Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Advent Days 9-11


Despite the stress and chaos of concert season and dr. visits, I feel the need to find the time to help others – whether it’s chatting with the Salvation Army bell ringers while putting money in the coffers, much to the chagrin of my family, or donating food items while I’m at the store. I remember those lean years of being a young family, with only $35 a week for food, gas and necessities. I had to pray before every trip, having scoured the ads for the best deals. God took care of us through those times just as He continues to bless us now. About 13 years ago, I remember a phone call coming in from the Lion’s Club telling us about their program of helping the needy and I responded with a “I don’t have extra money to give you but I could help delivering baskets.” There was a long pause on the other line when the man told me they wanted to bring us a basket and gift certificate. It was the only time we received outside help and it was humbling and amazing all at once. Yes, God has always blessed us!

Day 9 No Room at the Inn?

Bethlehem was a rest stop on the journey to Jerusalem, merely an hour away. The Romans had commanded the Israelites to report to their ancestral hometowns so they could be counted and taxed accordingly. Joseph had to report to Bethlehem, no longer a quiet small town on the way to the temple. Every place was jam-packed during this census. David Jeremiah sums up the why of it: “ Accepting humanity’s rejection even in his birth, Jesus sent a message of stubborn, unbreakable love to the world. We would not afford him so much as a cramped closet; we had no room for him, no time to stop and worship,no interest in a peasant child. But that same Child came to find room for us. He would, one day, reserve accommodations for each of his own children at the Inn that awaits us on eternal shores.” (P. 50) John 14 tells it all.

Day 10 Why a Manger in a Stable?

Every one assumes Jesus was born in a stable because Luke mentions that the shepherds sought Him “lying in a manger” – a feeding box for animals. This could have been a shed or a cave where animals were kept. If you’ve ever been in a barn before, you know it really isn’t a clean, wonderful place – especially for a newborn. I liked David Jeremiah’s answer: “Christ chose a stable in order to identify with the least of us, with the poor and the vulnerable. He demanded none of the world’s comforts nor protections. Jesus came exposed, from the first moment, to all the dangers the world could offer, and so he remained until they led him to the cross.” Please read Leviticus 12:2-8 and Luke 2:22-24 to learn more about Jesus’ family.

Day 11 Why the Name Jesus?

Jesus in Greek means the same thing as Joshua in the Hebrew language – “God Saves.” Matthew 1 holds the answer: “…an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, ‘ Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit. She will give birth to a son, and you are to give hime the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.

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