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Showing posts from December, 2012

Simeon on the New Year

It's the last day of 2012.  Moreover these days after Christmas lead up to the Epiphany - an event seldom celebrated or acknowledged in Evangelical churches in the West.  
Epiphany is the event in scripture in which Mary and Joseph took the infant Jesus to the Temple for his consecration, and circumcision - all of which marked him as part of the Covenant of Abraham.  The specific passage is Luke 2:22-35 (ESV)  22  And when the time came for their purification according to the Law of Moses, they brought him up to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord
23  (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every male who first opens the womb shall be called holy to the Lord”)
24  and to offer a sacrifice according to what is said in the Law of the Lord, “a pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons.”
25  Now there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon, and this man was righteous and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was upon him.
26  And it had …

The End and The Beginning, Part 2

I am thinking - musing if you will - about this subject of the End of the Year.  TV stations, Magazines, Media in general often do a "year in review", highlighting the major stories, issues and events of the year. As Christ's people how are we to approach the year's end...is every day the same, so therefore there is no difference between Dec. 31st and January 1?  Or does it provide us an opportunity to think about where we've come from over the last year and give some opportunity to think about where the year ahead is going?
Of course there's something for ignoring the present and casting our hope on what we're going to do that is not necessarily helpful.  Here's one passage that speaks to me about that:  Luke 12:13-21 (ESV)  13  Someone in the crowd said to him, “Teacher, tell my brother to divide the inheritance with me.”
14  But he said to him, “Man, who made me a judge or arbitrator over you?”
15  And he said to them, “Take care, and be on your …

The End and the Beginning

Most of us are familiar with the song "The Twelve Days of Christmas".  It's an old English carol, published sometime around 1780.  When sung it repetitively and progressively recounts the gifts given on each day from day 1 to day 12.  These twelve days are traditionally a part of the celebration of church from Christmas day to the celebration of the Epiphany - which means the first appearance of the Lord Jesus, when as a baby his parents presented him to be circumcised.  

No one knows for certain the meaning of the song.  It has been suggested it was used as a memory device for the church to remain faithful when persecution forced teachings underground.  It is also suggested it was merely part of a game in which each person is tested to see if they can repeat the first, all the way to the end without missing a point.  It simply is not known.
What is known is that this week is both the end and the beginning of the year.  We have a week to sort through all that 2012 has been…

Christmas Day Through A Child's Mind

Our house is filled once more, it's Christmas morning, and with the exception of my 1 year old granddaughter, every one is still nestled in bed sound asleep.  It's Christmas morning and the grandest day of the year, I believe.  We have walked through Advent, taking our time to savor the story, piece by piece, person by person, and all the way see that God is at work.
Let us not succumb to the terrible belief that we are all on our own.  God who came - Immmanuel - to be with us, is still with us.  "I will never leave you nor forsake you" were Jesus' words.  He who sovereignly worked among the Ceasars and Herods of the world is still working...and we, no matter how small or insignificant we may feel, are as known by Him as an Innkeeper and Shepherds...and a Mary and Joseph were in those days.
Christmas is God's magic...
It is a joy to have family to share Christmas with...and in honor of my grandchildren...all 5 of them...I repeat this prose I discovered years ago…

Christmas Eve

As I write this, Christmas Eve has begun.  But, like so many people around the world the beginning is actually on the evening of the day.  Tonight our church family will gather in simplicity - hymns and carols of Christmas.  We'll tell the story all over again in scripture and song.  It never tires me to hear it anew. 
When Zechariah and Elizabeth birthed John - who was to be the forerunner of Jesus 30 years down the road - Zechariah's tongue was loosened and he spoke for the first time in almost a year about what God was showing him in the birth of his son.

Luke 1:68-69 (NIV) 
68 "Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come and has redeemed his people.
69 He has raised up a horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David


The horn was a "Shofar", a symbol of God's calling the people.  The shofar was a ram's horn and was used to call them to seasons of worship and celebration.  John was going to be that horn that called the natio…

Sunday, The Fourth Week of Advent - "All is Calm"

Luke 2:1-20 (NASB) 
1 Now in those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth.
2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 
3 And everyone was on his way to register for the census, each to his own city. 
4 Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 
5 in order to register along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 
6 While they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 
7 And she gave birth to her firstborn son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 

All around the world people will gather with friends in fellowship and worship on this last Sunday in Advent.  Worshiping as a church - a group of people committed to Jesus Christ by faith and fellowship - is a seeming inconsequential ac…

Saturday, Day 21, The Third Week of Advent - On Wondering and Wandering

Colossians 1:9-20 (NIV)
9 For this reason, since the day we heard about you, we have not stopped praying for you and asking God to fill you with the knowledge of his will through all spiritual wisdom and understanding.
10 And we pray this in order that you may live a life worthy of the Lord and may please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God,
11 being strengthened with all power according to his glorious might so that you may have great endurance and patience, and joyfully
12 giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the kingdom of light.
13 For he has rescued us from the dominion of darkness and brought us into the kingdom of the Son he loves,
14 in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
15 He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn over all creation.
16 For by him all things were created: things in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or pow…

Friday, The Third Week of Advent - A Cosmic Birth of a King

I was listening to a national radio announcer talking about the birth of his daughter.It was a sweet moment of reflection as he recounted how old she was and what he remembered of that day she had come into the world some years before.
All of us who have had children remember our children’s births.  They are more than dates on a calendar, they are dates etched in our memories and forever change the ordinariness of most calendar dates.
In Advent we celebrate the date of the Incarnation.  Jesus came to live among us, born of a virgin, born of a woman, a human baby yet God.  He set aside his divinity to take on the human flesh that would forever change the relationship between God and Mankind.  Yet what is so different about the birth of Jesus was that it was more than a human birth – it was a Cosmic Birth.  A birth made in the heavenlies.
Let us remember that the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ, is from Heaven – a plan of old that God would come to the earth to save his people from their…

Thursday, the Third Week of Advent - "Christmas Tree Lights"

John 1:1-10 (NIV)
1  In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.
2  He was with God in the beginning.
3  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.
4  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.
5  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.
6  There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.
7  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.
8  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.
9  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.
10  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  

Luke 7:22-23 (NIV)
22  So he replied to the messengers, "Go back and report to John what you have seen and heard: The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the d…

Wed., the Third Week of Advent - Two Babies in the Manger

Luke 2:1-7 (NIV) 
1  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  2  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  3  And everyone went to his own town to register.  4  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.  5  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  6  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,  7  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.

Matthew 18:1-5 (NIV)
1  At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?"
2  He called a little child and had him stand among them.
3  And he said: "I tell you the truth, unless you change a…

Tuesday, the Third Week of Advent - Births

Luke 2:1-7 (NIV)
1  In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.
2  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)
3  And everyone went to his own town to register.
4  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.
5  He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.
6  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born,
7  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.


 The world is filled with the big and powerful.  The headlines in Jesus' day were probably filled with Caesar's decrees, and the Senate's deliberations.  Maybe there was a fiscal crisis, or the threat of war.  There were taxes to collect, a ce…

Monday, the 3rd Week of Advent: "Do Not Be Afraid"

What is it about fear that can control our lives?  What is it about fear that enters into Advent?
I know people who "dread" Christmas.  They feel overwhelmed by the "things" to do.  They obsess about the gifts that need to be given, or even the ones they will receive.  They get crabby with the many things they "have to" do.  
 Instead of entering the Christmas season, Advent, with a sense of celebration they enter it with apprehension, even fear, and can't wait for it to get over.   

Let me share a thought later on this in Advent, but first...


Isaiah 11:1-3 (NIV)
1  A shoot will come up from the stump of Jesse;from his roots a Branch will bear fruit.
2  The Spirit of the LORD will rest on him-- the Spirit of wisdom and of understanding, the Spirit of counsel and of power, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the LORD--

3  and he will delight in the fear of the LORD. He will not judge by what he sees with his eyes, or decide by what he hears with h…