The Gift of Christmas: Grace
Many years ago, I visited Dr. Jim Fleming's Study Center in Jerusalem. He was, and is, an outstanding archaeologist, teaching at the Hebrew University. Besides his teaching, he operated a non profit ministry with the mission of helping people of all faiths experience the ancient Biblical world, in history and culture.
Having been a teacher in a Christian school, and in various church Sunday Schools and Bible Schools, I was keenly aware of the need for children to be engaged in the everyday life of the Bible characters from whom we are to learn so much. So many times, children "lump" Bible stories in the same category as fairy tales of other literature. This had always troubled me, that this was prevalent in many Christian families. Today Christian Media (DVDs) is available to help families to counteract this problem, but it is still a problem.
I came away from that wonderful, glorious visit to Israel, longing for more time with Dr. Jim Fleming and his study center. There was a longing for a deeper understanding of God's Word and his chosen people, Israel. Little did I ever dream, that one day, Dr. Fleming and his team would move to La Grange, Georgia, and establish the most outstanding museum in the Southeast United States on Antiquity, in the light of God's Truth. So I challenge you to go on line, get the museum information. and plan to give your family a special gift during the holidays. Every age person will experience the eye-opening delight of the Explorations in Antiquity Museum in La Grange, Take the short journey to experience the next best thing to Israel itself. Give it to your family as their gift at Christmas.
The recent additions of museum Artifacts from Israel are housed in specially constructed galleries which are now open and are on a long term loan from the Israel Antiquity Authority. The tour guides are outstanding and special tours can be arranged by appointment, as well as Biblical meals. There are tours for all age groups and no one can walk away without fresh understanding of Bible life and times, this alone is a treasured gift. Special teaching areas focus on themes, such as the Nativity, the Life of the Shepherd, The Life and Ministry of Jesus, Passion Week, The Geography of Israel, etc.
I have learned no much from Dr. Fleming's teaching and books. One of his studies, titled, The Gifts of Christmas, brings to our understanding the gifts that Jesus received and those he gave during his earthly life. The gifts that we would naturally think of as his receiving are the gifts from the Magi: gold, frankincense, and myrrh. These small, but valuable gifts, probably financed their journey into Egypt.
Dr. Fleming's teaching focuses on gifts that are not wrapped, but should inspire us this Christmas season, to give gifts from the heart,,..and not simply a purchase. Baby Jesus, hearing his mother compose and sing the Magnificat, what a gift, The gift of his parents' devotion, the gift of his religious education, the gift of others, Elizabeth and Zechariah, etc.
As Jesus grew, he poured out his gifts of comfort to the poor, the meek, the persecuted. He gave food to the hungry from his own hands, and the water of life to the thirsty. He gave the gift of hope to the downcast. He gave dignity and worth to a woman of Samaria, asking her for a drink of water. For one who felt unworthy, Jesus offered her the gift of Grace, living water. He brought life even from death.
The very heart of Christmas, the heart of our faith, is Grace. And what is Grace, but a gift? Jesus washed his disciples feet, he gave them the communion cup and wafer, he freely forgave all, even Judas. Throughout the Scriptures, we see his gift of touch. He touched the leper. The woman who had suffered from hemorrhages for 12 years, only needed to touch his garment to be healed. He touched the eyes of the blind, for sight. In every village, he touched the sick, and all were healed by his gift.
The is the Lord Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. His gifts of understanding, compassion, and even his very presence, are his gifts to us today. And Satan tries to block even the mention of his name, or the singing of Christmas carols in public. How can people come to faith , if they do not hear the Good News of the Gospel? Are we more determined than ever to celebrate the true meaning of Christmas? Let La Grange, Ga. be a pilgrimage for you this season, as it will be for me as I view those ancient artifacts and re-live the "ancient paths."
In the Upper Room, he said to Thomas,"Blessed are those who have not seen, but have believed." Our faith is not based on an empty tomb, it is based on the absolute power of his gift of Grace, which transforms lives. It is based on his inspired and infallible Word. Going back to Genesis and the everlasting Covenant with Abraham, we learned that"he believed the Lord, and it was counted to him as righteousness." Genesis 15"6
New Testament House—one of 10 exhibit areas
Explorations in Antiquity is proud to announce the opening of the NEW Biblical Life Artifacts Gallery! We are one of only 7 museums worldwide, the fourth in the US, and the only museum in the Southeast to have a long-term collection of artifacts from the Israel Antiquities Authority. These artifacts are from the National Treasures of Israel.
Today we live in a culture that appears to have forgotten the gifts offered by Jesus: his gift of unmerited favor, of unconditional forgiveness, based on Faith Alone in Christ Alone. During the Christmas season, I plan to drive to La Grange, again, and visit the Antiquity museum, always gaining insights on the glory of his gifts at Christmas. My prayer is that you will make the appointment to do the same things with those you love,
For more information and reservations:
Explorations in Antiquity Center
139 Gordon Commercial Drive
La Grange, Ga 30240