Friday, December 25, 2020

Amazing Gift

John 1:1-4: In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made. In him was life, and that life was the light of all mankind.


Verse 14 The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.


Jesus, you are God everlasting, all powerful and all holy. And you loved us so much you endured the lowliness and filth and cruelty of humankind for us. You became flesh, one of us, so you could understand our shame and pain and take our punishment.


Lord, I cannot understand this kind of love, but I believe it. Thank you, God. 

Friday, December 18, 2020

A Favorite Story

Luke 2:1-20. This is often the passage my family reads before Christmas dinner.


Verse 4-7: 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 went 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 guest room available for them.


How many times have I heard this story? And it still makes me teary. A simple couple. A precious baby. Birth in a stable.


Verse 8-9: And there were shepherds living out 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.


Oh, surely terrified. I cannot begin to imagine.


Verse 10-11: But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.


Did the shepherds have any real idea what all this meant? But they believed, and they went to see the young family, and they began to spread the good news.


Verse 14: “Glory to God in the highest heaven, and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”


Praise you, Lord! Thank you. 

Friday, December 11, 2020

Sweet Memories, With All Five Kids Now

November 8, 1997: Murray was getting ready to go somewhere with Caleb and Rebecca, who were playing with Legos on the dining room table. When Murray said, "Okay, let's go," Caleb looked reluctant to leave his building. Sarah tried to be helpful, and told Caleb, "I'll play with that for you."


November 19, 1997: Kathy was cooing and gooing to little Benjamin. Caleb told her, "Other moms don't talk like that to their babies."


November 21, 1997: While searching for a space in the parking lot at the grocery store, Sarah unbuckled her seatbelt and stood up. "Go slow, because you don't want me to get killed."


November 22, 1997: Last night Sarah hugged me tight and said, "I heart you so much!"


On the way home from the public library today, Sarah repeatedly yelled out the car window, "Hello, partner!"


November 24, 1997: At supper tonight, Caleb asked, "What if my school was built out of onions?"


November 29, 1997: Murray and the kids were getting ready to go out this evening, and Rebecca had put on shoes but no socks. Murray yelled in her direction as he went up the stairs, "You, if you wanna go, socks." While he took off his work shirt in his room, Rebecca looked in and said, "You, if you wanna go, shirt." A few minutes later, as he prepared to put on his shoes, Rebecca said, "You, if you wanna go, shoes.”


Ping-Hwei's new nickname is Boss. The other day we were calling him Boss, and he said, "Benjamin, Little Boss."


December 13, 1997: Yesterday I couldn't find my hair brush, and I asked Sarah if she knew where it was. She asked if I'd asked Daddy. I asked why he should know. She said, "He could know. Daddy knows everything."


December 22, 1997: The other day Sarah was noticing how many fingers and toes she had, five on each hand and foot. After she'd added them she said, "We have twenty things we can wiggle."


Sarah was playing with Benjamin's little musical bunny this morning, and noticing that its hands and feet and ears moved, She said, "He's moving his arms like he's praising the Lord."


Last week, Murray took the kids to see a Christmas musical. As soon as they came in the door afterwards, Sarah said, "It was fun! It was about Jesus!"


December 25, 1997: The other night we had vegetable juice to drink for supper, but for simplicity sake, we told the kids it was tomato juice. Caleb picked up his glass and said, "I smell celery." Sure enough, when Murray checked out the ingredients, one of them was celery.


Last night we went to Shoney's, and Rebecca said, looking at the sign, "In the daytime, it says Shoney's, and it's for people. At night, it says Honey's, (she had seen the "S" burned out several days before) and it's for bears."


I gave Murray a giant chocolate kiss for Christmas this morning, and Sarah said, "That's a nice gift to give your husband."


Sarah didn't give us anything for Christmas, and she was a little sorry about that. So she said, "I'll give you your present right now. Are you ready?" And she gave us a big hug.


December 29, 1997: We were marking the kids’ growths on the wall in the laundry room tonight. We showed each of them how tall they were one year ago, and two years ago. Caleb said, "Now I'm taller than myself." 

Friday, December 4, 2020

Immanuel, God With Us

Matthew 1:21-23: 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.”

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


What an amazing story we have in Matthew chapters 1 and 2—of men and angels and a star and visitors from far away and wicked rulers—to safely bring God to be with us.


First, Joseph, who would be Jesus’ adopted father, must have been so hurt when he learned Mary, his fiance, became pregnant before they were together. Yet, he was kind and did not want to publicly shame her, and when God sent an angel to explain to him the miracle of the child Mary was carrying, Joseph obeyed and took her to be his wife.


Visitors from far away believed what they’d heard about a coming king of the Jews, and they followed a star to bring them to worship him.


Herod was so outraged, he caused a disturbance for everyone in Jerusalem and brought tragedy to the families of Bethlehem.


Joseph again believed the angels sent to him and moved Mary and Jesus first to Egypt, then Nazareth, keeping the child Jesus safe.


A breath-taking story of obedience and sorrow and joy, to bring us Immanuel, God is with us, Jesus, the Lord who saves.