Tom Elliff
Oklahoma City, OK

After pastoring for forty-two years, Tom Elliff served the International Mission Board, first as Senior Vice President for Spiritual Nurture and Church Relations from 2005-2009, then as President from 2011-2014. Tom served pastorates in Arkansas, Texas, Colorado and Oklahoma and as an IMB missionary in Zimbabwe. Tom also served as president of the SBC Pastor's Conference and two terms as president of the Southern Baptist Convention.

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By on December 24, 2015

THE EARTHLY LIFE of our Savior was marked, beginning and end, with two great miracles…the Virgin Birth and the Resurrection. This season of the year we focus our attention on the first, Christ’s birth in lowly circumstances by a virgin, Mary. What I especially love about Christmas is the reminder of how close heaven really is to earth! For reasons that are quite obvious (my sweet Jeannie is now there with the Lord) this fact  is especially encouraging to me these days.

THE VIRGIN BIRTH ITSELF WAS A HEAVENLY INVASION.  God became man in the womb of Mary and was delivered that night so that the world, you and I, could personally see Him.  Thirty-three years later, that same Immanuel, surrendered up His life as payment for the sins of Mankind, then subsequently was raised from the dead to give clear evidence, among other things, that His payment was sufficient and accepted.

BUT THINK FOR A MOMENT ABOUT THE MANY OTHER “HEAVENLY INVASIONS” ATTENDING CHRIST’S BIRTH! Joseph received a personal, angelic announcement. Mary received both an angelic announcement and the moving of God’s Spirit within her body. Zacharias, the priest, received  a personal angelic announcement accompanied by the affirmation of his wife, Elizabeth’s, pregnancy with their son, John. In a distant land, “Heaven” was sending signals to the Magi that the Messiah had been born. Out on the Judean hillsides, shepherds were astounded, first with an angelic announcement, then with the appearance of a “multitude of the heavenly hosts” bursting through the veil that separates heaven and earth in an explosion of joy. And down in Jerusalem, Simeon and Anna, two people with heaven in their hearts were awaiting the presentation of Jesus at the temple.

SO CHRISTMAS IS A REMINDER TO ME THAT HEAVEN, AND ALL WHO DWELL THERE WITH OUR LORD, IS JUST NOT THAT FAR AWAY! That reality both astounds and comforts me. So this year, my Christmas card included a little poem that might sound a little cheesy unless you take seriously what I’ve written above.

We’re celebrating Christmas…our dear Savior’s birth

Jeannie in heaven…and I here on earth

We’re grateful to God and grateful for you,

And praying His blessings, all  the year through!

Have a God blessed Christmas!


Tom Elliff

2 Tim 1:12

  • cbtolosa


  • cbtolosa

    Amen, Brother, and a happy new year wish for you.