Monday, December 23, 2013

A Perfect Present and thoughts from Martin Luther

So my "unexpected" today was this wonderful, oh so cute, little Nativity shadowbox.  I received this gift from a sweet gal that I work with.  She said that when she saw it, she thought of me and that I would like it.  What an amazing gift!  I loved that she already knows me so well!  I loved that she thought of me!  I loved that she picked the perfect present for me.  Isn't it true that nothing tops a great present!  Especially an unexpected present!
Which brings me to the thought on my mind today.   How thankful I am for the books and writings that remind me about the events of the first Christmas.  Today I was reading from Martin Luther's Christmas Book.  After talking about the likelihood that Mary had WALKED all the way to Bethlehem..... yes WALKED the three DAY walk!  While so close to having her baby.  Luther then supposes that Joseph had thought that they would have relatives in Bethlehem who would take them in.  Yet when they arrived, they were treated as the lowest and most despised.  They were shown to the stable.  Luther says (of Bethlehem) ..

 "They did not recognize what God was doing in that stable. With all their eating, drinking and finery, God left them empty, and this comfort and treasure was hidden from them. Oh, what a dark night it was in Bethlehem that this light should not be seen. Thus God shows that he has no regard for what the world is and has and does.  And the world shows that it does not know or consider what God is and has and does."

I was thinking of how "secular" Christmas has become around us.  There is more Santa than Jesus and more getting than giving.  In so many ways it seems like we are living like Bethlehem.  Instead of welcoming Jesus into our homes and our hearts, we simply leave him out in the cold.  I am so thankful that my family heritage included passing on a faith and belief in Jesus. And I am so thankful that my grandchildren are hearing and learning about Jesus in their home, church and school.  Over the next couple of days of celebrating Christmas, I will be seeking to welcome Jesus into my heart and home and making sure that I do not leave Him out!

Jesus, thank you for the reminders you give to us to keep our eyes on you!  Help us to open our hearts and homes to your light and life.  Holy Spirit, open our eyes so that we can see with greater clarity those around us who need to be welcomed.  Give us a greater measure of your love so that we can share it with the world.  Jesus, help us to be your light to the world.  Thank you for Jackie and this wonderful, unexpected gift!  Amen

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