Christmas

Ring the Bells

Let the joy of Christmas touch your soul, whether in the peal of bells, the chorus of songs, or the quiet of your heart. There’s plenty to celebrate: Jesus is born!

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The world is filled with the sounds of Christmas. If you listen with your outer ears, you will hear carols, bells, and laughter, and now and then a sob of loneliness. If you listen with the inner ear, you will hear the sound of angels’ wings, the hush of inner expectation, and the sacred sound of the deepest silence, the vibrant whisper of the eternal Word.

Christmas Charades

In charades, the player acts silently while the audience guesses “who” he or she is meant to be. The players in the first Christmas might have appeared like this:

A Christmas Carol

What comes to mind when you think of Christmas? Perhaps gifts, evergreen trees, lights, holly, good food, the birth of the Christ Child, the coming new year, the end of the old, and probably for many, A Christmas Carol.

The well-known tale of the bad-tempered, miserly Scrooge has been often retold through the many years since its first publication by Charles Dickens in 1843.1 To many, the story has become a symbol of Christmas; yet while most of us are familiar with the hardheartedness, stinginess, and greed of the main character, Ebenezer Scrooge, how often do we apply the story’s lessons to our own lives?

A Very Personal Dilemma

The world in which Joseph and Mary, Jesus’ earthly parents, grew up was substantially different from our world today, and they were probably still very young when they were betrothed. In ancient Israel, a couple became betrothed when the man gave the woman either a letter or a piece of money, no matter how small, directly or through a messenger. It was also required that he expressly state, before witnesses, that he intended to make the woman his wife. At the time of the betrothal, the marriage contract was written and agreed upon. Once the woman was betrothed, she was legally considered the man’s wife.

Be an Angel

There is no greater joy nor greater reward than to make a fundamental difference in someone’s life.
—Sister Mary Rose McGeady (1928–2012)

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We should make the Yuletide season an occasion not merely for the giving of material things but an occasion for the giving of that which counts infinitely more … the giving of self.
—J. C. Penney (1875–1971)

Candlelight

Remembrance, like a candle, burns brightest at Christmastime.—Charles Dickens (1812–1870)

I light this advent candle in ANTICIPATION…
The fact that we don’t know the exact date of Jesus’ birth doesn’t matter; what counts is that He was born. Amidst all our busy activities, let us pause to think about the Savior who lived, died, and rose again for our sake.1

Gift Exchange

The first Christmas was all for you. It was My Father’s gift of love to the world, but it was also His gift to you specifically. And it was a “gift that keeps on giving.”

For those who witnessed it firsthand—the star, the choir of angels, the baby in the manger—it was an unexpected and overwhelming spiritual experience. For the blessed few who recognized that baby as their Messiah, it was a dream come true. For them and the many millions since who have likewise believed, it has been the door to eternal life. And it’s the same today. If you celebrate Christmas in spirit and truth, the same wonder, the same promise, and the same unspeakable joy can all be yours.

Musings on the Magi

One part of the Nativity story that has held particular fascination for me is the visit of the wise men.

Matthew is the only Gospel that mentions these mysterious men that are sometimes called the magi, and he gives only scant details.

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