Pastoral Letter December 2011

The  ‘Almost’-Pastor’s Pen

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  – John 1.1

Dear Friends,

You will no doubt read this long before Christmas Day arrives! We read in the opening lines of John’s gospel of how our Saviour, the Word, Himself ‘was’ long before the first Christmas Day. Indeed, we know that Jesus Christ was no mere man, but rather He is eternal, and that from before the foundation of the world He was set upon His incredible mission ‘to seek and to save the lost’.

Our minds cannot enquire into what happened before the world began: when Father, Son, and Holy Spirit agreed together in perfect harmony and unity that the Son should come and take a human body in order to redeem His people, Jews and Gentiles alike. But we know that it happened (1 Peter 1.20), and it is simply staggering. When we consider the greatness of Almighty God, His glorious character and His attributes, His mighty power and sovereign majesty, it is amazing to think that He has come and limited Himself to a human body. Even more amazing, that the Almighty should come not as a grown man, but as a helpless baby entirely subject to His own creatures for His care.

I want to share with you a hymn which expresses the wonder of the incarnation in ways that I freely admit that I cannot! It is by the prolific Isaac Watts, and is sadly overlooked – but I believe it to be one of the greatest Christmas hymns ever written:

 

ERE the blue heavens were stretched abroad,

From everlasting was the Word:

With God He was; the Word was God,

And must as God be here adored.

 

By His own power were all things made;

By Him supported all things stand;

He is the whole creation’s Head,

And angels fly at His command.

 

Ere sin was born, or Satan fell,

He led the host of morning stars;

His generation who can tell,

Or count the number of His years?

 

But see, He leaves His home above,

A body takes on earth below,

That He may show His glorious love,

And save us from our guilt and woe.

 

Mortals with joy beheld His face,

The eternal Father’s only Son;

How full of Truth! How full of grace!

When through His eyes the Godhead shone!

 

Archangels leave their high abode

To learn new mysteries here, and tell

The love of our descending God,

The glories of Emmanuel.

It is not just the great truth of the fact that God has become man that we need to grasp – we need to know and to experience His love. Do you know Jesus Christ as your Saviour? May every soul connected with Morton Baptist Church know ‘the love of our descending God’ this Christmas and at all times. May God bless you all and grant you peace and joy in your homes and families. A very Happy Christmas to you all!

Yours, in His precious name

(Jonathan Hunt) Pastor-elect

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