Select Page

The end of the year is here

The end of the year is here.
We made it through 2020 and it was quite a year.
I started off with a cancer journey that went from December through the month of March.
Then covid arrived and although I was resting from radiation it was important to quarantine at home.
Since my personality is a ‘home body’ it wasn’t hard to not go anywhere.
Occasionally we would go for a car ride but I couldn’t go far since the restrooms would not be open.
This year needs to be different.
I think we need a reboot, a restart, a refreshing of our spirit’s.
It has been lonely at times, with long drawn out days, but so necessary to stay in.
The masks makes it hard to feel connected. No one really likes them.
Oh I did my share of sewing some. Then I bought some already done.
I had my year check up this month and all is clear.
They are watching a few spots but it’s good.
You never realize how precious your health is until something threatens it.
What do I want in 2021?
I would love to see family and friends more often.
We have not been in real church since March. That would be a nice experience.
Our church is building a new building and it would be amazing to be in there worshipping.
I am ready for a vacation somewhere.
Most likely in our trailer since it’s the safest way for me to travel.
They say your immune system is still pretty compromised up to a year or more after radiation.
I pray for continued health for everyone.
We will not be going anywhere for new years or new years day.
I did buy a day timer with the hopes of filling it a little bit with plans on the calendar.
I am starting a new budget site for the beginning of January.
We will see how it works and what it ends up telling me.
My son really likes it so I will get signed up, I trust his opinion.
I am praying for a new word of the year.
Always have one, so I need to listen and focus on that word.
I pray your year is a good one too.
Full of many blessings and prayers answered.
The end of the year is here and we say good bye to it as we watch it leave.

The birth of Jesus was well orchestrated

The birth of Jesus was well orchestrated with many different characters.
Each had a role given to them for the specific purpose with in 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, was 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 babies 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.

The wise men were the next ones to arrive

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.

The prophecy of Anna the prophetess

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 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 every one 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.

Jesus was presented in the temple

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.
Luke 2:25
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 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.
Now 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.

The night there were shepherds staying in the fields

The night there were shepherds staying in the fields nearby, guarding their flocks of sheep.
Luke 2:9-20
[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 shepherds 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 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.
But God chose them.
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.
Isn’t that hopeful for others who seem to think they have no voice?
The night there were shepherds staying in the fields and their lives would be changed forever.

The angel of the lord met with Joseph

The angel of the lord met with Joseph 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 ‘mommy’ to be and this dad 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 for ever.
When Joseph woke up from his dream he knew what he needed to do and he married his wife Mary.
The angel of the lord met with him.

A few days later after the angel met with Mary

A few days later after the angel met with Mary, she hurried to the hill country of Judea to see Elizabeth.
I am not sure how far that was to walk but it says she hurried, so it was a fast exit out of Galilee to Judea.
The story unfolds like this in Luke 1:
When Elizabeth saw Mary and greeted her, Elizabeth’s child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a good cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.
Why am I so honored, that the Mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.
You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said.”
Now let us stop for a second.
This is Elizabeth, a relative of Mary’s who has known her all her life. Can you imagine the moment between them?
Mary’s response to her was amazing.
It is called the Magnificat: Mary’s song of praise
Found in Luke 1:46-56
When she was finished with her praise and honor she stayed with Elizabeth; about three months and then went back to her own home.
I am not sure about her own family, or her responses from Joseph or even how the news was received.
What I do know is the angel met with Joseph.
In the book of Matthew chapter 1 vs 19
Joseph, her fiancé was a good man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream.
“Joseph, Son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife.
For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit.
And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”
(fulfilling prophecy from the Old Testament)
Perhaps while Mary was visiting Elizabeth John was born, the time frame would certainly be about right for the delivery.
A few days later, after the angel met with Mary she left to be with Elizabeth.

When Elizabeth was six months along

When Elizabeth was six months along with John, an angel met with Mary who was engaged to be married to Joseph.
Gabriel appeared to her in Luke 1:28 and he said, “greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”
Now we must stop for a second and remember she was only 16, not quite a woman; but God knew.
It said she was, confused and disturbed as she thought about what the angel had said to her.
Wouldn’t that be the normal response when hearing a greeting like that?
The other thing to remember women who were pregnant and not married were often stoned to death.
It was a serious issue not only for her, for Joseph and their families involved.
She must have had many questions and concerns.
Then the angel said, “Don’t be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God!
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus.
He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High.”
Mary asked the angel, “How can this happen? I am a virgin.”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.
So the baby to be born will be holy, and will be called the Son of God.
What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age!
People used to say she was barren, but now she is in her sixth month.
For nothing is impossible with God.”
Mary’s response to the angel was, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true,”
Then the angel left her.
{I truly think the angel brought the news about Elizabeth to Mary, so she would believe more intensely and with more reality.
She knew Elizabeth was old and barren. She also knew she must go see her and see for herself what the angel had said.}
When Elizabeth was six months along with John, Mary went to visit her.

It was all taking place to complete the story

It was all taking place to complete the story.
When I think of the Christmas story; I am in awe and in amazement of the amount of players that were used to create the scenes.
It is orchestrated like a screen play with every one doing every little part, to make the whole, story complete.
God was so wise to use a simple teenager, and a humble man.
It was perhaps a love story that would be tested from the moment the angel met with Mary.
She was a teen, so young and being told. “You are to be the chosen one.”
She had a tender heart full of acceptance and honor.
Can you even imagine how it started? Being startled by an angel in the room?
“Don’t be afraid.” (Of course he would have to say that!) I would be terrified.
I have always been amazed over the fact that the angel spoke in a language Mary could understand.
We don’t think of angels having language or sound other than singing.
I wonder if sometimes WE get an angel among us telling us things that we hear, but not realizing Who was telling us?
Mary was the chosen one to be the Mother of Jesus.
In Luke 1: The story is written and played out and it unravels with each and every character.
The beginning of it began with Zechariah and Elizabeth who were relatives of Mary.
It was the miracle before the miracle.
Their son, John would be born before Jesus.
Elizabeth was barren for many years and then Zechariah was told they would have a son.
He didn’t believe the angel and so the angel told him to be quiet until the birth took place.
I don’t blame him for doubting, that would be the reaction of many in the same situation.
But God… can do miracles.
A miracle before the miracle.
When I think of the Christmas story I am always in awe of the details and the obedience.
It was all taking place to complete the story so the day of delivery could happen.