Preserving Life’s Memories

This Christmas when we gathered around Mother for pictures, it was probably the 50th year I have taken pictures. Then I handed Mother the camera and had her take pictures of my family and that was probably 75 years she has been taking pictures.
Mother has pictures she took when she was young, in the 1930s, of her family. They all loved to take pictures. At every family reunion, there were at least 4 people taking photos–uncle Cecil with his 8mm movie camera, and others with their Kodaks.
The first memory I have of taking pictures is using a Kodak Brownie that belonged to Mother,  so I must have absorbed that desire from her. She even took the film to have it developed and printed which made me feel so grown-up.
Of course, I have also had many photos taken by professional photographers, because some occasions just require it. I have never regretted all the money I have spent on photos.  If my house were on fire, the first thing I would save would be all my negatives and CDs with photos saved on them, full of a lifetime of memories.
I have worn out more cameras in my lifetime than most people ever own. The Polaroid camera–how exciting to see the picture develop right before our very eyes. The Kodak Hawkeye Instamatic camera in the 60s–a fraction of the cost of 35mm cameras the serious photographers owned. True point and click. The Kodak Disc camera came out in the 70s–the film was developed on a little circular card. 

When I bought my first digital camera, I was in “camera heaven.” I could take a photo and see it instantly. I could print out as many as I wanted in whatever size I wanted, delete the bad photos, and edit others.

God is saving His memories of us on heaven’s “film,” recording all the precious times we have spent with Him and His family. He has my name stored in the Lamb’s Book of Life. When life in this old world is over, all those memories will still be preserved.

Rev. 20:12 KJV “And I saw the dead, small and great, stand before God; and the books were opened: and another book was opened, which is the book of life: and the dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books, according to their works.”

Nothing can take away the memories that God has preserved.

Home For Christmas

When  we ask my ninety-two year-old mother what she wants for Christmas, she  always says, “I just want my little babies around me.”

 And now I find myself saying the very same thing when I am asked what I want for Christmas. I can’t think of a thing I want, except my family at home, gathered around my table. I love to hear them laughing and telling stories on each other or on me, like the time I got mad and said a naughty word, broke a dish in the floor, and sent the kids to their rooms.

I love it when my grown son takes a nap on my couch, and my grandson plays computer games beside me at the desk. I love it when my daughter wants to make Italian Cream Cake from scratch, an all-evening project, or asks me for my Watergate salad recipe.

To me, Christmas is all about home and family. One favorite Christmas song reminds us that we’ll be home for Christmas, but it might only be in our dreams. Everyone dreams about going home for Christmas or wishes they had a home to go to for Christmas.

The first family was formed in the garden of Eden, when God brought Adam and Eve together. Noah and his wife and children were the only family saved from the flood in the ark. Abraham and Sarah had the son of promise, Isaac, in their old age. Isaac and Rebecca had two sons, Jacob and Esau. Jacob became Israel, with his sons becoming the Israelites.

Jesus was from the family of Abraham. He was a Jew,  which means He descended from Judah or “Jew-dah”, the son of Jacob who was renamed Israel. Joseph and Mary had to go to Bethlehem, Joseph’s hometown, since he was from the family of David.

 “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.” Luke 2:4 NIV.

It was no accident that the time came for Mary to have her baby while they were in Bethlehem. God saw to it that Jesus was born in the hometown of His earthly family.

Jesus’ family had to go home for Christmas, too.

Heaven Must Have Been Lonely

Heaven must have been lonely without Jesus. For nine months, the anticipation had been building in heaven.

The angels had watched and waited, knowing Jesus was being nurtured and protected by Mary’s physical body until that moment when He would be born, as the Old Testament prophets of God had foretold hundreds of years before.

The angels must have marveled at God’s plan, for God to become man. It was beyond their comprehension.

Who would have ever believed that the Son of God, Maker of the Universe, would stoop so low as to become a human being? The Creator became the created. The Master became the slave. The Teacher became the student. God became man.

Jesus laid aside all His divine power when He willingly accepted the body of a human baby, so the results of God’s plan rested in the arms of a young girl. The destiny of the whole human race depended on a peasant girl named Mary and her husband Joseph. She nestled the Son of God in her arms and cared for him as every mother does.

All heaven rejoiced on the night Jesus was born. The plan had begun. Step one was accomplished. We know now how it all turned out. Jesus was born, lived a perfect life, died, and rose again to save the world from sin.

Luke 2:13-14, And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, goodwill toward men.”

We rejoice with the angels as we once again celebrate the birth of Jesus Christ, the Savior of the world.

Miracle of Jesus’ Birth

I’m sure all Mary wanted was to be left alone, so she could rest after the birth of her baby. She sure wasn’t ready for any company, much less strangers, but not long after she gave birth and wrapped the baby in the special clothing she had brought with her, the shepherds came looking for the baby that the angels had told them about.

Shepherds lived with their sheep night and day, never shaved, seldom bathed. They were a rude, crude bunch of men. And they were wanting to look at her baby.

Can you imagine what it must have been like for Mary, a teenager, to give birth without her mother or other women relatives, with only Joseph to help her, in the unclean surroundings of a barn? When the time came for the baby to be born, they were far from home, in Bethlehem.

The story of the miracle of Jesus’ birth has been told again and again, but it never grows old. The angel Gabriel announced it to Mary, the lowly little virgin girl, probably no more than 13 or 14 years old, telling her that the holy Child born to her would be the Son of God.

In Luke 1:31 the Angel Gabriel said that Mary would “bring forth a son and shall call His name Jesus. He shall be great and shall be called the Son of the Highest.”

An angel told Joseph, her fiance, in a dream to take Mary as his wife, because the Child she was carrying was the Son of God. That could only mean one thing to Joseph, a Jewish man–this baby would be Messiah, the Christ.

The shepherds told Mary and Joseph about the angels who had appeared to announce Jesus’ birth. In turn, Mary and Joseph had a story to tell the shepherd about angels appearing to them.

Because Mary knew this Child was Messiah, she willingly shared Jesus from the moment of His birth, even with the lowliest workmen of society in those days, the shepherds.

Baby Jesus was not hers to keep. He had come for the whole world.