Wednesday, November 30, 2011

"It's Christmas"

Larry Gunnoe is a friend whom I met in January 1970 at Free Will Baptist Bible College in Nashville, Tennessee. Larry was another West Virginia native (from Raleigh County) and we became great friends. He, Doug Goolsby, and I were an early version of "The Three Amigos" there on West End Avenue. We worked at the same laundry, laughed together, prayed together, and made many a pizza run when the meals just weren't exactly what we were hoping for at the dining hall.

They both served as grooms men in my wedding. We were all so close, I just assumed that we would always be close, but after school we all went our separate ways. I ended up in pastoral ministry, Doug carried mail for the U.S. Postal Service, and Larry has worked for Xerox, and has been involved in music and teaching ministries throughout the south. We actually lost track of each other, until one day Larry appeared in my former insurance office. He was working in the area and looked me up and we had a great visit, but alas, we lost track of each other again, until we recently found each other on Facebook!

Larry recently wrote the following article for a Sunday School Department Christmas Booklet at his church, and subsequently posted it on Facebook. I thought it was well worth posting here, and I have his permission to do so. So here 'tis:

"It’s Christmas"

"Have you ever heard someone say, “That’s what Christmas is all about”? Usually when I hear this comment, it is referring to the provision of a good meal for a needy family. Perhaps it is because an ...organization provided Christmas presents for children who would get none otherwise. I heard a man last year speak with enthusiasm about a concert he had recently attended. He stated, “You really get into the Christmas spirit when you hear Mannheim Steamroller!” Thinking about it later I wished I had invited him to the Christmas at Hilltop presentation, but it was too late then.

These things do help us get into the “Christmas Spirit” if you are thinking about the traditional American idea of Christmas. But this year, I want to go a little farther. As we study these two lessons about the birth of Jesus in our Sunday School classes, let’s think more about what Christmas meant to Jesus. We can plan to be even more appreciative of the great sacrifice Jesus made for us.

The best way to do that is to take upon ourselves His mindset as described in Philippians 2, verses 5—7. “Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who, being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God: But made himself of no reputation, and took upon him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men:”Jesus, Who is God, did not think being God was worth holding onto when He could become a babe which would lead to His sacrifice on the cross — Philippians 2:8 “And being found in fashion as a man, he humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.”That is the true beauty and joy and cause for celebration for Christmas time. That Jesus surrendered to His Father’s will to become the perfect sacrifice to pay for my sin, and yours.

Notice, the story does not end there. Philippians 2 9—11 give the great conclusion to this venture. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” If we exalt Jesus during this season, we are doing what God Himself is working to do. To me that’s what Christmas is all about."

Good word for today, Larry. Thanks for sharing it, and now I've done the same. Merry Christmas Bro.!

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