"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25

"Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word makes him glad." -Proverbs 12:25
Midnight Blue (1963): Jazz guitarist Kenny Burrell featuring Stanley Turrentine on tenor saxophone, Major Holley on double bass, Bill English on drums and Ray Barretto on conga. Midnight Blue is one of Burrell’s best-known works for Blue Note Records. In 2005, NPR included the album in its "Basic Jazz Library", describing it as "one of the great jazzy blues records".

He said, She said...

"You are not designed for everyone to like you - Wise Man Phil

FRAGILE: Sting, Yo Yo Ma, Dominic Miller & Chris Botti

Thursday, December 20, 2012

A Christmas Story: Facts & Insights

Share: to receive or contribute a portion of: we can share the cost of the petrol; six people shared in the inheritance

Below is an email I received from a man that I deeply respect and admire. Paul is a giver, not a taker, and all that he does is centered around the needs of those around him. As I said, I deeply respect him and admire him. Below are his words concerning Christmas and who Jesus Christ was, is, and will always be.

 Charlie Brown video it!

A Christmas Story: Facts & Insight

As we approach Christmas, it may be helpful to review the accounts of Jesus' birth in the early chapters of Matthew and Luke -- and not depend solely on Linus and Charlie Brown.

Joseph was engaged to Mary when she became pregnant without losing her virginity per Luke 1:31-37, and also to fulfill the Old Testament prophecy in Isaiah 7:14.  Joseph was disturbed by this unconventional pregnancy and planned to "divorce her quietly" per Matthew 1:19. An angel set Joseph straight in a dream.

Joseph and Mary lived in Nazareth, but the Roman Emperor, Caesar Augustus, declared that a census would be taken the year Jesus was born.  Therefore, the Jews of occupied Rome were required to return to the town of their ancestors.  Since Joseph's (and Mary's) ancestry could be traced back to King David, they were required to travel to Bethlehem, the City of David.  

Of course, Mary was 8+ months pregnant at this time, and probably not real excited about a 70 mile journey, which probably took 3 days.  Most interesting how God uses a secular event (the Roman decree for a census) to fulfill the prophecy from Micah 5:2 which states that the Messiah would be born in Bethlehem.  

The prophecy was written around 700 BC!

Of course, there was no room in the inn, so Jesus was born in a stable amidst the smell of animal excrement, and he was placed in a "manger" or feeding trough, and covered in strips of cloth -- most likely Mary's undergarments.  

Rather unsanitary conditions for a birth -- even by 1st century standards.

" herefore the Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will conceive and give birth to a son, and will call him Immanuel."  - Isaiah 7:14

And who gets the scoop on the birth of the Messiah?  Shepherds!  Pretty much the lowly working class of the day.  The shepherds were there the night Jesus was born, since the angels appeared to them in fields near the manger per Luke 2:8. Angels appearing to humans does not happen very often, but since this is THE DEFINING MOMENT IN EARTH'S HISTORY, a bunch of angels appear to the shepherds to announce Jesus' birth.  An absolutely mind-blowing event -- an incredible intersection of the spirit and human world!!!  

Notice the succinct statement the angel of God made to the shepherds in Luke 2:10-11 -- "Do not be afraid (which was a good opener since the appearance of angels can freak out anyone) I bring you GOOD NEWS of GREAT JOY for ALL PEOPLE. TODAY in the CITY OF DAVID a SAVIOR has been born; He is CHRIST the LORD." Focus separately on each of the words in ALL CAPS, and consider the impact of each phrase. In particular, I am frequently reminded that Jesus is indeed the LORD -- the rightful ruler of every aspect of my life.

He is the reason for the season...

btw, get those kings out of your nativity scene at home. They were not there the night Jesus was born, but came perhaps 6-18 months later per Matthew 2 and visited Joseph, Mary and Jesus in a house at that time.

And of course, the humble circumstances of Christ's birth ... and His life, His ministry and His death -- all according to God's plan, AND according to the Old Testament prophecies. Who would ever devise a plan the way God did? Jesus was born as an apparently illegitimate child to an unmarried couple who were obscure members of a small nation on the outskirts of the Roman Empire. He lived in such obscurity that apart from the New Testament we know very little about him (although the Roman and Jewish historical references corroborate the New Testament). 

His brief three-year public ministry ended apparently in complete failure: rejected by his people, betrayed by one of his disciples, deserted by the rest, condemned by Rome, and apparently snuffed out in the most humiliating and painful form of execution.

 " Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord.
- Luke 2:11 

 After Jesus' resurrection, His disciples claimed he was the Messiah foretold by the prophets and raised from the dead. But the disciples were hardly the kind of people you would expect to start a worldwide movement. They were blue-collar workers who came from the wrong part of Israel and had no formal education, no military might, no political clout. This movement should have evaporated quickly with little consequence on human history.  

But God orchestrated all of it.  

He sent the Holy Spirit to the bumbling, dense Disciples and they became the Apostles in the early church.  Interestingly, in Acts 5:12-42 there is an excellent account of the early beginnings of the church.

“But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, though you are small among the clans of Judah, out of you will come for me one who will be ruler over Israel, whose origins are from of old,  from ancient times.”
- Micah 5:2 

Anyway, like the tiny mustard seed that becomes the largest plant in the garden, Jesus correctly predicted that His church will become very large and far-reaching in its influence.

Take time to study the nuances that are typically overlooked in the "Christmas story" in Luke 2 and also Matthew 1. 

Share it with your loved ones. - Paul Boyer


sbb 19.12.12


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