Ring the Bells!

© Jeanne E Webster – All rights reserved

Luke 2:15-16 “And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, ‘Let us now go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.’ And they came with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the Babe was lying in a manger.” (KJV)

Ring the bells! We have a New Year presented to us by Almighty God! 

May You renew our hearts and minds, O heavenly Father, that we might see more clearly the things that are from You and may we give You thanks. Amen!

As the shepherds sought out the Christ-child with haste, let us do likewise. God has made Himself known to us.  The Holy Spirit dwells within us. We have opened the door to our hearts and Christ has come in!

Throughout this New Year let us get reacquainted with this Christ, our Savior, this Person Who lives within our hearts.  We are all getting older; some of us are older, older! Yet we can still walk and talk with Jesus. He reminds us daily of His peace, joy, and love. Whether we lie on beds of painful affliction or can no longer hear well enough to listen to a sermon, He is still there. If we would only drop the worn and tattered garment of SELF, we would see more clearly His blessings.

He is in the family member who comes to cheer us, the caring friend who greets us with a big smile, the letter or card from someone who has thought of us. The good hot meals we eat every day, the sunrise each morning, the air we breathe, the song of the bird outside our window… in everything that ministers to us each and every day, He is there!

“In everything…give thanks.” 1 Thessalonians 5:18

~Shalom  

Are You Ready? Christmas Awaits!

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© Jeanne E Webster. All rights reserved.

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Are you ready for Christmas?  I guess that depends on what I mean by “Christmas.”

Is your shopping done?  Have you gotten all the gifts on your list?  If not, you’re not ready for Christmas.  It takes quite an organized person to bring this about.  You still have time to shop, select necessary items, make catalog purchases, order gifts online, and perhaps have time remaining to gift wrap, package, ship out, then take a deep breath of relief.  You’ve got it all in hand.  You’ve done your duty–to family and friends.

On the other handare you ready for Christmas?  Are you ready to celebrate the birth of our Savior, Jesus Christ? 

No shopping list needed, no gifts to buy, no weeks of shopping ahead, no hurrying and scurrying here and there in a frantic rush amid the masses.  All you need is an open heart and a listening ear . . .Jesus is calling.

Do you hear the music?

Listen.  May your heart and spirit reverberate . . .

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O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie;

Above thy deep and dreamless sleep the silent stars go by.

Yet in thy dark streets shineth the everlasting Light;

The hopes and fears of all the years are met in thee tonight.

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For Christ is born of Mary and gathered all above,

While mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love.

O morning stars together proclaim the Holy birth;

And praises sing to God the King, and peace to men on earth.

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How silently, how silently the wondrous gift is given!

So God imparts to human hearts the blessings of His heaven.

No ear may hear His coming, but in this world of sin,

Where meek souls will receive Him, still the dear Christ enters in.

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O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray;

Cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.

We hear the Christmas angels the great glad tidings tell;

O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.  Amen

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Father, we celebrate the birth of your Son, Jesus Christ…

Your Heavenly gift to us so long ago on that dark night in Bethlehem town.  No one heard His coming as Mary gave birth in a lowly manger.   The angels heralded the news to meek souls below, as they told us that a Savior was born, which was Christ our Lord.  As we sing praises and glory to you this Christmas day, we give thanks for this precious Child, our King.  Come into our hearts, abide with us, O Lord, be born in us today!  In His dear name we pray.  Amen.

Are you truly ready for Christmas?  May we join together and say a heartfelt amen to that.

AMEN! 

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Come and See!

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© 2010 Jeanne E Webster.  All rights reserved

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“O little town of Bethlehem, how still we see thee lie…”

Plodding into the small city, Joseph and Mary sought shelter after their week-long trek from Nazareth. It was census time; registration was mandatory. It was also an important time in their personal lives.   Mary was about to give birth to their first-born child. Unable to find room in a lodging house, the exhausted couple found succor in a mundane animal shed, and under a silent night sky, the Christ child was born.

“For Christ is born of Mary, and gathered all above, while mortals sleep, the angels keep their watch of wondering love…”

An angel suddenly appeared in the night sky to a group of shepherds tending their sheep. Though deeply frightened, they listened to the “good tidings of great joy.” Moments later a myriad of angels hovered above them, praising God and declaring, “Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

The shepherds hurried to the manger to worship this “Savior,” to see firsthand this babe who was “Christ the Lord.” They returned to their flocks glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen in the still of that night.

“O holy Child of Bethlehem, descend to us, we pray; cast out our sin and enter in, be born in us today.”

 

Come, our Lord Emmanuel, come into our hearts this day.   Open our ears so we too may hear the wonderful news from on high, “Behold I bring you tidings of great joy…for unto you is born this day…a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.”   May we take this into our hearts as a personal invitation– a Gift with our name on it– a blessing we sorely need.

Like Mary and Joseph, we have been on an arduous journey and have found no lodging for our weary souls. Yet . . . out of the stillness of this Nativity night, may we find solace and rest in Your wondrous message:

“O come to us, abide with us, our Lord Emmanuel.”

Amen.

[Words in italics taken from “O Little Town of Bethlehem” written by Phillip Brooks; scripture from Luke 2:1-20 KJV]

Sweet Baby Jesus

baby Jesus

© Jeanne E Webster

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Luke 2:25-33   

 And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel; and the Holy Ghost was upon him.

And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord’s Christ.

And he came by the Spirit into the temple; and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law.

Then took he him up in his arms and blessed God and said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. For mine eyes have seen thy salvation, which thou hast prepared before the face of all people: a light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.”

And Joseph and his mother marveled at those things which were spoken of him.

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This passage of scripture is so fragrant with God’s outpouring of blessings upon mankind.

Simeon, an old man and mere servant of God, devoted to Him in all his ways, went to the temple after the Holy Spirit beckoned to him. He was told that someday he would see the Christ, the Messiah, before he died. Was this the time? Can you imagine the heart of this devoted servant straining to keep up with the flow of excitement surging through his veins? The Holy Spirit called; he responded. He was the right man at the right place at the right time. He would be the one to reveal the prophecy that Jesus’ significance would extend even to the Gentiles.

Also guided to the temple that very same hour were the parents of Jesus. Joseph and Mary were there to dedicate their firstborn son to the Lord. It was the customary law, along with offering a sacrifice of two turtle-doves.

Simeon took the babe in his arms and blessed God! This is the sweet part. . . holding baby Jesus in his arms. I have held many babies in my arms, and it was a rich blessing to snuggle each one of them. But–the Son of God, the Messiah, the Prince of Peace? How the arms must have trembled, the knees must have weakened; the head must have grown faint.

Yet. . . yet, Simeon raised his voice and said, “Lord, let me depart in peace now, for I have seen our salvation. He shall be a light to the Gentiles and the glory to your people Israel.”

No wonder Joseph and Mary marveled. Simeon was speaking about their firstborn son! One of the sweetest moments in history, folks.   Amen

Jesus…Jesus…Jesus!

©Jeanne E Webster

 

 

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

There’s just something about that name

Master, Savior, Jesus

Like the fragrance after the rain

Jesus, Jesus, Jesus

Let all heaven and earth proclaim

Kings and kingdoms shall all pass away

But there’s something about that name.

©Bill Gaither / Gloria Gaither

Luke 2:21 “…and when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb.”

Today I want to meditate on the name of Jesus.  The Gaithers were so right on!  Jesus…Jesus…Jesus—there IS something about that name!  Luke tells us here that an angel had named the child before he was conceived!  That corroborates the Old Testament truth that God know us before we are formed in our mother’s womb.  Wonder of wonders! 

We must take God’s Word by faith concerning the many mysteries of the Bible.  It is good to meditate upon them, as Mary apparently did during her lifetime.  She kept many things in her heart…and pondered them. 

I know we cannot take it all in; it is beyond our senses to grasp the wonders of God.  So many questions, so many thoughts all concerning the birth of a baby in a manger.  Inns and outbuildings were the hotels and motels of the day.  It was old-hat in those days, I’m sure, and protection from the elements with some semblance of privacy.   

I can envision Mary being asked the name of her baby.  “His name is Jesus!” 

“What’s so special about him?” 

“He is a Savior, Christ the Lord!” 

Let us go even unto Bethlehem and see this thing!   “O come, let us adore Him!”

“Glory to God in the highest and on earth, peace, goodwill  toward mankind.”

 Amen!

Whatever Happened to The Child of Christmas?

 

The famed author, Erma Bombeck, wrote this article about our missing childlike spirit as we celebrate our Lord’s birthday.    It is not intended to promote commercialism at Christmas time; it merely wonders where the “Love” went that themed the traditional Christmas celebration.  Please read it and maybe read it again–it’s one of a kind. 

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Whatever Happened to The Child of Christmas?

©Erma Bombeck, taken from old newspaper clipping

There is nothing sadder in this world than to awake Christmas morning and not be a child.

Not to feel the cold on your bare feet as you rush to the Christmas tree in the living room.  Not to have your eyes sparkle at the wonderment of discovery.  Not to rip the ribbons off the shiny boxes with such abandon.

When did the cold, bare feet give way to reason and a pair of sensible bedroom slippers?  When did the sparkle and the wonderment give way to depression of a long day?  When did a box with a shiny ribbon mean an item on the “charge”?

A CHILD OF CHRISTMAS doesn’t have to be a toddler or a teen.  A child of Christmas is anyone who believes that Kings have birthdays.

The Christmases you loved so well are gone.  What happened?

Maybe they diminished the year you decided to have your Christmas cards printed to send to 1,500 of your “closest friends and dearest obligations.”  You got too busy to sign your own name.

Maybe it was the year you discovered the traditional Christmas tree was a fire hazard and the needles had to be vacuumed every three hours and you traded its holiday aroma for a silver one that revolved, changed colors, played “Silent Night” and snowed on itself.

Or the year it got to be too much trouble to sit around the table and put popcorn and cranberries on a string.  Possibly you lost your childhood the year you solved your gift problems neatly and coldly with a checkbook.

THINK ABOUT IT.  It might have been the year you were too rushed to bake and resorted to slice-and-bake with no nonsense.  Who needs a bowl to clean—or lick?

Most likely it was the year you were so efficient in paying back all your party obligations.  A wonderful little caterer did for you for $3 per person.

Children of Christmas are givers.  That’s what the day is for.  They give thanks, love, gratitude, joy and themselves to one another.

It doesn’t necessarily mean you have to have children around a tree.  It’s rather like lighting a candle you’ve been saving, caroling when your feet are cold, building a fire in a clean grate, grinding tinsel deep into the rug, licking frosting off a beater, giving something you made yourself.

It’s a laughter, being with people you like, and at some time falling to your knees and saying, “Than You for coming to my birthday party.”

How sad indeed to awake on Christmas and not be a child.

Time, self-pity, apathy, bitterness and exhaustion can take the Christmas out of the child, but you cannot take the child out of Christmas.

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What Child Is This

~William C. Dix

1. What Child is this who, laid to rest
On Mary’s lap is sleeping?
Whom Angels greet with anthems sweet,
While shepherds watch are keeping?

This, this is Christ the King,
Whom shepherds guard and Angels sing;
Haste, haste, to bring Him laud,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

2. Why lies He in such mean estate,
Where ox and ass are feeding?
Good Christians, fear, for sinners here
The silent Word is pleading.

Nails, spear shall pierce Him through,
The cross be borne for me, for you.
Hail, hail the Word made flesh,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

3. So bring Him incense, gold and myrrh,
Come peasant, king to own Him;
The King of kings salvation brings,
Let loving hearts enthrone Him.

Raise, raise a song on high,
The virgin sings her lullaby.
Joy, joy for Christ is born,
The Babe, the Son of Mary.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nwyvWQxoVhk

To further dwell in Christmas songs, I’ve chosen What Child Is This, as it retells the Gospel story.  Written by William C. Dix while he recovered from a months long mysterious illness when he was 26 years old.  Click on the link for a beautiful rendition of this Christmas hymn.  Sweet music to your ears!

 

Shalom