Friday, December 25, 2009

Light of the World

"In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
He was with God in the beginning.
Through him all things were made that were made;
without him nothing was made that has been made.
In him was the life and that life was the light of men.
The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it."
"This is the message we have heard from him and declare to you: God is light;
in him there is no darkness at all. If we claim to have fellowship with him yet walk in the darkness we lie and do not live by the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus, his Son, purifies us from all sin.
If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness."
1 John 1:5-9
"The Lord is my light and my salvation-
whom shall I fear?
The Lord is the stronghold of my life-
of whom shall I be afraid?"
Psalm 27:1
"Your word is a lamp to my feet
and a light for my path."
Psalm 119:105
"You are the light of the world.
A city on a hill cannot be hidden.
Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl.
Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.
In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven."
Matthew 5:14-16

Celebrating Jesus today...the Light of the World
Merry let your light shine to bring Him glory

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

The Living Nativity & The Christmas Story

Merry Christmas...enjoy these passages of Scripture that tell of the story of the birth of our Savior.

"In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (this was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to his own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'

Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,

'Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'

So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told." Luke 2:1-20

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw his star in the east and have come to worship him.'
When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. 'In Bethlehem in Judea,' they replied, 'for this is what the prophet has written:

'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, and are by no means least among the rulers of Judah;for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd to my people Israel.'

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'God and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him.

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of incense and of myrrh. An having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route." Matthew 2:1-12
Merry Christmas from our family to you~

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

The First Gift Under Our Tree

What can we give to Jesus?

A few years ago we began a new Christmas tradition. Before anything else went under our tree, the first gift that was placed there was for Jesus.

We talk as a family about God's greatest gift for us...His Son Jesus. God gave us Jesus and that is why we celebrate Christmas. He is God's gift to us...but what can we give Him in return?

Each year every person gets a piece of paper to record what they would like to give to Jesus for Christmas. Looking back over the slips of paper it is fun to see the responses of our children and how their ideas of what to give Jesus have changed over the years.

When they were really little they would say things like:
  • candy

  • I will give Jesus a boat, and an airplane and candy.

As they have gotten older their responses have grown with them:

  • my heart

  • love

  • worship

  • thankfulness

Perhaps out of all these ideas, the greatest thing we can do in response to God's greatest gift is to receive it ourselves. God gave us the gift of Jesus, to save us from our sins so we could live forever with Him. It isn't enough that He gave the gift...we have to receive it, to take it, open it, and claim it for ourselves. If it stays unopened under the tree, our destiny will not be with the One who created us and loves us.

In John 3:16 it says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life."

This Christmas it is my prayer for you that you will open the gift of Jesus and receive the gift of eternal life that God has for you!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

A Peaceful Christmas

There is something different about Christmas this year...

There is a peace and a rest from the normal hustle and bustle of the normal Christmas season. I think some of it may be attributed to our recent move. Some of the activities I enjoy (and miss this year too) have left my calendar open. The cookie exchanges, Christmas parties, caroling events...the things that have been part of my Christmas in the past, are not a part of my Christmas this year. The white space on my calendar has been refreshing.

It has allowed time to have Advent Christmas readings as a family. It has allowed time to spend in Bible study and reflecting of Who God is and what He has done. It has allowed time to focus on relationships rather than the "Christmas routine".

I'm sure it has helped that I purposed to finish Christmas shopping around Thanksgiving time, that three little "Christmas elves" decided to decorate the house for me while I slept the night after Thanksgiving, and that my heart has been tuned more this year to what is important, rather than what is urgent.
Maybe some of it has been seeing my 20 month old carrying around baby Jesus from our nativity set daily. It has been a great reminder that throughout this season, the most important thing is to carry Jesus with me and to share His light with the world.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Seeking Jesus...By Mistake

Several years ago, when Courtney and Isaiah were both under five years old, our church hosted a Christmas craft night. One craft our family made together was a wooden nativity set. The pieces were made out of blocks of wood, painted, and then covered with fabric to represent Mary & Joseph, the Shepherd, the Wise men, and Baby Jesus. The set was perfect for little hands to recreate the Christmas blessing. The only problem...the pieces kept getting misplaced.

"WHOEVER FINDS BABY JESUS GETS A PIECE OF CANDY!" I said in exasperation. Once again, the nativity set was incomplete and all of my searching was in vain. Candy was a great incentive to the children. They ran all over the house and searched with all their might. In a few short moments Courtney's delighted squeals could be heard, "I found baby Jesus!"

The next morning a very interesting thing occurred. Courtney asked, "Mom, could you hide Jesus again so we can search for Him?" I knew my sugar-loving children were in it for the reward but I began to see how right they were with wanting to search for Jesus.

Christmas is ALL about Jesus. It is the celebration of His birth on the earth. He is God's gift to us...the way the truth and the life...the only way to God.

That Christmas my children taught me a lesson. They taught me that I need to daily seek Jesus with all my heart. They also showed me the JOY that comes in finding God's precious gift. The frustration of lost nativity pieces soon became an incredible blessing for our family as our children searched for Jesus each and every day!

This Christmas my prayer for you is to find the joy that comes from knowing Jesus and seeking Him with all your heart!

"Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?

We saw his star in the east and have com

to worship him."

Matthew 2:2


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