Luke 2:1-40, 52
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,
The words of the Scripture are true, the elevation is upward.
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,
14“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,
29“Lord, now you are letting your servant depart in peace,
according to your word;
30for my eyes have seen your salvation
31 that you have prepared in the presence of all peoples,
32a 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.
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.
52 And Jesus increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.
Christmas for a lot of people is actually a quieter time with things that keep us busy. And in this real knowledge, we find some time to seriously reflect. And in this reflection we find Holy Days. When we keep Father God in front of us, we do well. We choose Joy even when sad reflections of the difficulty of life can momentarily bring us some sorrow. Rick Warren was right we live in a world of broken systems. Because this life is us preparing our soul for presentation to a Loving Father who gives us the work of believing in the One He sent.
God is very wise, very astute and the Word He chooses about faith is "work". Father God goes on to be salt. Be real. Be Genuine. Add to what is around you. Remove superfluous water. Like crying too much over the past - this is gone - reunions in Heaven are the reality.
And be Light. Look at what is noble, pure, good and work to believe God like Centenarians do. Most Centenarians believe a difficulty is interesting and God is going to work. They have an attitude of expectation for God to redeem. And the reality is there will be another difficulty, just one God will handle - again. The Disciple John lived to be recorded in history as vibrant and engaging in the early 2nd century. Feisty and opinionated, patient to overcome evil John records his belief in life in Revelation 1. This is the God given secret from John on overcoming. And we know he had a good walk uphill from going to the village - so exercise is thrown in there too. Not to mention the view of the island seeing all is well from his door. I believe God would call that Overseeing.
John fought down Gnostics - believing we have special insight to God by the man who wrote Revelation with the Holy Spirit. From a vision. This is very refreshing. Wonderful John. He felt by knowing Jesus and walking with "awe" with Jesus we all have Jesus within and when we act with Love. We have found Jesus within.
Being Light. Light does not make much noise. We have a chance to listen. Overseeing people and being the Light is not self-righteous. When we listen enough, we are wise to understand insight comes from learning about ourselves.
What we hope God will heal, forgive and redeem in us - we can pray this for others. Prayer is just a thought we flash connect to God in conversation. This is the Father who is waiting to run to you - seeing you Home from your journey on earth.
Recently, Guidepost came out with a book on learning trust and loyalty and love from a pet. I saw my 19 year - 93 or 94 in cat books about equivalent to human years - pass on with dignity after age caused decline. He had the life we pray for - he enjoyed each day gathering insight and personality - and trusted God as he passed on gently the day he went Home. Isn't that what we want to do - live meaningful lives blessing others - gathering real Love and Joy - and bringing Salt with reality on what we need and expect of one another - Light for the affection. Leaving loss in life - time to grieve Love and then be the garden where more Love will be gathered again as seasons provide.
The Words of God instruct us to build upon a firm foundation.
Trust God to be our Rock and Salvation. To make our vows to be secure. Regardless of the winds prevailing upon the framework and house. This is a personal best. God instructing us to respect our inner hearth and home. God gives us the self-esteem to be pleased within ourselves pleasing Him. And allows others to trust us as well.
Jesus the merciful provides a place for us all to find this redemption and reclaim this goodness. Drawing up His Grace to try again to rebuild. One of the most gracious men I've had the privilege to know through Church is a man who spent the 1970's in disco bars. He said he calls those his purple hat days as he wore a purple hat complete with large purple feather impressing disco women. He worked his way out of 3 marriages and had 4 children with 3 mothers. One day he realized hoping from good time to good time - was not the way of a truly meaningful life. And he found he did not like - himself. Really at all. The smooth decider of good times was a fake - a liar - a cheat and not loving.
And he sat down on the curb outside of a good time facility and realized there was not joy here. And he began to wonder why he expected love when he did not provide love. His children had grown up without him. The sons of the one mother had fouing tears to his eyes, decades later.
And to the two daughters who wanted him as their father - they found he would arrive with groceries, set the table with flowers, help cook the meal, take the grandchildren seriously and do homework, athletics, lessons and -of course - where real redemption comes from - Jesus. Jesus was the reason for the new season of Joy. Jesus provided the means explaining the new open door Father was here to stay - to be relied upon. Jesus was the strength to give when funds were low, jobs scarce, and not withdraw into bitterness or 'good times'.
And in being the man who could be relied upon - life became good and rich and filled with the strength to overcome.
I had another honest conversation with someone I have admired for years. This is a strong person of faith .And see with their eyes of dedication - we all wonder at the ebb and flow of life. They were weeping at the ebb and flow of life - the need for heart and soul and meaning from one another. One day life is rich and good with plenty to feast upon. And another day feels our basic needs have been looked over - no one to rely upon. And for this wonderful person, God opened a door of opportunity and another. And a miraculous healing only of God Himself. And God creates another blessing and we go forth.
Jesus is the Reason for our Joy. Jesus is the reason for our endurance with patience. Jesus is the reason we can draw up hope for today and tomorrow. Part of our burdens can be what will the future hold - in Jesus we can believe He will arrive.
This year, miracles. I have seen my mother survive death of pneumonia. The joy of living becomes like "90 Minutes in Heaven" - life is always a challenge of family, friendship, health, money, and the balance of attitude. A real miracle of God to be met with the dedication of living. To wisely see our circumstances and create joy and life. Salt and Light.
And another miracle. I have seen a friend find a much needed new home, recovering from a severe accident, and addiction to alcohol with family disturbances. And we will find in this 25 year miracle, like my mother's, tell us participation in life is required. God requires us not to think He is going to fly us over the Red Sea straight into the Promised Land - we call that - passing on.
The miracle of our plumber who was fixing the sink. He was pressed with family concerns and driving a plumbing truck with expired plates, bald tires and no insurance on the way home from our house. 5 Children. We'd had an odd conversation about being picked up by the police and both had left a bit rattled. On the way home, pressed with bills and concerns of marriage and family - our plumber rolled through a stop sign to create - a 20 mile slow motion police chase. Officers modeled correct procedures and 'pit bulled' the plumber truck to stop. Suddenly a brief hopelessness, a rolled stop sign, became potentially 10 years in prison. Enter a Christian defense attorney, Celebration Recovery, 3 different people, apart, with the same message of hope, a new Church, a willing parent, a willing wife. A willing employer. A new minister. A friend who would listen. And God began answering prayers for 21 days of county time and no probation. God is working. A new Celebration Recovery hope. Will the miracle continue? Again, this is up to us individually to realize God did not part the Red Sea with a magic carpet ride to the Promised Land. God expects the effort of faith and diligence every day of our lives. To depend and trust in him.
Today we live life with courage, care and consideration, the foundation of love yourself and build on a firm foundation. And set our expectation on the Lord.
Our Joy and Faith and Love has a name - Jesus Christ, God's Only Son. Savior.
Thank You, Abba, Jesus and Holy Spirit.
We lift up family gathering times. We lift up health to hold firm for gathering times. We lift up communication. We ask those who are ill to have the blessing of health. We ask to find time to exercise and look forward to the New Year. Speak the Word of Peace, Jesus, and we will have peace! We will see Your Goodness!!!
We lift up those apart from loved ones due to jobs and travel expenses. For the comfort of the families. We ask hospitals experience seeing new health. We give thanks for optimism for the Nation. We give thanks for the Churches expecting the C and E people that souls will be so nourished more Church going will bring new comfort and joy to all.
We lift up gift giving to please the recipient and the giver. We ask for safety in our travels as people fly on planes and sadly as they change lanes in cars. Instead! Let us find patience and care on the highways. We lift up the Nation as we anticipate the first burst of cold weather and hope all will be well. We give thanks for the weather reports saying the weather should be normal for Christmas time!!!
We celebrate new destinations. And hopes. Asking You to help these be pleasing to You. We give You Worship and Thanks for Your Mercy, Love and Willingness to bring Your Beloved to You. We draw near to You, Abba, for Your Love. The Blessing of Jesus, now and always on our Loved ones, our cares and concerns, health, Jobs, Schools, Communities, and the Nation of ours having hope to pray about.
We Pray for Merry Christmas across the Nation and Believing World. The Light of Christ Jesus. Amen.
♔ Lord Jesus Saves! †