Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Christmas. Show all posts

Friday, 9 December 2016

Who Are You Inviting for Christmas?

Happy holidays! How many times have you said that or had someone say that to you? Did it bring a smile to your face? Sure probably, but did it bring a warmth to your heart as you thought of the true reason for the season? 
Or do you even know why so many people all over the world have a celebration right in the middle of the shortest month in the northern hemisphere? 
 Have you ever heard of the tiny baby whose birth was heralded by a whole choir of angels? It looks as if all of Heaven couldn’t contain the joy that a Savior had come down to rescue fallen man from their sins. Did you know that wise men, possibly very wealthy ones at that, had traveled a very great distance to come and see this new born baby, and give Him wonderful gifts? That, by the way, is the reason why we exchange presents at Christmas. 
Traveling wasn’t so easy in those days and we are given reason to believe they journeyed over a vast desert to see the Son of God. This infant was created in the form of man, not only so He could save us, but so He could totally identify and have compassion on us even on our worst days!
Okay, this isn’t just a wonderful mythical story from long ago like the one about Santa Claus. This honestly happened: Jesus truly is the Son of God and millions have gotten to know and love Him to this day  because we know that after He died, He rose again and eventually went back to Heaven and sent a Comforter who gives us joy, peace, and guidance.
So are you going to have a Happy Holiday or a Blessed Christmas? I don’t care for the word ‘Merry’ because it suggests a frivolity that could lead to grief. See the word Christmas? It is announcing for all the world to see that Christ—that tiny baby, Jesus Christ—is supposed to be the center of the season. 

Are you going to invite Christ to your home, or better yet have Him the center of all you do?  Go for it! He is the most awesome Guest you will ever have. 

Tuesday, 22 December 2015


Guess what I found on the internet today? No it wasn't in an archeological dig way out in the Middle East somewhere, but it was still fascinating. It was a book. It looked old fashioned in a way and the pictures were kind of blurry, but the cover sure looked antique! I thought the pages would have been more yellow with a parchment-y look, but I guess they are better at preserving things that we figured, eh? Anyway, it was a book called Mary's Diary. WOW! I mean double-wow! Who could have had a more intimate relationship with Jesus, the Son of God, than His own birth mother! Who could have cared more to get the facts right and to portray His life in a as loving a way as possible? And guess what?! It even covers those hidden years of when He was a little boy in Egypt. (He must have been such a cute, sweet little fella.)  And oh yes, it sure sounds authentic! : )
I'm quit bugging you so you can find out for yourself.


Tuesday, 15 December 2015

The First Christmas is Drawing Night

24th  Chisleu
December 9th
Dear Diary,
This has been a very, very hard day. I am almost too weary to write, but I must because such memorable things are happening. My body is being wracked with pain. I’ve clung to the poor donkey’s neck and I let my veil conceal my face so Yosef would not see how difficult it has been for me. Not that I fooled him for one moment. He is so anxious, he keeps asking whether or not we should press on to reach Beth Lechem’s khan, (inn), by nightfall or if he should let me rest more often.

As it is, many have tramped on ahead. We are left behind with the roving wild animals, the geshem,, and perhaps even bandits for company. But I do not need to think of that. My emotions are fragile for many reasons, somehow, I still know that Adonai,  hallowed be His Name,  will care for us and His own beloved Son.

24 Chisleu
December 9th
This page will surely be unreadable because I can’t keep the tears from falling. We finally reached Beth Lechem by nightfall but there was no room at the khan, no room at all! All the rooms above the shelter for the animals were overcrowded with wealthy wayfarers, much wealthier than us. In the courtyard below, the animals had scarcely enough room to shuffle around.

The innkeeper seemed apologetic, but helpless. Yosef pleaded for him to suggest someplace—anywhere for us to stay, but the poor, overwrought innkeeper shook his head sorrowfully.
“I am sorry. So sorry,” the innkeeper said, stroking his long, wavy beard agitatedly. He lifted his hand to point at the people crowding around.
“See this multitude? They too are in the same predicament that you are in.”
“But is there not somewhere, anywhere that we can go?”

In Yosef’s desperation, he reached out to clutch the steward’s striped garment.

“Look, it is not for me that I am concerned,” Yosef continued, “t is for my wife! She is young, slight of build, yet great with child. I fear that all this traveling may bring travail upon her earlier than it ought. We need to find a shelter where she can rest.”

The paunchy innkeeper’s brow furrowed as he gazed around, as if looking for direction. Someone plucked at his sleeve, demanding attention, with a scowl he nudged him aside.

“On yonder ridge is the town, but you will fare no better there.  Nary a house is not overfilled with guests at this time. Many have long awaited the  census already,  and I fear no one is willing or able to take in more travellers.”

“But is there no where for us to go? We are of the lineage of David!

‘”The lineage of David? Aye, that should help, should help. Know you not of any relative you could stay with?”
            Yosef wrung his hands. “I know of none. We should have inquired earlier..

The innkeeper stepped back and fumbled with his sash. “This small town is not able to contain all those of David’s line.” He finally admitted, sighing heavily.
“Yonder ridge has its share of caves. Many of them will be used as stables in this present predicament, but if you can find a little rest in one of them, you are welcome to it. I will send a servant after you with fresh straw.

“If you require a midwife before the night is over, I may find a moment to check into it, but it will be nigh impossible to secure one at this time. More than one woman is in the same dire condition as your sweet wife.”

In gratitude, Yosef took his hand, clasped it, then reached for the lead strap on the donkey so we could clamber awkwardly down among the rocks in search of a grotto turned into a stable. I lowered the veil back over my face, lest Yosef would see the despair written there.

We did find a cave, however, without too much searching.

When Yosef was able to get the clay lamp lit, it seemed more cozy and inviting. It was rather crowded, unfortunately. Yosef is trying to
persuade some of our fellow cave dwellers to take their lowing, smelly, burden bearers and hustle off to give us a measure of peace.

I am so weary that all I want to do is remove my wet garments, find something dry to wear, and try to rest.  Yosef was rather anxiously fluffing up the fresh straw, which was delivered by a young lad with a hand cart, he is now shaking out our blanket.

I laid  the baby’s swaddling strips near the fire to dry. Fortunately, we had kept one blanket packed well so it wouldn’t get wet on the trip. It was somewhat damp in a couple places but it was better than nothing. We sat beside a central fire until I was warmed up, which seemed to take
forever, then we crawled under our one rather thin blanket together.
In the stall next to ours are two donkeys, tied up, their owners are lounging against a nearby wall. At the far end of the cave, there is some activity going on. I think a shepherd is about to aid a ewe giving birth. Will there be two male ‘lambs’ born before the night is o’er?

24th Chisleu
December 9th
Dear Diary,
I feel that my time is drawing nigh, I am anxious. It is frightening to think of having my baby without my mother, or a midwife nearby. I am worried about the baby. What will happen if He comes before we can move on to a better dwelling? This cave is not clean enough!

Two of the wayfarers, a middle-aged couple, were cooperative and helped us out. Some of the others growled that they were here first and were not at all inclined to be agreeable under such chilly weather conditions.

I fear they have been indulging too long in the wine that is red.

Oh, surely, surely Adonai, hallowed be His Name, will be with me during this difficult time. My every breath is a prayer that  Adonai will
protect His own Beloved Son and me.

By the dejected slope of Yosefs shoulders, I can sense that he feels that he has somehow failed me and us. I must stop writing now and tell him how warm and inviting it all looks by the light of the lamp. Surely these stabbing pains will ease now that I have a place to rest. It seems too soon for the little one to make His appearance.

Maybe you want this Christmas to be really refreshing. Maybe you are longing to have a real classical book to remind you of the true story of how Jesus came to earth and changed the world. Don't wait any longer. Here's a treasure that will be a precious reminder for years to come of how wonderful Jesus is. You might want to set it close to your Bible and use it as a Devotional, even.

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Mary's View of Christmas

20th Chisleu
December 16th

20th Chisleu
December 16th
Traveling has not been so bad after all. I didn’t realize how beautiful much
of this country is. The olive gardens and fields are such a bright green
at this time of year. I can always anticipate a splendid view over the
next hill, which makes all the climbing worth it. We have traveled one
day’s journey, we stopped a little while ago. I think the monotonous
plodding of the donkey relaxes me. I suppose if I was not used to riding
donkey, I would be more stiff and sore, but that is our main means of travel..

All around us little campfires are brightening up the evening scene.
Yosef also has a cheery fire going. He is so caring. He will hardly let me
do anything, which is why I am writing in my journal while he bustles
around, much to the hilarity of fellow travelers.

Thursday, 4 December 2014

My Joseph!

25 Elul
September 24th

According to tradition this was the first day of Creation.
Because of our great history of storytellers that pass our heritage
from one generation to the next, it is easy to believe.

Yosef is not quite finished building our cottage up to his own
excellent standards, but he thought it would be better if we had a quiet wedding and finalized the ketubah(contract) before a rabbi, so that
I could move in with him, even if it is not a year since our betrothal.

We hope that will stop the tongues from wagging. People have been
gossiping about me dashing off to Zachariah’s home so soon after we
were betrothed, and I can tell that some have noticed that I am, well . . .
chubbier than I, uh, ought to be before the wedding.

It was such fun helping Yosef plaster mud on to the entwining
bamboo that makes up the roof. I looked more like a mud splattered
little tinoki than a ladylike bride that day!

 It was a joy to help him scatter the straw that went between the layers of mud, but he would not even consider letting me haul up any of the straw or mud!

He must think I am quite fragile! I sure don’t feel delicate anymore! I
am so thankful that we now have the privacy of our own little house,
and it is private now that the roof is on, and thoroughly dried.

It is just so pleasant to be with him all the time although because of the circumstances, he is so self-disciplined.

Our house is pretty sparse of furniture, right now, but who cares!

Yosef comes from a long line of joiners, and is an excellent carpenter.
I’m sure he will make some wonderful pieces once he finds the time!
1st  Tishrei
September 29th

There is something so special about being married on the same
date that Chava, (Eve,) was presented to Haddam(Adam)on the last day of

Our wedding week was so happy. I’m glad Yosef took the time off
from work to be with me, and visit relatives even though we didn’t have a
lovely, formal wedding. Those seven days were sweet even though Yosef feels
he must treat me with a restrained dignity because the baby I am carrying
belongs to the Holy One.

We went for long walks over the surrounding hills, and meandered through the marketplace from time to time. It was so pleasant, just the two of us hand in hand. It truly felt like our hearts are knitting together as one.

I wouldn’t have ever dreamed a man could be so gentle, so understanding, and so devoted! Marriage seems to bring out the best in us. It seems like we both want so badly to say only kind and tender things to each other.

 I feel incredibly secure in his presence, and look forward to sharing the rest of my life with him. I am most confident that he will make an ideal earthly father for our little boy and that’s why EL Elohim chose him.

Why am I wasting time writing in a mere diary? I haven’t seen him
since our noon meal, and I am lonesome already! I wonder if he can
find something I can help him with?
Love, Mary’am

Tuesday, 2 December 2014

No Divorce!

 The Christmas story from Mary's Viewpoint. She has just returned from visiting Elizabeth and Zachariah.
21st Av
August 9th

 Dear Diary
Amen Alleluia El’ Elohim! I am home again, and the best news of
all: Yosef is willing to take me as his wife! Yes, you read correctly! Yosef
is willing to take me as his wife!

I will not be put aside after all! I will not have to endure the shame, and awful humiliation of a divorce!

clung to him like I would never let go while the tears rained down my
cheeks. He kept caressing my face, and wiping at the tears with his thumbs, saying

“There, there, it’s all alright.”

I wasn’t the only one that was crying though. He turned aside more than once,
and used his sleeve to dry off his wet cheeks. He confessed that he was
also relieved it had worked out this way. That told me a lot about how
devoted he is to me, and to HaShem.

After we got somewhat over our joyous reunion we sat down on a stone bench in a shady nook, and he told me what caused him to change his mind. It was a dream!
How thrilling! The Lord God, Yahweh, sent an angel to visit Yosef one night in order to convince him to marry me after all.

Don’t tell anyone, but it makes me nervous to think HaShem is so closely involved in our lives.

And, oh by the way, Hilde is being more considerate towards me now that Yosef
made his decision, and told her about the dream. Perhaps she cannot quite
believe it, but if her precious Yosef is happy with me, that is good
enough for her. Whatever he does seems to be about perfect in Hilde’s
eyes. I wonder if I will ever act that way towards my sons.

Yaakov, on the other hand . . . (Sigh . . .) Why is he so critical of
me? Maybe it would be better not to talk about him. It makes me too
distressed.  It is enough that Hilde is more approachable, and Yosef, my
Chavivi, Yosef, is just wonderful! In fact I wonder if having that dream
has made him even more tender-hearted and kind than before. (If that were possible!)

11th Elul
September 10th

 Dear Diary

suppose it is shameful, but I shed some tears tonight because we
will not be having a traditional, Jewish wedding. Such a ceremony would be
inappropriate in my condition.

I had dreamed for years of what my challah would look like and was hoping for a tall graceful canopy of fine white linen such as my parent’s friends from Bethashbea, make and sell. Perhaps they would have even given us a good cut in price.

I was dreaming of having the most fragrant pink roses that we could
find, tucked in here and there on the canopy. I’m sure Rizpah, who is
another dear friend of my mother’s, would have gladly given us some
for the occasion. She grows the loveliest damask roses of anyone I know. (Well, other than my mother’s Imma.)

Ever since I first noticed Yosef as a wee talitha of seven spring times, I
have often daydreamt of him, and me standing beneath it!

 Imma has some vines clinging to the front of our white brick house. I was hoping
to plant some into pots well ahead of time, and have them bordering the
archway on either side of the canopy and interlaced throughout the
roses. Would that not have been ever so lovely?

My dearest friends and I have often chattered about how delightful
it would be to help each other prepare for our mitzvahs.
I can almost feel the nervous excitement I would have felt as they
helped me into my wedding garments.

 They would have taken turns brushing out my hip length hair, and we would chatter happily as they busied themselves preparing all the rest.

I love to imagine the look of awe on Yosef’s face, when he sees
my hair uncovered for the first time!

It is fortunate that you cannot see my woebegone expression. I
must, I will refrain from repining over the loss of a beautiful wedding
when I have the more glorious honor of nurturing the son of Adonai.

To think I am the onwoman in the whole wide world to have been given this
responsibility, this honor!

P.S. What a joy it is to be accepted into Yosef’s favour once again. I
could collapse with relief.

Saturday, 22 November 2014

More Pre Christmas Preview of Mary's Musings

29 Nissan
April 21

Dear Diary;
With tears in my eyes I must admit this has been a low time for me.
My feeling of dwelling in heavenly places has faded to a rather forlorn
memory, and I am not well! After scattering a few kernels of corn to
our flock of chickens, I crept behind the goat-shed to be sick. It didn't relieve the queasiness much.

Saturday, 15 November 2014

Mary's Diary

Some of you have been so good about buying Mary's Diary, the Life of Jesus through His Mother's Eyes, even with it's blah, blah, blah cover. Did I tell you already that I'm getting it redone, and reedited, and I think those of you that haven't bought a copy will like it better than ever. Meanwhile, I will dole out a pre-Christmas preview! So here' the beginning!

By the way, I'll need to think of another title. What do you think of these ideas.

Mary'am Muses
   about her son Jesus

Mary's Journal

Mary's Memories
  of Jesus

More suggests and votes would be most welcome!

April 2nd
10th Nissan


will always be grateful to my dignified, elderly Uncle Zachariah
for teaching me to read and write that long ago summer when I was
ten. There are some thoughts that are too personal; too profound to
give voice to, but they must be shared, and writing is the best way.

How can I get close to HaShemYet that is what I am striving for.
HaShem means The Name, and is the most respectful title I know to
call The Holy One. We hesitate to speak His Name out loud, but I pray
He will pardon me if I write it from time to time. There is something
About  Adonai , hallowed be His Name, that is dreadful, but I long to have a
more meaningful relationship with Him.

This week I have been thinking much about the sacred prophecies
concerning the Mashiach. (Messiah,) What kind of woman would Yahweh choose
as the mother for His Son? It would be such a delightful honor, and
a privilege! I wish it could be me.

Did you hear my tiny sigh? I suppose hundreds, nay, thousands of talitha(girls), more honorable than I have longed to cherish the Holy Child as their own, but they were not chosen, so why would I be?
We are of the lowliest of the lowly. The Judeans, particularly the religious leaders, look down their long noses at us Galileans. Do they not think we are so dim-witted
about understanding the finer points of the law?

The Anointed One’s mother would be someone without the many
faults that I have! I imagine she will be someone like the virtuous
woman our noble King Solomon described many years ago. She would
diligently reach out to the poor, and needy, and in her tongue would
be the law of kindness. I have a lot to learn in that area!

I am guessing that the Mother of the Mashiach, (what elegant
sounding words!) would need to be someone of royal birth so she would
know how to groom her Son to become the future King.

 But I am of the right lineage! David is my ancestor. We have the precious documents right here in our chest to prove it. They have been passed down from generation to generation, and are among our most valuable possessions.

Yea, I must admit though, that thousands of others are of the same lineage.

Just this one last time I will confess it hurts deeply that I cannot
mother HaShem’s Son. He must be born of a virgin, and I am soon to
be married.

You will not ere in your thinking, no? I am joyfully planning to
wed my beloved Yosef, but when I do, this other dream will have to die
forever. It is most difficult to lie down. It has been a secret desire for
so long, but I will; I will lift a brave face, and cheerfully walk hand in
hand with my betrothed for all my days, and if perchance some other
aant’at ,(woman,) gets this blessing during my lifetime I will try to be
happy for her.

Perhaps it will be my own daughter!