2 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. 2 This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all went to be registered, each to his own town. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, 5 to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. 6 And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth.
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.
8 And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”
15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.
21 And at the end of eight days, when he was circumcised, he was called Jesus, the name given by the angel before he was conceived in the womb.
22 And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”) 24 and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.” 25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27 And he came in the Spirit into the temple, and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him according to the custom of the Law, 28 he took him up in his arms and blessed God and said,
“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
for my eyes have seen your salvation
that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
and for glory to your people Israel.”
33 And his father and his mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary his mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed 35 (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”
36 And there was a prophetess, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was advanced in years, having lived with her husband seven years from when she was a virgin, 37 and then as a widow until she was eighty-four. She did not depart from the temple, worshiping with fasting and prayer night and day. 38 And coming up at that very hour she began to give thanks to God and to speak of him to all who were waiting for the redemption of Jerusalem.
The Return to Nazareth
39 And when they had performed everything according to the Law of the Lord, they returned into Galilee, to their own town of Nazareth. 40 And the child grew and became strong, filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.
41 Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he was twelve years old, they went up according to custom. 43 And when the feast was ended, as they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the group they went a day's journey, but then they began to search for him among their relatives and acquaintances, 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, searching for him. 46 After three days they found him in the temple, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47 And all who heard him were amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48 And when his parents saw him, they were astonished. And his mother said to him, “Son, why have you treated us so? Behold, your father and I have been searching for you in great distress.” 49 And he said to them, “Why were you looking for me? Did you not know that I must be in my Father's house?” 50 And they did not understand the saying that he spoke to them. 51 And he went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And his mother treasured up all these things in her heart.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Christmas left and gone and why?
Christmas lingering and why?
Christmas Joy and Joy to come?
Still Christmas for Mary, Still Christmas for us!
It is my wish Christmas finds you with a smile on your face of work accomplished.
Mary... how did she feel about this time? This is the reality of Real Scripture.
Well, let's see. She was not at home for 3 months of her pregnancy. Joseph was not even spoken of. Her father is known in history only to the Sadducean Council Talmud reports and only by name and lineage and Luke 3. And that one was recorded by her side of the family.
Scant welcomed in their hometown. And the inn was too crowded so a barn was the only welcoming place. Did that go quietly? Hardly. A quiet little town with people coming in from the fields and light every where.
Home to Nazareth? Noooo. Another a walk or cart ride and this time sore with a baby. Mary is having a good and bothersome after Christmas.
Where is her joy? Jesus.
Mary was walking the walk. And telling the truth.
Dr Kurt Kirkpatrick Ob-gyn says God has written our lives in our DNA - the pages of His Worthy Book of Life. Truth is a good objective and this is an honest Christmas story. Not dwelling on the difficulties and moaning and whining and creating Scrooge, but a very honest account that marketing surely would have dressed up with a lot more smiling.
Still time to adjust to the sweep of the huge forces life has for us.
Still time to judge the current God has for us sweeping us along in the same direction.
Time for gratitude.
Time for re-plan.
Time to learn.
Time to appreciate and have peace.
What is the message of God's plan in your life?
God has some unusual things to say.
He says Love Him first. Sometimes He says you must put GOD ahead of your family
Joseph did this to his good fortune.
If we spend all our time coddling our family - when push comes to shove - we can loose vital framework of God's Law - where most of God's blessing is centered.
We can loose God's goodness to just smile when we need to really pull for God's message to be understood.
Finding our balance in life - we can love the Law of God so much that our Justice has No Mercy and the TRUE FLAVOR OF GOD ALMIGHTY SHEPHERD OF OUR SOULS - has HIS Great Love - lost.
The challenge of riding this life raft called life in the white waters or the eddies, we have to find Scripture that is telling us - quickly address the Sunday School Lesson as needed and true and comfort. Or quickly love yourself - God does love you just as He created you, named you, planned to have you in His Book of Life.
Sometimes in white water it's to hard to find what he correct verse is. Then in those Times - Jesus will pray for you. The Comforter will groan with you. Our Father in Jesus.
We were blessed to have a lovely Christmas this year. No one was contagious. Everyone was employed (Father God, we lift up the economy of Houston to You and solutions You know already). All were happy and the weather was grand and the family was joyous. This was a Good Christmas to be blessed with.
Now if you are in the re-planning phase of next Christmas, let me confess to you, I threw my gifts in pretty dollar store sacks and put trim on them to add beauty, but this I'd say I must discipline myself next year to plan even to wrap gifts before I do the decorations I like to do so much.
I am sometimes told by people how awful their Christmas was. I know Christmas can be a challenge the Scriptures tell us about. Difficulties begging for a solution are financial, relationship, self-doubt, and health. When we have times where are character is being challenged and formed, these are not the best of times - however in faith, we can Know God will hear us. They can turn the worst of times, back into the faith best of times.
Let me duck, dodge and cover because this advice sometimes gets the glare of miffed. The truth is we all need a cardboard box easily re-found and Christmas is a gathering of gifts for all loved ones collected all year. Financially there are too mannnny haaaap haaaappy things to pop up at Christmas to do December shopping.
( TMI I confess to you again, after re-loading the gifts into more sacks after Christmas - I found the niece, nephew and brother in law gift - un-given. Om. However, when I shop with my late shoppers in crowded places - dragged along - I do not see the joy of giving. I see emotional trauma of - "Oh No!" And some people truly need to be coached on what could be a good gift. We are discovering real food and not the sugar treats are Great Gifts. Amazon does fruit and nuts that are affordable and easily shipped.)
Avoid the rocky perils
And you will be traveling along singing a song, sailing to the next 364 days
Side by Side
You won't have to stress Christmas Decorations in October when you are - So Done!
We are going to all experience changes in life. Finding how much God loves you - inspires you to be Thankful.
The Joy is most of life is people - capable of doing their own life. Baptism and belief. Being sealed with the Holy Spirit. They know the solutions Father God has given them. All we have to do is gently put our oar in the water and paddle with the team.
With God in our real balance - Speaking up with joy and gentleness, being in belief all the voices have a purpose in God's eyes. Believing we all need some guidance and direction and mercy with joy.
Alleluia! Unto us a child is born. Christ Jesus the Lord.
Just like Mary. Expecting God. Living near and with God. Things to do. The unknown future to face. Each day doing our best to please Father God - is pleasing Father God.
Thank You Father God for another Christmas to love those around us. To reexamine our lives to Your Plan. To find the Joy and Blessings in each day. We thank You Father God, You will care for those we Love. We give You our closest prayers and know You hear with Mercy. Amen.