The Real Meaning of Christmas
by John MacArthur, gty.org
Download MP3 (42mb)
The story’s told of a little girl who’s passing out the presents to her family on Christmas morning. After finding gifts for each member of her family, she was puzzled that there wasn’t a gift for the One whose birth was being commemorated. “I guess everyone forgot about Jesus,” she said.
If you want a truly meaningful Christmas season, it stands to reason you need to grasp the true meaning of Christmas. Forget about Jesus and you’ve missed the entire, glorious point of the celebration.
John MacArthur’s study The Real Meaning of Christmas helps you think of Christmas in a whole new way—in part because it looks at Bible passages you probably don’t associate with Christmas truth. This study can set the tone for a Christmas of real worship—one like you’ve never known.
For more information about gty.org, Dr. John MacArthur, or to puchase the recording on Audio CD, visit: http://www.gty.org/products/audio-series/3
“But my God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:19, King James Version (KJV)
Last year was a difficult year at Audio Bibles for the Blind, as we said goodbye to four dear friends and co-workers because of the tough economic times. However, this isn’t a story of sadness, but a story of joy and happiness for what God has provided. We praise Him for the wonderful volunteers He sends to help us continue this ministry of providing Audio Bibles to the blind and print-handicapped.
Jim and Jean have been coming to volunteer at Audio Bibles for the Blind for over 6 months. Without them, the hundreds of Audio Bibles we send out each week would never get packed and mailed. Their commitment to doing God’s work brings joy into so many lives all around the world.
I want to introduce you to Jim, who will share with you his story.
“My name is Jim. However, it could be Jose, Abner, Mary or Isabelle. We would all have something in common – we would be blind or, to some, just not seeing very well. I was born with Retinitis Pigmentosa, which is a disease that robs you of your sight. For some, it is sudden, but, for most, it is gradual. I was first diagnosed at age 13, and was told by those in the know that I would never be completely blind. Well, as we all know, those in the know don’t always know what they are talking about as I now have been completely blind for 25 years.
I have managed to do many exciting things in my life, in spite of my lack of seeing. Through God’s grace, I was employed at the U.S. Postal Service, ran a small business, got married–all the things a sighted person does during a lifetime.
One of the things I am most grateful for is technology. The convenience of digitized material which can be played on MP3 players and Digital Talking Book players gives greater access for the blind and other individuals.
That brings me to today. I now have the privilege of living in a Christian community called il Villaggio (www.ilvillaggiohomes.com) in Bradenton Florida, where Aurora Ministries/Audio Bibles for the Blind is located.
I now have a part in sending Audio Bibles and other materials all around the world! So, if you are enjoying an Audio Bible, and you received it in the last few months, I may have had a part in getting it to you.
Listen, knowing that there is one who is aware of your world, its limitations and its possibilities. Along with many other people around the world who take advantage of these Biblical Materials, I am thankful for the service Audio Bibles for the Blind provides. I am thankful that I have the privilege of getting the Word of God into a person’s hands in a format that is edifying to them.
Let him who has an ear…”
Jim, thank you for sharing your story with us. We, as well as the many others who are reading this right now, thank you and Jean for all that you do for the Lord Jesus Christ.
Through generous financial support from ministry partners and hours of service from volunteers like Jim and his wife Jean, we can provide God’s Spoken Word to the blind and print disabled. When men, women and even children lose their sight, many of them feel that they have lost everything.
Your gift will make an eternal impact in the life of someone who has lost the ability to read their Bible and prays daily to once again have a Bible they can keep and “read”!
“I prayed to die.”
Peggy shared with us recently that when her husband told her he had only married her because he felt sorry she was blind, the world around her crumbled. Born premature as a twin, Peggy was blinded when the oxygen in the incubator dried out her eyes. Her sister didn’t survive. Peggy had been a fighter since birth, but now she didn’t want to fight anymore.
Peggy’s crumbled marriage wasn’t her only struggle. She had accepted Christ into her life when she was 17 years old, but she had never found a Christian community where she felt she belonged. No matter how hard Peggy tried, it seemed like people couldn’t get past the fact that she was blind. They couldn’t see her for who she was.
It was in that moment of total despair that Peggy says she heard the Lord speak to her heart. “If I don’t heal your eyes, will you serve me? If I don’t restore your marriage, will you serve me?” Peggy answered, “Yes.”
Today, Peggy is nearing 60 years of age, and she’s been happily married to her husband, Robert, for 26 years. And every day since their wedding, Peggy prayed that Robert would join her in her walk with the Lord.
Still struggling to find a Christian community where she belonged, Peggy called us one day. We listened to her story and prayed with her. Because of the generous support of friends and partners like you, we were able to send Peggy an Audio Bible.
The healing words of scripture were now instantly available to her. And what was even more wonderful for Peggy was that when she listened to God’s Spoken Word, Robert joined her.For the first time in their marriage, they were hearing the Bible together.
Not long after they received the Audio Bible, Robert started going to church with Peggy. They finally found a community where they belonged. And they found it together. Recently, Robert and Peggy were both baptized in their church. Peggy couldn’t be happier.
That’s what happens when friends like you support our life-changing ministry at Audio Bibles for the Blind. Hearts are opened, lives are changed, and people are seen and loved for who they really are. It’s hard to believe a few recordings could do all this, but time and again, we hear stories just like Peggy’s.
In their new church home, Peggy and Robert have been able to minister to countless people who also feel pushed away and rejected by the world around them. Peggy wraps these fragile men and women in the love of Christ and acknowledges their beauty as sons and daughters of God. And it started with an Audio Bible.
Peggy no longer sees her blindness as something God is using to test her. Instead, she sees that she has a tremendous gift to offer others. Peggy doesn’t get caught up in disfigurements, skin color, or even fashion sense. She sees straight into people’s hearts, and she loves them for who they are.
When you send your support to Audio Bibles For The Blind, lives are changed. As homes are opened to healing words of scripture, hearts are transformed.
Please, send in your most generous support today so we can continue ministering to men and women like Peggy. Help us give God’s Spoken Word to those whose hearts are longing for healing words of love and encouragement.
We can’t make Peggy’s blindness go away, but we can help her and countless others like her to see themselves as God’s precious children, accepted and dearly loved as His own.
This is the miracle of the Audio Bible. And you make it happen every time you give to this ministry. Thank you!
When the Twin Towers in New York City were destroyed by terrorists 10 years ago this month, Tim was there. He helped drag survivors––and casualties––from the rubble. When Katrina hit New Orleans and devastated the city, Tim wasn’t far behind. He helped bring relief to the hurricane victims and gave freely of himself in service. Tim felt so strongly called to serve others that he pursued a Doctorate of Divinity and was on his way to becoming an ordained pastor. Then, disaster struck Tim’s own life.
One night Tim was asked to take two colleagues home from work. Before he knew what happened, he was dragged away from his car, severely beaten, and left for dead by two thugs who stole his car. Tim’s head had been kicked repeatedly––so badly in fact that it pushed his eyes back into his cranium. He was blinded from the beating.
Tim’s life changed that night. He had lived his life to bring peace to the hurting, and now a terrible act of violence had taken everything away from him. But what Tim missed most about his life “before” was his ability to read.
You see, Tim read the Bible faithfully, delving into Scripture while he prepared for a life of ministry as a pastor. After that terrible night, Tim could no longer read the Bible. He asked everyone he knew, but nobody knew how to help him––until one day a social worker sent him to Audio Bibles For The Blind.
“It’s a miracle. I can hear the Bible, and I can understand it clearly,” Tim says. “This is the most beautiful thing in my life.”
Friends like you made this happen! When you offer your most generous support, you give something beautiful to people like Tim.
Losing your sight to an act of violence is an especially heavy weight for people like Tim to carry with them. Each and every day, as Tim struggles to get through ordinary tasks such as tying his shoes, making breakfast, or even getting to and from work, he is reminded of all that was taken from him in one terrifying instant.
The Audio Bible doesn’t give a normal life back to Tim or others like him. But it does help ease the pain.
“When you can hear the Bible and clearly… That takes a lot of burden off your soul,” Tim says. “And I don’t think people realize that until they have to go through something like this.”
Every day I receive one letter after another, each telling a story of loss and pain. I wish I could help lift the burdens of each one of these people, but I can’t––at least not without your help.
You see, we get more requests for help than what we can fulfill on our own. I can’t stand the thought of turning away a single person who is seeking comfort from God’s Spoken Word, and I believe you can’t either.
When you offer your most generous support, you help answer the calls for help from good people like Tim. You lift a burden off their souls and soothe the pain of their loss. You can’t give back someone’s vision, but when you give an Audio Bible, you restore something even greater––you offer a lifeline of God’s healing Word, a balm for the hurting soul.
Thank you for your generous and faithful support. Tim and I are so very grateful.
Click here to give online, or call us at 941.748.3031
“Several of my clients report that they are really enjoying being able to read the Bible again. And, you know, this is a way for me to unobtrusively bring up spiritual matters to my clients!” -Marilee in VA
“What a real blessing. I am now listening to my new Bible from Aurora. My son received his new Bible today, also. Thank you so much!” – Rosetta in GA
“Just a BIG THANK YOU to tell you how much I am enjoying the Audio Bible you sent me. I am one of those old ladies who has macular degeneration and love the Lord but cannot read my Bible. Now every day, thanks to you, I can read the Word.” – Marjorie in Canada
“We would like to extend our appreciation to you for your donation of audio players and tapes for blind veterans. Your thoughtfulness reflects the concern that you feel for our veterans and for the service they provided to all of us while in service to our country.
Without your support, we could not provide for the smaller niceties that make hospitalization more bearable. Your thoughtfulness also reflects the concern and compassion that our community feels for our veterans.” -Dept. of Veterans Affairs
“Let me take this opportunity to applaud Aurora Ministries for the tremendous work that they are doing in sharing the gospel of Christ throughout the world. My prayer is that God will continue to bless your efforts as you continue to enrich the spiritual lives of people through the world.” – Jamaica Society for the Blind
“Today as I walked into the church hall I met a beaming Emma holding onto something so tight that you could hardly see it. It was the Bible MP3 CD set. She gave me a card with a big Thank you written on it. I just want to forward that big thank you to you and also to our loving God who put this ministry in your hands and the people involved in your hearts. Keep doing the good work and may God abundantly bless you.” –Beatrix (on behalf of Emma)
Note from the editor:
In May, many of you read our Story of the Month titled “We Remember”. As we began to prepare for that story, we came across many great possibilities and were able to speak with many who served this great country.
I want to share with you some of those stories that didn’t make it into the final version we mailed out.
Over the years, Audio Bibles for the Blind has been blessed to be able to give back to those who have sacrificed much for this country. Having the Bible in a usable format has meant so much to veterans like James, who, as a Marine, served two tours of duty in Korea and in Vietnam as well as a tour in Germany. He retired from the military as a Lieutenant Colonel after twenty-seven years of service. His widow shared with us,
“His [James] Audio Bible was a true blessing. He was able to listen until the very last and this was so, wonderful for him.”
Norman was drafted into the Army and served in both World War II and Korea before returning home to his wife whom, he has now been married to for fifty-six years. Norman is 70% paralyzed and has macular degeneration but continues to thank the Lord for the life he has been able to lead and for the blessing his Audio Bible has been to him. Norman told us,
“When I first learned of my vision trouble, I was so worried as I am such an avid reader. I should not have been.”
Aaron Pratt served in the army in Georgia with one tour of duty in South Korea. In the late 1990’s he found out that he was losing his vision due to glaucoma and would soon need the services available at his local VA hospital. The rehabilitation program was a transformation in his life. Mr. Pratt stated,
“God will put you in a place, he will designate a time and a place but only if you pay attention. I was so depressed when I arrived at the unit, but I grew stronger every day, stronger in the Lord.”
Mr. Pratt tells us that the Audio Bible he received from Audio Bibles for the Blind makes it so easy to cover chapter and verses so quickly.
Dolores O’Bryant has special memories of her military experiences as she met her husband in Fort Knox, Kentucky. They both served in the military there.
“The Lord has always been with us as we raised our children, one of whom just retired from military service also in Fort Knox, Kentucky.” Dolores also tells us “I listen to my audio tapes every day!”
“Dying is a hard thing for many, but you are helping to make it better. Thanks for what you do.”
When I read those words from a hospice patient who is dying from cancer, it made me stop to think how often in this world we think only about saving lives, about changing people’s future. We can too easily forget about those who are passing from this life to the next. Their journey can’t be easy––not for them, and certainly not for those they leave behind. That’s why our hospice ministry is such a special part of what we do at Audio Bibles for the Blind.
As hospice patients near the end of their lives here on earth, the Spoken Word of God becomes very important to them and their loved ones. They long for the comfort and guidance found in the Scriptures, but are often too ill to read a print Bible. Most hospice facilities have a chaplain on call, but one person must care for many patients. There are simply not enough hours in a day for them to sit and read God’s Word to each hospice patient. An Audio Bible by the bedsides of hospice patients allows them to be comforted by God’s Word any time, day or night.
“I listen to my Audio Bible every night. It helps with the pain, and I just feel more peaceful when I wake up,” one hospice patient told us.
The hospice Audio Bible program is about bringing peace and comfort at life’s end; it’s about making sure no one leaves this life alone. Through God’s Spoken Word, hospice patients can be surrounded by the Lord’s encouragement and assurance of the peace found only in Him.
Your gift is critical to our hospice ministry. Your generous support of any amount will help place an Audio Bible by the bedside of a dying man or woman. When you give to Audio Bibles for the Blind, you give a gift of peace––you help to “make it better.”
The wife of a hospice patient who had received one of our Audio Bibles was struggling so much with losing her husband that she had talked of suicide. Together, they began listening to their Audio Bible, and it changed her outlook completely. The circumstances didn’t change, but the weight from her heart was lifted. She and her husband now had peace to face the days ahead.
Every day we receive new requests for Audio Bibles for hospice patients. These men and women need the message of God’s Spoken Word now more than ever. I cannot bear to turn away a single one of their requests, but without the support of friends like you, we simply can’t provide enough Audio Bibles to meet the growing need. Please, send in your support today and provide an Audio Bible to those who need it most.
As the hospice patients in our ministry near the end of their lives on this earth, they long to hear a message from God, to find closure for their journey. They find it in His Spoken Word.
Whether they turn to the comforting words about the Shepherd of our souls from Psalm 23 or the words of Jesus in John 14 about the place He prepared for his followers in Heaven, or Paul’s message in 1 Corinthians 15 about life after death, those who are dying find peace and comfort in your gift of an Audio Bible.
Thank you for your generosity and faithfulness at this critical time in the lives of our hospice patients. Your support is a continual blessing, and we give thanks for you.