Friday, December 23, 2016

Bethlehem Revisited

God promised the Savior's virgin birth after mankind's first sin in the Garden of Eden.  Genesis 3;15
Hundreds of years later the prophet Micah foretold the birth of Christ in the small town of Bethlehem:
Micah 5"2 
"But you Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old, from ancient times." 
Because of the crowds that had come to Bethlehem, there was no room at the inn for Mary and Joseph. Luke 2:7-12 " Mary wrapped Him in cloths and laid Him in a manger.  Later that night shepherds from nearby fields found Him just as the angels told them they would. "
So why was Jesus born in a manger where animals were kept?  He was born in meekness as one of us.   He is available to any of us.  King of Kings and Lord of Lords first bed was a manger. 
"And the word was made flesh."
  John 1:14 
"He who believes in Me, as the scripture said, From his innermost being will flow rivers of living water. "  John 7 38  The fountain of wisdom is a bubbling brook.  Therefore you will joyously draw water from the springs of salvation  Isaiah 12:3

The real Christmas story is God became a human being in the person of Jesus Christ. Why is Christmas necessary?  Because we need a savior to save us from our sins.  
John 3:16-17 says, "For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.  For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."
The true meaning of Christmas is the celebration of this incredible act of love.  Jesus took the punishment for our sins.  Romans 5:8  "God demonstrated His own love for us in this:while we were still sinners, Christ died for us." 
We remember his birth by giving gifts each year.   God gave us the gift of love, free from condemnation, through His Son Jesus.  The town of Waxahachie celebrates each year the miraculous birth of Jesus by revisting the town Bethlehem.   

Isaiah 9: " For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given
and the government will be on his shoulders.
And he will be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace"
A friend made this plaque for me this Christmas.  I have it in a special place to remind me of who Jesus is.   This scripture is found in the Old Testament as a prophecy to the birth of Jesus.
Joy to the world the Lord is come!
Let earth receive her King.
Let every heart prepare Him room
And heaven and nature sing.
Joy to the earth, the Savior reigns!
Let men their songs employ,
While fields and floods, rocks, hills, and plains
Repeat the sounding joy.
No more let sins and sorrows grow 
Nor thorns infest the ground;

He comes to make His blessings flow
Far as the curse if found
He rules the world with truth and grace
And makes the nations prove

The glories of His righteousness
And wonders of His love
Author Isaac Watts in 1719

Thursday, December 15, 2016

Happy 95th Birthday Mom

We celebrated my mom's 95th Birthday with cake, party hats and precious birthday cards from my first grade class.  I explained to my students my mom was in a special place for people with Alzheimer's.

"What's that Ms. Kent?"

 I explained it is a disease that slows thinking skills and memory.
When I visit my mom she will repeat herself.  But you have to be patient because she can't help it.
We are lucky because she still remembers us.

 She says to my sons Alex and Michael.

" It makes me so happy to see your face.  I love you."

We brought Happy Birthday Balloons and a special Christmas sweater.

"I like that."  as she holds the sweater to her chest.

She opened the special hand made cards created with six year old minds and loved the colorful pictures.

"Oh she likes my pink kitchen."  as she pointed to the picture of her favorite color pink.

She loved her special Christmas tree decorated with reindeer's made with googly eyes.  The red and white candy canes look like Rudolph with pipe cleaners for antlers.  I think it was the same craft my mom taught us to make when she was Room Mother for our class.

She placed the special hand made birthday cards in her memory box.  The same box she holds other letters from her friend Jack.  Old meets youth when she looks at each drawing of stars and Christmas trees.  Sometimes she would stop and say my back hurts.  It's hard when your bones are 95 years old.
We all sang Happy Birthday in the dining hall.  Friends sat at our table as we ate delicious butter cream white cake my brother had brought.

 I am grateful to all of the staff who cares for her.  It is not an easy task but they do it with love and grace.  Thank you to my first grade students who so joyfully made the cards and candy cane reindeer.  It made her birthday more glorious.   Happy Birthday Mom!!!  You are the best Mom ever.