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.[e] 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.
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.
A song of ascents. Of David.
I rejoiced with those who said to me,
“Let us go to the house of the Lord.”
Our feet are standing
in your gates, Jerusalem.
And Psalm 90
Satisfy us in the morning with your unfailing love,
that we may sing for joy and be glad all our days!
Make us glad for as many days as you have afflicted us,
for as many years as we have seen trouble.
May your deeds be shown to your servants,
your splendor to their children.
May the favor of the Lord our God rest on us;
establish the work of our hands for us—
yes, establish the work of our hands.
Not all people Celebrate Christmas alike. I have to say - there is joy, in seeing a few of my neighbors continue their Christmas now, and Christmas trees stand lighted in their windows.
People have worked and wrapped and traveled and EATEN until they want to enjoy this tree and the beauty reflecting the Birth of God's Willingness to be with us every day of our lives.
With this amount of relief:
So he said to the man, 11 “I tell you, get up, take your mat and go home.” 12 He got up, took his mat and walked out in full view of them all. This amazed everyone and they praised God, saying, “We have never seen anything like this!”
This is the quietness of the relaxation. Joy in what God has wrought!
"It's great to celebrate the birth of our Lord, but greater still is the realization that he is born everyday within the temple of our heart and lives therein within us eternally."
Surely Charles Dickens understood! Scrooge was declared to have "Kept Christmas in his heart all the days of his life."
The people I have talked to after Christmas, some seem to feel certainly they took a vacation from their concerns, worries and needs for a solution, but now - back to the grind -of worrying. Time to take stock of our entire lives, struggle to see the pineapple and consume this problem in one bite, top and all.
And if you speak to the Psychologists I have been blessed to volunteer with, January 18th has a name. Not Black Friday, not Good Friday, but the 3rd Monday of January is considered to be the most depressed day of the year and is called "Blue Monday."
Psychologists report great optimism for change and pleasing unpleasable people at Christmas renders many people coping with recovery. Others are faced with bills from forcing all the expenses of Christmas to try to exist in one month after August for those with School Children is equally as costly.
And so after years of either racing to get the tree down and all productivity of January 2nd or, now January 7th after Epiphany is finished, I really enjoy seeing Christmas trees light up and imagine people with coffee, tea or Chocolate are enjoying the work of their hands, looking at old Christmas ornaments and remembering many Christmases with peace and joy in their hearts.
These laggers and dilly dallyiers who are still celebrating the darker days of winter with the lights of Christ. How pleasing for them, your neighbors say, "Thank You!"
Our Kitchen has a an upper counter - a buffet - and we place garland and all types of berries and pine-cones given to me by my grandmother Anita's not twin brother, but very, very similar brother from the late 1980s by Uncle Frank. Add to the collection the squash and the pumpkins that are so almost real from over different Thanksgivings and some lemons because this IS the Christmas Kitchen counter. Which cause hilarity when people come over and decide to try to slice one of the faux lemons from the garland
- WELL usually that is our left behind Christmas decoration for Lights of Christ.
Which puts Kitchen things in proper perspective with things like the way Grandmother Anita prayed as she cleaned and even had a framed prayer she wrote about gratitude for cleaning up after her loved ones. AND our ideas of seasonality of Christmas!
9But now that you have come to know God, or rather to be known by God, how is it that you turn back again to the weak and worthless elemental things, to which you desire to be enslaved all over again? 10 You observe days and months and seasons and years. 11 I fear for you, that perhaps I have labored over you in vain.
And that brings us to taking today,
finding that moment that can occur praying and brushing your teeth when you suddenly realize, with minty clean teeth: "His Mercies Renew Each Day!"
And so after many years, a decade or more of having out the garland, I decided, I needed a change and this year our table held faux long needle pine, hydrangea and red assorted berries from decades of after Christmas sales and the profound love I have for all things that grow. And faux that doesn't have to be watered. I left out the dining room Christmas and put ropes of hearts that usually go on packages to my delight to see hearts glittering above my Christmas.
Change is good. Seeing things from a different perspective. This week Rick Warren did a great Sermon I listened to just as I began walking again. I turned on the sermon on my phone and the sermon from Saddleback was the testimony of several people on the redemptive qualities and needs of exercise daily.
1 Corinthians 9:24
24 Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. 25 Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable.
Jesus says all the time, He looks for humility. We have to love ourselves. Say thank You for the body we are given. And with the taking care of our bodies, we nourish what God has given us. We nourish our stamina, our endurance, our seeing things with new perspectives, we increase our immunity. This is the great time to start for warmer weather persistence.
We pray for those we Love to be lifted with Your Tender Hands. Settled under Your wing, resting in Your Love and Care.
Getting ready for each day to meet the challenges of the day at hand. Not turning our lives into pineapples to be eaten whole. Giving the cares and concerns of the people you give us to You in expectation to what You will Bring in Willingness of Blessings.
We lift up all the cares of the Mississippi River floods, Porter Ranches Methane gas leak and the fact only state governing bodies are visiting. The Methane gas leak Nasa reported in Four Corners intersection of Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico and Utah. We lift up our foreign situations for Your help and understanding we do not rule the world. You Reign, Father God.
May Jesus Christ pray with us and for us daily, give His Word and Gift of Peace we pray for ourselves, states, towns, communities, Churches, work places and the Nations serving Him. In His Name, Jesus, Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves †