A Real Christmas Tree

When we were kids, we always got our Christmas tree the last day of school before Christmas, given to us by the school teachers. Every year for many years, we got a tree on Christmas Eve and left it up until New Year’s Day.

When I had my own home, I couldn’t get in the mood to decorate until Christmas Eve and I usually left my tree up until New Year’s Day. One year I even thought about turning my tree into a Valentine tree, a St Patrick’s tree, and an Easter tree, maybe even a 4th of July tree.

Of course I love a real cedar Christmas tree. I used to buy a real tree every year, usually from the fire station or grocery store. The last few years that I bought a real tree, I got a 3 or 4-foot tall Scotch pine to set on a corner table.

I love the smell of a real Christmas tree, but about 5 years ago, I was tested for allergies and discovered I am allergic to cedar trees. I should have known. It seemed like I always had a cold, with a runny nose and sneezing around Christmas time each year. When I finally gave in and bought that first 6-foot tall artificial Christmas tree, I mysteriously didn’t get sick. As much as I love a real live Christmas tree, my health comes first.

Within the Christmas story is the story of the cross. God becoming flesh through Jesus Christ, the Son of God, born of a virgin, Mary—this is the beginning, but the end of the story is Christ on the tree, the cross of Calvary, giving Himself completely for the whole world.

“Because Christ also suffered for us,…. who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” I Peter 2:21-24.

From the words of the old hymn, The Old Rugged Cross, written by George Bennard, (1873-1958) —  “So I’ll cherish the old rugged cross, till my trophies at last I lay down. I will cling to the old rugged cross, and exchange it some day for a crown.”


I’m sure all Mary wanted was to be left alone, so she could rest after the birth. She sure wasn’t ready for any company, much less strangers.  

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

An angel told Joseph, her betrothed, 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.
Then 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 of angels.

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

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



Jesus What a Precious Name

She rode into town on a donkey, nine months pregnant. Her husband hadn’t wanted to make this trip, but it was a commandment by the government that each family go to the town of their ancestry to pay taxes, and since Joseph was a descendant of David, they had to go to Bethlehem.

Bethlehem was normally a tiny town, but with the influx of taxpayers, all the inns were full. Joseph must have knocked on every door in Bethlehem trying to find a place to spend the night.

Mary knew somehow that she would have the baby tonight, even though this was her first child. Within hours of the time that Joseph found them a place to stay in the stable, Mary delivered her first-born son, the baby Jesus.

As she held him in her arms, her mind went back to the day the angel Gabriel appear to her and said, “Behold you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS. “ Luke 1:31

Jesus, what a precious name. Yet there were many men in Israel named Jesus, a common name, also called Joshua.

Jesus is the English version of the Greek word, “Iesous,” pronounced ‘ee-ay-sous’.

The Hebrew word Jesus, or Joshua means ‘Jehovah is salvation.’

Joshua in the Old Testament was a type of Jesus. He led the people of Israel, those who would follow him, over the Jordan River into the Promised Land, while Jesus led His People, those who accept Him as Savior and follow Him, into the Promised Land of salvation.

Yes, there might even have been other men named Jesus who lived in Israel, there is even one mentioned in the Bible, but there was only one Jesus who was born to a virgin Mary in Bethlehem that night, to fulfill the many prophecies of the Old Testament and the words of the angel Gabriel, the messenger angel sent from God.

There was only one Jesus who died on the cross for me and for you. It is Jesus of Nazareth, son of Mary, son of God, Emmanuel God with us, the Wonderful Counselor, the Prince of Peace, the King of Kings and Lord of Lord, Christ the Lord.




Good Meal with the Lord


The turkey is stuffed into the frig and the pumpkin bread that didn’t rise has been tossed out. We’re already wondering if we should diet between Thanksgiving and Christmas or just keep wracking up the calorie-count until New Year’s Day.

Daddy always complained, when we were getting ready to go fishing, “Why do you women always turn everything into a picnic? We’re only going fishing. Why do you women think everything revolves around food?”

All through the Bible we find stories involving a meal. Abraham entertained the 3 angels of God with a meal of beef, bread and butter, and milk to drink.

Hundreds of years later, the Israelites in Egypt were told by God to roast a lamb with bitter herbs and unleavened bread, the night of the first Passover, when God was preparing them to leave Egypt, where they were slaves. They were told to eat it all with their shoes on, ready to go at a moment’s notice.

All along the way on their journey across the wilderness on their way to the Promised Land, God provided for them, with fresh water and manna, the great heavenly food, and quail for meat. The Promised Land was described as a land that flows with milk and honey.

In the New Testament, Jesus often entertained. On two different occasions, Jesus fed thousands of people with 5 loafs of bread and 2 fish. Even the night that He was betrayed, Jesus had a banquet dinner for his 12 disciples, serving bread and wine.

Jesus told His disciples, “Do this in remembrance of me.” Luke 22:19. Jesus gave us a commandment that we should continue the practice of sharing bread and drink in His name, until He returns.

Then in Acts, after the first church was established, the disciples gathered together often.

“And they steadfastly persevered, devoting themselves constantly to the instruction and fellowship of the apostles, to the breaking of bread [including the Lord’s supper] and prayer.” Acts 2:42 AMP.

Some of the most important events in the Bible were centered around a meal.