As we celebrate the birth of Christ this weekend, this video and song by Sovereign Grace Music is worth listening to and considering the theology of the incarnation.
Statistics on churchgoing at Christmas – “Over half of Americans will go to church on Christmas day. Of those who don’t, 57% said they would be open to an invitation to go. [Note the opportunity.] A LifeWay Research study of churchgoing at Christmas also found that 89% of churches will hold services even though Christmas falls on a Sunday.”
$5 Friday: Justification, the Atonement, & Worship – Some good books for you once again this week. $5 Friday is worth taking advantage of this week.
Come, Thou Unexpected Jesus – Jon Bloom writes, “Often, when we expect to find him in the inn of festive holiday celebration, we instead find him in the stables of our suffering and sin. Jesus tends to show up where, and when, we least expect him. Apparently, his ways are not our ways (Isaiah 55:8).”
Texas moves to pull Planned Parenthood funding – This is a story to keep your eyes on as things continue to progress.
Why Was It Such a Holy Night? – Bob Kauflin answers an important question about the night of Jesus’ birth.
Supporters rally to Russell Moore after Trump criticism – Russell Moore is under a firestorm of controversy as the leader of the ERLC of the SBC. Some are asking for his resignation while others are rallying around him. CT put out this article — Is It Too Late for Russell Moore to Say Sorry?
D. A. Carson Sermon Archive – This is a very useful archive that’s now being picked up by Logos Bible Software.
10 Ideas and 10 Tips for Family Devotions in 2017 – Some good tips here from Tim Challies as we prepare to enter 2017.
When in Babylon… – Many readers of The Babylon Bee became defensive and angry at the satirical statement about canceling church on Sunday due to Christmas. Adam responds with some helpful considerations.
Theology Word of the Week: Joy
Joy is an essential ingredient of all true Christianity as it was a conspicuous feature of Hebrew religion at its best. The reading of a new edition of the law led to great rejoicing at the time of Ezra, who summed up the scene by saying: ‘The joy of the Lord is your strength’ (Ne. 8:10). The book of Psalms rings with the joy of worship, especially that associated with the great Jewish festivals in the temple at Jerusalem.
The NT is ‘the most buoyant, exhilarating and joyful book in the world’ (J. Denney, Studies in Theology, London, 1895, p. 171). It contains a variety of words for joy which occur a total of 326 times. For example, there is exultant joy (agalliasis—e.g. Acts 2:46); optimism is the mood of faith (euthymein, to take heart—Acts 27:22, 25); Paul can exult in God on account of the death of Christ (kauchasthai, to boast—Rom. 5:11); and in the Beatitudes Jesus pronounces happy those who display certain characteristics (makarios, blessed—Mt. 5:3–11; Lk. 6:20–22). The most common root for joy in the NT, however, is that which expresses inward joy (chara, joy; chairein, to rejoice). This occurs 146 times out of the total of 326 instances. The message of the whole of the NT is good news of great joy for all people (Lk. 2:10).
Every NT writer has something to say about joy in one or more of its varieties. Luke’s Gospel is, par excellence, the gospel of joy, while Paul’s letter to the Philippians, written though it was from prison, is the letter of joy. In the Johannine literature, fullness of joy is stressed (see, e.g., Jn. 17:13; 1 Jn. 1:4). 1 Peter teaches about joy in suffering (1 Pet. 3:14; 4:13–14). The joy of practical religion is shown in the letter of James (e.g. Jas. 1:25). The joy of the redeemed is found in Revelation (e.g. Rev. 22:14).
The basis of Christian joy lies in the main theological doctrines of the faith: the Fatherhood of God and the forgiveness of sins, the incarnation, the atonement, the resurrection of Christ and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit. Christians rejoice because God is their heavenly Father who forgives the penitent, because God sent his Son into the world for the salvation of all who have faith (Jn. 3:16), because Jesus Christ not only died but was raised again from the dead and because joy is one of the ninefold fruits of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22). Such are the firm theological foundations of Christian joy.
Joy finds expression in a new attitude to life as a whole and in revitalized worship. This latter aspect has come to the fore in recent years especially through the charismatic movement. Every Sunday is a celebration of the resurrection of Christ and as such should have about it the joy of Easter. Yet joy is not confined to the first day of the week. It affects the daily life and work of the Christian. The whole of life is to be spent in joyful service of Jesus Christ. 
- Sinclair B. Ferguson and J.I. Packer, New Dictionary of Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000), 386.