An Advent Journey with Mary

The Christ Candle

As we light our final candle tonight, who better to tell us about her Son, than Mary herself ~

The Christ

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Everything about my Jesus was miraculous. Shortly after his birth visitors began to come. First shepherds, who had been heralded by angels, declaring his birth came to see him for themselves.  They left declaring all that they had seen.

We had such a wonderful greeting from Simeon and Anna at the temple, as we came to offer our first fruit to the Lord. They knew who we were, they said they had been fasting, praying and believing for the Messiah to come. And Jesus was He, just as the Lord has said.

I have always remembered, the words Simeon said to me, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him.  As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.”

His words were unsettling to me. What had he meant when he had said, a sword would pierce my own soul?

Oh how I loved my son, I held him close, nursed him, cared for him. We enjoyed every milestone, his first smile and coo, then crawling, his first words and finally Jesus took his first steps.

It was about that time there was a knock on the door. Three Kings from afar stood before us. They said they had followed a star in the sky that they were searching for the promised Messiah. With gifts in hand they came to worship the new King.

The first knelt down with a gift of gold for a King

The second, bowed low with a his gift of frankincense for a Priest

The third stood before our little son with his gift of myrrh for the Sacrifice.

Myrrh, what a strange gift to give a baby, I thought to myself. Like many other moments since Gabrielle’s visit. I tucked all of these thoughts deep into my heart. One by one I would recall them.

We longed to go home to Nazareth, but Joseph was warned in a dream that it was not safe, that we should take a detour to Egypt. It was difficult being so far from home with a new baby to care for. Finally, it was time to journey home.

Once at home with family and friends we settled into normal life. More children came and our family grew

I can only think of one time that Jesus gave us a fright. We had gone on our annual journey to the temple, for the Passover festival. As we returned home we realized that Jesus was not with us. We turned back and found him sitting among the teachers in the temple.

We did not know what to think. “Son why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been frantic, searching for you everywhere.” I cried.

“But why did you need to search?” he asked. “Didn’t you know that I must be in my Father’s house?” We didn’t understand what he meant that day, but we would.

I felt a slight twinge in my heart as I stored that memory in my heart with the many others.

We gathered him up and brought him home to Nazareth and he was always obedient to us. Jesus grew in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and all the people.

Jesus grew from a boy to a man. He was a skilled carpenter, but soon he would be called to something else. His life mission I would call it.

I was present the night it began.  We were at a wedding, the wine skins were empty. I called for Jesus, “Jesus, these wine skins are empty.” 

Jesus looked at me intently and said this words, “Woman, it is not yet my time.” 

Did my son just call me woman?  There it was again that pricking pain in my heart.  I simply said tot he servants, “Do whatever he asks,”  and I walked away.

That night would be the beginning of the miracles.  Jesus turned the water into wine, not the wine served at the end of the wedding feast, the best wine served at the beginning.

I watched as Jesus laid his hands upon the sick and they were made well.

As he took the hands of the lame and they stood up and walked.

He touched the blind and they would see, the deaf and they would hear.

Demons scampered from their human hosts at his command.

I sat in the backround listening as he taught the people and as the crowds gathered and grew.

I watched as people loved and adored him and listened intently as the whispering and the threats came form those who would hate him.

I would remember the words of Simeon as the piercing of my soul began…

He was arrested and  taken to prison in chains.

As he was beaten and tortured almost beyond recognition.

As he was mocked and spit upon, his beard plucked from his face.

Just when I thought I could bare no more…

A crown of thorns was pressed deep into his skull until blood began to trickle down his swollen face.

I watched as his blood soaked body shake with pain as he carried his cross, my cross, your cross through the streets and up the mountain.

I stood there as nails pierced his hands and his feet, as they nailed him to his cross.

With each strike of the hammer, my heart felt as if it would burst with pain.

All I could do was stand there as the sword of grief slashed at my heart, watching my dear son struggle for each breath.

Even in his last breaths, he still had love and concern for me and said these words to John and I, “Woman, behold your son!”  Then He said to the disciple, “Behold your mother!” And from that hour John took me into his own home.

Then my Jesus took his last breath, with these words he gave up his spirit, “It is finished!”

I found myself holding my son in my arms once again.  I cleaned his body, wiping away the blood, just as I had done after his birth.

I began to wrap him for burial, just as I had swaddled him as a baby.  As I reached for the burial spices, I remembered the third King kneeling before Jesus giving his gift of Myrrh, Myrrh for the sacrifice.

My son was the sacrifice for all, even for me.

My Son had become my Savior

I was merely the one who was honored to wrap God’s Gift to all man-kind, once at his birth and once at his death.

The grave would not hold my son, for in three days his wrappings would fall away and He would rise again!  Defeating death and the grave not only for himself, but for all who would call him – Savior.

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Merry, Merry Christmas dear friends – May you see and celebrate our Savior this day !

 

 

 

An Advent Journey with Mary

Love

We all think we know love, we have felt romantic love, maternal love, family love.  This love that was coming was would be perfect, flawless, agape love.  It would be a feast of love for all man kind.  If we allow it, it can overtake us and flow through us.

The Agape Love of  Jesus.  His birth, his life, his death and  his resurrection poured out love.

Mary is about to feel one of the strongest facets of love a human can feel, a love for her child.  She wouldn’t know it or understand it until it happened.

The moment baby Jesus took his first breath, let out his first cry and then nestled close to nurse from his mama, would change the way Mary loved for always.

Even the love for mother and child does not compare.  It would be Jesus who would show Mary and the rest of creation what true agape love would look and feel like.

This kind of love can be heart piercing.  Have you ever loved someone so much, it hurts.  That is a glimpse of Jesus Love.

Jesus was born and the whole world was rejoicing.  As was custom Mary and Joseph took their little bundle of joy to the Temple to present their first fruit, their first born, God’s first born son – to God.

There were two waiting for them. They had been waiting long, but their faith had endured and their reward was coming in the form of a tiny babe.

Simeon a man who was just before God and who was waiting, waiting for a promise to pass.  The promise given to him by Holy Spirit, that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ.

Anna an old woman who had been widowed, she had only had seven brief years as a married woman. From then on, she would spend her days and nights in God’s Temple, praying, fasting and waiting.

The moment they laid eyes on this couple carrying a baby along with two turtledoves they knew.

They knew because they had been listening, praying and believing.

Both rejoiced and gave thanks to God and Simeon said these words as he held the long awaited baby Jesus in his arms and blessed God-

“Sovereign Lord, now let your servant die in peace,
    as you have promised.
 I have seen your salvation,
     which you have prepared for all people.
 He is a light to reveal God to the nations,
    and he is the glory of your people Israel!”

 Jesus’ parents were amazed at what was being said about him.  Then Simeon blessed them, and he said to Mary, the baby’s mother, “This child is destined to cause many in Israel to fall, but he will be a joy to many others. He has been sent as a sign from God, but many will oppose him. As a result, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your very soul.” Luke 2: 28-35

In order for our salvation to come, God sent a Light, a Glorious Light.  Many would fall because he would reveal Truth and many would rejoice.

He was the sign of God’s Love, though many would oppose him.  Our hearts would be laid bare because of him.

Mary would see it all, feel it all.  She would get a glimpse of Jesus Love, Agape Love.  Her heart, her very soul would feel as if it were being pierced by a sword as Jesus’ life mission walked out before her eyes.

I wonder how often these words of Simeon would came back to her?

Love

As we light our Love Candle tonight let’s think about this Love, this Jesus Love, the kind of love that pierces hearts and souls.  That is the love that Jesus has brought to us, a love so deep, so wide, so sacrificial that its only result is salvation for all man-kind.  Agape Love 

Next week we are going to gather with family and friends.  Due to sin, mistakes and hurt feelings that fill this broken world we may find this very difficult, almost impossible.  This is not a love we can drum up on our own, but when we let Jesus Love move through us, all things are possible.

Let’s Live the Love ! 

An Advent Journey with Mary

An Advent Journey

I am so excited for this Series!

Year after year I have found myself swallowed by my to do list, my grocery list and my gift list.   Christmas Eve and Christmas Day would bear down upon me and I would feel a great sadness overwhelm me.  Christmas cheer was nowhere to be found and  I had failed yet again to celebrate Jesus  the way I really wanted to. I am determined that this year will be different. Continue reading “An Advent Journey”

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Pricilla – Spreading the Seeds of the Gospel

Pricilla was a mover and a shaker and there wasn’t much dust that was settling under her feet.  She is mentioned with her husband Aquila, even their names make a great match.  They shared in everything, their business as tentmakers, their faithful friendship with Paul and eventually their passion for sharing the Gospel of Jesus. Continue reading “Pricilla – Spreading the Seeds of the Gospel”