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The Story of a Birth

by Bishop J.C. Ryle

 

We have, in these verses, the story of a birth, the birth of the incarnate Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. Every birth of a living child is a marvelous event. It brings into being a soul that will never die. But never since the world began was a birth so marvelous as the birth of Christ. In itself it was a miracle: “God was manifest in the flesh” (I Timothy 3:16). The blessings it brought to the world were unspeakable: it opened to man the door of everlasting life.

In reading these verses, let us first notice the times when Christ was born. It was in the days when Augustus, the first Roman emperor, made “a decree that all the world should be taxed.”

The wisdom of God appears in this simple fact. The scepter was practically departing from Judah (Genesis 49:10). The Jews were coming under the dominion and taxation of a foreign power. Strangers were beginning to rule over them. They had no longer a really independent government of their own. The “due time” had come for the promised Messiah to appear. Augustus taxes “the world,” and at once Christ is born.

It was a time peculiarly suitable for the introduction of Christ's gospel. The whole civilized earth was at length governed by one master (Daniel 2:40). There was nothing to prevent the preacher of a new faith going from city to city, and country to country. The princes and priests of the heathen world had been weighed in the balances and found wanting. Egypt , and Assyria, and Babylon , and Persia , and Greece , and Rome , had all successively proved that “the world by wisdom knew not God” (I Corinthians 1:21).

Notwithstanding their mighty conquerors, and poets, and historians, and architects, and philosophers, the kingdoms of the world were full of dark idolatry. It was indeed “due time” for Christ to be born (Romans 5:6).

Let us ever rest our souls on the thought, that times are in God's hand (Psalms 31:15). He knows the best season for sending help to his church, and new light to the world. Let us beware of giving way to over anxiety about the course of events around us, as if we knew better than the King of kings what time relief should come. “Cease, Philip, to try to govern the world,” was a frequent saying of Luther to an anxious friend. It was a saying full of wisdom.

Let us notice, secondly, the place where Christ was born . It was not at Nazareth of Galilee, where His mother, the Virgin Mary, lived. The prophet Micah had foretold that the event was to take place at Bethlehem ( Micah 5:2). And so it came to pass. At Bethlehem Christ was born.

The overruling providence of God appears in this simple fact. He orders all things in heaven and earth. He turns the hearts of kings whithersoever He will. He overruled the time when Augustus decreed the taxing. He directed the enforcement of the decree in such a way, that Mary must needs be at Bethlehem when “the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.” Little did the haughty Roman emperor, and his officer Cyrenius, think that they were only instruments in the hand of the God of Israel, and were only carrying out the eternal purposes of the King of kings. Little did they think that they were helping to lay the foundation of a kingdom, before which the empires of this world would all go down one day, and Roman idolatry pass away.

The heart of a believer should take comfort in the recollection of God's providential government of the world. A true Christian should never be greatly moved or disquieted by the conduct of the rulers of the earth. He should see with the eye of faith a hand overruling all that they do to the praise and glory of God. He should regard every king and potentate, an Augustus, a Cyrenius, a Darius, a Cyrus, a Sennacherib, as a creature who, with all his power, can do nothing but what God allows, and nothing which is not carrying out God's will. And when the rulers of this world “set themselves against the Lord.” He should take comfort in the words of Solomon, “There be higher than they” ( Eccles. 5:8).

 

IN MEMORY

John McNeill passed away in his sleep November 24, 2015 at the age of 76. Our prayers are with his wife, Joan, their children and grandchildren.


PARISH NEWS

Women's Guild Annual Spaghetti Supper was Saturday, November 7 th . Thank you to all cooks, those who helped with the dinner, and those who attended.

The Feast of St. Andrew was Monday, November 30 th . A delicious Pot Luck meal was followed by the Holy Communion Service. Thank you to all who brought food and attended.

 

COMING EVENTS


YOUTH MEETING

December 6, 2015 after church


WOMEN'S GUILD BAKE SALE & CHRISTMAS BAZAAR

December 13th after the worship service


SUNDAY SCHOOL CAROLING!

Children and adults STRINGING POPCORN December 13 th after church, going to Tammy's for lunch, hot chocolate and sandwiches, and from there going caroling together that afternoon.


CHRISTMAS EVE CANDLELIGHT SERVICE

Thursday, Dec. 24, 2015
Service at 10:00 p.m.
Refreshments following at 11 p.m. in Parish Hall


Sorry, NO CHRISTMAS NATIVITY PAGEANT this year


FOOD BASKET

We are collecting nonperishable food for the Tinley Park Food Pantry during Advent & Christmas. A basket is provided in the narthex.


MISSIONS OF THE MONTH

Please pray for Bishop Raul Suarez and the RE parishes in Cuba.

 

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

 


VISIT OUR WEBSITE
www.andrewrec.org

 

 

DECEMBER BIRTHDAYS

Jamal Sellers,
Cordelia Olotu,
Sunny Stiklius,
Renee Hassert,
Loretta Sellers,
Jeremiah Nyboer,
Barney Reagan,
Robyn Poole,
William O'Brien,
Titilayo Agunloye,
Leah Andricopolus,
Rotimi Osilaja,
Joseph Tjoelker

 


 

 


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The Very Reverend Frank M. Levi, M.A., Rector  ·  Bishop Franklin H. Sellers, D.D., Rector Emeritus  ·  The Reverend Derrick Hassert, Ph.D., Curate  ·  18001 94th Avenue  · Tinley Park, IL 60487  ·  (708) 614-7404  ·  FAX (708) 614-7435 AndrewREC.org Home Contact the Webmaster Sign our guestbook View our guestbook

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