Thursday, December 19, 2013

the true meaning of Christmas

We seem to get too wrapped up in things for ourselves, and forget what Christmas is all about.
Christmas is about Jesus.

  "In the sixth month, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nasareth, to a town in Galilee, to a virgin pleged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of David.  The virgin's name was Mary.  The angel went to her and said, 'Greetings, you who are highly favored!  the Lord is with you.'  Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be.  But hte angel said to her, 'Do not be afraid, Mary, you have found favor with God.  You will be with child and give birth to a son, and you are to give him the name Jesus.  He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High.  The Lord God will hive him the throne of his father David, and he will reigh over the house of Jacob forever; his kingdom will never end.'  'How will this be,' Mary asked the angel, 'since I am a virgin?'  The angel 
answered, 'The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you.  So the holy one to be born will be called the Son of God.  Even Elizabeth your relative is going to have a child in her old agge, and she who was said to be barren is in her sixth month.  For nothing is impossible with God.'  'I am the Lord's servent,' Mary answered.  'May it be to me as you have said.'  Then the angel left her.

At that time Mary got ready and hurried to a town in the hill country of Judea, where she entered Zachariah's home and greeted Elizabeth.  When Elizabeth heard Mary's greeting, the baby leaped in her womb, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.  In a loud voice she exclaimed, 'Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!  But why am I so favored, that the mother of my Lord should come to me?  As soon as the sound of your geeting reached my ears, the baby in my womb leaped for joy.  Blessed is she who has believed that what the Lord has said to her will be accomplished!'

And Mary said:
'My soul glorifies the Lord
and my spirit rejoicies in God my
for he as been mindful
of the humble state of his servant.
From now on all generations will call
me blessed,
for the Mighty One has done great
things for me-
holy is his name.
His merch extends to those who fear him, from generation to generation.
He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
he has scattered those who are proud 
in their inmost thoughts.
He has brought down rulers from their thrones
but has lifted up the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good
but has sent the rich away empty.
He has helped his servant Israel,
remembering to be merciful
to Abraham and his descendants
even as he said to our fathers.'

Mary stayed with Elizabeth for about three months and then returned home.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taked of the entire Roman would.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David.  He wnt there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child.  While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds livin gout in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.  An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, 'Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord.  This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.'  Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests.'
When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, 'Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.'
So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in a manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these thing and pondered theim in her heart.  the shephards returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told."
Luke 1:1-56; 2:1-20

(About two years have passed between this time)

"After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked, 'Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews?  We saw the star in the east and have come to worship him.'  When king Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him.  When he had called toghether all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born.  'In Bethlehem in Judea,' they repied, 'for this is what the prophet has written:
'But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judeah;
for out of you will come a ruler who wil be the shepard of my people Israel.'

Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the star had appeared.  He sent them to Bethlehem and said, 'Go and make a careful search for the child.  As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and wouship him.'  After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was.  When they was the star, they were overjoyed.  On coming to the house, they was the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him.  Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold and of inscense and of myrrh.  And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route.  

When they had gone, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream.  'Get up,' he said, 'take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt.  Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him.'  So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod.  And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'Out of Egypt I called my son.'"
Matthew 2:1-15

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