Posts Tagged ‘Attention on Jesus at Christmas’


Dad has a large collection of Bibles in many different versions. Recently he gave me two of them. Very precious gifts, indeed. They represent countless hours of study and recording, because the margins are filled with his notes.

When I say countless, I’m not exaggerating. On numerous pages, Dad has squeezed five or six lines of fine, tiny printing in the upper margin, a space just ¾” wide. I almost need a magnifying glass.

To read his collection of word meanings, explanations, and applications has been bittersweet. Dad now has severe arthritis and Parkinson’s disease. Although he is still an avid reader, he is no longer able to write.

As Christmas has approached, I’ve wondered, what might Dad have written in his Bibles about the birth of Jesus?

The first note that caught my attention was from his New American Standard, Ryrie Study Bible (1976, Moody Press). The note concerns Mary’s song, the Magnificat, found in Luke 1:46-55). We looked at her beautiful prayer last Thursday, in the post titled, “Mary’s Song.”

Mary began her song by saying, “My soul exalts the Lord” (NAS). The New International Version translates that sentence, “My soul glorifies the Lord.”

Before we proceed to the quote itself, let’s examine those words, exalt and glorify. (No doubt that’s what Dad would do. And surely somewhere in one of these two Bibles I’ll come across a pithy definition or two for exalt and glorify. For now, I’m on my own!)

Exalt means to raise in status, to elevate, to glorify and praise.

Glorify means to give glory, honor, or high praise, to exalt.

Put in simple terms: to exalt and glorify is to compliment truthfully and profusely.

Now here’s what Dad wrote:

To exalt the Lord at Christmas, we need to refocus our attention on the event we celebrate rather than on the celebration of the event.

Oh, Lord Jesus. My eyes fill with tears as I think of all the times my attention has been on the celebration and not on the sacred moment when you became flesh and made your dwelling among us. Too often my focus has been on…

…the gifts under the tree instead of the implausible Gift of Yourself. You left the glorious riches of heaven, to be born into the depravity of humanity. I cannot fathom the depth of such love.

…the joyous, boisterous family get-togethers, instead of the supernatural get-together of all believers (including me, of all people) and God Almighty. Your birth, and especially your death and resurrection make our relationship with you possible. I cannot fathom that kind of sacrifice.

…the decorations and twinkling lights that make the house sparkle and glow, instead of You, the Light of the world, who makes my sin-bent heart sparkle and glow. I cannot fathom such transformation.

For these last precious hours of the Christmas season, 2012, I want to focus on You. I want to give you honor and praise for everything Your birth has made possible: the experience of your love, the benefit of your sacrifice, and the glorious transformation you generate within each of us. In the name of our Savior, Christ the Lord, Amen.

*See the post titled, “Mary’s Song,” from December 20, 2012.

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