The bear has been with me for over thirty years and the rocking chair is over seventy years old. When we moved to Texas, in 1984, I got an apartment while my wife and daughter stayed in Tulsa to sell the house and finish out the school year. My wife bought the bear for me and we named him Boomer. He’s been under the tree every year since he came into the family. The rocking chair is from my childhood. I refinished it several years ago and it stays in the living room year ’round.
Boomer and I are Sooner fans and we would really like another National Championship cap. Maybe next year.
2020 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 27
If one looks close enough, Christ can be found in the Old Testament. Isaiah 9:6 declares, “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given…” Later, Isaiah 55:6 instructs the reader to seek the Lord while He may be found and call on the Lord while He is near. Jeremiah 29:5 tells us that the Messiah will come from the lineage of David and Matthew 1:1-17 gives us the lineage of Christ that travels through king David. Micah 5:2 reveals the birthplace of the Messiah seven hundred years prior to the event. While we celebrate Christmas annually, scripture says that everyday is made by the Lord and is reason to rejoice (Psalm 118:24). Merry Christmas.
There was much baking going on in Santa’s Kitchen South this past week-end. Our daughter and two of the three grand daughters spent Friday afternoon and Saturday morning preparing goodies for friends and neighbors. The results were spectacular.
Those are red velvet cookies to the right and not pictured are cinnamon roll cookies, which are amazing. Santa was definitely pleased with the effort.
All of our shopping was done prior to this past week-end and all of the gifts have been wrapped. Now is time to sit back and enjoy the remainder of the Holiday season. Mary and Joseph were not so fortunate. The birth of a baby brings all sorts of new activities into a household. There is feeding, bathing, and meeting every need of a newborn. We don’t know how long it took for the three wise men to see Christ, but we know that they did not arrive on the same night as the shepherds. After they had worshiped the Savior and departed, Joseph and Mary were advised to flee Israel and go to Egypt. Herod had already formed a plan to destroy this “King of the Jews” and an angel warned the parents and told them to leave the area. The salvation of mankind is but a mere infant and evil is already seeking to destroy Him. Evil still seeks to destroy the ministry of the Holy Spirit by convincing men that they are not worthy of salvation or that salvation is not necessary. The apostle Peter has told us that there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved. The sweetest gift ever given on Christmas was a Savior. Glory to God in the highest.
Have you ever gazed in to the night sky and wondered what was beyond the heavens that you could see. Have you ever thought about what that first Christmas night must have been like. Most of the world took little note of the birth of the Messiah including those religious leaders who should have known what was happening. It was indeed the most Holy Night and reason to sing Hallelujah! My two all-time favorite videos celebrating the birth of Christ. Merry Christmas to one and all.
2020 has been a difficult year for everyone. Students have had to learn long distance, teachers have had to teach online, visits to our doctors have been replaced by Zoom meetings and we have had to keep our distance from everyone, including extended family. Especially difficult situations are those who need to be hospitalized or moved to long term care and cannot have direct contact with outside visitors, including family. One thing for sure, in 2021 a lot of us will be celebrating Christmas at home with our family because there is no place like home.
Children’s Christmas programs at church are an adventure in entertainment and experimental theater. You just never know what is going to happen but you know that there is going be a major unscripted event that will be the thing that everyone remembers for years to come. In 2006 “The Big Guy” was three and he played the part of a lamb in the stable. On this night everything went well.
After the program, the proud parents pose with their fledgling thespian. This may have been his last theatrical appearance.
From what I can gather, sheep are pretty high maintenance animals. They need a good shepherd to watch over them and protect them. When danger approaches sheep are likely to be so frightened that they do not move and a predator can kill several of them in minutes. When left alone, they are likely to get disoriented and lost. The prophet Isaiah compared humanity to a flock of sheep and He said that one day a good shepherd would come but that this Savior would not have the trappings of a conqueror, but would be identified as a common man and the sheep who needed him would largely ignore his presence. Isaiah lays out the mission of the Messiah and the fact that Christ would have the sins of the world placed on His shoulders. The old prophet tells us that this shepherd became the spotless lamb and that He was bruised, afflicted, cut off from the land of the living, and put to grief, but it never says that He dies. Christ referred to believers who have passed on as asleep in the Lord because He gave us victory over death through His resurrection. You can read the prophets of the Old Testament and you can see the Messiah of the gospels. One day He is coming again. Can you hear the bells?
Yes, seventeen years ago “The Big Guy” was snuggled and warm in his car seat.
Children bring a whole different energy to any celebration, especially Christmas. A new baby brings a special excitement to any family their first Christmas. Everyone wants to hold the new baby, remark about which relative the child favors and dream about what the future holds for the infant.
We are told in the gospel of Luke that after the angels declared the news of Christ’s birth to the shepherds, these men immediately left their herd and went to see the promised Messiah that Isaiah and other prophets had spoken of centuries earlier. However, religious leaders of the day took little notice of the event. When the local governor, Herod was asked by the wise men, “Where is the King of the Jews?”, Herod immediately summoned the high priests and scribes. Herod asked about the birthplace of Jesus, and these religious leaders immediately responded, “Bethlehem” because they were familiar with the words of the prophet Micah who, seven centuries earlier wrote, “But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, too little to be among the clans of Judah, from you One will go forth for Me to be ruler in Israel.” (Micah 5:2) While these leaders knew where the Messiah was to be born, yet they made no effort to go and see for themselves the promised Savior. Bells should have been ringing all over Bethlehem that first Christmas night.
Everything about the birth of Christ points to the fact that God’s love, mercy and grace is available to everyone. Joseph and Mary were not wealthy people. Nazareth was not a well known city, in fact the area around Galilee was considered depressed and not worthy of much attention. The journey to Bethlehem was a bout 90 miles over rugged terrain and probably took about 10 days to complete and there was no servant or mid-wife to assist along the trip or take part in the birth. These young parents could not afford to buy their way into suitable lodging when they arrived in Bethlehem. They had to settle for whatever was available and that was the stable area under an inn. The first people to hear of the birth of the Messiah were shepherds working in nearby fields. Their profession was considered to be a rough life. When they visited the Christ child they had no gifts to give him except their praise and worship. There is no gift we can offer God in exchange for salvation and eternal life except ourselves.
As I have previously mentioned, one Christmas tradition is matching sleep ware for the grand kids. After Christmas dinner and gift opening the grandcrew don their new sleep attire and spend the rest of the evening playing games. The girls are Star Wars fans while the grandson prefers the Arkansas Razorbacks. You may see one or two more outfits before the marathon comes to a close.
While the birth of Christ focuses on the virgin Mary, one cannot discount the man chosen to be the earthly father of the Savior. Matthew tells us that Joseph is a direct descendant of king David and his linage goes all the way back to Abraham, the father of the nation of Israel. The selection of Joseph is the fulfillment of prophecy. The apostle author also tells us that Joseph was righteous man. An angel did not visit Joseph to tell him that Mary was going to give birth to the Messiah, in fact we are not told exactly how the news was made known to Joseph. What we are told is that Joseph was considering calling the marriage off but he did not want to publicly embarrass Mary. It was at this point that an angel appeared to Joseph in a dream and informed Him of the circumstances regarding Mary’s condition. The angel explained the situation to Joseph and told the carpenter that he should have no fear or concerns about taking Mary as his wife and Joseph complied. What we see from Mary and Joseph is obedience to the will of God and the guidance of the Holy Spirit. Either one or both of these people could have said, “No” to the Lord and missed the single greatest blessing in the history of man, but they chose to set aside their own thoughts and desires to obey the Creator of the universe. Have a blessed day.
This was my wife’s parents home in a small town in Southwest Missouri. I took this photo on a Christmas morning before anyone else woke up. I had to go out the back door and walk around another building to keep from putting footprints in the snow. Her parents have passed, the house has been sold and only the memories of past Christmas celebrations remain. It has been quite a few years since we last had a white Christmas in this area and I would like to see my home covered in snow this year.
2020 Christmas Music Marathon – Day 18
Isaiah 9:6-7 tell us much about our Savior seven hundred years before His birth. “For unto us a Child is born, unto us a Son is given;” These verses also tell us that the government will be upon His shoulders and that His government will never end. God was not talking about physically overthrowing the Roman government and setting up a new center of power in Jerusalem: God was talking about eternity! We are reminded in Isaiah 55:8-10 that God does not think like us and we are incapable of thinking like Him, “For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts”. That child born in a manger in Bethlehem is going to govern eternity.