A New Years Thought


“I was about 12 years old when a new preacher came to my church. I would always go in late and slip out early. But one day the preacher said the benediction so fast I got caught and had to walk out with the crowd. I could feel every eye in church on me.

“Just about the time I got to the door I felt a big hand on my shoulder. I looked up and the preacher was looking right at me. ‘Who are you, son? Whose boy are you?’

“I felt the old weight come on me. It was like a big black cloud. Even the preacher was putting me down.

“But as he looked down at me, studying my face, he began to smile a big smile of recognition. ‘Wait a minute,’ he said, ‘I know who you are. I see the family resemblance. You are a child of God.’

With that he slapped me across the rump and said, ‘Boy you’ve got a great inheritance. Go and claim it.'”

Ben Hooper would later say, “That was the most important single sentence ever said to me.” Ben Hooper would one day be elected and re-elected Governor of Tennessee.

–Jamie Buckingham, Power for Living.

Favorite Chistmas Story

One of my favorite Christmas stories, is about a 7th-grade boy by the name of William Spurling. William Spurling was big for his age, & a little slow mentally. But he was a good boy & all the kids liked him. In fact, they wanted him for a friend because he was big enough to take their part if they needed him. When it came time for the Christmas program to be presented, William Spurling wanted to be a shepherd, but the teacher decided that he would make a better inn keeper than a shepherd since he was so big. So she gave him the task of being the rough, mean inn keeper. When Mary & Joseph came to the inn & knocked on the door, William Spurling opened it. And when they asked for a place to stay, he said harshly, “There is no place for you to stay. There is no room in the inn.” Joseph said, “But my wife is tired & weary & she is expecting a baby. Isn’t there just a small room somewhere where we could rest?” Once again, William Spurling said, with roughness in his voice, “You’ll have to find a place somewhere else. There is no room in the inn.” Once more Joseph pleaded just for some place for them to stay the night. Then there was a long pause, one of those pauses that is as embarrassing for the audience as it is for the cast. William Spurling had forgotten his next line. Back behind the props you could hear the prompter saying, “No, be gone! No, be gone!” That was his next speech. Finally, William Spurling said, with softness in his voice, “No, be gone.” Mary & Joseph sadly turned to leave. But as they did, suddenly William Spurling regained his voice & said, “Wait a minute! You can stay in my room, & I’ll sleep in the shed.” In the stunned silence that followed, the teacher thought the play was ruined, until she thought again of the words of a 7th-grade boy, who may have communicated the real truth of Christmas better than any. “No, you can stay in my room, & I’ll sleep in the shed.”

By    Randy Aly   First Baptist Church
Chama, New Mexico

A Christmas Though


There is a seldom noticed yet preciously tender lesson to be found in Mary’s actions immediately following the angel’s visit announcing her role as bearer of the Christ Child. She had been told that her cousin Elizabeth was also experiencing an unusual, though different, visitation of God’s grace: that now late in life, she was in the sixth month of pregnancy with her first child (Luke 1:36).

Now, almost immediately after she has discovered that she, Mary of Nazareth, is about to become the most unique woman in history, notice how beautifully her attention turns from herself to a need where she can serve.

She travels to help Elizabeth, and verse 56 says that Mary stayed with her aged relative and served her until Elizabeth’s baby was delivered.

This could well become our most important Christmas lesson for this year. Mary demonstrates a principle of God’s love in action: “May I be more concerned to assist the fulfillment of what the Lord is doing in another person than I am with what He is doing in me.”