Monday, December 23, 2013

Christmas #6 - The Reaction

Luke 2:19-20  But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart. Then the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told them.  
            Two different reactions. Mary pondered everything that had happened in her heart. I remember people telling me to cherish each moment when my children were young because the time would pass quickly. I still remember rocking my baby daughter one night just cherishing the moment that would all too soon be gone. I wonder how Mary felt holding baby Jesus and cherishing the time she had with Him while knowing He had come into the world as a Savior for all.
Mary pondered in her heart. The shepherds glorified and praised God. One was internal and the other external. Both are great responses. We need both quiet time with God pondering His words and His gift to us AND we need the expression of praise.

Friday, December 20, 2013

Christmas #5 - The Message

Luke 2:15-18 So it was, when the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds said to one another, “Let us now go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us.” And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe lying in a manger. Now when they had seen Him, they made widely known the saying which was told them concerning this Child. And all those who heard it marveled at those things which were told them by the shepherds.
When I read this passage, I think of the song that says go tell it on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere that Jesus Christ is born. The shepherds came with haste to see Jesus. After their encounter with Him, they made it widely known.
Jesus’ birth is no less miraculous today than it was over 2,000 years ago. When we share the message of His birth and what that means for us, others still marvel at its impact.
Make it widely known. Go tell it on the mountain, over the hills, and everywhere including in your home, in your office, and in your neighborhood. Jesus Christ is born. Merry Christmas!

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Christmas #4 -- The Angels

Luke 2:13-14 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, goodwill toward men!”
We see nativity scenes with two or three angels, but scripture says there was a multitude of heavenly host praising God. I can only imagine the sky as it burst at the seams full of angelic chorus praising God. It was surely a sight of what is to come in heaven.
This makes me wonder if others saw or heard what the shepherds were seeing and hearing. Or was it perhaps such a bright reflection of God’s glory that others only saw light without realizing what they were seeing. Could this be what caught the attention of the magi when they first noticed the star in the east?
May our lives reflect a similar light that gives praise and honor to God sharing peace and goodwill to all men.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Christmas #3 - The Shepherds

Luke 2:8-12 Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night. And behold, an angel of the Lord stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were greatly afraid. Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.”
            When the angel of the Lord appeared, the glory of the Lord  surrounded the shepherds. They were afraid, but the angel brought good tidings which changed their fear to joy. The angel said the joy was for all people, and the source of the joy was the baby Jesus.
Not only did the angel tell the shepherds about Jesus, the angel told them how to find Jesus. Our mission is to tell people the story of Jesus so that their fears can be turned to joy. We can share the story and then also tell people how to find Jesus for themselves.
Jesus came to give us life more than abundant. He modeled the perfect life, He paid the perfect price for our sins, and He gives us perfect joy through His resurrection.

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Christmas #2 -- No Room

Luke 2:6-7 “So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.”
There are so many significances here. Jesus was born into a common family without any fanfare from those deemed significant at the time. Yet Jesus’ birth was miraculous. He was born of a virgin, and his life has an eternal significance for every person that will ever live.
The days were completed for Jesus to be born into the world. The days are now completed for us to have a second birth. We were born once physically into a common earthly family, but we can now be born again into the most significant family – the family of God.
There was no room for Jesus that night, and still today many have no room for Him. It is my prayer that we will find there is no room for anything else in life without Him.


Monday, December 16, 2013

Christmas #1 - The Place

Luke 2:1-5 “And it came to pass in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This census first took place while Quirinius was governing Syria. So all went to be registered, everyone to his own city. Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.” 
It’s amazing how God works everything out. Prophecy told that the Savior would be born in Bethlehem, but Joseph and Mary didn’t live in Bethlehem. Yet God orchestrated the fulfillment of prophecy. It may not have been a fun trip, but it was according to scripture.
We may not see how God can work something out in our lives; but with God, nothing is impossible. He can work a miracle or coordinate events beyond our wildest imagination. 
Everything in our lives is a miracle waiting to happen.
I love the simple word, “Believe”. Many associate it at this time of year with Santa Claus. I associate it at this time of year and all year long with Jesus and the possibility of miracles. What do you “Believe”? Trust God to orchestrate your next miracle.

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Regifting - Try It, You'll Love It

Okay, we’ve all done it at some point in our lives. I know I have, even though I can’t recall the specific incident right now. You receive a gift that is nice, but it’s just not you. It’s too nice to just give away, and you feel guilty returning it to a store.
Soooooooo, you keep it.  After some time passes, you realize it’s too nice to keep in your closet, so you wait for the opportunity to pass it to another home. This is a great idea; unless at some point, the original gift somehow makes it back to the original giver of the gift. “So, Donna, didn’t I give you one just like this last year? Were you able to use it? Where did you put it in your house?” Oops.
Wouldn’t it be great if we could take those gifts that we really love and regift them yet keep them at the same time? Instead of giving what doesn’t really work for us, we could share the gifts most important to us while also holding on to them.  Doesn’t make much sense, does it? But we can.
The best gift I have ever received is God’s love. I can regift His love to others while never losing it myself. This Christmas season, try regifting the best gift you have ever received.  Regift God’s love, grace, and mercy to others.