Tag Archives: Mary

Joy in a Feeding Trough

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In those days, Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world.  (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.)  And everyone went to his own town to register.  So Joseph also went up from the town of Galillee in Nazareth to Judea, to Bethlehem 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 first-born, a son.  She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby keeping watch over their flocks by night.  Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shown around them, and they were terrified.  But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid.  I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all people.  Today in the town of David, a Savior has been born to you.  This shall be a sign to you, you will find the babe wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”

Suddenly a great company of heavenly hosts appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the Highest!  And on earth, peace to those on whom his favor rests!”

When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”  So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph and the baby, who was lying in the manger.  When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them.  But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heard.  The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

(Luke 2:1-20)

There is no Grinch.  There is no Santa Claus.  There are no reindeer, no elves, no talking snowmen.  There is no tree, no wish list, no long lines at the cash registers.  There is no greed.  There is no family feuding.  There is no drunken office party.  This, and only this, is the true meaning of Christmas.  A Savior has been born to us.  We are offered a peace-child, a covenant between us and God.  Forgiveness.  “The Bread of Life” was laid in a feeding trough.  And we feast!  Now go and tell everyone what you have seen and heard!

Magnify the Good with Thankfulness

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“Something always comes to fill the empty places.  And when I give thanks for the seemingly microscopic, I make a place for God to grow within me.  This, this, makes me full, and I ‘magnify him with thanksgiving’ (Psalm 69:30 KJV), and God enters the world.  What will a life magnify?  The world’s stress cracks, the grubbiness of a day, all that is wholly wrong and terribly busted? or God?  Never is God’s omnipotence and omniscience diminutive.  God is not in need of magnifying by us so small, but the reverse.  It’s our lives that are little and we have falsely inflated self, and in thanks we decrease and the world returns right.  I say thanks and I swell with Him, and I swell the world and he stirs me, joy all afoot.”  ~One Thousand Gifts, p. 59, by Ann Voskamp

Whatever you focus on gets magnified.  Whatever you magnify, fills you.  God can not fill you if you’re already full of yourself.  Focusing on the little things and thinking of each one as a gift from God makes your life feel full of gifts.  With your hands full of gifts from God, you will feel loved by him and you won’t be able to stop praising him with your thankful heart.

“…this magnifying of the Lord is an occupation to be taken up by all Christians, do not let us think little of it.  To magnify the Lord seems to me the grandest thing we mortals do, for it is the occupation of heaven… We cannot make him really greater, but we can reflect his greatness.  We can make him appear greater.  We can make others have greater thoughts of him, and that’s we do when we are praising him… When God is praised, we have come to the ultimatum.  This is the thing for which all other things are designed.  We are to be saved for this end, for the praise of his glorious grace… Have you been during this day murmuring and complaining and grumbling?  End that, and begin praising… Let us cease from all criticism of what he does, and say, ‘My soul does not grumble.  My soul does not complain; I have taken up a better business than that.  My soul doth magnify the Lord.‘”  ~Sermon by Charles Spurgeon, Jan. 8, 1880.  Text from Luke 1:46 The Magnificat of Mary My soul doth magnify the Lord.