The birth without the Cross is a gift half-given.

As you sit with your family and read the Christmas Story this week, remember to tell them WHY Jesus Christ came to earth. 

 

In His Own Words – Our Christmas Story

Christmas at Our House

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When it was suggested that Ruth tell the Christmas story for children everywhere, we were delighted. But we had to warn the publisher that “our” Christmas story would be different from the traditional manger scene that spells Christmas for many people.

Of course, the manger scene is an important part of Christmas in our home – and joyous and beloved climax to the story. But it is only a part of the story. For Christmas does not begin in the stable of Bethlehem. It does not begin in the Gospel of Luke, but in the Book of Genesis.

Visitors to our home at Christmas are sometimes startled when I read the tragic story from the Old Testament before an evening of carols.

“Aren’t these grim thoughts for this happy time of year?” they ask. “The season of Jesus’s birth is no time to talk of death. What do Adam and Eve have to do with Christmas?”

To which we answer: Everything. Without the story of sin in the Old Testament, what can the Good News of the Old Testament say? Without sin, we have no need of a Savior. We cannot separate our joy at Christ’s coming from our desperate need for Him. Unless we have witnessed the tragedy of man’s separation from God through the millennia before Bethlehem, then the birth of a baby in a stable is just that for us, no more.

Nor can we separate His birth from the work He came to earth to do. Without His death, His birth has no meaning. The birth without the Cross is a gift half-given. Many would rather not think of the Cross at Christmastime. They take the angels’ song, but reject all that it implies. In doing this, they rob themselves of the full joy of Christmas.

Children are more realistic than adults. They have no trouble grasping the real meaning of good and evil in a story. In this respect, we need to be more like children. When we see Christmas not as a sentimental, isolated event, but as the focal point in human history, it becomes a day of rejoicing indeed.

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reblogged from Letters From The Library: Foreword by Billy Graham from “Our Christmas Story” by Ruth Bell Graham

“With All My Heart I Want To Leave You With The Truth”

Evangelist Billy Graham to mark 95th birthday with message to America

Graham, who has not preached publicly since 2006 because of frail health, has filmed a public message to air on national television on his November 7 birthday, giving fans a rare and possibly final opportunity to see the man dubbed “America’s Pastor.”

“Our country is in great need of a spiritual awakening,” Graham says in a program titled “The Cross.” “With all my heart, I want to leave you with the truth.”

Graham’s message is at the heart of what the Charlotte, North Carolina-based association bearing his name calls its largest evangelism effort in the United States in its 63-year history.

It comes at a time when most U.S. evangelical leaders say they are losing influence, studies show Americans increasingly do not identify with any religion and many young people are unaware of Graham’s legacy.

“The students that I teach don’t really know who Billy Graham is,” said Anne Wills, a religion professor at Davidson College outside of Charlotte. “They don’t have any idea about the scope of his influence.”

Evangelist Billy Graham’s voice is softer and his body weaker, but the man who helped transform Christianity in America and counseled U.S. presidents will reach out to the nation on his 95th birthday in an effort to revitalize the church.

On November 7, the elder Graham will mark his birthday at a party at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville, with political and church leaders among 800 invited guests.

billygraham
NOVEMBER 4 TO 9, 2013
BILLY GRAHAM’S 95TH BIRTHDAY at the Billy Graham LIbrary

Join us for a celebration of Dr. Billy Graham’s 95th birthday! Visit the Library the week of November 4-9, and each family or individual guest will receive a copy of “God’s Ambassador,” a book that celebrates his life and ministry. You can also sign birthday greetings for Dr. Graham. On Thursday, Nov. 7, Dr. Graham’s birthday, make plans to join us for cake.

For more information, please call 704-401-3200.

11-7-11 | Thanksgiving Month

Happy 93rd Birthday Reverend Billy Graham!

Evangelist and Charlotte native Billy Graham, seen here in 2010, turns 93 today.

The public can send birthday wishes to Graham through social media. Nell Redmond – 2010 AP FILE PHOTO

Charlotte-born evangelist Billy Graham turns 93

Michael Gordon
mgordon@charlotteobserver.com

Michael Gordon

Posted: Sunday, Nov. 06, 2011

Modified: Monday, Nov. 07, 2011

More Information

Billy Graham caps an eventful autumn on Monday with his 93rd birthday.

Despite diminished hearing and sight, the Charlotte-born evangelist published his 30th book this fall. “Nearing Home” is built around Graham’s thoughts about getting old and finishing life well, a task he admits caught him almost completely off guard.

Graham’s book comes not only as he reaches another year, but as America’s huge Baby Boom generation moves into old age, its senior members now eligible for Social Security and retirement. And although in recent years Graham has stepped away from active public ministry, his willingness to be frank about the trials as well as the pleasures of growing old may still have an effect on the millions of Americans whose lives coincided with his time as the country’s most famous preacher.

“I find that, talking to students and a lot of younger people, many of them don’t know who Billy Graham is,” said William Martin, author of “A Prophet With Honor: The Billy Graham Story” and a professor at Rice University. “But the people who will be most interested in this are older, and they do remember and adore Billy Graham.”

Also last week, Graham’s evangelistic association put thousands of his sermons, TV shows and speeches online at www.billygraham.org.

“It’s hard to exaggerate how important this is as a resource,” said Duke Divinity School historian Grant Wacker.

Graham has said he wants to preach one last sermon before he dies, and while the new book is not quite that, it has a similar set of themes. Pondering Bible passages on aging and death, exhorting his readers to make sensible changes in their lives (“Take full advantage of your company’s retirement plan, and borrow from it only in an extreme emergency”) in down-to-earth language, Graham’s ultimate focus is always on Jesus Christ.

“We were not meant for this world alone,” he writes. “We were meant for Heaven, our final home.”

All together, it’s a set of advice that youth-fixated Boomers might not be immediately eager to hear, but coming from Graham it may have more influence. After all, Graham first rose to national prominence with a huge Los Angeles revival in 1949, just as the first Boomers were old enough to notice. Swiftly, Graham — who at the time was just 31 years old — became virtually synonymous with American Protestant Christianity, leading massive crusades at sports stadiums, traveling the globe, and meeting with presidents from Eisenhower to Obama.

Graham’s appeal has not only been durable, it’s extended far beyond the world of evangelical Christianity, according to Wacker.

“It’s his influence on the broader public that’s intriguing,” Wacker said. “There are a lot of people who are not evangelicals who really admire him.”

Partly that’s because of longevity, Wacker said, and partly because Graham has a reputation for personal integrity that’s in marked contrast with other prominent evangelical leaders tarnished by moral or financial scandal. Primarily, though, Wacker said people outside the world of evangelical Christianity respect the evolution of Graham over his long career as someone who, for example, went from strident anti-Communism in his early days to advocating nuclear arms control in the 1970s, a position scorned by Cold War hawks.

“He’s acquired first a national and then an international vision over the years,” Wacker said. “Whether or not they like his theology, people admire anybody who can grow into a wider vision.”

Graham still lives in his longtime mountain home in Montreat. Evangelist Franklin Graham says his father works every day, visits with friends and answers mail as his strength allows. Spokesman Larry Ross says Graham spent the weekend with his daughters, who have helped him pore over messages from well-wishers.

A Facebook page (facebook.com/ReverendBillyGraham) and Twitter hashtag (#happybdaybillygraham) allow the public to pass on birthday greetings.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Copyright 2011 . All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Read more: http://www.charlotteobserver.com/2011/11/06/2754719/billy-graham-turns-93.html#ixzz1d1d02FQ3

New Release from Billy Graham – Nearing Home

New Release from Billy Graham
Did you know God has a specific reason
for keeping you here?The Bible makes it clear that God has an unfolding plan for you, but what is His purpose? In Billy Graham’s new book, Nearing Home: Life, Faith, and Finishing Well, he shares how we can cope with the fears, struggles, and limitations that aging brings; how to grow stronger inwardly in the midst of these difficulties; and how to understand our glorious hope.

Order a copy for yourself or as a gift
for a loved one today »

Net proceeds from BillyGrahamBookstore.org sales support worldwide evangelism.

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