Christmas Vignettes: The Wise Men

Christmas really happened. Perhaps a bit like this:

The Wise Men

The trip was both exhilarating and exhausting. Can you relate to being jounced for a jillion miles on the back of a contrary camel? But we were bringing gifts to the One born King of the Jews.

 

In Jerusalem, we collided with and were courted by old King Herod who was crazy with envy at the report of any king other than himself. After our leaving him and Jerusalem behind, abuzz with the news of a newborn King, we headed for Bethlehem, per prophet instruction. The star again guided us, until it stopped above a humble abode.

photo credit: answersingenesis.org

photo credit: answersingenesis.org

Unloading our gifts, and stooping through the entry, we found ourselves in the Presence of a sleepy Child in the arms of His mother. My vocabulary fails every time I try to put the experience of His Presence into words.

 

Without looking at each other, without speaking to each other, we fell to our knees before that Child. It was just the thing to do. And we offered to Him our gifts of gold and frankincense and myrrh. A thrill still goes through me as I recall that chubby hand reaching out to touch the jars we presented.

 

There was such a – oh, what do I say? – a Presence about Him! I knew He was destined for greatness. I knew there was already a greatness in Him. There was – eternity in Him, and power, and peace, and…yes, majesty – even in those humble surroundings.

 

But you wouldn’t understand, unless you, too, had been there. I couldn’t be in His Presence and not be changed.

 

I, we, walked out, mounted up, and rode off in silence. Changed men. Changed forever by being in the Presence of the King.

Merry Christmas to all!

Jamie Lucero

1Timothy 1:17

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Cold

snow

Change can happen so quickly.  It was 70 degrees Friday, and Saturday morning we woke up to 6 inches of snow, and snow still coming down.  At one point the news said, “with the wind chill factor, its 13 degrees outside.”

Changes can bring work, (see Mac out shoveling?), demand changes (Jeri on her way to school, had to turn around because of the treacherous roads- as the cars were slipping and sliding all over, and head home-praying all the time for safety), plus cause any amount of problems.

While out taking the picture of Mac shoveling, I noted that my outside nativity was covered with snow.  I brushed some of it off, and all of it off baby JESUS’ face so you could see HIM there.  Freezing out in the cold, covered with snow, is nothing compared with what JESUS suffered for our salvation.

nativity-snow

If you have confessed with your mouth the LORD JESUS and believe in your heart that GOD raised HIM from the dead, you are saved.  For with the heart man believes unto righteousness and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation (Romans 10:9-10). If you have done that, GOD is saying to you:  “You are mine. When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned…For I am the LORD, your GOD…you are precious and honored in MY sight, and.I love you” ( Isaiah 43:1-4 NIV).

Let’s Praise GOD for HIS incredibly amazing gift of life through JESUS CHRIST our LORD.

Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.

Hugs

Sharon

Christmas Vignettes: Anna

Christmas really happened. Perhaps a bit like this:

Anna

“Glory to God! Glory to God!” The praise burst out from deep inside me.

 

“What’s the matter with Anna? She’s usually such a quiet little mouse.” People who frequent the temple know me well. For 84 years I’ve rather been a fixture around here. Widowed after just seven years of marriage, I’ve devoted my life to prayer here in the house of God. And God, true to His Word, has taken care of me. I’ve been in this temple day and night, fasting and praying that God would send us His Deliverer for Israel.

 

That day, I saw Simeon (God had promised him he would see the Messiah, you know). His face was absolutely beaming. He was speaking intently to a young mother, and he was holding a Baby! Immediately in my soul I knew that Baby was God’s fulfilled promise to Simeon – and to the world.

photo credit:jeffblock.com

photo credit:jeffblock.com

“The Christ is come! The King is in the temple!” I shouted above the noise. The strange mingle of intense excitement and real peace within me was amazing.

 

“Glory to God!” Out the praise burst again! “The quiet little mouse is changed,” the people were saying today. Many, many of us have been looking for redemption – and here is our Redeemer! I must find them and tell them the Good News! I must find Esther, and Johanan, and Susannah, and, – “Oh, everyone – glory to God in the highest! The Lord is come!”

 

Merry Christmas to all!

Jamie Lucero

1Timothy 1:17

Getting Ready

nativity

What do you do to get ready for Christmas?

Mac got the outside nativity scene up, and its beginning to feel a lot like Christmas around here!  To get ready for Christmas, I put my nativities out, make up a Christmas letter (which simply is pictures of each member of our family taken sometime during the year, and a notation here and there), frame the newsletter for each child and adult grandchild (for memories) and do some baking.

But it was a little different for Mary and Joseph as they got ready for the 1st Christmas.  Because of the decree of King Herod, Mary and Joseph had to travel to Bethlehem to register for taxes around the time that her first child, (that miracle baby the angel told her about) was to be born.  It was day of walking and when they got to Bethlehem, there was no place for them to stay.  Then the inn keeper, seeing her condition and weariness, felt sorry for them and let them go sleep with the animals out in the stable.

In that stinky stable, with sheep -baaing, and cows -mooing, horses neighing, and perhaps a mouse scampering by- the young woman gave birth to our  CREATOR.

It was different for JESUS to get ready for the 1st Christmas too.  JESUS CHRIST, one of the eternal TRINITY, left HIS glory in heaven, laid aside HIS rights, position and privileges, took on a human form and was born of a poor young woman so that HE could experience what we go through, living in our world as one of us and dying on the cross carrying our sins and arising the 3rd day the VICTOR,  to become our Savior (Philippians 2:5-10) .

HE did it all for us.  Now HE asks us to do something for HIM.  JESUS’s last words were that our job now is to be witnesses for HIM, that is, to tell others what HE has done for them (Acts 1:8-9).

For GOD so loved the world that HE gave HIS only SON that whosoever believes in HIM shall not perish but have eternal life (John 3:16).

Looking unto JESUS the Author and Perfecter of my faith.

Hugs

Sharon

Christmas Vignettes: Simeon

Christmas really happened. Perhaps a bit like this:

Simeon

I wakened early that morning, earlier than usual – and I’m an early riser. I felt–anticipation. Something was in the air! Nooo, it was in my heart; in my mind! The Holy Spirit was pressing me to go to the temple right away. Never one to resist Him, I got dressed and walked there.

 

Long time ago, the Holy Spirit had spoken to me: “Simeon, before you die, you’ll be privileged to see, with your own eyes, the Messiah.”  I’ve grown quite elderly awaiting the fulfillment of that promise. But this pressing feeling of mine had me wondering if today might be the day!

 

Entering the temple, I was strangely affected at the sight of a couple and their Baby son. Old as I am, I pushed through the people and stopped in front of them. I reached out and gently tugged the cover from the Baby’s face. I was touched deeper than I could have imagined. I recognized, in the face of an eight-day-old infant, my Messiah. THE Messiah! The Promised One had arrived!

No doubt His parents were startled, but His mother didn’t resist as I took the Baby and held Him in my arms. I believed God’s promise to see Him, but to hold Him? That was a gift and honor beyond my ability to describe.

 

I lifted my eyes and my voice to God: “My eyes have seen Your Salvation which You have prepared for all people!” I could not but worship. After all those years, God had kept His Word. I have seen the Lord!

 

As I placed the Baby back into her arms, I gently gave a stark warning to the young mother. Her heart would be broken that many hearts might be made whole. She didn’t understand, but she will.

 

As for me, I’m ready to go home in peace.  I’ve seen, and held, the Savior of the world. God ever keeps His promises.

Merry Christmas to all!

Jamie Lucero

1Timothy 1:17

Which way?

ches-cat

Cheshire cat from Walt Disney’s animated classic Alice in Wonderland.

Practical advice from the Cheshire cat, Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll.

“Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?” asked Alice.
“That depends a good deal on where you want to get to.” said the cat.
“I don’t much care where.” said Alice.
“Then it doesn’t matter which way you go.” said the cat.

As the Cheshire cat so wisely explained, where you want to go, will determine which way to take to get there. In the same manner, what you want to achieve, will greatly determine, which way you do something.

There are many ways to do many things. And, we all like to do things our own way, from the way we wear our hair, to what foods we eat, and the colors we wear. In many things, it doesn’t matter the way we choose. Actually, individuality is the way GOD made us. It is a good thing, adding variety and color to our world.

But, where GOD has specifically spoken, or nudged us, we must choose between two ways: GOD’s way, or our own way.   Whenever that choice comes into play, be careful. It is essential to obey GOD, and do things HIS way, not just to please HIM, but also GOD alone has all the facts, only HE knows what lies down the road.

Looking unto JESUS, the Author and Perfecter of my faith.

Hugs

Sharon

Christmas Vignettes: the Shepherds

Christmas really happened. Perhaps a bit like this:

 

Shepherds

Boring job. Great conversation. That pretty much describes shepherding on the night watch. The sheep are asleep, and we talk, discuss, probe deep subjects, and brag about our families. We stand and stretch, wander the perimeters of the fold, and munch our lunch, trying to stay alert to critters that would slip in and endanger the sheep. Same-o, same-o every single night.

 

Until that night. Everything about that night was wildly different from any night before – and probably any night to come. Angels. Angels, I tell you! And light. Brilliant light that made us squint and shade our eyes and scramble to our feet.

photo credit: claricejames.com

photo credit: claricejames.com

And the most amazing announcement! An angel said the Savior had been born that night in Bethlehem. Right in the town down the hill from us! Then a song like you’ve never heard! The night sky was filled with angels pouring out praise to God. What a glorious sound! Indescribably glorious. We stood with our mouths open in awe.

 

Silence again descended as the angels ascended back into the heavens. We slowly gathered our wits about us, and then with one consent, we left the sheep on that hillside and ran into town to search for the newborn BabySavior. In a manger, the angel had said. Wrapped in cloths.

 

We now know the inside of every stable in Bethlehem. We searched until we found them – Joseph, Mary, and the Baby in the manger, just as the angel had said.

 

Well, you can’t keep news like that to yourself! We couldn’t anyway. So we told everyone we saw about the family in the stable. And that angels had told us the good tidings of great joy – of the Savior born that night, Christ, the Lord. Some, no doubt, waved us off as crazy, while others soberly considered our report. Lots of chin rubbing and puzzled thoughts and questioning conversations that night for those who heard our story.

 

We finally calmed down and walked back out to the sheep. They must have been awed by the angels, too. Not one was missing from the flock.

 

No other night like that one, to be sure. We’ll talk about that night as long as we live. The night of our dear Savior’s birth. We heard about it from the angel, and you heard about it from us. Glory to God in the highest!

 

Merry Christmas to all!

Jamie Lucero

1Timothy 1:17