Come and See!

nativity

 

 

© 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]

It’s…me

Matthew 18:12-14

I’ve always loved this passage because it ensured me that Jesus loves me even though I might stray.  Let’s face it, we all continue to sin, to lose our way, to blur our focus on Christ as the Way.  Yet He remains there where we left Him, awaiting our return with open arms, a loving embrace and forgiveness in His heart and joy that we are back in the flock.  As we read this scripture, we tend to think of those “others” out there who mess up their lives.  The finger-pointing begins…outwardly.  How about the finger-pointing inwardly…at ourselves?  A huge contrasting spirit hovers over us then.  We are the offenders?  I have gone astray?   Me?

A poem written about this scriptural passage convicted my heart and brought tears to my eyes.  It is an old spiritual poem, written long ago when the times were so different…

Poor Lil’ Black Sheep

~Ethel M. C. Brazelton

 

Poor lil’ black sheep dat stray’d away,

Done lost in de wind and rain,

And de Shepherd He said, “O hireling,

Go find my sheep again.”

And de hireling frowns, “O Shepherd,

Dat sheep am black and bad.”

But de Shepherd He smiled like de lil’ black sheep

Is de onliest lamb He had,

Is de onliest lamb He had.

And He said, “O hireling, hasten!

For de wind and de rain am cold,

And dat lil’ black sheep am lonesome

Out dere so far from de fold.”

And de hireling frowns, “O Shepherd,

Dat sheep am old and gray.”

But de Shepherd He smiled like de lil’ black sheep

Was fair as de break of day,

Was fair as de break of day.

*

And He said, “O hireling, hasten!

Lo, here is de ninety and nine,

But dere way off from de sheep fold

Is dat lil’ black sheep of mine.”

And de hireling frowns, “O Shepherd,

De rest of de sheep am here.”

But de Shepherd smiled like de lil’ black sheep

He holds it de most dear,

He holds it de most dear.

 *

And de Shepherd go out in de darkness,

Where de night was cold and bleak,

And de lil’ black sheep He found it,

And lay it against His cheek.

And de hireling frowns, “O Shepherd,

Don’t bring dat sheep to me.”

But de Shepherd He smiled, and He held it close,

And de lil’ black sheep – is me!

And de lil’ black sheep – is me!

*

[My heart is wounded on this one.  What a Savior!] jew