Lord!  And as Jesus life began to unfold in due course, and news of Him filtered back to these shepherds, they would have been able to tell their children and grand-children how they had been amongst the very first to see and worship the Lord and Messiah.

Will you seek Him and worship Him tomorrow?

Ensure you unwrap the greatest gift of all


In the night-time and in the morning Lord help me to be aware – of the child who was born and the angels who sang and the simple shepherds who worshipped and adored You. Let me slip in beside them in the silence of my spirit and look in wonder and love. Amen and Amen.


Yes Today


“But when the time had fully come,
God sent his Son”
(Galatians 4:4)

It was some 2000 years after God called Abraham and promised through him to bless all the families of the world.  Now, Paul tells us, this was the right time. We do not know the full answer but there are certain factors that made this time suitable from a human perspective.

Firstly, there was a general peace in the Roman empire. The legions were everywhere keeping law and order and protecting travellers both on land and at sea.

Secondly, the common language of the empire was Greek – and the Old Testament in Greek, the Septuagint, was available.

Thirdly, there was an increasing spiritual hunger. The Roman gods had lost their attraction and the so-called mystery religions had a more personal appeal.

Finally, there were the outsiders who were attracted to the idea of the Jewish God and the high ethical standards that were a part of their faith.

Within this context Paul was able to minister effectively and during a short period of ten years was able to see the church established in the four Roman provinces of Galatia, Macedonia, Achaia and Asia.

Certainly God had chosen a good time – and may even have been influential in bringing it about! And how blessed we are that some 2000 years later we can look back on it and enjoy the fullness of its meaning.

Has the Lord become fully a part of my life?

“I tell you, now is the time of God’s favour, now is the day of salvation”  ( 2 Corinthians 6:2)


Today Lord Jesus, enter more fully into my life to rule and reign there in the fullness of your light, life and love. Amen.


No Room


“There was no room for them in the inn”
( Luke 2:7)

In an age when there were no telephones, emails or ordinary mail services Joseph and Mary took their chances with accommodation. And, when they reached their destination of Bethlehem, they found that all the available places had already been taken. There was nothing suitable to be had for a heavily pregnant mother bearing the Son of God and Saviour of the world.

Right from the beginning both Mary and Joseph learned that a close association with the Lord might have many blessings and privileges – but comfort was not necessarily one of them. They had suffered both social and emotional pain and now were met with not only physical discomfort but what might have felt like rejection and a lack of understanding from God.

Jesus confirmed this during His ministry when He told a would-be follower,

“Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests,
but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”
(Matthew 8:20)

John the Baptist’s role was ‘to prepare the way for the Lord’ amongst the people to whom He would come. Jesus role was to seek out and save the lost. It was only as He prepared to return to the Father that He spoke of preparing a place for us. Until we reach that place we are on a journey with the Lord – it will not be all ease and comfort.

Do I look to God for comfort or companionship?

We ‘prepare the way for the Lord’ whilst He ‘prepares a place’ for us with the Father.


Lord God, please help me to keep my eyes and attention on You and not on my own comforts and pleasures. Amen.


God at work


“In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree
 that a census should be taken
of the entire Roman world”
(Luke 2:1)

Caesar Augustus reigned over the Roman empire from 30 BC to AD 14. He decided that a census should be taken throughout his empire. This was not a regular occurrence but the first of its kind – and taxation was probably the reason behind it. The consequence was that people travelled to their own town to register, and this involved Joseph going to Bethlehem, ‘because he was of the house and line of David.’

Joseph did not need to take Mary with him but he obviously decided or agreed to do so. We know that she was in the advanced stages of her pregnancy and he may not have wanted to leave her behind in view of the Lord’s commission to him.

These two men were both involved in Mary’s being in Bethlehem when Jesus was born there – just as the prophet had foretold.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times” (Micah 5:2)

Caesar, who would not have known of the prophecy or of Mary and Joseph, issued a decree that had to be obeyed. Joseph, as a husband, took the decision that Mary should accompany him. In this way the prophecy was fulfilled and God’s will achieved.

In just such seemingly unrelated and small details is the hand of God at times to be revealed. He is indeed able to direct the thoughts and decisions of people in order to achieve His will, and He is able to work in all things to the good of those who love Him and who have been called according to His purpose (Romans 8:28)

Can I discern the Lord’s working in my life?

Trust God to guide and lead you in the way that you should go (Psalm 32:8)


Lord please have Your hand on my life so that whether I am aware of it or not I will live and act as You wish, Amen.




The Light


“The people walking in darkness have seen a great light;
on those living in the land of the shadow of death
a light has dawned.”

(Isaiah 9:2)

The advent of the Messiah was seen as the equivalent of a great light entering into a deathly darkness. The quality of the light is stressed by the used of the word great. It is not the flickering of a candle seen across the midnight fields but more the sudden rising of the sun after a moonless night.

This same idea is picked up by John in the first verses of his gospel.

  • “That light shines in the darkness, yet the darkness did not overcome it” (John 1:5 HCSB)
  • “The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world” (John 1:9)

The darkness of the world to which both the prophet and the apostle refer is the spiritual darkness that blankets and smothers life and hope, which destroys relationships and peace, turns love into a sadness and encourages all that is vile and destructive. In this darkness the only person we often can see is ourselves and this can become the focus of the individual, the community and the nation. For many life is a living death and death a fearsome obliteration.

The coming of the Messiah as ‘the Light of the world’ couples together both light and life.

  • “In him was life, and that life was the light of men” (John 1:4)

The light which transforms our lives is the new light that is in Jesus Christ. It draws us too Him and although it may not immediately change our present situation it can transform us within our situation, which in itself will bring change.

This light and life is associated with another word – love. They come from the God Almighty who is described to us by John as love. The three belong together – love, light and life. It is this trinity that God wishes to impart into our lives and situations.

Whoever and wherever we are today this is the gift that God wishes us to receive from Him this Christmas, As we celebrate the birth of the One who is both Saviour and Lord, Life and Light, and the fullest expression of Love we celebrate the greatest Gift known to humankind.

Do I see darkness and/or light in my life?

Whatever I have of the Lord I need more.


Lord Jesus may Your Light within me grow ever stronger as I walk in trust and obedience with You – and may I become Your light in the world around me. Amen.



Two Women


“At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zechariah’s home and greeted Elizabeth. When Elizabeth heard Mary’s greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.”
(Luke 1:39-41)

God had begun this new part of His salvation plan with two mighty acts – both of which involved women in a special way.

Elizabeth, who had mourned the fact that she could not have a child, and had suffered the social indignity as a result, was delighted to be pregnant – even in her old age. And her son would be the great and promised forerunner of the Lord – one of whom Jesus would say,

“This is the one about whom it is written:
“`I will send my messenger ahead of you,
who will prepare your way before you.’
I tell you, among those born of women
there is no one greater than John;”

(Luke 7:27-28)

Elizabeth also had the privilege of meeting the Saviour’s mother, and of knowing it. It must have been a very special time that they enjoyed together, after Elizabeth had greeted her with the words,

“Blessed are you among women,
and blessed is the child you will bear!
But why am I so favored,
that the mother of my Lord should come to me?
As soon as the sound of your greeting reached my ears,
the baby in my womb leaped for joy.
Blessed is she who has believed
that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!”

Mary was obviously conscious of the great honour that had been bestowed upon her, even although she could not at the time have realised what would be involved, or the pain that she would have to bear when Jesus was into His ministry. The Holy Spirit was clearly inspiring her when she exclaimed both in wonder and prophetically,

“My soul glorifies the Lord and my spirit
rejoices in God my Saviour,
for he has been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great things for me
— holy is his name.
His mercy extends to those who fear him, f
rom generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud
in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful to Abraham
and his descendants forever,
even as he said to our fathers.”

(Luke 1:46-45)

Our lives can seem very ordinary to us at times, and we may feel that we are stuck in some physical or social backwater, where some of the blessings that others appear to enjoy have passed us by. We never know when God may come to us, or use us to fulfil some special purpose of His. Our names may, or may not, go down in history as did those of Elizabeth and Mary – but even the smallest stone in a Temple is of great importance, both  to the whole and to the other stones around it. Each is hand-picked by God! – and with a specific purpose in mind.

Have I acknowledged that I too have a purpose in God’s plan? (Ephesians 2:10)

Allow God to choose how to use you, and thank Him that He does.


Father, thank You that You do know the hearts and longings of Your people, and that You do, indeed, have a special purpose and plan for each one of us. May Your will be done in me also. Amen.




“An angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”
(Matthew 1:20-21)


In all that God was doing He did not for a moment forget a man called Joseph, whose life also was to be changed forever. When he found out that Mary was pregnant Joseph could have publically broken off the proposed marriage and exposed Mary not only to shame and ridicule but to the harsh provisions of the law. Because he did not want to do this he considered divorcing her quietly.

It was probably too much to expect that Joseph would unquestioningly accept Mary’s account of what had happened. It had never occurred before in the history of the world and would undoubtedly never happen again. He must have been bitterly disappointed and hurt at what he saw to be a terrible betrayal of their relationship and a rejection of their planned future.

God did not hold this against him but instead sent an angel to him in a dream. So vivid was the experience and so real the message that Joseph, on waking, seems not to have hesitated but to have believed and obeyed God immediately. We can read these words very easily – but perhaps need to ask ourselves what sort of a dream would cause us to both change our minds and our planned course of action so dramatically. The question would arise again when we ask what sort of a dream would cause us to wake the next morning and immediately set about taking our family to live in Egypt – as Joseph was to do later.

God was working powerfully and specifically, and was ensuring that His word was received, understood and obeyed. He had also chosen His man very carefully. Joseph and Abraham are just two examples of people who heard and obeyed the word of God. The fruit of their obedience would turn out to be far greater and more important than they could have imagined at the time. Each one of us is also called to the same commitment and obedience. We may not all receive such startling and consequential messages but there is more than enough of God’s direction in the Gospels and Epistles for us to be getting on with in our daily lives.

He does call each of us to a particular ministry and work and equips us with specific gifts suitable for this ministry. We too will find our fulfilment and joy in doing what God calls us to do, and not in asking Him to help us in what we might fancy! The ministry starts right where we are, with our accepting and trusting God’s call and word.

How open are we to God’s call on our lives?

What will be my legacy?


Father it is difficult to say at times but – Your will be done on earth (in my life) as it is in heaven, Amen.


Highly Favoured


“In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a town in Galilee, to a virgin pledged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David. The virgin’s name was Mary”
(Luke 1:26-27)

After four hundred years of silence God spoke again within the space of a few months. Here too the message was delivered not by a prophet but by the angel Gabriel – underlining its huge importance and implication. And it also concerned the birth of a child – whose significance and ministry were highlighted in three ways.

Firstly ‘you are to give Him the name Jesus’ – which indicated that His mission would be to save.

Secondly, ‘He will be great’ – for He would also be called ‘the Son of the Most High.’ – This was an acknowledged messianic title and Mary would have understood it that way.

Thirdly, ‘He will reign over the house of Jacob forever; His kingdom will never end.’ –  Here was a fulfillment of prophecy.

Gabriel painted for Mary a picture of a child who would be Saviour, Son of God and King – three stunning titles. Mary was both ‘greatly troubled’ and obviously mystified by the message that Gabriel delivered – and would have been overawed when He explained further,

“The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God … For nothing is impossible with God.” (Luke 1:35-37)

We can only imagine what it must have been like for her to come through such an experience, to face up to telling Joseph – her husband to be – and see his initial hurting reaction , and to inform her family as well. And then, when she had the time to let it sink in and  to reflect on it all, to come to terms with the growing realisation and understanding that for all eternity she would be the Mother of the Lord Jesus Christ.

And we too, who are able to call ourselves by the name of the Christ, have within us the same Holy Spirit. He works to make Jesus real to us and through us to bring Him into the world around us.

Can I give the same answer that Mary gave?

“I am the Lord’s servant,” Mary answered. “May it be to me as you have said” (Luke 1:38)


Lord You have chosen to come and live within me. Please help me to believe and know that reality – and to allow You to shine through me into the world in which I live. Amen.


Prepare the way


“He will go on before the Lord, in the spirit and power of Elijah
 … to make ready a people prepared for the Lord.”
(Luke 1:17)

Suddenly, after all the prophecies, after the centuries of silence and all the waiting, something was happening. The world would have been in total ignorance of it – even the religious leaders were unaware. But on a certain day when Zechariah was on duty in the temple – having been chosen by lot to burn the incense before the Lord – the angel Gabriel appeared to him.

At one level the message that Gabriel brought was God’s answer to the prayers of Zechariah and his wife Elizabeth for a child. However it was far more significant than that. Here was announced the birth of a child who would turn out to be the promised Elijah.  He would prepare the way for the coming of the Lord Himself.

The message that John brought was clear and simple.

“Repent, for the kingdom of heaven is near”  (Matthew 3:2)

It was sin that had separated men and women from God. God’s solution was about to appear but there was an essential response needed from the people – individually and together they were called to recognise and repent of their sin. John warned of the judgement still to come but there were those who would not hear or respond to his message.

If it was John’s ministry to call people to repentance it was so that the Lord could exercise His ministry of salvation. This John also made clear as he taught,

  • “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! “ (John 1:29)
  • “He .. will baptize with the Holy Spirit.’ (John 1:33)

This teaching made clear the essential work and ministry of the Lord Jesus. Firstly He would take away our sin and secondly He would give to us the Holy Spirit.

Each one of us has something of the ministry of John the Baptist. For as we await the second coming of our Lord we too are called to prepare the way by helping to ‘make ready a people prepared for the Lord.’ This is what the Great Commission is all about.

Would anyone thank God for my witness?

I have a gospel to proclaim – and the sweet news of a Saviour’s birth.


Lord Jesus, please help me to treat You as Good News – not a good secret. Amen.