Favorite Things About Christmas

Do you have favorite things about Christmas?

I got some Christmas cards in the mail today. I really enjoy sending and receiving cards because we’ve moved enough times that I have friends I don’t hear from like I used to. At Christmas time, as I write out the cards, my mind gets flooded with fond memories of family and friends.

I love hearing the Christmas story in Luke and in Matthew. I try to picture how Mary felt and I feel awe for Joseph’s brave stances to buck society’s standards and follow God’s directions.

Mary On Donkey With Joseph Figurine  - Photo found at: https://www.christianbook.com/mary-on-donkey-with-joseph-figurine/pd/590021?dv=%7Bdevice%7D&en=google&event=SHOP&kw=ornaments-and-holiday-decor-0-20%7C590021&p=1179710&gclid=Cj0KCQiAg4jSBRCsARIsAB9ooatRNZxPJngIzobXSX6LPMcYuyMbtDHh0oGZ0qR6-U0vzUjqwuCLlsQaApIWEALw_wcB

 

This is the first year our church didn’t do the Christmas Eve candlelit service because of Christmas falling on Monday. My husband thought families would want to spend time together at night since they went to church in the morning. I always cherish the time listening to the people share their blessings. Seeing the expectant faces in the shimmering candle light with the overhead lights extinguished is precious. And beautiful.

Shopping for gifts for my loved ones is fun when there’s money in the budget. We always limit the amount and tell our family not to expect extravagant items. Some folks go into debt, we don’t go for that. To us, Christmas is about the Savior’s birth.

I think it’s fun to get presents, my husband doesn’t. So, our kids respect that and either give to charity in their dad’s name, or just say “Merry Christmas,” and leave it at that. His dad didn’t want us to spend money on him either, but an occasional small antique item, like salt and pepper shakers and a magnifying glass caused a smile to light up his face. I don’t expect anything from my children, but if they choose to get something, they know I prefer an inexpensive gift.

I’ve been more sentimental lately, and when my husband told the Christmas story from Mary’s point of view, her willingness to listen to the angel and then her obedience to the privilege of being mother to the Son of God, with all the unanswered questions she pondered over, well, I almost cried in church.

As my husband said, she really didn’t know what she was getting herself into, but she never hesitated. She trusted God. When I read Daniel a day or so before the sermon, I noticed that Daniel fainted when the angel spoke to him. The angel told him not to be afraid. When Daniel said his strength left his body, the angel supplied strength to Daniel’s body, mind and spirit. When the heavenly being told about end times, it kind of scared me, because so much of what was said seemed like it could be current events. Other things, I couldn’t make sense of. I wish I had my youngest son nearby because he graduated from college with a degree in History, and I thought he might be able to interpret some of the military battles. Some of the verses might have been referring to the conquests of Alexander the Great.

Mary heard the same thing from the angel that visited her, “Be not afraid.”

She also was called “highly favored among women.”

She is never called extraordinary. It doesn’t say anywhere in the Bible that she should be prayed to. I think she did her best to follow and honor God. I also assume she was one of the best moms ever, imperfect but gentle and wise is how I imagine her.

Christmas carols prevail on the radio at this season of the year. There are so many beautiful tunes and choruses. I’ve heard some new ones this holiday time that touched my heart.

Well, those are some of my favorite things. Nice meals, Christmas cookies, and family and friends gathering for games need to be included as well.

I tried to write Merry Christmas and include a picture of a creche, but my computer kept freezing up, so I decided to let it rest for a day or two around the twenty-fifth. That’s how life goes sometimes, smooth as whipping cream or bumpy like a topping of walnuts.

May God bless you!

 

 

What to Say

https://youtu.be/6arA6Sdsip4

Keep It Shut: What to Say, How to Say It, and When to Say Nothing at All by Karen Ehman, published by Zondervan, copyrighted in 2015 speaks about Joseph on p. 34.

“’Oh no – it’s all God. Not me. And He is really something!’ Joseph knew where credit was due. God gave the talent. God gave the ability. God arranged the circumstances so he could use his talent and his ability. And so it was God, and God alone, who should get any credit for the good things that resulted.”

I’m looking forward to continuing to read Karen Ehman’s book. She’s interesting and I like Joseph from the book of Genesis. God gave him tremendous talents. He got placed as manager over Potiphar’s belongings. In Genesis 39: 5, (KJV) it says, “And it came to pass from the time that he had made him overseer in his house, and over all that he had, that the LORD blessed the Egyptian’s house for Joseph’s sake; and the blessing of the LORD was upon all that he had in the house, and in the field.

Gen 39:6  And he left all that he had in Joseph’s hand; and he knew not ought he had, save the bread which he did eat. And Joseph was a goodly person, and well favoured.”

As a young man, Joseph might have used some tact when talking about the dreams God gave him about ruling over the other family members one day. Unfortunately, he didn’t. In order to be placed over all of Potiphar’s household and business affairs, he must have learned to curb his tongue. He wasn’t married at the time and we learn later that Egyptians didn’t like to eat at the same table with Hebrews, in Genesis 43:32. So, it doesn’t seem he has any close friends. He certainly got to know God more during those trying times. He never curses God in the book of Genesis for his years of slavery and hardship. He’s an amazing person.

I really enjoy reading of the life and times of those in the Bible, ordinary people serving an extraordinary and only true God, according to God’s Word. Hopefully, I learn from their foibles and their triumphs.

I hope if I ever speak to people about God’s favor over my life that I would give God all the credit, as Karen Ehman mentioned in her book.

May God bless you.