Sunday, December 25, 2016

Epistle to Hamers (18)

Dear Frank and Lora,

Thanks for the email and it is heart warming to read it through. Good to hear that Isaac's wife is expecting soon. Glad to hear that Frank is still going around and do all sorts of work. However considering his active lifestyle, I am surprise to hear that he need to take medication to control his blood pressure. Anyway will keep both of you in prayer.

From Desiring God.

This month of December was an eventful month, for the fact that we celebrate the First Advent during this time of the year. Since around 2012 it becomes a habit for me to read through the advent devotions from Desiring God, namely the "Good News of Great Joy" and "The Dawning of Indestructible Joy". During this advent I was reading the Christmas account again in Matthew and Luke, more thoroughly. Indeed it is an account worth to be re-read and be re-told for eternity. On top of that many articles and resources on the web are of indefinite value. I put some of the links at the end of the email. I also listened to Frank's Christmas messages again, after all it was in Russia that I first celebrated Christmas, for the right reason.

"Christmas Tree" at the Town Square.

This year I spent Christmas in Sibu again, mainly because I enjoy celebrating it last year in this place. On December 22 my church organized a caroling, where we visited houses of the children who are attending the Sunday school in my church. Most of their parents are unbelievers, and when you arrived in their home you can definitely see that many of them have financial issue and I was told that some have family issues (eg. the mother ran away, the father passed away, etc). Christmas is not just a flippancy kind of fun where people sing Jingle Bell, exchange gifts, or wearing Santa suit and say ho-ho-ho. Christmas is about remembering the great miracle of incarnation and proclaiming this good news of great joy, hence the carol signs "Go Tell It On The Mountain."

To quote from John Piper, "It is a wonderful thing that there are Christmas carols that are written for the real world of sorrowful joy, as well as the real world of exuberant joy. 'O Come, O Come, Emmanuel' is one of them." It is sorrowful to see this children living hard in their conditions, but this gives us more reasons to sing and proclaim this message to them and their family, because "... the Son of Man came to seek and to save what was lost." (Luke 19:10)

Whereas on the Christmas Day itself, as usual we have Christmas service in the morning, and a dinner with celebration in the evening. It was kind of scary to see bunch of children making noise in a small room. But as they all sing the carol "Hark! The Herald Angels Sing" in unison, immediately this verse came to my mind, "From the lips of children and infants you have ordained praise..." (Psalm 8:2, Matthew 21:16)
I remembered last time I asked both of you to describe Christmas in a phrase. I feel like doing this exercise again, in a more extensive ways.
  1. Use one word to describe Christmas:
  2. Use two words to describe Christmas:
  3. Use three words to describe Christmas:
  4. Use a verse from OT to describe Christmas:
  5. Use a verse from NT to describe Christmas:
  6. Use a sentence to describe Christmas:
Obviously there are wrong answers like Santa Claus or Reindeer, but there will be many right answers. I provided my answer at the end of the email.
Meanwhile during this season I was still doing some doodling.

​This was for a gift exchange in the hospital small group.

I guess that's all about advent for this year. I still miss the time in Russia where we celebrate Christmas until January 7th. I will be traveling to Kuching with my friends from December 31 till January 3, a short escape from our work, and to explore the nature.

I hope both of you also have a great time during this Christmas, and have a Happy New Year.
Take care and God Bless.

In Christ,


The Links:

My answers for the questions:
  1. Use one word to describe Christmas: Incarnation
  2. Use two words to describe Christmas: Hypostatic union
  3. Use three words to describe Christmas: Word became flesh
  4. Use  a verse from OT to describe Christmas: Isaiah 9:6
  5. Use a verse from NT to describe Christmas: Luke 2:11
  6. Use a sentence to describe Christmas: Jesus Christ, Son of God from eternity, broke into history, came to the world, took up the nature of humanity but still fully God, to bring salvation to sinners like you and me.

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