Friday, December 23, 2016



“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift.”  (2 Corinthians 9:15)

Christmas then is indeed something more.  No, it is Someone more; a little child, who, before our very eyes, and with faith as our only valid response, becomes the Son of God. Thanks be to God for this most special gift -- thanks be to God for Christmas!

What does Christmas mean to me?  These poor words may help you see
Just what I think and how I feel, now let me close with this appeal --
Look at Christmas in a brand new way, rediscover this Holy day,
And when the world seems evil and wild, find courage in a little Child;
When you are sad and feel alone, cheer up, for you are loved and known,
When you’re afraid, your life storm-tossed, you’ve been rescued at tremendous cost;
When you’re merry and life’s just right, you owe it all to that ancient night
When Christmas in our hearts was born and the stars gave way to a brighter morn! 
With these lines my musing’s through -- what does Christmas mean to you?

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Thursday, December 22, 2016


Christmas is THE CHRIST

“So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation: everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!  All this is from God, who reconciled us to Himself through Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation;  that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to Himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting the message of reconciliation to us.  So we are ambassadors for Christ, since God is making His appeal through us; we entreat you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”  (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)

Christmas is Christmas in retrospect.  It is what it has become only because of that little, special baby and what He became.  He grew into the greatest gift anyone and everyone has ever received.  He became the light of the world. His life, His death, His resurrected presence provides the sweetest music this side of heaven.  He took our nature upon Himself and is the supreme model of what we all can and should be and the glorious revelation of what God is like.  How marvelous His teaching and insights, how perfect and pure His matchless love, how awesome His sacrifice, how saving is His defeat of death and despair.  And we have the audacity to adopt His name and to profess to walk in His footsteps!  We come to Christmas sensing with every fiber of our beings that this Christ is no trickster, no phoney, no faker.  He is indeed for real! Christmas is no hoax perpetrated by a capricious God.  So we move beyond the shadows of our doubts; we see ourselves, in the light of His life, for what we are, yet what we also may become.

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Wednesday, December 21, 2016


Christmas is JOY

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  (Romans 15:13)

In vain we engage ourselves in the ceaseless pursuit of happiness and pleasure.  Success and power, recognition and achievement turn to ashes in our hands and hearts.  The sweet taste of some trivial victory soon turns to bitterness in our mouths.  Treasures on earth turn out to have a hollow ring.  Christmas is timely yet it is timeless.  The real Christmas does not tarnish in the safety deposit boxes of our soles.  Mortar is mortal and even flesh is fleeting.   Only as we open our lives and invest our time and energies in that which has eternal quality, do we find joy.  May we learn to enjoy Christmas.  Joy lights up the most humble shack and can even be found in palaces perhaps.  A hobo or a prince can be surprised by joy. Rejoice!

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Tuesday, December 20, 2016


Christmas is MUSIC

"Oh come, let us sing to the Lord; let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation!"  (Psalm 95:1)

Who can hope to describe Christmas.  Language can be uplifting, words can be wonderful, too.  But Christmas transcends language and accents and dialects.  Only through music can the beauty and marvel of Christmas find suitable expression. In dank prison cells, on lonely treks to promised lands and new possibilities, in slave ships and on picket lines, people have been sustained by the power of song.  In moments of greatest joy or most painful sorrow, it is music which provides inspiration and solace.  Long, long ago men and women heard angels singing within their hearts and life can never, ever be the same again.  For, folk with ears attuned to intimations of glory continue to hear, beneath the babble and the raucous strains of modern life, the symphony of the soul.

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Monday, December 19, 2016


Christmas is GIFTS

“For God so loved the world that he gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.”  (John 3:16)

Christmas is not for sale -- it can’t be bought!  You won’t find it in the catalogue or on a shelf or even under the counter.  It might be found beneath a tree.  But it will most surely be found in the attitude of the human heart.  This is no ploy serving enlightened self-interest.  This is no trick hidden up the sleeve of God.  It’s an outright gift, and Christmas calls us to give, with no ulterior motives, to give with an interior motive -- that of a thankful, caring heart.  God made Christmas by giving Himself.  Those wise guys may have brought expensive offerings, but first of all and above all they gave themselves, just as lowly shepherds did.  Give yourself to Christmas!  Give yourself for Christmas!  Share it!

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Friday, December 16, 2016


Christmas is A CHILD

“The wolf will live with the lamb, the leopard will lie down with the goat, the calf and the lion and the yearling together; and a little child will lead them.”  (Isaiah 11:6)

No king upon a majestic throne!  No supernatural phenomenon!  No mighty fanfare piercing the airwaves!  The gurgling and quiet cooing of an innocent baby!  What a peculiar way for God to meet us at the intersection of the human and the divine.  How unsophisticated of God!  Christmas is a child and a time for children and a time for the child-like qualities which lie there deep beneath the surface of our adult competence and coolness. Today we continue the sad saga of the slaughter of innocents by our deliberate intent or willful neglect.  Unless we become as little children, even as this one unique child, can we really hope to inherit the Kingdom of God?  Of such is this Kingdom, so we are told.  How childish can we be to not see the love of God and the sweet mysteries of life in the face and form, the beautiful trust, of a baby?  “And a little child…..the Prince of Peace….shall lead them.”

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Monday, December 12, 2016


Christmas is NATURE

“Mary gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped Him snugly in strips of cloth and laid Him in a manger, because there was no lodging available for them.”  (Luke 2:7)

Christmas does not come marching in like a triumphant army, nor does it arrive as a cosmic spectacular.  It doesn’t descend like some celestial spaceship.  It’s glory at the grass roots of life.  It comes amid sheep and oxen and donkeys.  It comes in the strong scent of straw and a stable.  The only incense swinging in the air is the strong breath of animals munching and pawing the earth.  This most blessed event occurs in a surprisingly natural way.  Can we truly capture the essence of Christmas in our concrete jungles; can we wend our way to Bethlehem on an asphalt trail?  Stand on a quiet hillside, observe the natural mystery of creation all around us and prepare to be surprised by a God who chooses to meet and save us on own turf and in our own shape as human beings.

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Friday, December 9, 2016


Christmas is LIGHT

“Jesus spoke to them, saying, ‘I am the light of the world. Whoever follows Me will not walk in darkness, but will have the light of life.’”  (John 8:12)

It may come from a star.  But somehow Christmas means seeing all of life in a new light.  We live so much of our lives engulfed by the darkness or stumbling among the shadows of our selfishness.  We live in a world beclouded by evil and hostility, by greed and hatred.  Light means liberation!  Light means freedom!  Light means a new, better and brighter day!  As people who walk so often in darkness may we see a great light -- the light and splendor of Christmas.

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1985


Thursday, December 8, 2016


NOTE: I was pleasantly surprised to recently find this “MUSINGS ON A MIRACLE” written 30 years ago by my late father-in-law Don Smith. I have divided it into nine parts to share here.


What does Christmas mean to me?  Well, something more than a twinkling tree,
Something more than tinsel and toys, something more than transient joys;
Something more than a hectic rush, something more than commercial crush,
Something more than Santa and sleighs, something more than the latest craze;
Something more than boisterous song, something more than spirits strong,
Something more than a candle’s glow, something more than falling snow;
Something more than jingling bells, something more than organ swells,
Something more than cards and ribbon, something more than feasts and fibbin’.

Oh, it’s fun to celebrate and spend one’s cash at a rapid rate,
To see old friends, hear their latest news, think ahead to a winter cruise,
It’s quite OK to sing and pray, for Christmas is a special day,
But when warm hearts and heartburn too, fade away and the day is through –
What has it meant and what will last when the high of Christmastide is past?
Forget for now the old clichés, let’s think anew about the ways
In which we often blithely blunder and miss the mark of Christmas wonder;
Along with you I’d like to muse about some very special news,
Perhaps rethink our long-held views about the miracle of truths
Which said in rhyme or with good reason are at the heart of the Christmas season;
Surely, friends, to feel so glad, is something more than a passing fad,
Let’s focus in on this blessed event and probe its meaning before we’re spent;
In the midst of feasting, the frost and the fizz, let’s look and see what Christmas is,
As we hear the familiar story, may we discover a greater glory –
For all our ills a certain cure and a happy hope that will endure.

-- Don G. Smith, Lorne Park Baptist Church, Mississauga, Ontario, December 7, 1986


Wednesday, December 7, 2016


“Bethlehem Ephrathah,… out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be ruler in Israel.”  (Micah 5:2)

Many details of Jesus’ birth, life, and death were prophesied hundreds of years before they were fulfilled. That this could be accounted for by coincidence is all but impossible. In his book Science Speaks, Peter Stoner applies the modern science of probability to just eight prophesies (one of which is today’s text). He says, “…the chance that any man might have… fulfilled all eight prophesies is one in 10 to the 17th. That would be 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000.” (That’s one hundred quadrillion.) Stoner suggests that “we take 10 to the 17th silver dollars and lay them on the face of Texas. They will cover all of the state 2 feet deep. Now mark one of these silver dollars and stir the whole mass thoroughly… Blindfold a man and tell him he can travel as far as he wishes, but he must pick up that one marked silver dollar. What chance would he have of getting the right one?” Stoner concludes, “Just the same chance that the prophets would have had of writing those eight prophesies and having them all come true in one man,… providing they wrote them in their own wisdom."

Christ’s coming was the exact fulfilment of many prophesies… So this Christmas, let’s thank God for sending His Son into the world to die and rise again… The Savior came into this world just as the prophets foretold long ago.

-- D.J.D. in the Upper Room Daily Devotional


Tuesday, December 6, 2016


Children can teach us a lot about subtle communication, particularly when it comes to listening to God. When our daughter, Hannah, was a toddler, we made the mistake of putting our wooden Nativity set under the Christmas tree where she could easily reach it. One day as I was looking under the tree for presents to shake, I noticed that Mary and Joseph, the shepherd, and the wise men were all looking lovingly down at an empty manger. Baby Jesus was missing.

I started looking all over the house for the Messiah -- in cabinets, under furniture, behind doors, in the VCR. (I found animal crackers in there once, so it was a valid place to look.) The King of kings was nowhere to be found.

A little later that evening I was putting some of Hannah’s toys away when I noticed her little yellow Fischer Price school bus in the corner. Looking inside, I noticed that the bus had the usual passengers -- the bald Fischer Price doctor, the construction worker with his little hard hat, a policeman, a mommy pushing a baby carriage, and the bus driver. They were all smiling in their places; but there in the third seat back on the right side was Baby Jesus with a big smile on his face, too. I was struck by the realization that my tiny child had solved the mystery of the Incarnation in her own special way. She seemed to know that Baby Jesus did not come to stay in a manger but belonged on the bus, hanging out with all the other smiling people. Come to think of it, putting that Nativity set under the tree was not a mistake at all. It was simply another opportunity to hear the still, small voice of God through the wonder of a child.

-- Robert Kaylor in Come to the Manger


Monday, December 5, 2016


“Almost persuaded” now to believe;
“Almost persuaded” Christ to receive;
Seems now some soul to say,
“Go, Spirit, go Thy way,
Some more convenient day
On Thee I’ll call.”

“Almost persuaded,” come, come today;
“Almost persuaded,” turn not away;
Jesus invites you here,
Angels are ling’ring near,
Prayers rise from hearts so dear;
O wand’rer, come!

“Almost persuaded,” harvest is past!
“Almost persuaded,” doom comes at last!
“Almost” cannot avail;
“Almost” is but to fail!
Sad, sad, that bitter wail—
“Almost,” but lost!

-- Philip P. Bliss


Friday, December 2, 2016


I once saw a quote -- maybe it was on a bumper sticker -- that went something like this: “If you feel distant from God, just ask yourself, ‘Who moved?’” If God seems hidden to us, maybe it is because we have stopped looking for God in the midst of our daily lives. In the Scriptures, heaven is not a far away place “way beyond the blue” as the old song says; but rather it is God’s realm, God’s dwelling, and it is quite near to us. All we need to do is put down the mirror and open a window in the relationship God wants to share with us. Rather than a booming shout from the clouds, God more often is revealed in the “still small voice” (1 Kings 19:12 KJV). We can hear if we are focused enough to listen.

Advent reminds us, too, that if we want to see the face of the hidden God, we do not do so by looking up for a heavenly sound or light spectacular. Rather, we find it by looking into the dark recesses of a stable and into the eyes of a humble, helpless child.

-- Robert Kaylor in Come to the Manger


Thursday, December 1, 2016


Have you ever stopped to wonder why Jesus was so patient with the Samaritan woman?  Here's my guess: Jesus understood that He wasn't dealing with an evangelistic project; He was dealing with a real person who had real needs.  He knew that before she could begin dealing correctly with her sin issues, she had to become a believer first.  Because He had His expectations set correctly, Jesus was able to treat her with dignity and encouragement instead of judgment and condemnation.  As the second person of the Trinity, Jesus had access to the entire universe of information about this woman that you and I wouldn't have had.  But despite His knowledge of the problem-laden past, He didn't rub her face in it.  Instead, He chose to fan a future flame in her.  "The days ahead don't have to be the same for you," He probably said.

Evidently, it was just the glimmer of hope she needed.  The text says that once the woman received grace, she ran back to the village to tell all of her friends about this man who "knew everything" about her.  In her haste, she left her water pot there at the well -- significant because water was such a precious commodity in those days.  Here she was, a sin-scarred woman who had been freshly converted.  Now, more than anything else -- even ensuring her water supply for the day -- she desired to tell everyone how Jesus gave her a new future and a new hope.  Despite countless details the Bible could have given us about the mental, spiritual, and physical state she was in when she first received grace, all we learn is that she dropped everything and ran off to tell her friends her good news.  Christ's patience paid off, wouldn't you agree?

You and I have been redeemed and restored for a similar purpose -- a purpose that is just as notable as spending eternity with God in heaven.  You and I are expected and encouraged to share our salvation with others so that God's ultimate agenda is served -- that all people would come to know Him as Father.

-- Bill Hybels in Just Walk Across the Room