Tag Archives: christmas story

Simeon-Worth the Wait

22Simeon–Waiting for the Consolation of Israel

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Luke 2:25-35

25 And behold, there was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and this man was just and devout, waiting for the Consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him. 26 And it had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not see death before he had seen the Lord’s Christ. 27 So he came by the Spirit into the temple. And when the parents brought in the Child Jesus, to do for Him according to the custom of the law, 28 he took Him up in his arms and blessed God and said:  29 “Lord, now You are letting Your servant depart in peace,
According to Your word;  30 For my eyes have seen Your salvation  31 Which You have prepared before the face of all peoples,  32 A light to bring revelation to the Gentiles,
And the glory of Your people Israel.” 33 And Joseph and His mother[a] marveled at those things which were spoken of Him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this Child is destined for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign which will be spoken against 35 (yes, a sword will pierce through your own soul also), that the thoughts of many hearts may be revealed.”

https://youtu.be/rBZiPRPogn0

Simeon, another character in the Christmas narrative often overlooked and yet vital to the keeping of all the prophecy and man’s recognition of Messiah come to earth.   Simeon shares with Joseph and Mary, the mother of Jesus, her Son’s destiny and catches a glimpse of all her soul will endure for accepting the call of God on her life.  Simeon, the name Simeon means obedient; listening; little hyena.  A hyena is an effective hunter and Simeon has been on the prowl to find Messiah, ever watchful, ever attentive, always obedient to the leading of the Holy Spirit given to him because he was “just and devout.”

So often, as people approach the “golden years” they feel washed up, put on the shelf, or no longer needed to serve: In an age related forced timeout.   Simeon proves nothing could be further from the truth.  In America, elders once held in high esteem are now “put out to pasture” to make way for the less experienced, younger crowd.  This is partly our own fault as we bought into the American dream of early retirement and then we find we do not really have the financial resources to do all the things we envisioned during retirement.  Simeon, continued to serve.  He paid attention to the leadership of the Holy Spirit and because of this, it placed him in a position to witness all the Lord had promised him he would see.

As moms, sisters, aunts, daughters, cousins, and friends, we have those we want to see come to know the LORD.  We have bloodied our knees in prayer pleading for the salvation of our loved ones.  I wonder though, are we positioning ourselves to be able to witness our prayers being answered by continuing to serve others while we wait on God’s perfect timing?  Or have we checked out because God did not meet our expectations.  Expectations truly do destroy relationships.

Simeon had a word for the young parents of Jesus.  Words that had power of life.  Mary took these words and “pondered them in her heart.”  He revealed to her all Jesus would do in thirty three words–the length of his life in years!  All these short sentences put together in Mary’s head and heart to be retold and documented later for you and me to read and ponder today.

Simeon is an elderly man, serving in Jerusalem.  Mary and Joseph with Jesus have made the five mile journey from Bethlehem to Jerusalem when Jesus is eight days old for the purpose of His circumcision. (Luke 2:21-23) Proof He is Jewish.  (Genesis 17:9-14)   Sacrifices are purchased and made on behalf of Jesus as required by the law. (Luke 2:22-24)  Lives intersecting at the perfect moment in time and God’s Word is fulfilled to an old man.   Was serving all those years, continually showing up day after day, worth the wait?  Simeon’s response upon seeing Jesus shouts a resounding “YES!”   Simeon, like the baby John in the womb, the shepherds, the wise men, and the angels, knew he had beheld the Messiah:  Israel’s consolation.  Israel’s redemption.  The Light to the Gentiles.

Simeon says to all “over the hiller’s,” “God is not finished with me yet!”  The best is yet to come.  The Father saves the best for last.  “And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”  (Galatians 6:9)

Are you having trouble waiting on the LORD to answer your prayers?  Meditate on these Words:

Isaiah 40:31
Psalm 27:13-14
Proverbs 3:5-6
Lamentations 3:25

I see from God’s Word and Simeon’s story IT WILL BE WORTH THE WAIT!  Have you noticed how many older people our God used in weaving together the birth of His precious Son?  He knew who would appreciate the trust!  He really does plan ALL our days!  (Proverbs 19:21)

For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.   Jeremiah 29:11

Wait on the Lord, by Donnie McClurkin

Focus on the lyrics and receive a blessing.

Treadin’ On

Von

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joseph Strong Silent

 

joseph_the_worker___michael_adams

Are there any strong silent people in your life?  These people say very little.  At times, they seem almost invisible except for an occasional moment. I believe Joseph may have been such a man.

“And Joseph, her(Mary) husband, being a righteous man and not wanting to disgrace her, planned to send her away secretly.  But when he considered this, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, ‘Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife; for the Child who has been conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 1: 18-25 NAS)

We have looked at the several of the lives in the Christmas story this month. We have seen the hope of Israel from Zacharias, Simeon, Anna, Elizabeth, Mary, the shepherds and the angels.   We have seen the joy of each person and how one little baby impacted the world.  We have seen fear, anxiety and amazing comfort come to each person as they fulfill the role God had given them.

Today, we want to see Joseph’s story.  Not one word is recorded in scripture that Joseph ever said!  We are told that he is a righteous man.  We know he knew Jewish law because he knew what would happen to Mary if anyone found that she was pregnant. He must have been like most men, a processor.  He had to process what Mary was telling him.  He must have spent hours in anguish going through scenarios of what he should do, could do, or would do.  I see Joseph as a young but mature man who is looking so forward to his new life and now is thrown a curve that changes his view of his life forever.  We never know the twists and turns in life that can come fast and furious like a tornado that picks us up and spins us and sets us down in new and unrecognizable places.  We are stunned, angry, disoriented and terrified at what might be next. Joseph must have felt that way.

When the dust settled and Joseph had made his decision, he moved forward without looking back.  He took Mary to be his wife. He protected her.  He covered her with grace instead of shame. He took the child to raise as his own.  He taught Jesus the skills he knew, carpentry.

He gave him a home.  He lived out his faith before Jesus.

I have had a quiet, background, processing man in my life for 50 years. Sometimes it is very frustrating but he has loved me, protected me and shared his life with me. Life was hard for Joseph and Mary.  The times and the cultures were hard, difficult and I am sure scary with the Romans always breathing terror. But God!  God protected them as he does us.  God guided them, he directed them to the right places and he provided for them.

The very Son of God who had given up all the riches of heaven was living in their home!  Yet they experience sorrow, suffering, pain, fear as well as exceeding great joy.  What joy must have been in their hearts as they watched Jesus grow up.  Knowing all the time, they had been given the privilege and responsibility to raise this child.  The child who sits at His Father’s right hand even today is interceding for us.

Scripture says Mary treasured all these things in her heart.  It never mentions Joseph heart.  I just know in my heart that Joseph treasured and pondered many things in his heart also.  He might have been a background man, quiet, gracious, loving and strong but I believe Joseph accomplished a life well lived and in the kingdom of God.  I like to believe Joseph holds a special place beside the son he raised.

We may never realize the influence we have in the lives of those around us.  So many times we are wrapped up in the fast paced life we live that we forget there are background people, invisible maybe to us at times but never to the eye of our loving heavenly father and His Son who gave His life that we might have eternal life.

Look around today and find those who quietly stay in the background supporting  and loving others. It is the season for loving and giving.  If you have a Joseph in your life, let them know you see them.  Michael Card’s song “Joseph’s Song” is a beautiful reminder of what Joseph’s thoughts might have been.

https://youtu.be/KT4VDAIaMwU?list=RDKT4VDAIaMwU

Michael Card  Joseph’s Song

Go Ahead Touch Him

 

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Go ahead…. Touch it

Have you ever seen the signs that say “DO NOT TOUCH”? It makes it so much more tempting.  I may not have wanted to touch whatever it was until I saw the sign.  Now it is all I want to do.  Then I start pondering… Why can’t I not touch it?  What will it hurt?  Most of the time it is for our protection or the protection of whatever we are not supposed to touch.  I bet you are wondering where in the world is she going with this…there is a point I promise.

Last evening while visiting with some special ladies, we start talking about nativity scenes that we put out at Christmas.  I love putting mine out each year and each year thinking I want to get another one.  The one I have is nothing fancy.  It is just a few pieces of simple colors, baby blue and white with a clear shine to the glass.  I purchased it at a consignment shop years ago, and have put it out every year since.  Well, we ladies start talking about how so many nativity scenes are to be seen and not touched.  To a small child, the baby Jesus is so fascinating that they must touch him, hold him, kiss him and carry him around.  What a wonderful opportunity to start teaching them about Jesus.   I have been guilty of saying “Don’t touch or Leave Him alone” not that they will get hurt but so that my precious figurine would not get damaged.  But as we ladies were talking, I got to thinking…I have missed the point but have learned a lesson.  Jesus is not a figure to bring out each year, to put on display for all to see but no touch.  My Lord is very much alive and will touch your heart if you will allow Him to.   He should be displayed in our lives all year long and should never be told not to touch.  We should show Jesus so that others will be curious just like my granddaughter is with the baby Jesus in the nativity scene.  We should never keep anything to do with Jesus to ourselves.  He is for everyone, if they are only willing.  So, this year my granddaughter carries baby Jesus around the house, puts him in her doll house so he can go “nite, nite”. Every chance I get I will tell her about Jesus, who He is and what He did for us.  And if the figurine gets broke, that will be okay…For Jesus, does not live in a figure but in my heart.  May you see Him in my life and not just on display at Christmas.

Ephesians 3:16-19(NIV)

16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

https://youtu.be/9EM2QgLsc5U

Silent Night/ Away in a Manger by Reliant K

God bless you  Merry Christmas

Lorie Jenkins Waker

Serving so others can worship

 

shepherds-watched-their-flocks

I read of shepherds and what I read does not match the images I have seen all my life.  This illustration of a young lad is closer to what Bible scholars write (Shepherd LIfe; the care of sheep and goats, by Fred H. Wright in Manners and Customs of Bible Lands).  Shepherds were the youngest boys in the family!  The older sons served the family as farmers, lending their strength in the manual labor required to till, plant, and harvest.  When I think of young boys out in the fields all night alone to fight off wolves, hyenas, jackals, and bears, it makes my mamma heart weak.  Out in the elements and expected to protect the sheep even at the expense of their very lives.  I see safety in companionship and I am thankful for shepherds tending flocks together through the long nights.

We read in Luke 2:8-14, “And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.
9 And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
12 And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger.
13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying,
14 Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.”

Several shepherds watching their flocks.  Shepherds tending together, but tending their own individual herds.  The sheep know their shepherd’s voice.  The shepherd calls each of his own sheep by name.  The shepherd leads them to water, to green pastures, and insures the safety of each lamb.  (Psalm 23, John 10:14, 27)

I read how at night when the shepherds were ready to sleep they “circled up the wagons” so to speak.  They gathered the sheep close together and then the shepherds would lay around the perimeter of the sheep to “keep watch” and placed campfires between them to provide additional protection and warmth.  Can you see this in your mind’s eye?  Like a group of Boy or Girl Scouts camping, all the tents in a circle, doors facing inward,  with a campfire in the center providing light, warmth, and security while they sleep.

On this one night, these shepherds see something spectacular.  In addition to the brightest star, an angel appears to them and tells them the Messiah is come and to go find Him!  They have been chosen as the first visitors to see this long awaited miracle of God.  There is just one problem!  Who will stay with the sheep.  They cannot be left unattended.  Would you want to be the one left behind?  Did these young boys draw straws to see who had to stay?  Did one gracious heart volunteer to stay?   We are not told.  Let us not miss the message of this child.

We know the sheep could not be left alone: To leave them alone would lead to injury or death.

Sheep are like babies in a nursery.  They need supervision.  Do we realize the beautiful souls who keep the nursery every week allow others to have the awesome opportunity to worship?

This one sweet, kind young man stepped up to the plate and hit a homerun with his fellow shepherds.  His graciousness allowed them to see what few would see:  The Christ child newly born and lying in a manger.  They were allowed to go honor the Christ child with a song on a flute, the collective ooh’s and ah’s of children whom Jesus would later insist be allowed to come to Him.   (Matthew 19:14)  God loves children and how they worship and serve.  The shepherd boys who went were able to go because of the selfless heart of another.  I find this convicting.  When was the last time I got up and went to the nursery and sent another to worship.  When was the last time I went and sat with a shut in so a family member could go to participate in worship.  Jesus said “whatever you do for the least of these, you have done it for me, to me!” (Matthew 25:40)  This child understood a sacrifice was needed for entering into the Presence of the King.  He sacrificed his opportunity to see with his own eyes the Christ.  I wonder, was this poor shepherd boy one of the men who thirty three years later lined the streets as Jesus carried His cross to Calvary?  Did this shepherd ever see The Shepherd during His earthly walk?

One fact is certain.  He never forgot the night the sky exploded with angels.  This child is not even mentioned in the Scripture.  He is not singled out as a hero.  He is not honored for his sacrifice.   We too may never be singled out for accolades of service.  This young life proves it is no less honorable to serve others than to go to worship the King.   It is stated in the Mishnah (“an authoritative collection of exegetical material embodying the oral tradition of Jewish law and forming the first part of the Talmud”) these poor shepherds were actually tending the sheep bred and raised near Bethlehem for Temple sacrifices.  If so, this makes this young lad’s gift to the Sacrificial Lamb all the more profound.  HIs simple gift was the gift of TIME allowing the other shepherds the gift of going, a timeout for adoration of the “newborn king” by service to the King.

https://youtu.be/6aGLV5CfoTU

Oh What a Glorious Night/Mary Did You Know

by Sidewalk Prophets

In Worship of the King

Yvonne Jones

The Great Gift Exchange

 

 

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“Christmas is based on an exchange of gifts,

the gift of God to man, his Son;

and the gift of man to God,

when we first give ourselves to God.”

quote by Vance Havner

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 He didn’t come to kings and queens

He came to men of humble means

He gave up His crown

And to earth came down

A Savior for all

The great and small

The sin debt He paid

Eternal life he gave. 

The Gift Goes On

https://youtu.be/MMCa0-VxBuw

May your days be full of worship of the Savior

Freda Reynolds

Joseph’s Dream

 

joseph-s-dream-in-the-stable-in-bethlehem-1645

Luke records Mary’s story.  This makes perfect sense because he was a physician.  He was fascinated by the miraculous birth.  Matthew, or Levi as he is also called, records Joseph’s story.  Matthew was a tax collector, a publican.  He was concerned with helping others connect the dots to see Jesus as the Promised Messiah.  He was a Jew appealing to his countrymen to see Jesus for who He really was:  Not a good man, but as the Long expected Savior.

Matthew 1:18-25 and Matthew 2:12-21

Joseph is of the house of David just like Mary.  He is a good man:  gentle, respectful, kind, considerate, honorable, and a man of faith.  He is legally married to a young maid and is in the process of preparing their home.  Until he gets his house ready, he cannot go get his bride to bring her home and before God and man, consummate the union.

Mary has returned from cousin Elizabeth’s and shared her experience.  Pregnant by a light, going to have a son, told to call this baby Jesus.  Who on earth would believe this?  She is visibly  pregnant.   What is a man to do?   Joseph has the first of three encounters with an angel as he sleeps.  Mary saw her angel and was wide awake.  Joseph is visited in his dreams.  The first dream occurs as Joseph is trying to figure out how to dissolve the marriage without getting Mary stoned to death.  He is good and kind but he has his pride and it is wounded.

The angel gives Joseph four, not one but FOUR confirmations Mary is telling him the truth:

  1. She is pregnant by the Holy Spirit.
  2. She will have a son and His name is to be JESUS
  3. This child will be the Savior of the World
  4. The angel quotes Isaiah’s prophecy of a virgin shall conceive…..

This is exactly what Mary told him as she recounted her experience.  (Luke 1:28-38)

Joseph realizes he has been asked by God Himself to watch over His Son and the mother of His Son, this woman Joseph loves.  Joseph gets up in the middle of the night and goes to get Mary and take her home.  His protection of her begins IMMEDIATELY!  He covers her “shame” in the eyes of the law by claiming this child as his very own.  Going in the middle of the night to get your bride was not unusual in Jewish culture! (Matthew 25:1-13, Luke 12:35-38)

Joseph is visited a second time as Herod prepares to have all baby boys under the age of two in Bethlehem killed because he will tolerate not even a baby “king.”  Joseph is directed by God through the visitation of the angel in his dreams to get up again, in the middle of the night and go immediately under the cover of darkness to Egypt.

In Joseph’s third dream,  God once more directs him through the angel to return to Israel.  Everything is to add weight to Joseph’s knowledge and understanding,  this child is indeed the long expected Messiah.  Jesus.  Immanuel, God with us.

Do we need to take time out to dream?  We are told,  “AND IT SHALL BE IN THE LAST DAYS,’ God says, ‘THAT I WILL POUR FORTH OF MY SPIRIT ON ALL MANKIND; AND YOUR SONS AND YOUR DAUGHTERS SHALL PROPHESY, AND YOUR YOUNG MEN SHALL SEE VISIONS, AND YOUR OLD MEN SHALL DREAM DREAMS.”  (Joel 2:28, Acts 2:17 NAS)  God was pouring out His Spirit on Joseph to direct the care and provide protection for His Son!  We too are His Sons and Daughters and this is His Word to us.    Do we not dream because we are so wrapped up and bogged down in fear and anxiety?  I see NOTHING  but calm and peace in Joseph.  Do you find this as amazing as I do?  One more time, Proverbs 3:5-6 should be our mantra:  Trust in the Lord with ALL your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him and HE SHALL DIRECT YOUR PATHS!

Jesus was not Joseph’s child and Mary could not have known all they would face.  Neither do we.  Whatever is going on in your life right now, could you ponder this lesson and lay down the burden of responsibility of how it will all work out?  It really is not our job!  Lay it down and rest.  You just might see God.  He is still on the throne!  He is still dispatching angels to deliver His Word and direct us.  We need only trust and obey!

https://youtu.be/Hui3emqJS2Q

Phil Vasser and Julianne Hough  It Wasn’t His Child/Mary Did You Know

Treading in awe of such faith,

 

 

Journey to Earth -9 mos

 

 

 

Psalm 139:13-18
For thou hast possessed my reins: thou hast covered me in my mother’s womb.
14 I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.
15 My substance was not hid from thee, when I was made in secret, and curiously wrought in the lowest parts of the earth.
16 Thine eyes did see my substance, yet being unperfect; and in thy book all my members were written, which in continuance were fashioned, when as yet there was none of them.
17 How precious also are thy thoughts unto me, O God! how great is the sum of them!
18 If I should count them, they are more in number than the sand: when I awake, I am still with thee.”

As I try to imagine Jesus giving up his heavenly home and becoming a single “seed of woman” (egg) plus a XY chromosome (sex comes from the Father), because this IS a virgin birth, to be joined together in an overshadowing of the Holy Spirit and then dividing and differentiating into systems and over nine months becoming “like as we are”– literally a human body:   I am awed!   (Hebrews 2:9-10,16-17)  The Creator becoming created.  Going from roaming the galaxies to the confines of a fist-sized uterus He created.  He snuggles under His mother’s heart;  the first sounds he would hear would be the constant thump of “(I) Love you” the heart beats out.  His own heart began to beat out “(I) Love YOU!”  just three short weeks after conception and would beat between 700 million to 1.5 billion times in his life, pounding out the “(I) LOVE YOU” He came to prove.   All this planned before the foundation of the world.  (I Peter 1:20)

Oh, you want to know how I know it was just an egg and an XY chromosome?  Scripture tells us in Luke 1:34-35,  “Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man?

35 And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God.  (John 1:13-14)  No sperm, but a male child is to be born.  We know this because He was circumcised on His 8th day.     24 Chromosomes?  If my genetics class memory serves me correctly.  23 chromosomes with one being XX chromosome (girl) from Mary and the sex chromosome given by God is the XY chromosome. (Luke 3:38)   The blood of King David, from the tribe of Judah, (Luke 3:23) flowing through His servant heart.  Parthenogenesis:  birth without fertilization.  Miraculous.  A total God thing.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R9n7QDFAOXU

Son of God, by Michael W. Smith

This was the sign every virgin in Israel had been waiting for:  hoping she would be the chosen one.   Isaiah 7:14 was a scripture known by all: “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”   God with us in the flesh.  Coming into the world like every other person after the fall of man in the Garden, through a woman with pain.  Dependent.  Fragile.  Needing to grow, develop, learn, and seek fellowship with God. (Luke 2:40, 52; Luke 3:23) Without the Holy Spirit, needing the Holy Spirit.  He was just like us!  (Genesis 3:15-16)

Jesus, the Lamb of God, perfect Lamb of God, sequestered in the womb 280 days.  Immersed in amniotic fluid.  Tethered by a cord required to provide nourishment and whisk away waste.  Stretching tiny limbs to make room for majesty.  Eyes opening and closing in total darkness.  Ears pressed listening to Mary’s muffled hum of a lullaby.   Hands and feet forming for the express purpose of being pinned to a cross.  Skin stretching to be ripped to ribbons.  A face forming to be pummeled into an unrecognizable state.  A forehead wrinkled to receive thorns.  A heart pulsing blood to be poured out on an altar.    Was He already sensing the pain He would feel as He raced toward His last day even while entombed in a womb?

This time out is a priceless gift to humanity!  Jesus gave up so much!  He gave up His throne. (John 1:1-2)  He left His Father and He left His Spirit behind.  He, like us, had to search out His Father.  He would come kicking and screaming into a cold, dark cave used as a barn, because no one would open a door, to be wrapped in swaddling clothes and laid down to sleep in a dirty cattle trough.  Entrusted to a teenage mother and a stepfather.  He left His creativity, (John 1:10) His heavenly angel army, His magnificent white steed, and all the riches of Heaven.  (Hebrews 1:2)  Why?  Why would He and His Father plan this before the foundation of the world?  “God chose Him as your ransom long before the world began, but He has now revealed Him to you in these last days.”  (I Peter 1:20 NIV)  He came for you and for me!  The exact number of days He would walk this footstool (Isaiah 66:1) of His was planned out down to the nano second.  He did not linger one minute longer than necessary to complete the task He came to perform.  As long as He was on earth He was confined!   Confined by space.  Confined by time.  Confined by energy.  Confined by rules.   Confined by poverty.   Confined by shackles.  Confined by nails.  Confined by love.  Immanuel.  GOD WITH US!

Amazing Grace.

https://youtu.be/mrmMQdkBPwY

Michael Card Immanuel

Immersed in Grace

Yvonne Jones