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Christmas Devotionals

 

 
Thank God, we
have His instructions
and His counsel written
down in black and White.
It doesn't work unless we read it!!!
Read Proverbs 16:20
 
Happy Cat
Just in time for Christmas, I have a new cat. Why does anyone need a cat at Christmas? To climb your Christmas tree of course. My son talked me into signing adoption papers at the animal shelter for a black and white cat, (really a kitten about four months old) last week.   I read all the rules and regulations written in black and white and signed on the dotted line. I then became a proud owner of an adopted cat.
 As soon as the cat got used to our house, it found the Christmas tree and began to climb.  Even though it is an artifical tree, tree climbing comes naturally to a cat. So my new cat natuarlly attempted to climb the artificial tree. However, whatever instruction manual the cat studied on tree climbing 101 can not be applied to fake trees.  There is nothing to sink those claws into.  The cat got caught up in tinsel and lights as fake branches gave way, the black and white cat dropped to the floor. But if anyone should ever ask, "Do cats who fall from artifical trees still fall naturally on all four feet?"  The answer is "YES!"
The ending to this story is a happy ending. The cat jumped up in the chair and went to sleep staring at the tree that had really confused his entire way of thinking.  Poor cat, I guess he thought he didnt' have what it took to get to the top of the tree.  I explained the situation to him as best I could and he seemed to smile at me. So as I said, happy ending- happy cat.
Tonight I think of all the instructions manuals we all read this time of year. How to assemble, how to connect, how to cook, how to install, how to exercise, how to ride, how to jump.  And some even try to  tell us how to live, how to love, how to laugh, how to look, how to lose, and how to win.
Some  instruction books are good, but some of these are  worth about as much as that artificial tree is to my very reql cat with real claws.
Have you ever tried to assemble five bikes by the instruction book at midnight on Christmas Eve?  This my friend is about as impossible as it is for a cat to climb a plastic tree. Believe me, I speak from experience.
Have you ever tried to live for God for 40 years and read only part of the instructions along time ago?  This my friend is defintiely as impossible as an
 unhappy cat climbing a dead fake tree. Believe me, I speak from experience.
So today sink your teeth into this, well at least read these words and believe what I say.  Smile and latch on to God's Word with all that is within you. Without His instruction book it is impossible to smile peacefuly as we  live, love. Without His instruction we don't connect; we attempt to clilmb but only fall; we attempt to win, but only lose.
This is the happy ending to this story.  We are adopted by God. It is really smart to read all the instructions  that He has given us plainlly written in black and white.  Smile God doesn't want us confused.  We can make all the way to the top.

 
For the kingdom of God is not meat and drink; but righteousness,
and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost.
Revelations 14:17
 
 
Christmas Trees in Heaven
 
Mamma, are there Christmas trees in Heaven?
Do the lights flash off and on?
Is the tinsel gold, or silver, or blue?
Tell me what do all those angels do.
 
Do they hang the ornaments on each green branch?
Do the angels hold candles and do a Christmas dance?
Is there snow of white and ribbons of gold?
Tell me what each branch holds.
 
Does anyone place a star at the  very top?
Are there candy canes and chocolate drops?
Do you still tie red ribbons your special way?
Tell me what do you do in Heaven on Christmas day.
 
Does anyone bring you a card or a poinsettia there?
Do you still have apples and oranges like we used to share?
Are there Christmas dinners with pecan pie?
Do you remember as the Christmas tree came down how you used to cry?
 
All these questions run though my mind tonight.
It's just that Christmas without you Mamma just doesn't seem right.
I know in Heaven you are forever happy throughout the year.
I know there is not a worry, a regret, or a tear.
 
I know you are with the angels who sing around the throne.
I know you are never hungry, tired, or alone.
Light up a star for me if you get the time.
I will know it is yours when I see its light shine.
 
(In memory of Christine Elizabeth Hanson)

 
He that overcometh, the same shall be clothed in white raiment; and I will not blot out his name out of the book of life, but I will confess his name before my Father, and before his angels.
Revelation 3:5
 
Over and Out
 
Yes, it is over again. What is over?  Christmas of course.  How many people have you heard say they are so glad that "it" is over? How many have you heard say they can't wait till "it" comes again? Honestly I have heard so many more cheers for "its'" departure than pleas for "its'" return.  My mother always told me not to wish my life away. By saying I am glad Christmas or any day is over is kind of like wishing a day away, and even though my mother is dead and I am an old woman, I still can't wish days away.  I just can't make the words come out. For some reason they stick in my throat, kind of like when I try to sing in bed.  My mother always told me that  singing in bed was something I should never do. So again, I still hear those words every time I try to sing myself to sleep.  I never have heard anyone other than my mother say this, so I don't know,  maybe she just didn't like to hear me sing.  I remember she used to sing to me  when I was in bed until I went to sleep.  She would sing "I Wanna Hold Your Hand" followed by saying, "Good night, sleep tight, don't let the bed bugs bite, over and out."
Many nights, especially on Christmas Eve,  I can remember trying my best to stay awake, but finally I would truly turn over and be out like a light before I knew it.  Christmas morning I would wake up with a song in my heart, that I made sure I didn't sing until I was out of bed.
Christmas was a day I would never wish away, but wanted to last forever.   I was never glad for Christmas to be over when I was young and still can't imagine being glad for it to be over now that I am old. I think I still start anxiously awaiting its' return as soon as I pick up the ribbons and papers and pack up the decorations.
Christmas is so much more than just a day to wish away. Christmas is intended to be a celebration of our Savior's birth.  Even though we don't know exactly when His birthday really is, December 25th is the day we choose to sing Happy Birthday to Jesus.  I wonder what He thinks, when He hears us say we are so glad His birthday celebration is over. Hmmm, I don't think I would like to hear anyone say they were glad my birthday is gone until next year.
Even though December 25th is gone again until next year,  we should still wake up with a song in our heart.  Even on days when the words  to our happy songs seem to  stick in our throat and we feel like all is over, remember we are not out!   Go tell it on the mountain! Jesus Christ is born!  He came to earth and lived as man. He died on a cross, but rose from the dead to live forever.  We have the amazing opportunity to live all our days forever more with Him!  It is not over. We are not out.
Oh Happy Day everyday!

Not Much To Say

Luke 2:19
But Mary kept all these things and pondered them in her heart.
 
Through the years of my early adult life  I always read at least one passage of scripture once a year.  I knew of God, believed in Him, believed He had saved me, but kind of let it all end there.  I really didn't make much of an effort to gain more knowledge of Him, grow any closer to Him, or grow anymore like Him. At Christmas each year I would get out the family Bible, dust it off, put it on display on the coffee table,and open it to Luke Chapter 2 which I always considered to be the Christmas story. I would read it aloud starting with verse one and ending with verse nineteen.  Those nineteen verses were all the story I ever really knew by heart.   I always ended with the verse that said Mary just kept all these things in her heart.   I thought of Mary as a young, very quite girl who was scared to speak. I thought her fear to speak might have been something to do with the customs of the day, no women's lib back then, but I really always leaned toward the idea of her being hopelessly shy.  I always thought she probably had so many things she could  have said  that would have made such an impact on those around her  who were coming to visit Baby Jesus, but there was just a fear in her to open her mouth and speak.  With myself being so hopelessly shy, not much to say, this was one way I related to Mary.
 
Today I once again read the Christmas story.  I am thankful I didn't have to dust off a Bible.  I do read and study His Word now and do try to grow closer to Him and be more like Him everyday, not just at Christmas time.  I know the story doesn't just begin, nor  does it end, with those nineteen verses.  I hope I speak just a little more than I once did.  I hope I don't keep everything pondering it within my heart that I can share that might make an impact on someone else.
 
Today as you read Luke Chapter Two, think about Mary and think about yourself.  Are you keeping things, pondering things, in your heart  that God has placed there?  Open your mouth and speak.  Perhaps what you have been keeping to yourself can forever change someone's life. Perhaps you are the one person who can lead  that one certain person to come to know the Baby who was born to that young quite virgin so long ago. There are people who still come and visit Jesus.  They might just glance  His way and go on about their journey.  Tell them what you know, give them a reason to want to stay with Him.  Don't keep what you know about Jesus Christ to  yourself.  Tell someone this story, that is so much more than a story.  Tell someone  about the truth,love, joy, peace, mercy, compassion, and mighty miracles of  your Savior.
 Luke 2:7 
And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.
 
Through The Eyes Of A Child
 
Wrapped in swaddling clothes, what could that be?
As a child, swaddling clothes was one big mystery to me.
I thought of ducks clothed in white feathers who loved to waddle.
Were feathers what those clothes were made of that did swaddle?
 
Laid in a manger was also as confusing as could be.
I always wondered if there danger was present you see.
I heard it was where horses and cows loved to eat.
I could imagine a cow taking a bite from Baby Jesus's feet.
 
No room in that inn was very misunderstood too.
I envisioned the letter N with people caged like in a zoo.
Why was there no room for Jesus who must have been so small?
Couldn't they have squished together and made some room after all?
 
Children have a way of seeing things that grown folks can't see.
Even though the story was misinterpreted, some truth still came to be.
People still don't seem to understand the glory that clothes our Lord and King.
People still practice hiding Jesus far away which is a very dangerous thing.
 
Some take a small taste and decide there isn't room in their life for Him.
Some crowd together with old lifestyles allowing His goodness and mercy to grow dim.
If only they would squish a place open in their heart big and wide.
Allowing Him to come N, forever at His beautiful feet, humbly to abide.
 
 
And Mary Said
The Poetry of Mary
 
Luke  Chapter  One 
 
46 And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord, 47 And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. 48 For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. 49 For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. 50 And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. 51 He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. 52 He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. 53 He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. 54 He hath holpen his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy; 55 As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever.
 
Before Mary was quite, pondering things in her heart in Luke 2:19, she had much to say.  Mary went to visit Elisabeth.   When Mary entered, Elisabeth's baby leaped within her womb and she was filled with the Holy Ghost.  The first thing Elisabeth did after she was filled was to speak.  No doubt Mary was filled as well, and she too did speak boldly, and I can imagine loudly. The nine verses in Luke One  are referred to as poetry.  The verses are also compared to Hannah's prophetic prayer in I Samuel Chapter Two. Hannah  had been blessed with a son which she had been told was impossible, just as Mary had, according to man, conceived a child in an impossible manner.  When impossible things happen  praise happens.   He is the God of the impossible.  All things are possible through Him.
 
Sometime the person who you think has the least to say, has the most to say when God works a miracle in their life. Those who are quite and have little to say suddenly can't keep quite about it, they have to shout about it.  The words, the praises,  flow out just like poetry, just like Mary's poetry. 
 
And Mary Said.....
 
He is to be magnified for God is our Savior.
We are blessed. 
He has done great things. 
He is holy. 
His mercy is from generation to generation. 
He shows His great strength. 
He puts down the mighty, and exalts the low. 
He fills the hungry and empties the rich. 
He helps His servants. 
He speaks to us, His seeds, forever.
 
Now that is  truly poetry.  Now that is  truly praise.
 
 

This week I have just a poem for you,  It speaks of how ordinary the shepherds were

 who were chosen to do an extraordinary  thing.

 

Luke 2:20
 
And the shepherds returned glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, as it was told them.
 
A Shepherd's Story
 
When the Baby first came, not too many took notice.
Even when in the sky a bright star showed us,
His location in a stall for all of us to see.
Not many even cared that He had came to be,
 
The Salvation of the whole world set in motion that day,
The Light of the whole world pointing the way,
To eternal life, peace, hope, and glory.
The  Baby was the beginning of the world's greatest story.
 
I remember the night, I remember it so well.
An angel came and on my knees I fell.
My heart was racing, as every bit of courage did fade.
The angel told me not to be afraid.
 
The angel chose me, for what reason I will never know,
To spread the news of this glorious heavenly show.
I was just a poor shepherd, no worldly wealth or fame.
The angel decided to choose me just the same.
 
The light so bright, the beauty so glowing,
The Hope of the whole world, the angel was showing.
Promises and prophecies, that night were fulfilled.
The fate of mankind was forever being sealed.

I know my life was forever changed that night.
I,  just a poor shepherd, just couldn't keep quite.
I went far and wide spreading the good news.
God gave me this job, who was I to refuse?
.
Someday I hope to meet you in heaven above the star's and sun's rays.
You will know me by my exuberant joy and praise.
I never grow tired of praising and glorifying my King.
The little Baby who had  the power to make my heart forever sing.
 

 
I started off the Christmas Devotions this year with a poem that spoke of the clothes that Baby Jesus was wrapped, or swaddled in.  I would like to end the Christmas  devotionals with a few thoughts on the things the scripture speaks of that clothed Jesus throughout His life here on earth, and what He will be clothed with when we see Him someday.
 
Rags To Riches
 
In the beginning  of His life here on earth, Mary wrapped Him in swaddling clothes and laid Him in the manger. The swaddling clothes were nothing fancy, probably just some rags, some scraps, leftover cloth.  The swaddling clothes are described here by  Coffman.
 
Swaddling clothes were like this - they consisted of a square of cloth with a long, bandage-like strip coming diagonally off one corner. The child was first wrapped in the square of cloth, and then the long strip was wound round and round about him.
James Burton Coffman Commentaries
 It wasn't what His little body was clothed with that mattered, it was the body itself, the glory that surrounded it, and permeated from it. The next time we hear of what manner of clothing Jesus wore was in Mark 15:17 before He was crucified. He was clothed in purple and once again something was wrapped around Jesus, this time about his head, a crown of thorns
And they clothed him with purple, and platted a crown of thorns, and put it about his head, 
 
 
After He died He was taken down from the cross and His body was  once again wrapped, this time in fine linen.
 
  Luke 23:53
And he took it down, and wrapped it in linen, and laid it in a sepulchre that was hewn in stone, wherein never man before was laid.
 
The linen is described by John Gill.
linen cloth, esp. that which was fine and costly, in which the bodies of the dead were wrapped
John Gill "Commentary on Luke 23:53"
 
Since the quality of this linen was fine and costly and the swaddling clothes in the beginning of his life were probably just made from rags, He went from rags to riches, figuratively and literally.  In Revelation we read what He will be wearing .  He will be girt, wrapped, with a golden girdle.
 
And in the midst of the seven candlesticks one like unto the Son of man, clothed with a garment down to the foot, and girt about the paps with a golden girdle.
 
As we strive to be more like him everyday, we are reminded we will never be good enough, righteous enough, to see Him in that golden girdle.  Our righteousness is as filthy rags. Our only hope of seeing Him face to face is accepting Him humbly, believing that by His grace alone, by His blood that was shed, through our faith in Him we are saved.
 
Isaiah 64:6
But we are all as an unclean thing, and all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags; and we all do fade as a leaf; and our iniquities, like the wind, have taken us away.
 
There is one more verse with a great promise in I John.  It reminds us that it doesn't really matter what we wear or what He wears, because one day we shall be like Him and we shall see Him as He is.

 
Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is.
 

A requested devotional
 
Last week I received the following mail.
 
Hi Judy,
I was thinking that you should write a devotional about what you see on most Web sites nowadays. When you sign in, there is usually and option, "remember me." I was thinking that I bet you could make a beautiful devotion from those two words about how Jesus wants us to remember Him and we want Him to "remember me."
Love always,
Jo
Luke  23:42
And he said unto Jesus, Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom
 
 
Remember Me
 
I thought  of how I could write the requested devotional. I thought of songs and poems already written wi