I've been struck by the fact that there have not been many of us that have taken time to post comments or discussion. I think that we are all so busy this time of year, that perhaps the things that help us most, and heal us most, are the ones that fall by the wayside.
I have been blessed by a song that I would like for you to listen to. I'm embedding it here, and I would like to ask you to click "play," adjust your volume so that it is pleasant, not overwhelming, and then scroll down. You see, I want your attention to be focused on the words, the music, and the pictures and verses down below. Will you do that for me? Please? Click to play, and then scroll down . . .
Isa 7:14 Therefore the Lord himself shall give you a sign; Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.
We are celebrating an awesome moment in time. Whether or not it happened on or near December 25th is something that we can leave to the scholars to wrangle over . . . let's just focus on the fact that a holy God, the Great I Am, knew there was no other way for sinful mankind to be made whole. And He sent the perfect lamb, the Son of God, in the form of a wee babe.
This same holy God had planned it all. And He set the wheels in motion, and sent His angel to a young woman named Mary.
Luk 1:30 And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favor with God.
Luk 1:31 And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS.
Luk 1:32 He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
Luk 1:33 And he shall reign over the house of Jacob forever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end.
Did you know, Mary? Did you know all that was in store for you?
What about you, Joseph? Did you know?
Luk 2:4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; because (he was of the house and lineage of David):
Luk 2:5 To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
Joseph -- I imagine a gentle, courageous man. It would have been human nature to think that Mary had "slipped up" or been taken advantage of, and the Scripture does record his compassionate desire to hide her pregnancy from the world, and not take her for his wife. Some have suggested that his motive was more mean spirited, but I believe he was shielding her from a society that would make her a pariah, or worse, stone her to death. Whatever the reason, he considered moving her, hiding her. But I imagine that having a conversation with an angel would change my mind, too, if I were he. So they went to Bethlehem . . .
And then it happened . . . as the star shown and the angels sang . . .
Luk 2:7 And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
Look for a moment at the expressions on the young parents' faces -- this nativity touched me when I saw it on A Desert Quilter blog. Do we echo the emotions you see there? Or are we too busy? Do we relegate the Child to the stable, or do we bring Him in to the inn of our hearts?
Imagine, if you will, being Mary, and hearing the shepherds tell her of their remarkable visitors:
Luk 2:10 And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people.
Luk 2:11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.
As they entered the stable they saw something like this:
This is the true miracle --- God's gift is freely given. He allowed, He planned for His Son to leave the magnificence of heaven, and allow His infinite power to be clothed in a finite body. To live as a mortal, to die a humiliating death, but to rise again to show His power, His grace, and His love. Why? Listen again to John . . .
Joh 3:16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
Joh 3:17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.
This, then, is the miracle. Everlasting life. For everyone. For anyone. Who believes. And who will allow their life to be changed. Don't take my word for it -- listen to Jesus as he speaks to Martha in John's gospel:
Joh 11:25 Jesus said unto her, I am the resurrection, and the life: he that believeth in me, though he were dead yet shall he live:
Joh 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die.
Long time ago in Bethlehem, so the Holy Bible say,
Mary's boy-child Jesus Christ was born on Christmas Day.
Hark now, hear the angels sing - listen to what they say:
For man will live forever more, because of Christmas Day.
I hope you all have paused with me, and taken a time-out. I'm awestruck, all over again, as I always am when I read these verses. I hope they've been meaningful for you, too.
Thank you, Nichol at A Desert Quilter, for the use of your photos.