Get in the Word, Points to Ponder

The Christmas Story

In honor of the Reason for the Christmas Season, tonight’s blog post will tell the age-old story, which is better by far than any story I could tell. The crime story will continue on Saturday.

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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 their 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.

Christmas 1

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 at the inn.

Christmas 9

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.

Christmas 4

An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.

Christmas 5

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.

Christmas 3

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,

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“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.

Christmas 2

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.

Christmas 8

Luke 2:1-20 New International Version (©1984)

My God

Thanksgiving

As I type this, I am riding along in the car as Rich drives us from Memphis to Chattanooga. I am sitting in the back seat because the car is kind of small, and have you seen my son’s long legs? There’s no way Mark could comfortably squeeze his almost 6’3” frame back here.

But I don’t mind. I’m not even being a backseat driver.

Rich has a book on tape playing so I’m free to daydream and reminisce. I’ve been thinking about past Thanksgivings. Most of my childhood years we went to my grandparent’s house. I had to sit at the kid’s table in the kitchen. I remember one year when I was not content to be sitting at a table with my brother and cousin. I thought boys were sooo boring, so I sat there, wishing that I could sit at the grown-up table so I could hear the adult conversations. You could ask my parents, but I’m pretty sure that I freely shared my not-so-thankful attitude.

Now, as I look out into the passing darkness and gaze up at a gorgeous full moon, my heart overflows with thankfulness. I cannot help but count my blessings.

My family will be together this year, with all of my kids in one place. I feel compelled to whisper a prayer for friends whose children will not be coming home this year, some due to job commitments, others due to family rifts or even death. My heart breaks for them. I pray that God meets them where they are and wraps His arms around them.

I will also get to visit with my parents this year. I have friends who have said goodbye to parents this year. I pray that God wraps His arms around them, too, and comforts them as a Father.

Then there is the high school classmate who just lost her husband. And the friends who have lost siblings. I have friends who have recently gotten bad news about their health.

As wonderful as the season is between Thanksgiving and Christmas, it is a lonely and painful time for way too many people. So as we usher in another Thanksgiving tomorrow and begin the countdown until Christmas, I hope that you are one of the ones who can enter the season joyfully surrounded by loved ones, and that you can join me in praying for those not as fortunate.

If you are one who is hurting, and sorrow crowds in close to you this year, please know that I am praying for you. I may not know your need. God does. He sees your tears. He knows your pain. I cannot pretend to know the journey you must walk. I will not attempt to placate your hurt with further words. Just know that I’m praying for you.