By Elizabeth Prata
Christmas is coming. It’s a blessed time of year.
We always think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything.
My contributions to the faith and fellowship of the saints is tiny, but I do my best with the resources He has given me. One thing I do is I use my photographs of God’s beautiful creation and overlay a verse on them, and post to social media each day. I organize them into weekly themes, for the saints to read and perhaps be encouraged by. Some people email or tell me in real life that they enjoy the scripture photos I put up each day. I’m always surprised by this, but in the end, that’s the point of the endeavor- to keep Jesus and His aroma of life before people, to encourage, stimulate, or convict.
I decided in addition to a weekly theme, (this week it’s “goodness”) that I’d do a monthly theme: Thirty Days of Jesus as an advent homage. Thirty verses, thirty photos that reflect His life and ministry.
The entire Bible is about Jesus of course, and it was very hard to select verses and not feel bad about the ones I was leaving out! I chose three mini-themes for this month’s scripture photos that I believe will flow.
PROPHECY, ARRIVAL, and EARLY LIFE, 11 verses.
In this section I chose verses that reflect the prophecies that predict His coming. Prophecy warns of coming judgment but it also comforts in that it foretells the holy and wonderful resolution of all things for the believer. That resolution will be in Christ and through Christ. Then since it’s Christmas, the beautiful verses that announce His arrival on the blessed morn. The third mini-section are verses that mention Jesus as a child and boy, before He began His ministry.
PREEMINENCE OF THE SON, HIS WORKS & MINISTRY, 15 verses
THE SON, 5 verses
Beginning with verses that declare the Son, I’ll share verses that focus Him as the Second Person of the Trinity. His sonship is integral to His ministry as the subordinate Person to God the Father. These verses reflect that reality.
Christ is preeminent. Always and forever. Let us exult in these verses which proclaim a truth that should enlarge our heart and shake our soul with wonder.
MINISTRY, 10 verses
This section will present verses that detail His attributes while He was on earth; Jesus as servant, teacher, shepherd, healer, and so on.
RESURRECTION, ASCENSION, & RETURN
Christ is unique in that He is the firstfruit of resurrection. He is unique in that He descended from heaven and ascended to heaven. As GotQuestions explains of the John 3:13 verse,
Jesus explains why He is uniquely qualified to teach of the kingdom of God—namely, because He alone came down from heaven and possesses the knowledge to teach people about heaven. Jesus alone has seen the Father, and He alone is qualified to declare God and make Him known.
Jesus was raised to life and brought back to heaven, and several verses in this section will illustrate what He is doing while we wait the long centuries for the fulfillment of the end of all things, His glorious return. The last verses will present Jesus in His glory, as He is.
The flow mirrors the Revelation 1:8 verse, where it is declared,
“I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”
This is no great project, to be sure. But I wanted to organize my thoughts ahead of the season and selecting verses that detailed the flow of Jesus’ life seemed a good way to do it. The photos are free for anyone to use and by the end, perhaps someone would like to make a bundle for their own purposes, printed out or digital.
I enjoy using my photographs because an important-to-me aspect of His deity is Creator. Paul constantly exhorted the pagans with sermons and entreaties that distinguished his like-nature with them as man and the holy perfection of the Christ-nature Creator of all things. Paul frequently used creation as a foundation to proclaim Christ’s gospel. I came partway to Christ that way, by viewing the creation and understanding there is a God, and Romans 1 has great meaning for me. I knew there was a God, but I suppressed the truth of Jesus, just as the verse at Romans 1:18-19 says the pagans do.
Now that I’ve received grace, I’m viewing His creation through spiritual eyes and give homage to the Creator. Therefore, I enjoy photographing it with a mind of thanks for all He has made. The photos are the backdrop to this thought. If I die or I am raptured tomorrow, or in ten more years, I want to be found still exhorting Christ with zeal and truth.
Let’s enjoy the season. I pray that it does not become a hectic, shopping slog, frantic with focus on gifts and cleaning houses and to-do lists, though given family obligations and work colleague expectations, some of that is always inevitable. But don’t let it encroach more than it has to. Jesus is the reason for this season. If you’re a believer, this season is a gateway to a new year filled with many reasons each day to glorify God and enjoy Him forever.
All the nations you have made shall come and worship before you, O Lord, and shall glorify your name. (Psalm 86:9)
Your people shall all be righteous; they shall possess the land forever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, that I might be glorified. (Isaiah 60:21).
For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen. (Romans 11:36)
or you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:20).
“Worthy are you, our Lord and God, to receive glory and honor and power, for you created all things, and by your will they existed and were created.” (Revelation 4:11).