Baby Jesus in the Manger



I lost baby Jesus this Christmas. I am pretty sure He was in the nativity set when I packed Him away last year, but I guess now, since the porcelain china baby-in-a-manger wasn’t there, I must has mislaid Him when I took down the Christmas tree.

Almost two years ago, during the summer,  some heavy furniture and boxes were placed in front of the shelves in our garage. Last Christmas my husband had to climb over stuff to get to my Christmas boxes, therefore we used the 3-foot pre-lit tree and I actually bought a new set of Christmas balls to decorate with and Christmas stockings.

Until 6 years ago I didn’t have a fireplace to hang the stockings from. Somewhere in the garage is a box with my hand-crocheted stockings from when the kids were very small.

So this year my nativity set is on the buffet with the 3-foot Christmas tree with a fake snow tree skirt with sparkles. There is Mary and Joseph, a sheep, and 4 wise men.

Yes, four. All of them have a gold-colored box in their hands, so they must be wise men, the kings from the East. Actually the Bible doesn’t tell us how many wise men or kings or astronomers there were in the caravan that came to Bethlehem. In fact, the Bible says they came to a house and not to the stable, so they didn’t come on the night of Jesus’ birth either.

And watching over my nativity set on the buffet with the missing baby Jesus is a crocheted angels, twice as tall as the wise men.

But no baby Jesus, so I will probably have to buy a new nativity scene next year. That one was cheap anyway and doesn’t have much sentimental meaning to me.

I don’t really need a ceramic Jesus anyway. I have Him in my heart.

The Real Christmas Story

Mary held baby Jesus in Her arms moments after His birth and looked into the eyes of God’s Son. She washed the effects of his natural childbirth from His face and wrapped Him in swaddling clothes she had brought along on her journey just for that purpose.

Jesus was born as a real, live, breathing, flesh-and-blood baby. Mary had to change His diaper. He learned to push up, then roll over, sit up, stand, then walk just like any other baby.

He went to school in the synagogue, and learned to read and write from the scribes. He faithfully attended synagogue and worshiped Jehovah God of the Israelites, the One Who was His Father. He went up with his parents to Jerusalem to sacrifice and worship when He was 12, as was the custom of that day, and discussed the Torah with the doctors of religion where He shocked them by His grasp of Biblical concepts and memory of scriptures.

Jesus was different from anyone who had been born before. He did not have the original sin of Adam residing in his body, since He was born of a virgin mother by the power of the Holy Spirit of God, with no earthly father to transfer the original sin to Him.

All other people are born with the original sin of Adam in our bodies, passed down from our fathers. At a certain point in our life, called by some the age of accountability, we recognize the difference between right and wrong, and inevitably we sin and fall just as Adam and Eve did.

Jesus laid aside all His glory in Heaven and was born on earth as a man.

Philippians 2:5 NIV, “Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made Himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness and being found in appearance as a man He humbled Himself and became obedient to death, even death on a cross.”

God became man, Jesus Christ, so that all men by His death and resurrection could be reconciled to God.

This is the real Christmas story, the greatest story ever told.

An Angel and a Young Girl

A young girl was visited by an angel of the Lord one night and told that, even though she was not married, she would conceive and give birth to a son, who would be the Son of God.

She was a simple peasant girl, probably in her early teens, raised by devout Jewish parents to believe that God’s Word is true. She was probably taught the prophecy that said, “A virgin will conceive and bring forth the Son of God,” and in her daily prayers she probably asked God to let her be the mother of Messiah. Her mother taught her to be obedient and believe the word, because when the angel told her that she would become the mother of the Son of God, she simply asked how it would happen.

There was no question in her mind that what the angel said was true. She said, “Let it be to me according to your word.” Because she agreed with the Word of God spoken by the angel, it came to pass like the angel said.

When was the last time you agreed with the Word of God? When you do, you’ll see His plan fulfilled in your life.

Christmas means music

Christmas means music to me. Our holiday has always revolved around school Christmas programs.

At school, from Thanksgiving on, we practiced for the Christmas play. Mamas made costumes for angels, shepherds, sheep. We envied the two who got to play Mary and Joseph.

We sang “Silent night, holy night, all is calm, all is bright.” We memorized the unfamiliar words, singing them over and over with our music teacher, until we could sing them in our sleep.

With no shyness,  we who loved to sing sang at the tops of our voices. The boys held nothing back, singing loudly. They were too young to know that the older boys thought singing was for “girls and sissies.”

We sang, “Over the river and through the woods, to grandmother’s house we go,” and “Rudolph, the red-nosed reindeer, had a very shiny nose,” and “I saw Mama kissing Santa Claus.”

In junior high, we enrolled in chorus class where the only boys there were the ones who could really sing or thought they could. The jocks didn’t have time for chorus. When we auditioned to find our part to sing, the chorus teacher simply placed some boys where he thought they should stand to look the best during performances. Fortunately many girls sang loudly and drowned out the few boys who couldn’t sing.

In high school, we began to sing the harder songs. “O, Holy Night,” “Little Drummer Boy,” “Gloria in Excelsis Deo,” and “Hallelujah Chorus.” We started practicing long before Thanksgiving. Our Christmas concert was the culmination of months of work. We were proud of our hard work and effort and sang with all our hearts.

Christmas really starts with the Christmas songs being played over the sound systems at our favorite store. At a time when religious displays are being removed from public places, religious music is being played constantly for nearly two full months of the year. Imagine that.

Christmas music. What better way for God to get His word into our hearts?

Singing Songs

Did you ever get a song stuck in your head? You hear it all day long, all night long. Every time your mind is in neutral, the song is playing.

This last year I have had one song stuck in my head, the song ʼTis So Sweet To Trust In Jesus. Well, not in the typical sense that every time I was not thinking about something I would hear it, but in the sense that every time I would consciously think, “song,” it was always ʼTis So Sweet.  I sang it twice in church last year acapella (voice only, no music.)

Little kids love to sing, loudly, heartily, putting their whole body, soul, and spirit into it. They just can’t stand still so they do a little dance, a little jig, as they sing. Teach a child the song Jesus Loves Me and he will know it till the day he dies.

Then they grow up and develop a taste for a certain kind of music, rejecting other styles. They might sing along with the music in the car or sing in the shower, but seldom in public. Sometimes the only opportunity some people have to sing is in a Karaoke bar, where they can sing along to a recording of the latest hit song.

 Most churches have changed their format to praise-and-worship songs, with few hymns. Many older folks wish they would sing some old familiar hymns, but the younger folks want to learn the latest-and-greatest praise songs. Some churches resolve this issue by holding two separate services, one traditional, one contemporary.

God who created us with the capability to sing put a song into our hearts. Every race on earth sings, from Africa to New Guinea to Alaska.

Ephesians 5:19 says, “Speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord.”

God’s kingdom choir can sing every style of music, from chanting psalms, gospel hymns, and songs of the Spirit of God given to us in these last days. Don’t limit yourself to only one style.