The Details of His Birth

I love Christmas. I love thinking about the events surrounding the birth of Christ. I love celebrating his birth. I love how Mary “pondered” the Angel’s words in her heart.
I like to think of her snuggling him right after he was born. Did she count his fingers and toes? Did she look at him to see if he had any of her features? This was her baby and her savior. Imagine the love and adoration she must have had.
Just imagine you are pulling the late shift at work (the shepherds) and some amazingly awesome being tells you the person you’ve been told about since birth has been born. Do you leave your sheep unattended? Did they cast lots or pull straws to determine if anyone needed to stay back and continue keeping watch or did they act on faith and leave knowing they would be okay?
I love the perfectly orchestrated details. The glory of the Angels would not have been as great during the middle of the day but at night I’m sure it was breath taking. God could have ensured their arrival in Bethlahem in time to get the best accommodations. He’s God and it was his son, heir, part of him heading to earth on a mission.
Oh the Magi…imagine them showing up after traveling for months and quite a distance. They brought the baby some gifts. How wonderful and thoughtful and prophetic of them. They literally came from the ends of the earth to worship this new born king. God could have used local wealthy people to bring gifts. But these three people and their entourage went back to their country using a different route. You know people asked them coming and going why they were traveling such a great distance. Think of all the people they would have told about this infant king.
I love how Joseph had a dream to get up and leave immediately. You know God could have given them more notice so they could pack more supplies and get some souvenirs. I also love to think Joseph and Mary hesitated or waited until the last minute to awaken Jesus. You never wake a sleeping baby, right?
Of all the places on earth to run to for safety, they went to Egypt. Of course this was to fulfill the scripture.
I love all of those reminders of how God will orchestrate a situation down to the minute details.

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The hijacking of Christmas

“Christmas” is finally over and I have to say I’m glad. This year I was less tolerant of the nonsense that has wrapped itself around the neck of this Christian holy day and is squeezing the life, meaning, worship and love for mankind out of what is truly a day that we should celebrate in remembrance of him.

What does Saint Nicholas/ Santa, the north pole, reindeer, Frosty the Snowman, magic, decorating trees, excessive spending, trampling people to get a gift item on an extensive wish list and don’t let me forget the elves especially the creepy on that sits on the shelf and does naughty or adventurous things when everyone is asleep have to do with the birth of my savior? What does any of that have to do with sacrificial love? A love that was given life to live and die for the lost and offer life through salvation. The birth of a king that had been predicted years and years before. The magi that had traveled from far away to bring gifts and worship this king. The shepherds that left their flock of sheep unattended to come and see about this baby, this savior, this king. The jealousy of a ruler who had all baby boys thrown into the river to keep this king from reaching his destiny. Only he didn’t know that God knew his heart and plans before they were fully formed and executed and sent love to a different land where it would be safe the flourish and thrive without the threat of life taking danger. How does any of that nonsense represent a day that should be filled with worship and remembrance? Does it mean the day should be solemn and joyless. Of course not! But the day should be filled with him. In the Old Testament God would have the Israelites set up stones or have annual celebrations to help them to remember. We seem to have forgotten.

I find it interesting how many non believers celebrate Christmas. That should have been our first clue. How many non believer celebrate Ramadan or Hanukkah? Have you ever asked yourself why not? Why don’t they have elves leaving out pork rinds in the mornings? Where is the magic of their season? My guess is they take their holy days seriously and wouldn’t allow the nonsense to take over those days. They wouldn’t sell out to commercialism, big business, greed and excess.

How did we get here? How long will we remain?

The Little Dude told me we should an elf. I asked why and he said so it can watch us and make sure we are good. I responded, God sees you all day every day no matter where you are. He protects you instead of spying on you. Besides, you are already a good boy, aren’t you? Stud Muffin asked me why this was the most wonderful time of year. I responded, because Jesus was born to set the world free and to be the gift of love. Only I don’t think we are allowing him to set us free anymore or be our gift.

As you ponder these things, it’s not too early to begin asking yourself what a bunny, eggs, and candy have to do with the death and resurrection of love.

Sigh, if we as Christians don’t take ourselves seriously why should anyone else?

Merry Christmas to you and yours

Christmas trees, candy canes, family, friends, laughter, food and fun are all the things that bring a smile to my face when I think of Christmas’ past. Seeing my cousins and playing a game of tag or pop the whip; watching my great-grandmother cook, sitting down to eat a feast fit for family are other childhood memories.
While I am thankful for those memories, today I am thankful I have full understanding of the reason to celebrate this day. Love sent love down to love me and you.
Merry Christmas!

Mary did you know?

One of my favorite songs of the season is Mary did you know. I wonder what were some of the things Mary thought when Jesus was suckling and looking at her with a sweet smile.
Not every mother knows she will carry a baby that will change the world as an adult. Klara Hitler didn’t know. I’m sure she never dreamed of the tragedies that would occur at the hands of her baby boy. When she first felt him move and when she prayed he would not die in childhood as some of his siblings did, I’m sure she didn’t know.
When we as parents hold our breaths and wait for the first cry. When we smile broadly at the first steps. When we celebrate the milestones of childhood. When we shower our offspring with words of encouragement and rebuke, kisses and hugs, I’m sure we don’t know. We hope they will become productive citizens of society. We pray they will live a life that is reflective of our love. But, we don’t know.
My heart is heavy for the mother’s and father’s whose children don’t live a life that reflects the love they were given. I’m sure they didn’t know their children would grow up to kill a room full of children or a theater full of people or an airplane full of passengers. I’m sure they didn’t know.
At the same time that I grieve, I rejoice. I rejoice that Ruth Patton encouraged her son and that Barbara Bush supported her children and that Alberta King put a dream in her son’s heart early on. But I’m sure they didn’t know when they carried those babies they would grow into world changers.
Mary may have known some of the story but she didn’t know the entire story. As she watched her son grow into a man, I’m sure she didn’t know how his life would end and that his story and her story would be told and sung throughout the world.
Mary did you know?