2022 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 29

Sunday night, after the Martina McBride concert, my wife and I took advantage of the opportunity to see the lights on the Fayetteville square. Fayetteville is only about 20 miles south of our house, but we rarely take the opportunity to visit. There was a time when we had to visit Fayetteville often for shopping and entertainment, but Bentonville now has a full assortment of activities and many Fayetteville residents head north for restaurants, concerts, and special events.

The spirit of Christmas around our house. She does all of the work, I just take the photos. Merry Christmas to one and all!

2022 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 28

My wife and I lead a small group Bible study each Sunday morning. We’ve been leading this group for about five years now. Well at our group Christmas party the class members gifted us with tickets to the Martina McBride Christmas concert in Fayetteville, AR. The Walton Performing Arts Center seats about 1200 and it is the perfect venue. There is not a bad seat in the house and has a very intimate feel. You don’t feel like your sitting in the rafters of an arena venue. It is like 1200 friends seated in the living room and Martina has come to entertain us. It was indeed a special gift.

After the concert we drove a couple of block to the town square and admired the Christmas lights. My wife asked a young couple to take our photo with our phone. There were some reflections in the lens and it shows as those white spots in the image.

I know I posted this song by David Phelps the other day, but Martina performed this classic in her concert and she can still bring the goose bumps with her voice.

Live instruments add a special touch to any concert. While Martina did not bring a full orchestra, she did have a ten piece group to back her up and they were a perfect compliment to her timeless voice. If you ever get a chance to see a Martina McBride Christmas concert, I suggest you get your tickets early and make your Christmas holiday special.

Have a blessed Christmas!

2022 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 27

Each year Decorating the Christmas tree(s) is a task that my wife likes to get done the week before Thanksgiving. We have had as many as five trees in our house ranging from four to nine feet tall. This year there are two trees and both are seven and a half feet tall. One is a pretty standard tree while the other is a more narrow variety. The tree in the main living area is decorated with traditional ornaments while the tree in the TV room is decorated with photo ornaments of the grand kids. I have featured that tree in some form nearly every year since we started displaying it. You will likely see that tree very soon.

The main tree has two new ornaments this year. Since my wife’s birthday is early in December it is not unusual for her to receive Christmas themed gifts. This year our daughter got her two new glass ornaments. One is the state of Arkansas where my wife was born and we now reside. The other is the state of Oklahoma where I was born and raised.

Of course Lucy is a permanent fixture around the house and makes a pretty nice decoration under the tree.

2022 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 26

Christmas is the happiest of holidays for most of us. For others there is a hole in their heart. Loved ones are separated by various circumstances. Parents and spouses have loved ones serving in the military and deployed to the ends of the earth. First responders must work holidays and cannot celebrate with family. Others are spending their first Christmas without a special loved one. For whatever reason Christmas must be celebrated in the mind and heart. May your Christmas be special. May the Lord bless you, comfort you, and remind you that He is always near and loves you and those you miss more than you can know. Have a blessed Christmas.

2022 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 25

We are into the final week before Christmas. By now most of the Christmas shopping is done, much of the cookie baking is complete and we have driven around and seen all of the cool Christmas lights in the area. Family is starting to arrive from distant homes to share the joy of Christmas with us and we are making final plans for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day.

At our house Christmas Eve is always celebrated with an evening church service. Sometimes it is a candlelight Lords Supper, sometimes a focus on the children, and sometimes a regular worship service with an emphasis on the music of Christmas. Regardless of the type of service the true focus is on the greatest gift ever given to mankind. It has been said that there have been thousands of babies born who became kings, but only one King who became a baby. In order for any man to pass into eternity and spend it in the presence of God Almighty, there must be a price paid for our sinful nature.

God created heaven on earth in the place called the Garden of Eden. He placed man and woman in that garden with only one restriction, do not eat the fruit of the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Man yielded to temptation, ate the fruit and was evicted from paradise on earth. The one responsible for leading man into temptation was punished by being required to crawl on his belly forever in this world. The sentence for man was hard labor to bring about food for himself. The punishment for woman was painful labor in childbirth. Still in the third chapter of Genesis, God says that the final victory will belong to Him alone. While sin may have struck at the heel of creation, God will crush the head of sin in the end.

God provided a path to salvation and eternal life through the birth, death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God stepped out of heaven and entered this earth as a babe in a manger to life a sinless life, go to the cross to pay the price of the sin of every man, and rise from the dead to return to heaven and sit at the right hand of God for eternity. For those who acknowledge that Christ is the Son of God, believe that He has the authority to forgive sin, will trust Christ with his life and ask forgiveness from the Savior, to that person forgiveness is given and eternal life is obtained. There is no other way. Christ Himself tells us in John 14:6 “I am the way, the truth and the life; no one comes to the Father except through Me!” There are not a thousand ways to heaven. There is only one and He was born on Christmas day. Actually, one Holy Night.

The joy that fills my soul when I realize what Christ has done for me, how God has blessed me in every way every day of my life can only bring about a joyful Hallelujah!

2022 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 24

Every time I read Scripture, I learn something new. Of course I’ve been reading the Christmas story lately. The account of the birth of Christ is found primarily in the second chapter of Luke’s gospel. However, there are details associated with His coming also recorded in the first chapter of Matthew. Luke tells us of the visit to the manger by the shepherds. We know that the shepherds visited the infant Savior while he was still in the manger from the account in Luke. We are told that the found both Mary and Joseph with the baby (babe, infant) still lying in the manger. This would imply they came to the stable within twenty-four hours of the birth of Christ.

Matthew tells of of the visit from the three wise men from the east. We assume three visitors because of the three gifts presented to the family. However, further study reveals that these were wise and wealthy men. They had been studying Old Testament prophecy and watching the stars. They were skilled in astronomy. There was most likely an entourage with these visitors. They probably traveled with people to care for their camels, someone to prepare the meals, and someone to set up the camp each night. We also know that they found Jesus some time after his birth. We know this because Matthew refers to Jesus as a child at the time of the visit from these wise men. Remember, he was a baby when the shepherds came to see the King of kings. This makes perfect sense. Mary and Joseph probably spent several weeks in the Bethlehem/Jerusalem area before heading home to Nazareth. After all, Mary needed time to recover from giving birth to her first born son.

So the Birth of Christ and the initial spreading of the Good News that the Messiah had come was not just a one night affair. The Bible tells us it happened over a period of time and men are still spreading the good news that Jesus saves. Have a blessed Christmas.

2022 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 20

When we think of the birth of Christ we think of the account told in the second chapter of Luke, but some of the story is found in the book of Matthew. In the second chapter of Matthew we find the account of the wise men seeking the location of Christ. These men have been studying the Old Testament prophets and when the Star of Bethlehem appeared, they set out to find this new king of the Jews. These men were obviously of some importance because they were granted an audience with King Herod. When these travelers inquired about the birth of this new king of the Jews Herod became very concerned. He summoned all of the wise men in the kingdom and asked where this new king was located. The Jewish scholars told Herod that the Messiah was to supposed to be born in Bethlehem. Herod made a request of the wise men that if they found this new king, please return and tell him where Christ was located. The wise men were indeed wise. God warned these men about Herod, so they never returned to the palace after they found Christ and His family.

Once the wise men found Jesus, Joseph and Mary, they worshiped the child. We don’t know the exact age or or location of Christ but Scripture referred to Him as a babe when the shepherds visited Jesus but as a child when the wise men knelt to worship the Savior. For Herod and a multitude of others they are still asking, “What Child is This.” Have a blessed day and a glorious Christmas.