Blog Posts on The Birth of Christ

The Story-Teller Who Entered In

Joe Rigney

God is an Author. This world is his story. We are his characters.

I first heard of the analogy sitting in a college philosophy class, and I’ve used it ever since. I find it personally fruitful and pastorally helpful in addressing everything from God’s sovereignty and human freedom to the two wills of God to the problem of evil. It’s what you might call a potent metaphor.

And a biblically…

Continue Reading

Christmas: The Dawn of Death’s Destruction

Jon Bloom

The Apostle Paul wrote, “O death, where is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). Anyone grieving the death of someone they love deeply will say that “sting” hardly begins to describe the pain.

And Christmas often heightens this pain. Certain decorations recall hands we will never hold again. Gatherings make visible precious absences. Sweet voices now stilled echo in our memories as we sing or share stories.

But this is not…

Continue Reading

Jesus Can Be Troubling

Jonathan Parnell

Jesus troubles those who don't worship him. That's the situation of Matthew 2, as John Piper explains in today's Advent reading:

Matthew 2:1–4,

Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the east came to Jerusalem, 2saying, "Where is he who has been born king of the Jews? For we saw his star when it rose and…

Continue Reading

Christmas and the Sting of Personal Loss: An Interview with John Piper and Paul Maier

Tony Reinke

On this episode of Authors on the Line we talk with two authors — pastor John Piper and historian Paul Maier — about tragedy, loss, and the Christmas season.

We talk with Maier to discover just how tightly interwoven into the Nativity story tragedy is found. We read there of a paranoid king named Herod, who unleashed the tragic killing of young boys in Bethlehem (Matthew 2:16). Who was Herod?…

Continue Reading

Advent Is Slow — on Purpose

Tony Reinke

Who has time to celebrate Advent? That’s my initial thought each year.

But that’s the point. Advent takes time. It cannot be microwaved, it cannot be compressed into 24 hours, and it cannot be sped up to the bustling speed of our daily lives. Advent is slow on purpose, because the slowness of the celebration mirrors the slowly unfolding drama of the Advent of the Savior himself in history.


Continue Reading

Go to the House of Feasting Tomorrow

Josh Etter

Charles Spurgeon on December 24, 1854:

Feast, Christians, feast; you have a right to feast. Go to the house of feasting to-morrow, celebrate your Saviour’s birth; do not be ashamed to be glad; you have a right to be happy. Solomon says, “Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Let thy garments be always white;…

Continue Reading

We Three Kings of Orient Aren’t

David Mathis

Behold, magi from the east came to Jerusalem . . . (Matthew 2:1)

Matthew says "behold" to make sure he has our attention. He knows how prone we are to fall asleep while we're reading.

"Wake up. Make sure you're listening. This is huge. Don't miss it. It's not what you'd expect..."

But what's so shocking about magi coming to Jesus? We might be so used to this annual Christmas…

Continue Reading

The Feeble Infant Came to Conquer Satan

Jonathan Parnell

Jonathan Edwards:

His infinite condescension marvelously appeared in the manner of his birth. He was brought forth in a stable because there was no room for them in the inn. The inn was taken up by others, that were looked upon as persons of greater account.

The Blessed Virgin, being poor and despised, was turned or shut out. Though she was in such necessitous circumstances, yet those that counted themselves…

Continue Reading

How Jesus Made Himself Nothing

Jonathan Parnell

K. Scott Oliphint writes,

What then does Paul mean when he says that this preincarnate Son, who was in the form of God but who took on the form of a servant “made himself nothing”?. . .

We are, says Paul, to incubate within ourselves the same mind-set that Christ himself had when he chose to come down to us. More specifically, we are told, “do nothing from rivalry or…

Continue Reading

Christmas: How Goodies Lose Their Attraction

Jonathan Parnell

Pastor John:

At the end of this age when Christ returns, the final act of purification will take place; all impurities in the hearts of God's people will be done away with.

But that promise of purity has begun to be fulfilled in the first coming of Christ. Hebrews 1:3 says, "When [Christ] had made purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high." And Titus…

Continue Reading