by Linda Finlayson
Take four children, a mysterious land, an evil witch, and a good lion, and you have the ingredients for a great story. From the first moment when Lucy burrows her way through the fur coats to find herself in a wintery Narnia, we are hooked.
What is a strange creature—half man, half animal—doing carrying packages and an umbrella? Lucy is the kind of person who helps the fawn and believes the best about him as she accompanies him home for tea. She continues to do the right thing when she finds out he’s really a spy for the wicked witch. Lucy is the kind of person we like and want to protect. What a relief it is when Mr. Tumnus sneaks her back to the lamppost and home. Read more
by Ken B. Montgomery
Jesus was born to Mary and Joseph less than nine months after they had been married. That was probably the basis for the Pharisees’ accusation against our Lord: “We were not born of sexual immorality” (John 8:41)—insinuating that Jesus was the result of an illicit union. The real scandal, however, is that Jesus of Nazareth was not conceived by a sexual union at all, because he was conceived by the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary (cf. Matt. 1:18–25; Luke 1:26–38). God ordained that his Son would be produced in the womb of his mother, apart from the normal means of human procreation. Thus, by the Spirit, God worked the quietest miracle of all.
The clear teachings of Scripture are usually among the first doctrines to be ridiculed by skeptics. This should not be surprising, for everything about “Christ crucified”—including the manner of his incarnation—is a stumbling block (Greek: scandalon) to the mind of the flesh (1 Cor. 1:22–25). God’s wisdom, revealed in Christ, capsizes human power and expectation. The miracle of Jesus’ conception in the Virgin Mary’s womb tells us from the very beginning that “salvation belongs to the LORD” (Jonah 2:9), so that “(our) faith might not rest in the wisdom of men but in the power of God” (1 Cor. 2:5). If any part of our Savior’s arrival could be traced to the will and work of mankind, then the gospel would cease to be about the gift of salvation and would instead become a message about human achievement, with the angelic chorus singing something like “Let us find the good in all of us” rather than “Glory to God in the highest” (Luke 2:14). Read more
by Chris Campbell
Max and Darrell walked up the path next to where a man steadied himself over a golf ball and then putted. They watched as the ball rolled by the cup. Darrell’s mother, his grandma, his grandpa, and Kendra, his four-year-old sister, followed close behind. Darrell and Kendra carried plastic bags that they hoped to fill with golf balls.
“Here?” Darrell asked, as he followed Max up the hill, looking into the clumps of last year’s grass. Max had picked up dozens of balls that spring, coming out on his lunch hour, and he had suggested to Darrell’s grandma that she bring him out when she told him that Darrell collected golf balls. With Darrell along, this walk would be different—Max didn’t want to disappoint Darrell, who seemed to be a boy who took things seriously, perhaps more than he needed to. Max remembered being like that when he was a boy. Read more