Friday, December 23, 2016

The Birth of Jesus

Good Morning:     I will be back with you on Tuesday, December 27.  Merry Christmas!
Chuckle: An Army recruit was on guard duty at 2 A.M. He did his best, but fell asleep about 4 A.M. He awoke to find the officer of the day standing before him. Remembering the heavy penalty for being asleep on guard duty, this smart young man kept his head bowed for another moment. Then he looked upward and reverently said, "A-a-men!"
Good Quote: “May Jesus. our Savior; who was born on Christmas Day, bless you at this season in a very special way. May the beauty and the promise of that silent, holy night fill your heart with peace and happiness and make your new year bright.”  --Helen Steiner Rice

"And while they were there (in Bethlehem), the time came for her baby to be born. She gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the village inn" (Luke 2:6-7 NLT).
If you were to walk in the front door of our house at Christmas time, the first thing you will see is a beautiful Hummel nativity scene that I purchased 30 years ago while stationed in Germany. It is precious to us not only because of its artistry, but because it visually captures the essence of the Christmas story for us like nothing else. Yes, we do other decorations, but the nativity brings us the most joy.
In our passage, we see a beautifully worded but simple account of the most miraculous and world-changing birth in all of human history. It doesn't matter that I have heard and read this story of the nativity hundreds of times, it never fails to touch my heart in a fresh and unique way. Although our first picture of Jesus is as a baby in a manger (animal feed trough), it should never be our last. The Christ child in a manger is a beautiful and lasting Christmas scene, but we cannot let the picture end there.
This tiny and helpless Jewish baby lived an amazing sinless life, died for your sins and mine, rose again on the third day, ascended to heaven, and will come to earth again as King of Kings and Lord of Lords. He will rule the world and will sit in judgment of all people according to their decisions about him. Please don't let your mental picture of Jesus end with the nativity, but let Him be not only your personal Savior but the Lord of your life.
Notice how Mary wrapped the baby Jesus in strips of cloth (swaddling clothes). This wrapping of newborns was a common practice in Jesus' day and is still practiced in many Mideastern cultures. Obviously, such cloths were for warmth, but they also were used to give the infant a sense of security and safety. The cloths were also thought to protect the infant's internal organs.
Since he was laid in a manger, it's safe to assume Jesus was born in a dark and dirty animal stable -- not the atmosphere the Jews expected as the birthplace of the Messiah King. Stables were often caves with feeding troughs carved into rock walls. In my mind, it is only fitting that Jesus, as an humble servant, would enter this world in the most humble and unexpected way. Later in his life, Jesus said he "came here not to be served, but to serve others, and to give his life as a ransom for many" (Matthew 20:28).
A Christmas prayer: "Dear Lord, please restore the joy of Your salvation to us; let us experience the joy of Your presence in a refreshing new way this Christmas!" Amen.
Love, Jerry & Dotse


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