by Sharon O | Dec 9, 2022 | Uncategorized
The birth of Jesus was well orchestrated with many different characters.
Each had a role given to them for the specific purpose within the story.
Beginning with Mary, and the Angel Gabriel, then Joseph, Elizabeth (and even baby John), and Zechariah.
Then we find the Shepherds out in the field with more angels greeting them with song: and Gabriel again.
Then we find Simeon and Anna in the temple, who had waited many years for this very special moment.
Then we also add in Herod who was an angry man tricking the Wise men who were told to find the baby.
I think I would also add the donkey, who went with Mary and Joseph and helped with the journey.
Remembering that the donkey brought her to his birth, the donkey also brought him later to his death.
Scripture had to be fulfilled.
Each character had to do their part, not too different than in the story of his death.
Each one played a role, and each one was needed.
There were many others in the verses that I read, but these were the key players who formed the beautiful story.
As we sing, Oh little town of Bethlehem,
we visualize ‘our picture’ based on Christmas cards of nativity scenes.
We love to sing silent night, Holy Night, all is calm… all is bright.
But really it wasn’t.
Yes, it was a Holy night, but it was dim and probably not well lighted with anything but a lantern.
I love the Song, Sweet little Jesus boy, for it says, “We didn’t know who you were.”
I believe that to be true.
No one expected a Savior to come the way HE did.
Even Mary might not have fully understood the baby she gave birth to, as the Holy One.
Too much to take in, too much to think on.
Silence was within the 400 years from the Old Testament to the birth of Jesus.
The silence was broken by a baby’s cry.
I think a lot about Mary, so young and alone maybe only having Joseph with her.
I think of Joseph with a huge responsibility put upon Him,
because God saw that HE could do it and He knew his heart was right.
We hear very little about him after Jesus was born. I wonder so much about him.
I am sure he stayed with Mary, and they had other children; but did they ever talk about this
special Holy Birth?
May we read with a new awareness of all that it took,
for this baby to bring Hope to a very dark world.
The birth of Jesus was well orchestrated with many characters.
by Sharon O | Dec 8, 2022 | Uncategorized
The wise men were the next ones to arrive on the scene with Mary and Joseph.
We often see the manger story with them near the manger, where Mary had the baby.
That is actually not accurate.
In Matthew 2 we find a different kind of story.
beginning in vs 2:
About that time (when Jesus was born) some wise men (or Maji) from eastern lands arrived in Jerusalem, asking,
“Where is the newborn king of the Jews? We saw his star (or star in the east) as it rose, and we have come to worship him.”
King Herod was deeply disturbed when he heard this, as was the whole land.
He called a meeting leading priest and teachers of the law and asked,
“Where is this Messiah supposed to be born?”
“In Bethlehem in Judea,” they said, “for this is what the prophet wrote:
vs 6b “a ruler will come from you O Bethlehem, who will be the shepherd for my people Israel.”
“Then Herod told the wise men to go to Bethlehem and search for him,
come back and tell me so I can worship him too.”
vs 9: After this interview the wise men went their way.
And the star in the east guided them to Bethlehem.
It went ahead of them and stopped over the place where the child was.
When they saw the star, they were filled with joy!
They entered the house [notice it is not a manger scene] and saw the child with Mary his mother,
and they bowed down and worshiped him.
Then they opened their treasure chests and gave him gold, frankincense and myrrh.
(These gifts were symbolic of what was to come.)
When it was time to leave, they returned to their own country by another route,
for God had warned them in a dream not to return to Herod.
vs 13: After the wise men were gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.
“Get up! Flee to Egypt with the child and his mother,” the angel said,
“Stay there until I tell you to return, because Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.”
That night Joseph left for Egypt with the child and Mary, his mother and stayed there until Herod’s death.
[I don’t know how long that was for them, but it was very important for them to stay away as long as possible.]
The wise men were the next ones to arrive on the scene with Mary and Joseph.
by Sharon O | Dec 7, 2022 | Uncategorized
The prophecy of Anna the prophetess came right after Simeon met Joseph, Mary and the baby.
Anna lived in the same Temple Mary and Joseph went to when they dedicated Jesus.
It tells us in Luke 2:36 that she was very old, similar to Simeon.
Most likely she knew him as they were in the same setting for a very long time.
She was a widow for eighty-four years and lived in the Temple and never left there, after her husband died.
The word said she had been married seven years before he died.
She may have been between the ages of 90-104 having been married so long.
She worshipped and prayed day and night worshipping God with fasting and prayer.
She came near the room where Simeon was talking to Mary and Joseph; and we are told she began to praise and worship God.
I imagine her walking by and noticing this scene with Simeon, perhaps overhearing his words proclaimed.
I often wonder how would she know this was the child, the baby Jesus? The one they had waited for.
Did he look different? was there an aura around him or maybe a deep confirmation in her heart about him?
She talked about the child to everyone around her, who had been waiting expectantly for God to rescue Jerusalem.
Not long after that Mary and Joseph returned to Nazareth in Galilee, where Jesus grew filled with wisdom and God’s favor was on him.
[I find it fascinating that both Simeon and Anna were able to SEE and meet Mary and Joseph and fulfill parts of the story.
God uses ordinary people to set the stage and allows us to see and feel the great anticipation for the coming Messiah.
I often wonder if Mary and Joseph ever truly ‘got it’…
the word said Mary hid it in her heart and thought about them often.
That would be a very amazing amount of remembering for her.
Could she really know deep in her heart that her baby was the Messiah, the Savior who would come to save the world?]
There is a song that is played this time of year called, Mary did you know?
It is a wonderful song with many questions.
The prophecy of Anna came right after Simeon met Joseph and Mary and the baby.
It continued to set the stage for many other scenes to come as the story unfolds of his birth.
The prophecy of Anna the prophetess came to be completed on that day.
by Sharon O | Dec 6, 2022 | Uncategorized
Jesus was presented in the temple eight days after he was born, and he was circumcised as was the custom and given the proper name.
The name Jesus, the name given to him by the angel even before he was conceived.
His parents took him to the temple for a purification offering in Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord.
The law required a first child who was a son to be dedicated to the Lord.
At the time there was a man in Jerusalem named Simeon.
He was an old man who had waited his entire life for the Messiah to come rescue Israel.
The Holy Spirit was upon him and had revealed to him that he would not die, until he had seen the Lord’s Messiah.
That day the Spirit led him to the Temple.
So, when Mary and Joseph came to present baby Jesus, Simeon was there.
He took the baby in his arms and praised God, saying,
“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace, as you have promised.
I have seen your salvation which you have prepared for all people.
He is a light to reveal God to the nations, and he is the glory of your people Israel!”
Jesus’s parents were amazed at what was being said about him.
Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary,
“This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others.
He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.
As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.
And a sword will pierce your very soul.”
I love this story about Simeon.
He waited and prayed, and every day wondered.
Would this be the day?
[Can you even imagine the moment Simeon saw the baby?
With great anticipation and confirmation in his spirit, this is the ONE.]
Have you ever anxiously waited for something and when it finally happened your JOY was complete?
I believe Simeon was like that. Now I have seen him. I finally can say I saw him.
I held him in my arms.
I can release myself and leave this world knowing that I saw HIM.
Just as it was promised to me.]
Jesus was presented in the temple to fulfill more of the prophecy surrounding his birth.
by Sharon O | Dec 5, 2022 | Uncategorized
The night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
[Suddenly, an angel of the Lord appeared among them, and the radiance of the Lord’s glory surrounded them.
They were terrified, but the angel reassured them.
“Don’t be afraid! he said. “I bring you good news that will bring great joy to all people.
The Savior-yes, the Messiah, The Lord has been born today in Bethlehem, the city of David!
And you will recognize him by this sign: You will find a baby wrapped snugly in strips of cloth, lying in a manger.”
Suddenly, the angel was joined by a vast host of others-the armies of heaven-praising God and saying,
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
When the angels had returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other,
“Let’s go to Bethlehem! Let’s see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
They hurried to the village leaving their flocks behind and found Mary and Joseph.
And there was the baby, lying in a manger, just as they were told.
After seeing him the shepherds told everyone in the village, what had happened and what the angel had said to them about this child.
All who heard the shepherd’s story were astonished,
but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.
The shepherds went back to their flocks, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen.
It was just as the angel had told them.]
Can you even imagine the excitement and the joy they must have felt?
They all saw it, they all heard it, they all were a part of the glorious singing.
We must remember a part of this story, is the fact that shepherds were marginalized people.
Most people left them alone and gave them no credit or worth.
They were out in the fields, dirty and rough. Left alone.
But God…chose them, chose them to be a part of the story forever in time.
They were not what we could call credible witnesses and yet; the people listened and believed them.
I wonder if God planned for them to be chosen, so the story could be told in an amazing way,
through those who normally would not be listened to by others.
Value is always given when God has a hand in a chosen moment. *
They were given value and purpose and a reason to share, and because of their excitement others believed too.
Isn’t that hopeful for those who seem to think they have no voice?
The night there were shepherds staying in the fields and their lives would be changed forever.
by Sharon O | Dec 4, 2022 | Uncategorized
The angel of the lord met with Joseph while he was sleeping, just like he met with Mary.
He told Joseph, Mary was expecting, and it was from the Holy Spirit and when the baby was born, his name was to be Jesus.
When Joseph woke up from his dream, he did what the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife.
But he did not have relations with her until her son was born and Joseph named him Jesus. (Matthew 1:24)
Luke 2 we learn of the birth of Jesus.
At the time of Jesus birth there was a census that was called, and all the people were to return to their ancestral town to register for this census.
And because Joseph was a descendant of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem, in Judea David’s ancient home.
He traveled there from the village of Nazareth in Galilee.
He took with him Mary, his fiancée, who was now obviously pregnant.
While they were there, the time came for her baby to be born.
She gave birth to her first-born child, a son.
She wrapped him snugly in strips of cloth and laid him in a manger, because there was no lodging available to them.
[Now let’s stop here for a second.]
There was no lodging available because of the census and there were many people in the town.
Also, it sounds so simple the way Luke writes it, but I would imagine it was not that simple.
If I think of both Mary and Joseph; they would be tired after all that traveling, and perhaps feeling a bit desperate to settle in for the night.
Maybe Mary was already in labor and giving Joseph the full details of what she had shared and experienced with Elizabeth while watching John’s birth.
We can only guess and imagine, what it was like for this young couple who would be responsible for the ‘Son of God.’
Both were chosen and both were given, a role like no other and a place in history forever.
The angel of the Lord met with Joseph while he was sleeping.