One of my early Christmas memories as a child is our family Nativity Set. The Stable was a hand-made, wooden stable with a built-in manger. It had a single, mounted Christmas light for a Star. The nativity set included an Angel, Joseph, Mary, Jesus, Three Magi with gifts, and Shepherds with a collection of farm animals. The family set it up every Christmas through Ephiphany, the Twelve Days of Christmas. Very inspiring.
About that time, I was 7 or 8 years old. I still believed there was a Santa Claus. But I also told my parents I wanted a gift that was advertised on TV. We had a Philco TV model black and white television set. We got an absolutely incredible three channels when using “rabbit ears” antenna. At the time it was amazing technology.
Since I had my first hearing aid, I was able to watch and understand Saturday morning cartoons and commercials. Including about Christmas toys. It was during the “Cold War” years with the Soviet Union, and a popular toy was a “Mobile Rocket Launcher with Searchlight”. The searchlight could light up a target display on a wall and you tried hitting it with the rubber-tipped dart launcher. It was a lot of fun until it broke within a week of play. It was a toy I wanted that year, but now I remember it mostly because it broke so soon. As a toy and thing it was very temporary. Continue reading
My travels have taken me to a strange and wonderful country called Acirema. It is a land of many contradictions. It has high mountains, yet flat plains. It has vast open spaces, yet cities crammed with people. It even has a holiday with contradictions – a holiday called Exmas. Continue reading
The Bible tells the story of Jesus’ birth in different gospels. Matthew 1:18-25 and 2:1-18. Luke 1:26-38 and 2:1-21. For this devotional, I am using only Matthew 1:18-25 and Luke 1:26-38 and these verses are found below. These verses tell stories from Mary’s and Joseph’s perspective. I found four, amazing similarities between their stories:
- Both Mary and Joseph are visited by angels. An angel appears to Mary. An angel came to Joseph in a dream. Communication with angels was extremely rare.
- Both Mary and Joseph were told by the angels, “Do not be afraid.” They were to be married and found out that Mary was pregnant by the Holy Spirit. These were unusual circumstances to say the least.
- Both Mary and Joseph accepted what the angel had told them. What faith!
- Both were told to name the baby Jesus. He will save his people from their sins.
Matthew 1:21. “She will give birth to a son, You will name him Jesus. Give him that name because He will save his people from their sins.” (ERV)
Jesus is our hope. Named by angels, He was born for us, for you, for me. We can come to know Jesus as our Savior. Jesus comes into our hearts and saves us from our sins. We do not have to be afraid. God is with us. Amen. Continue reading