A love story

Precious
Precious

Mary “carried a secret in her soul, holier, greater, and more thrilling than any ever born before or since,” (82) and so needed companionship with someone she could confide.

She was instructed by the angel to visit cousin her Elisabeth and her husband Zacharias, for three months.

But it came time to face her condition and explain to Joseph, who she was betrothed to,  the secret, not knowing how he would take it.  She knew a vow of betrothal, in these days, was “in some respects as binding as the marriage vow.” (84) Would Joseph believe her? Would he annul the agreement between them? She must have been frightened and heart sick.

An annulment to the betrothal could be done in 2 ways: 1. By public trial and judgement. 2. Private agreement but signed by witnesses of the separation.

What crossed through Joseph’s mind when Mary explained the news of her condition? He loved her and she him.

What would he do, his heart must have been broken!

Thankfully he did not have to make that choice. When, “behold, the angel of the Lord appeared unto him in a dream…”(Matthew 1:20-21) He was given his answer and he hastened the marriage, not only to gain full legal right as her lawful guardian, but to protect Mary.

They were happily wed.

The little baby, Jesus came to a loving family.

But Joseph knew her not till she had brought forth her first born son.

Precious…

Talmudge, J. E . Jesus The  Christ. Salt Lake City: 1981

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little donkey

Trusted friend
Trusted friend

I can picture a scene.

Joseph rubbing your soft fur

on the tip of your ears as you chew the grain,

explaining what you must do.

You are still–but you twitch.

Joseph carefully lifts sweet Mary

on your back and packs around her.

You are still, as you feel her small hand run through your wiry coat.

You follow your master,

quietly,

carefully–

one foot in front of the other.

The rhythm of the long journey

to Bethlehem.

Dusty

Dry

Rest finally comes

in the night.

Fresh water

Grain.

Your warmth is used again,

as a pillow

to prop up Mary,

who will be come a mother…

soon.

You are still, you close your eyes

and breath as Mary breathes.

The rhythm of the long journey

called birth.

anguish

solitary

A baby cries out…

He has come!

The Shepherd

The Master.

The Savior of the world!

You are still,

but you know

and rejoice–

then finally sleep.

Tomorrow your master calls for you.

And you will be ready.

 

Joseph

Joseph
Joseph

 

Who are you Joseph?

God trusted you,

the simple carpenter,

to watch over

and

care

for the

Savior of the world?

You stand in the shadows

of the stories

only doing what is asked of you–

quiet.

You do not get any fame’;

barely recognition

in the eyes of mankind.

But God

knew who you were.

Kind

Stable

Protective

Hard Working.

You were perfect

to help HIM

carry out the

eternal plan.

You,

Joseph.

The one

who was always

there for

Mary

and

Jesus

and

always

listening to God.

 

Naughty or Nice

Happy Dec. 16

 Keeping Christ in Christmas in bits and pieces:

 Song to hum today: “You better be good for goodness sake..”

Santa Claus is Coming to Town

by Fred Coots and Haven Gillespie

Application:   “Naughty and Nice”  Light a little candle at the dinner table tonight and discuss what you saw today that was “naughty” and what was “nice.” (Emphasis on the nice!)

The “Do over.”

 If you catch someone doing something grouchy, or  naughty, or  angry, or sad…say “Do Over!” 

And give them a chance to “do it over!”

 Even Grown ups need “do overs!”

 “You better be good for goodness sake… or at least try…”

 For Behold, the Spirit of Christ is given to every man, that he may know good from evil: wherefore I show unto you the way to judge: for every thing which inviteth to do good, and to persuade to believe in Christ, is sent forth by the power and gift of Christ, wherefore ye may know with a perfect knowledge it is of God.

Moroni 7:16

REST

Happy Dec. 15, 2013

Keeping Christ in Christmas in bits and pieces

 A tune to hum: “Oh rest beside the weary road…”

It Came Upon a Midnight’s Clear  By Richard S. Willis 1851

 Did Jesus Christ ever rest?

 The same day went Jesus out of the house, and sat by the sea side.

Matt. 13:1 

Do you ever feel exhausted at Christmas time? 

 Are you tired? 

Weary? 

Is something in your life

creating you to feel

weighted down and burdened?

 Today is the day of rest. 

Can you allow yourself to rest?

It is something that I have a hard time doing.

Rest is important to our souls

Come…rest!

Come unto me all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.

Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart:

 and ye shall find rest unto your souls.

Matt. 11:28-29

Secret Code Hidden in a Nonsensical Christmas Song

Sometimes I worry

the way our country is headed,

worshiping as Christians

and teaching our children

is not only getting harder and harder,

but heading to scary territory.

What would we do if we were forbidden to practice our faith and if we did would be arrested and tried for breaking the law, perhaps murdered for it. This post is about the writing of a Christmas carol which was done in code to protect the message given, as well as the receivers. 

It sounds a little bit like our time is headed there, as we have to take down public crosses or nativities and not use the word “Christmas.” God is what makes our country the way it is! I worry we are being forced to put him aside, even though He and His values is what makes this country what it is.

This is what happened in the 16th century and was the reason for the song The Twelve Days of Christmas. This was not a silly, novelty song with nonsensical lyrics. This was written as a secret message to Christian people (Catholics) when they were forbidden to worship, and went “underground” to hold secret masses, and hide the signs of their faith. They wanted to teach a message, specifically to the children, but if anything were written, it could cost the lives of the writer, so they invented a song which seemed to be fun, and nonsensical, and place deep messages of faith which would be hidden from the law, but taught to the children. They based it on an illogical love of bearing gifts, yet nothing could have been further than the truth. The gifts were the code.

Here is the message broken after all these years:

 Every child was taught that only pure and true love comes from God. So from the beginning of the The Twelve Days of Christmas the song was based on heavenly love, not really about a boy’s crush on a girl. That was the cover.

1. The importance of Christ’s death and resurrection was the anchor to the faith–and so with each new verse this thought is repeated over and over. The partridge in a pear tree represents courage and devotion above what man ever showed on earth. A mother partridge lures enemies away from her defenseless chicks in order to protect them. Just as she sacrifices her own life for her children, so did Christ for us. The pear tree symbolizes the cross and together this first gift represents the ultimate gift given by the babe  born on Christmas Day.

2. The second gift, 2 turtle doves stood to represent the Old and New Testament of the Bible together. Doves are symbols of truth and peace, and reinforced the tie to Christ and  Christmas.

3. The third gift, 3 French hens, for the times represented a very lavish meal presented before a king. No one but the royal ate French hens during this time. So the three lavish gifts represent the three gifts to the baby Jesus from the wise men; gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

4. The fourth gift, 4 calling birds stood as the  authors of the Gospels that trumpeted the story of Jesus Christ and told about his life and ministry from birth to death. In a very real sense, the 4 calling birds names are Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

5. The five golden rings stood for the five books of the Old testament, also known as the “law of Moses” and Jews refer to as the “Torah.” These gifts remind the singer of not only man’s fall from grace due to sin, but the fact that a Savior would come to offer salvation and a path back to God.

6. The sixth gift, 6 geese a-laying might seem comical but for the people during the time of fruition, understood and felt it was completely logical. The Lord made the world in six days. The eggs are the symbol for new life and creation, so the geese laying eggs presented the world the story of  God’s hand in the creation of life.

7. The seventh gift, 7 swans a-swimming, seemed a mystery. But for English life, swans were considered the most graceful and beautiful fowl. The seven gifts were the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit mentioned in Romans 12:6-8. These gifts were prophecy, service, teaching, encouraging, giving, leadership, and mercy–and when you walked with God, the gifts of the spirit moved in your life as easily as a calm swan on water.

8. The eighth gift, 8 maids a-milking represents the common man whom Christ had come to serve and save. No job in England, at this time, was lower than working with cattle or in a barn. For a female servant to be used in this was indicated that she was of little worth to her master. Yet, Christ, served people without the regard to status, race, sex, or creed. The number 8 also represented the beatitudes listed in Matthew 5:3-10. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the hungry, the merciful, the pure in heart, the peacemaker, and the righteous.

9. The ninth gift, nine ladies dancing teaches the real true joy in serving Christ and the image of ladies dancing shows this picture. The 9 fruits of the spirit are love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self control.

10. The tenth gift, ten Lord’s a-leaping, represent the 10 Commandments. Since a Lord was supposed to be a just and honorable man and the final voice of law in his domain, it is understandable why ten lords were chosen to represent  God’s ten laws he gave His people.

11. The eleventh gift, eleven pipers piping, represents the 11 apostles who embraced Christ and his message of salvation and took the message out to the world. Remember one of the apostles betrayed Him, so he is not included in sending out the glad message.

12. The twelfth gift, twelve drummers drumming represent a confessional that Catholic’s called, at this time, “The apostles creed” which contained a dozen different elements about their belief of Jesus Christ.  The drum was “probably”  used as a symbol of peace and rhythmic is learning the creed.

Today, four hundred years later, this song is still sung as a merry Christmas tune, with no thought of the real meaning behind the words. I didn’t know! But for the people of the time, this was a matter of spiritual life and death, and it was important enough for them to keep Christ in their hearts and to continue through generations.

I am not Catholic. I am a Mormon. But this is why I choose to be brave and mention Jesus Christ in my blog posts.  I feel nervous to do so. My devotion and faith is very private and precious to my heart and soul. But I am finding that there are all different types of Christians out there who believe in Jesus Christ just as strongly as I do, and that even if the names of our faiths differ, we can stand together and be a force for defending God, religion and freedom, just as the people did in the sixth century if we have to!

Thank you writers of “The Twelve Days of Christmas” and for all others who have stood up for Jesus Christ! I hope I am counted in that group!

Ace Collin. Stories Behind the Best Loved Songs of Christmas. Michigan. Zondervan, 2001 pp. 169-175

the first gift

Dec. 13th

A tune to hum:  Away in a Manger

And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger…Luke 2:7

Quietly, go put some clean towels or light blankets in the dryer.  Get them nice and toasty, (about 15 minutes). Take them out and walk around your home and start wrapping your kids, your sweetheart, or yourself in nice soft warm dryer towel or blanket.  When they ask “Hey what is this for….?”  “Tell them,  “This was the first gift of Christmas…wrapped up in warmth and love.