Dear Reader, you're invited to a celebration!
A celebration of our Savior's birth. In the weeks ahead, during Advent, we'll prepare our spirits to receive the greatest gift the world will ever see.
Our daughter is named Mary. Yep, for the mother of Jesus. As I watch her move through 21st century life, I think about perhaps the more important qualities of the mother of Jesus: courage and resilience. What a role model for any woman!
Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Listen carefully, the [a]virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and she will call his name Immanuel (God with us).
Isaiah 7:14 AMP
And it wasn't just about reputation and shunning. What could it possibly have been like to be the stepdad to the Son of God? Wowzers! From the little we know, as a man of integrity, Joseph took it in stride.
While he may have understood Jesus's ultimate path, Joseph made sure his son had a trade. I wonder what they talked about as Joseph taught his son carpentry.
But after Joseph thought about this, an angel from the Lord came to him in a dream. The angel said, “Joseph, son of David, don’t be afraid to accept Mary to be your wife. The baby inside her is from the Holy Spirit.
Matthew 1:20 ERV
Reading the words of a psalmist and prophet, written hundreds of years earlier, I am comforted in knowing that the Lord had a plan all along. What longing the kings must have had to travel vast distances, with no guarantees of finding what they sought. And what stories they must have told to anyone who would listen on their journeys home.
Oh, Dear Reader, to have the same longing for our Savior, and to fearlessly tell of what we have seen and heard. What priceless treasures to bring to the babe in the manger!
May the kings of Tarshish and of distant shores
bring tribute to him.
May the kings of Sheba and Seba present him gifts.
Nations will come to your light,
and kings to the brightness of your dawn.
All of a sudden, your life is changed forever. A lifetime spent in poverty of the flesh and the spirit drops away. It's you, you have been chosen to go and see, go and see the promised miracle come alive!
You're running as fast as you can, your heart about to burst in your chest. And then it does as you enter God's sanctuary and behold His Son brought near. How can this be?
Your gaze falls upon that sweet face, then you fall upon your own face in exultant praise for being chosen to come and see. Your soul finds rest and peace in this dirty, stinky place.
As the smell of animals fills your nostrils, you mourn having to go, but know you must. You know your faith, that lay dormant, has been quickened, and you must live it out in your daily world.
8 That night, some shepherds were out in the fields near Bethlehem watching their sheep. 9 An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord was shining around them. The shepherds were very afraid....
15 The angels left the shepherds and went back to heaven. The shepherds said to each other, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this great event the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they went running and found Mary and Joseph. And there was the baby, lying in the feeding box. 17 When they saw the baby, they told what the angels said about this child. 18 Everyone was surprised when they heard what the shepherds told them... 20 The shepherds went back to their sheep, praising God and thanking him for everything they had seen and heard. It was just as the angel had told them.
Luke 2:8-9, 15-18, 20 ERV
28 Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.
Matthew 11:28-29 RSV