Our Family

Our Family

Monday, December 24, 2012

Merry Christmas!!

Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, 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, good will toward men.
15 And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
16 And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.
17 And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
18 And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
19 But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart.
20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them.

I took that picture (and enhanced it a bit) of the nativity that my mother made in 1984 and has sat under our tree ever since.  As a child it was my favorite Christmas decoration. This nativity does include the three wise men in the scene although they are not actually a part of the "birth" of Christ (they didn't appear til much later) they are an important part of the history surrounding Christ's birth.

 Matthew 2: 2-23
Now when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem,
Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.
When Herod the king had heard these things, he was troubled, and all Jerusalem with him.
And when he had gathered all the chief priests and scribes of the people together, he demanded of them where Christ should be born.
And they said unto him, In Bethlehem of Judaea: for thus it is written by the prophet,
And thou Bethlehem, in the land of Juda, art not the least among the princes of Juda: for out of thee shall come a Governor, that shall rule my people Israel.
Then Herod, when he had privily called the wise men, enquired of them diligently what time the star appeared.
And he sent them to Bethlehem, and said, Go and search diligently for the young child; and when ye have found him, bring me word again, that I may come and worship him also.
When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was.
10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.
11 And when they were come into the house, they saw the young child with Mary his mother, and fell down, and worshipped him: and when they had opened their treasures, they presented unto him gifts; gold, and frankincense and myrrh.
12 And being warned of God in a dream that they should not return to Herod, they departed into their own country another way.
13 And when they were departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeareth to Joseph in a dream, saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and flee into Egypt, and be thou there until I bring thee word: for Herod will seek the young child to destroy him.
14 When he arose, he took the young child and his mother by night, and departed into Egypt:
15 And was there until the death of Herod: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken of the Lord by the prophet, saying, Out of Egypt have I called my son.
16 Then Herod, when he saw that he was mocked of the wise men, was exceeding wroth, and sent forth, and slew all the children that were in Bethlehem, and in all the coasts thereof, from two years old and under, according to the time which he had diligently inquired of the wise men. Then was fulfilled that which was spoken by Jeremiah the prophet, saying,

18 In Rama was there a voice heard, lamentation, and weeping, and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children, and would not be comforted, because they are not.
19 But when Herod was dead, behold, an angel of the Lord appeareth in a dream to Joseph in Egypt,
20 Saying, Arise, and take the young child and his mother, and go into the land of Israel: for they are dead which sought the young child's life.
21 And he arose, and took the young child and his mother, and came into the land of Israel.
22 But when he heard that Archelaus did reign in Judaea in the room of his father Herod, he was afraid to go thither: notwithstanding, being warned of God in a dream, he turned aside into the parts of Galilee:
23 And he came and dwelt in a city called Nazareth: that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the prophets, He shall be called a Nazarene.

As a child, the nativity was just a beautiful decoration to help us remember why we celebrate Christmas.  As an adult (and a mother), my  amazement over  the story of Christ's birth continues to grow.  The idea that the Lord would give up his heavenly throne to be born amongst the animals and laid in a manger to live the life of a human and give the ultimate sacrifice for mankind to save ME (and you) from my sins can be so unbelievable, but that's what He did.  The idea that Mary trusted God and His will for her life is another amazing part of the story.  Would we do the same?  Can you imagine what she thought, or felt, or even what other people had to say about her.  She could've said, "No, I can't do this God.  It is the wrong time for me to have a baby.  I have no husband." or other things she could have said.  She didn't though.  She trusted God and knew that His will for her life was much more important that hers.  And Joseph?  How could he have felt when he found out his future wife was pregnant?  He could've publicly disgraced her and called off the marriage but he too trusted God and did what he was told to do.

I cannot imagine the hardships they endured on their journey.  Having given birth 7 times, I cannot comprehend what it must have been like to been in labor while traveling and end up giving birth in a dirty, smelly stable full of animals.  I also think about Mary holding, nursing, and caring for Jesus.  Did she really know fully who He was?  I love this verse, "But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart." As a mom I am humbled and in awe of the fact that the Lord has entrusted me in the raising and care of these seven beautiful children.  I do not know what they will do and be when they grow up, just that my purpose here on earth is to be their mother.  Mary was the one chosen to give birth to the Lord himself!  Amazing!  

I try to imagine (and paint a mental picture for the children when we read this part of the Bible) what it was like for the shepherds.  Having one angel appear to them was shocking enough but then, "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, good will toward men."  Can you imagine!  Amazing!

I always tell the children that this is only the beginning of the story.  The birth of Christ is truly amazing!  But, that is not the end of the story.  The most amazing part was yet to come. Jesus came to this earth to give the ultimate sacrifice so that you and I can be together with Him in paradise forever when we did nothing to deserve it.  All you have to do is believe Jesus is the Son of God ,repent, and ask Him into your heart.  

It is just us for Christmas this year.  We are not even going to church because Lily is sick.  I am praying she feels better today and no one else gets sick.  So we are staying home, baking, wrapping gifts, watching Christmas movies, and reading the Bible.  The children are VERY  excited and already asking what time they can get up tomorrow.  

I hope you all have a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!
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