Though I grew up in Syracuse, NY and traveled on snowy streets; it was always by car.
I have never ridden in a winter sleigh or heard the sound of its sleigh bells ringing.
The closest I’ve come was watching Barbara Stanwyck & Dennis Morgan in a romantic scene from Christmas in Connecticut.
A much more important scene had Mary & Joseph in the leading roles.
Mary did not ride in a sleigh; instead she likely traveled by donkey.
“And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed.
(And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.
And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David: To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.
And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered.
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 (Luke 2:1-7 KJV).”
That was just what I wanted to hear; April had a baby brother.
I gave birth to both April and our son Lee before the sex of a child was routinely determined during pregnancy (through ultrasound images-sonograms). We had hoped for a boy but had to wait to find out if hopes would become reality. Mary and Joseph did not have to wait.
‘It’s a boy!’
Gabriel told Mary.
“And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favourwith God.
And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus.
He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David:
And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end (Luke 1:30-33 KJV).”
“Now the birth of Jesus Christ was on this wise: When as his mother Mary was espoused to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Ghost.
Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not willing to make her a public example, was minded to put her away privily.
But while he thought on these things, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream, saying, Joseph, thou son of David, fear not to take unto thee Mary thy wife: for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Ghost.
And she shall bring forth a son, and thou shalt call his name Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matthew 1:18-21 KJV).”
Selective hearing is a malady experienced by many. The root cause is still under investigation. It can begin at any age and shows no sign of eradication. Early symptoms include disinterest in those around them; occasional grunts and refusal to make eye contact.
The problem seems to spread quickly. Selective memory is another must to avoid. We seem to be able to recall wrongs done against us, favors owed by others and personal recognition. Our memory blurs in cases of our wrongs and times people treated us kindly.
God pours out His blessings, delivers us from danger and makes His presence known. If He delays an answer to prayer we forget His countless answers. Blessings come and we forget to say thank you. It is easy to see that selective memory hits too close to home.
“They forgot God their Savior, who did great things in Egypt, wonderful works in the land of Ham, awe-inspiring acts at the Red Sea (Psalm 106:21-22 HCSB).”
No, I wasn’t a farmer’s daughter and I’ve never milked a cow. I was in high school and my steady boyfriend was a farmer’s son. He helped his dad on their dairy farm. He made the milking stool in school shop class and I was the recipient. Not long after, the boy broke up with me and I returned the stool to its rightful owner.
It was too tall to use as a footstool.
The earth is God’s footstool!
“Again, you have heard that the ancients were told, ‘You shall not make false vows, but shall fulfill your vows to the Lord.’But I say to you, take no oath at all, neither by heaven, for it is the throne of God, nor by the earth, for it is the footstool of His feet, nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King.Nor shall you take an oath by your head, for you cannot make a single hair white or black. But make sure your statement is, ‘Yes, yes’ or ‘No, no’; anything beyond these is of evil origin (Matthew 5:33-35 NASB).”
We’ve all heard comments of praise at funerals of a well respected man.
The comments reveal a lot about the life of the deceased man.
This one surely does; he was a good provider.
Our heavenly Father is eternal; He provides for His children.
Abraham took God at His word. He knew that the LORD would provide.
“Now it came about after these things, that God tested Abraham, and said to him, ‘Abraham!’And he said, ‘Here I am.’Then He said, ‘Take now your son, your only son, whom you love, Isaac, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I will tell you.’ So Abraham got up early in the morning and saddled his donkey, and took two of his young men with him and his son Isaac; and he split wood for the burnt offering, and set out and went to the place of which God had told him. On the third day Abraham raised his eyes and saw the place from a distance. Then Abraham said to his young men, ‘Stay here with the donkey, and I and the boy will go over there; and we will worship and return to you.’ And Abraham took the wood for the burnt offering and laid it on his son Isaac, and he took in his hand the fire and the knife. So the two of them walked on together. Isaac spoke to his father Abraham and said, ‘My father!’ And he said, ‘Here I am, my son.’ And he said, ‘Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for the burnt offering?’ Abraham said, ‘God will provide for Himself the lamb for the burnt offering, my son.’ So the two of them walked on together.
Then they came to the place of which God had told him; and Abraham built the altar there and arranged the wood, and bound his son Isaac and laid him on the altar, on top of the wood. And Abraham reached out with his hand and took the knife to slaughter his son. But the angel of the Lord called to him from heaven and said, ‘Abraham, Abraham!’ And he said, ‘Here I am.’ He said, ‘Do not reach out your hand against the boy, and do not do anything to him; for now I know that you fear God, since you have not withheld your son, your only son, from Me.’Then Abraham raised his eyes and looked, and behold, behind him was a ram caught in the thicket by its horns; and Abraham went and took the ram and offered it up as a burnt offering in the place of his son. And Abraham named that place The Lord Will Provide, as it is said to this day, ‘On the mountain of the Lord it will be provided (Genesis 22: 1-14 NASB).”
Hospitals and doctor offices continue to seek higher standards in sanitizing. Prevention of patient and staff infections is high priority. It’s easy to forget how far we have come in health care. Movies remind us of past problems.
Surgical procedures during the War Between the States or Wild West days were dangerous. Many times outcomes were fatal. With little more than scalpel and trembling hands, doctors performed delicate operations. They washed hands and plunged instruments into a blazing fire to kill the germs. The Lord uses fires of adversity to refine His children and burn away sins’ contamination.
“And I will bring the third part through the fire, Refine them as silver is refined, And test them as gold is tested. They will call on My name, And I will answer them; I will say, ‘They are My people,’ And they will say, ‘The Lord is my God (Zechariah 13:9 NASB).’”
We are tried and tested by fires of adversity and affliction.
My husband Norm once worked as a security guard at a gated community. Residents were serious about their security and personal safety. They restricted some people from entry to their community and homes. Norm had a list to follow.
“Enter by the narrow gate; for wide is the gate and broad is the way that leads to destruction, and there are many who go in by it. Because narrow is the gate and difficult is the way which leads to life, and there are few who find it (Matthew 7:13-14 NKJV).”
The LORD has a list. It’s in the Book of Life.
“Then Death and Hades were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire (Revelation 20:14-15 NKJV).”
I remember when you could get gas for 25 cents a gallon!
Our gas prices are on the rise; my husband believes they will reach 5-6 dollars a gallon (with government green energy agendas). Most people pump their own gas today. I wonder how many would say ‘Fill-er-up’ where full service is available.
In the good old days customers frequently got their tanks full. All the windows were washed. Attendants even checked the water in the battery and air in the tires. Before leaving, satisfied customers checked their fuel gauge. The tank was full.
God offers us full and meaningful lives.
“[I pray that] you, being rooted and firmly established in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and width, height and depth, and to know the Messiah’s love that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of God (Ephesians 3:17b-19 HCSB).”