Thursday, December 17, 2009

Reflections of Christmas...

All today I was practicing the songs for the candle-light service on Sunday, figuring out cords, typing words, and looking up verses for the program. (A program is a pretty unusual thing for our open-meeting small church) And I got to thinking about how often I'm busy this time of year. How I don't stop and just think about why I'm getting everything ready to celebrate. This is a little long, but I hope you all will read the following thoughts and verses and reflect as well.

--In my heart I often visit the place of Jesus’ birth, with the cattle lowing, and the star shining down. In the midst of the whispering of angels, my thoughts gather round. My longings are at home here, and at rest; and my faith finds its treasure in this, a Christmas night blest. I could never forget the vision: the dark stable, filled with creation and Creator; this place is a foretaste of joy complete. I come here daily to roam, leaving behind the world’s mocking scorn and seeking for ways to sing and speak your glorious praise. How the memories linger of this ancient manger--a crib of wood and hay. The miracle within and beyond all this is God appearing here in a stable small and rude. He came, but was despised on this poor earth-- Him the eternal, honored Word. Yet I know I can offer Him a dwelling place forever, here in my heart.
Please come, sweet Jesus. Come to this heart that is your home. I know it’s no strange place I offer you; it is a place built and bought by you. Here, you can come back into your creation, and I will wrap you in my heart and soul. If I could, I would place palm branches all around your feet. For you, Lord, I will live, and for you I will die. I have found complete joy, as in my heart, Lord, you are born anew!--

Isaiah 7:14 “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.”
A prophecy fulfilled in Matthew 1: 18-23 “Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.’ So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: ‘Behold, the virgin will be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,’ which is translated, ‘God with us.’ Then Joseph, being aroused from sleep, did as the angel of the Lord commanded him and took to him his wife, and did not know her till she had brought forth her firstborn Son. And he called His name Jesus.”

Micah 5:2-5 “But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of you shall come forth to Me the One to be Ruler in Israel, whose goings forth are from of old, from everlasting.”
A prophecy fulfilled in Luke 2:4 -7 “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. 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.”

Psalm 72: 10-11 “The kings of Tarshish and of the isles will bring presents; the kings of Sheba and Seba will offer gifts. Yes, all the kings shall fall down before Him; all nations shall serve Him.” Fulfilled in Matthew 2: 1-3 & 2: 7-11 “Now after Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea in the days of Herod the king, behold, wise men from the East came to Jerusalem, saying, ‘Where is He who has been born King of the Jews? For we have seen His star in the East and have come to worship Him.’ ….. Then Herod, when he had secretly called the wise men, determined from them what time the star appeared. And he sent them to Bethlehem and said. ‘Go and search carefully for the young Child, and when you have found Him, bring back word to me, that I may come and worship Him also.’ When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.”

Gen 3: 14a & 15 “So the Lord said to the serpent: ….. ‘I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise His heel.”
Fulfilled in 1 John 3:8-9 “He who sins is of the devil, for the devil has sinned from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God appeared, that He might destroy the works of the devil. Whoever has been born of God does not sin, for His seed remains in him; and he cannot sin, because he has been born of God……

1 John 3: 16-23 By this we know love, because He laid down His life for us. And we also ought to lay down our lives for the brethren. But whoever has this world’s goods, and sees his brother in need, and shuts up his heart from him, how does the love of God abide with him? My little children, let us not love in word or in tongue, but in deed and in truth. And by this we know that we are of the truth, and shall assure our hearts before Him. For if our heart condemns us, God is greater than our heart, and knows all things. Beloved, if our heart does not condemn us, we have confidence toward God. And whatever we ask we receive from Him, because we keep His commandments and do those things that are pleasing in His sight. And this is His commandment: that we should believe on the name of His Son Jesus Christ and love one another, as He gave us commandment.”

John 1: 1- 14 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things were made through Him, and without Him nothing was made that was made. In Him was life, and the life was the light of men. And the light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. There was a man sent from God, whose name was John. This man came for a witness, to bear witness of the Light, that all through him might believe. He was not the Light, but was sent to bear witness of that Light. That was the true Light which gives light to every man coming into the world. He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. He came to His own, and His own did not receive Him. But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."


Anonymous said...

Ah, what a joy to share this with me! I love how your thots can add peace to the "busyness" of the season! just food for thot...did you know that the manger was probably made of stone? I'd just learned that not too long ago, as wood is/was a very precious commodity for the area, hence stone...and most mangers they say, that are used today, are of stone?
wonder what your thots would be about that?? : ^) Sue

Lynne' said...

I think I've heard that before... I've also heard that Jesus being a carpenter could have been a "carpenter" of stone instead of wood like we always think. Talk about a rugged individual. ;]

I actually didn't write the part about a "crib of wood and hay" actually, so my thoughts about it being stone or not isn't very interesting as I don't think the actual material used is the point to focus on anyway. So, my thoughts are boring on that... they consist of something like "Oh." But I could always change what I'd quoted to stone. I got that paragraph off of a cd actually.. dramatic reading. Anyway, I digress. ;]

Youssef Sleiman said...