Monday, December 03, 2012

Countdown to Christmas - Days 1-3

I've been out of town for several days, so you haven't heard much from me!  I'll share plenty about our Disney vacation soon, but I wanted to get started on my December Christmas Countdown.
Christmas is all about the birth of Christ - our Savior putting on flesh to become human and take on our sins so that we may spend eternity with Him in Heaven.
Christmas in the USA means presents, cookies, and fun movies.
Do I think God wants us to stop celebrating in fun and special ways?  No
Do I think God wants us to remember the REASON we celebrate and make that our focus?  Yes!

I've decided to focus on one verse of scripture for each day in December leading up to Christmas Day.  Since today is the 3rd, I'll share 3 verses with you.

Day 1: Matthew 1:23
“The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).
This is what an angel told Joseph in a dream after Mary had become pregnant.  Can you imagine being Joseph?  You're engaged to a sweet young woman.  Then you find out she's pregnant.  You've never been close enough to her to get her that way.  What would you think?  Before hearing from this angel, he had planned to divorce her quietly.  It seemed like the right way to handle the situation - leave as much dignity in tact as possible and remove himself from the situation.
Then the angel appears.
Then angel tells him that God will be born from his fiancee.
How many young men would stick around then?  Joseph did.  Mary obeyed God's will for her life and Joseph obeyed God's will in his.
This is a direct quote from Isaiah - in the Old Testament.  The prophet Isaiah knew this was going to happen. Joseph trusted in God and become the earthly father of Jesus, son of God.

What do I take away from this?  God's plan doesn't always make sense in this world.  But, when you choose to follow His will in your life, the rewards are unimaginable.

Day 2: Luke 1:31
You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus.
These are the words of an angel to Mary.  Can you imagine being a young girl, maybe 14 years old, and being told you're pregnant.  You've never slept with a man and you cannot imagine how this is possible.  Not only have you been told you're pregnant, but you've been told by an ANGEL appearing before you!
You're 14, pregnant, and engaged to a godly man who may leave you because of this scandal.
Feeling favored by the Lord?
I doubt it.  Mary was afraid, but the angel told her to FEAR NOT!  She is favored by the Lord?
Mary knew what was happening and had to anticipate his coming for 9 months.

We use phrases like "slow as Christmas" when we want to give the impression that the anticipation is too much.  As we anticipate Christmas Day and all of the joy and celebration, let us remember the anticipation of Mary as Jesus grew in her belly.  Let us await the coming of our Lord with that same anticipation!

Day 3: Matthew 2:9-11
After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh.
The part of the Magi story that I love is that Herod sent them to report back about where to find Jesus.  And the Magi went.
They visited the baby Savior.
They gave him beautiful gifts.
And they did not return to Herod.
King Herod was threatened by this King of Kings.  He wanted Jesus destroyed because he knew how powerful He was - the Son of God.  The Magi knew how powerful Jesus was too.  They knew he was to be praised, so they brought Him the best gifts and did what they knew was right.

There is so much contradiction in our world.  We are told to do so many things that just don't seem right.  We have choices to make.  Let's remember the kings who visited Jesus and try to choose what is right instead of what is popular.

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