16 December 2021
Christmas Crunch Time
because we’re all busy this time of year!1
In the weeks leading up to Christmas it seems especially true that “there aren’t enough hours in the day.” My usual habit is to arise between 4 AM and 5 AM in order to study and write. During the last several weeks, in those “wee hours,” I have been meditating on and “Greeking out” in the story of Gabriel’s visit to Mary in Luke 1:26-38. My heart’s desire has been to gain a deeper understanding of the Holy Spirit’s role in true New Birth.
I have come away awed at the “newness” of an “old thought” — the Logos Himself became a partaker of our human nature (Hebrews 2:14) so that we might become partakers of His divine nature (2 Peter 1:4). There’s been no need for an alarm clock to pursue that glorious subject! It has energized me to keep the Christmas focus where it ought to be — on Jesus.
But after 7 AM — forget it! It’s all I can do to defend my daily time for prayer, Bible reading, and vocabulary review (Spanish, Greek, and Hebrew) from the “Christmas crunch.” You may well be getting “crunched” the same way, wishing you could slow down and focus on the Lord. For those times when you cry, “Time out!” we’d like to share with you some Christmas resources in the form of Bible-teaching articles and what we call “Powerful Poetry” that will give you some meat to chew on.
Meanwhile, if you don’t have a lot of time to read a newsletter, that works out well, because I don’t have a lot of time to write one! We’ll keep this communication “short ‘n’ sweet.”
Christmas Resources for You
Available free here on the website
or as a 99¢ Kindle e-booklet.
Ah, now, those Christmas resources — where are they? The chronological nature of the Bible-teaching posts and the Powerful Poetry entries here on our FinestOfTheWheat.org website makes it a challenge to find all the Christmas-related material. So if you visit our most recent entry at
you’ll see in one listing all of the Christmas-related Bible-teaching articles, as well as the complete list of the dozens of carols and uplifting poems for celebrating the season of the Incarnation.
Three quick points here:
- We have published the latest chapter in my growing, ongoing Christmas manuscript (tentatively titled The Curious Corners of Christmas). This newest offering is Matthew’s Mixed-Up Math (A Christmas Bible Study), which looks at Matthew chapter 1 and the textual surprises that launch the Christmas story.
- The inspiration for writing a new chapter each Christmas season came in part because of a man whose ministry and work I have long admired, namely, John Wright Follette. He managed to produce an original Christmas poem for his Bible college students every year for three decades. We’re featuring several of those poems this month…
- …but I also want to point out what may be my favorite non-carol Christmas poem, The Mystic’s Christmas by the famous John Greenleaf Whittier.
We hope some or all of these will prove to be a blessing to you.
Short, Sweet, and Swift
Flag of Honduras
Flag of Guatemala3
- 2021: Lord willing, Christmas Eve will find me preaching once again at Morningstar Church in Middleburg, Florida. (I’m almost certain that message, The Overshadowing, will become next year’s new Christmas chapter in Curious Corners. This message is an overflow from the “Greeking out” I mentioned earlier.)
- 2022 is swiftly shaping up to be a travel-packed year. Right now January to June looks like this:
- January: I will be spending time away (we still don’t know where) with Mrs. “Short ‘n’ Sweet” herself as we celebrate 50 years of marriage on 29 January. Five decades — where has the time gone?!
- February–March: A two-week teaching trip to Honduras, perhaps also including a side trip to El Salvador.
- April: Deo volente (“God being willing”), I will be returning to Florida to teach the students at North Florida Theological Seminary.
- May (and probably into early June): Teaching the annual pastors’ retreat in Guatemala. (Perhaps El Salvador will “fit” better with this trip.)
For all of that — yes, we need your early and faithful prayer support, especially for protection from COVID (not only from the disease itself but from the many ways it can cause travel delays). And, yes, absolutely, your financial contributions for those trips will help make them possible. For both your prayers and your faithful giving, we thank you and the Father.
More on our 2022 publication timetable and audio-ministry plans, all in next month’s newsletter. (Short ‘n’ sweet, remember?)
May your experience of Jesus be sweet this Christmas, and may the memories of it be long rather than short!
Much love in Jesus,
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