Jesus Emmanuel

Emmanuel-GodWithUs

Matthew 1:18-25

18 This is how the birth of Jesus the Messiah came about: His mother Mary was pledged to be married to Joseph, but before they came together, she was found to be pregnant through the Holy Spirit. 19 Because Joseph her husband was faithful to the law, and yet did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly.

20 But after he had considered this, 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. 21 She will give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus, because he will save his people from their sins.”

22 All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 23 “The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel” (which means “God with us”).

24 When Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. 25 But he did not consummate their marriage until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name Jesus.

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AnnaSmile…..

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The Perfect Christmas {repost}

Sharing a post from December 2012…

merry_christmas

The sounds of Christmas are starting earlier every year. Halloween isn’t even here yet when the stores start decorating for Christmas. And before Thanksgiving is on the horizon, Christmas music starts playing.

In fact as I sit here writing this I am listening to my own mix of Christmas music. My taste in this has changed somewhat over the years. Now I prefer instrumental music over songs with lyrics. It soothes and calms my heart and makes me feel more in touch with what I believe Christmas should really be.

Celebrating Christmas involves a host of activities. Buying—maybe making—and giving presents. Baking cookies and other holiday yummies. Christmas trees, ornaments and decorations. Singing and listening to carols. Connecting with others.

What is it about Christmas that makes us want to embrace it so completely?

There are countless magazine, ezine and other online articles showing us how to create the perfect Christmas for our families. Some magazines are even completely dedicated to the Christmas theme, filled with new or traditional recipes for cookies and other treats. They illustrate ways to decorate our homes to enhance that Christmas feeling and show us how to create to-do lists to keep track of everything that needs to be done by December 25th.

We rush around in an effort to find the best deals on gifts for friends and family. And why not? Since everything is more expensive now and our paychecks are probably not keeping up with rising prices, we need to save money wherever we can. Maybe we’ve decided to try for a more basic Christmas by making gifts and goodies. That still means we have to actually buy whatever it takes to make them. In a frenzied effort to provide our families with the perfect Christmas, we may miss the point of the whole thing.

And that is…?

Celebrating the birth of Jesus because it paved the way for us to live with Him forever in heaven.

Worshiping the One who made us and sent His Son to be born as a human being.

Thanking God for the humanness of Jesus Christ so that He experienced everything we’re going through and completely understands our joys and sorrows.

I have changed a lot over the years. When my children were young, I enjoyed all the hustle and bustle of decorating the tree and the house, baking all sorts of cookies and treats, shopping for those “perfect” gifts. I loved the excited smiles on my children’s faces as they saw the presents piled under the tree on Christmas morning and rushed to find those with their names on them.

Now I cherish more simple things this time of year: enjoying the long-standing tradition of exchanging Christmas socks with my daughter; listening to reflective Christmas music as I am right now; reading cards and notes from friends and family.

Other simple things? The look of twinkling lights. The aroma of a few cookies and quick breads baking. Hanging the stockings I crocheted on the mantel.

My Christmas trees used to drip with treasured family ornaments and colored lights. Now I put out this small but precious ceramic tree made especially for me years ago by my mother-in-law. There are also a few decorations scattered throughout the house and a wreath on the front door…

more than enough to satisfy my Christmas heart.

How about you, Beloved? Do you go all out for Christmas or have you scaled back in recent years?

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