The Christmas Story

  It's that wonderful time of the year for "The Christmas Celebration", when people around the world seem to have a special feeling of joy and kindness in their hearts. Is this just a coincidence, or is there a special reason for this reaction. I like to think that there is a "high point" in the "power of the Spirit" that touches us all during this glorious occasion. Most of us celebrate the Christmas Holiday, but their are many who do not. I believe part of the reason is that many do not understand the true meaning of the Holiday in it's entirety. Some believe it to be the birth of Christ, some believe it to be the conception of Christ, and again others call it a pagan holiday. I think if we take a deeper look into "The Christmas holiday" we will all have a better understanding and outlook. Let's begin with the basic story on the birth of Christ according to the book of "Matthew." Then we will go to the "Book of Luke" where it gives a better description of the events in detail, confirming the correct conception date and birth date of the Christ child. Let's see what the authors of these two books "Matthew" (meaning Gift of God), and "Luke" (meaning Light Giver), have to say about all the events that took place to bring about this Miraculous Conception and birth of our Lord and Savior; Emmanuel, GOD WITH US!

The story according to Matthew:

  It begins when a beautiful virgin girl named Mary was pledged to be married to a man named Joseph. But, before they came together, something miraculous happened; she was found to be with child through the "Holy Spirit." Because Joseph her husband was a righteous man and did not want to expose her to public disgrace, he had in mind to divorce her quietly. However, after he had considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said; Joseph son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary home as your wife, because what is conceived in her is from the "Holy Spirit." She will give birth to a Son, and you are to give him the name Jesus; "because he will save his people from their sins."

  All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet Isaiah: "The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel," which means, "God with us." (Isaiah 7:14). Now, when Joseph woke up, he did what the angel of the Lord had commanded him and took Mary home as his wife. But he had no union with her until she gave birth to a son. And he gave him the name "Jesus," just as the angel of the Lord had instructed him. (Matthew 1:18-25). After Jesus was born in Bethlehem in Judea, during the time of King Herod, Magi from the east came to Jerusalem and asked; "Where is the one who has been born king of the Jews? We saw a "star" (a sign), in the east and have come to worship him."

  When King Herod heard this he was disturbed, and all Jerusalem with him. When he had called together all the people's chief priests and teachers of the law, he asked them where the Christ was to be born. "In Bethlehem in Judea," they replied, "for this is what the prophet has written: "But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are by no means least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you will come a ruler who will be the shepherd of my people Israel." Then Herod called the Magi secretly and found out from them the exact time the "star" had appeared. He sent them to Bethlehem and said, "Go and make a careful search for the child. As soon as you find him, report to me, so that I too may go and worship him." After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the "star" they had seen in the east went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the "star," they were overjoyed. (They know they have arrived in the right place).

  On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, and of incense, and of myrrh. And having been warned in a dream not to go back to Herod, they returned to their country by another route. (Devine intervention by an angel of the Lord). When they had gone, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in another dream. "Get up," he said, "take the child and his mother and escape to Egypt. Stay there until I tell you, for Herod is going to search for the child to kill him." So he got up, took the child and his mother during the night and left for Egypt, where he stayed until the death of Herod. And so was fulfilled what the Lord had said through the prophets: "Out of Egypt I called my son." (Matthew 2:1-15, Hosea 11:1).

  Now when Herod realized that he had been outwitted by the Magi, he was furious, and he gave orders to kill all the boys in Bethlehem and its vicinity who were two years old and under, in accordance with the time he had learned from the Magi. Then what was said through the prophet Jeremiah was fulfilled: "A voice is heard in Ramah, weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children and refusing to be comforted, because they are no more." (Jeremiah 31:15). After Herod died, an angel of the Lord appeared once again in a dream to Joseph while in Egypt and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother and go to the land of Israel, for those who were trying to take the child's life are dead."

  So Joseph got up, took the child and his mother and went to the land of Israel. But when he heard that Archelaus was reigning in Judea in place of his father Herod, he was afraid to go there. Having been warned again in a dream, he withdrew to the district of Galilee, and he went and lived in a town called Nazareth. So was fulfilled what was said through the prophets: "He will be called a Nazarene." (Matthew 2:16-23). And so it was, "He would be called a Nazarene." Now that you have the basic "Christmas Story" that we all love so much and celebrate on this glorious occasion, lets go to the "Gospel of Luke" and bring out all the details of the conception and the birth of our "Lord and Savior."

The conception and birth according to Luke:

  Luke begins the story: THERE was in the days of Herod, the king of Judaea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the course of Abia: and his wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elisabeth. (Luke 1:5). Zacharias was a member of the "Abijah" division (1 Chronicles 24:10), of the Temple service corps. His wife Elizabeth, like him, was also a member of the priest tribe of the Jews. (She was a Levite, the daughter of Aaron). There were twenty-four courses of the Levite priests to perform. (Each course was performed twice a year, plus all the courses were performed on the Holy Seasons; Passover, Pentecost, and Feast of Tabernacles, giving us the 51 weeks of the Jewish calendar). Every Sabbath day, the privilege was for one of the Levite priests to burn incense and lead the morning and evening service. Since there were so many priests at the time, this was done by drawing lots to see who served. (The priests served together on the three Holy Seasons). The course of "Abia" was one of the twenty four courses; The "eighth" course being (new beginnings). This course of "Abia" sets a date that we need to remember. The two yearly "ministrations" of Abiah were as follows. The first ministration was from 12-18 Chisleu which is December 6th-12th. The second "ministration" was from 12th-18th Sivan, which is June 13th-19th. You can read more on the Course of Abia - appendix 179. (In the King James Companion Bible).

  Now with that being said, we will continue in Luke. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. (Luke 1:6). Zacharias and Elizabeth were godly folk, careful to obey all of God's laws in spirit as well as in letter. And they had no child, because that Elisabeth was barren, and they both were now well stricken in years. (Luke 1:7). To old to have children. And it came to pass, that while he executed the priest's office before God in the order of his course. (Luke 1:8). This would be the course of Abia, the eighth course of the second ministration. (Sivan - June 13th-19th).

  According to the custom of the priest's office, his lot was to burn incense when he went into the temple of the Lord. (Luke 1:9). The honor fell to Zacharias by lot to enter the inner sanctuary and burn incense before the Lord. And the whole multitude of the people were praying without at the time of incense. (Luke 1:10). They stood outside in the temple court, praying during the service when the incense were being burned. There prayers "Up in smoke." And there appeared unto him an angel of the Lord standing on the right side of the altar of incense. (Luke 1:11). Zacharias was in the sanctuary when an angel of the Lord appeared. "The angel Gabriel," (man of God). And when Zacharias saw him, he was troubled, and fear fell upon him. (Luke 1:12). Zacharias was startled and terrified. (I think we all would be a little terrified).

  But the angel said unto him, Fear not, Zacharias: for thy prayer is heard; and thy wife Elisabeth shall bear thee a son, and thou shalt call his name John. (Luke 1:13). The angel tells Zacharias he is going to have a son, and to call him John. (Gift of God). And thou shalt have joy and gladness; and many shall rejoice at his birth. (Luke 1:14). He would be a special child among the people. For he shall be great in the sight of the Lord, and shall drink neither wine nor strong drink; and he shall be filled with the Holy Ghost, even from his mother's womb. (Luke 1:15). A great child in the eyes of the Lord, filled with the "Holy Spirit" even before birth. (Matthew 11:11).

 
He would become a servant of the Lord. And many of the children of Israel shall he turn to the Lord their God. (Luke 1:16). John's message would be "repent and be baptized." And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord. (Luke 1:17). John will be a rugged man that will come in the spirit and power of Elijah, the prophet of old. He will precede the coming of the Messiah, preparing the people for His arrival. (Matthew 11:14, Mark 9:12, Isaiah 40:3). However, the people did not receive him! Now, back to the prophecy of John's birth.

 
Here we will see a little doubt on Zacharias part. And Zacharias said unto the angel, Whereby shall I know this? for I am an old man, and my wife well stricken in years. (Luke 1:18). This is impossible Zacharias replies! My wife and I are both to old to have a child. And the angel answering said unto him, I am Gabriel, that stand in the presence of God; and am sent to speak unto thee, and to shew thee these glad tidings. (Luke 1:19). Gabriel replies; "God himself sent me to give you this good news." (Never doubt an angel of God)! And, behold, thou shalt be dumb, and not able to speak, until the day that these things shall be performed, because thou believest not my words, which shall be fulfilled in their season. (Luke 1:20). Because you do not believe me, you shall be stricken silent, until the child is born. "The Messiah was foretold to Daniel by the angel Gabriel 400 years before he told Zacharias." (Daniel 9:21-27). It was going to come to pass.

  And the people waited for Zacharias, and marvelled that he tarried so long in the temple. (Luke 1:21). And when he came out, he could not speak unto them: and they perceived that he had seen a vision in the temple: for he beckoned unto them, and remained speechless. (Luke 1:22). When Zacharias finally came out, he could not say a word and the people realized that he must of seen a vision. And it came to pass, that, as soon as the days of his ministration were accomplished, he departed to his own house. (Luke 1:23). After Zacharias completed his duties at the temple he returned home. He left for home on June 19th. (The thirty mile journey took about 2-3 days travel time for an old man).

  Now we come to John's conception. And after those days his wife Elisabeth conceived, and hid herself five months, saying. (Luke 1:24). Elizabeth became pregnant. (This would be around June 23rd or 24th, when the miraculous conception of John the Baptist took place). She went into seclusion for five months which would bring us up to the date of November 24th. (Stay with me here). And in the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God unto a city of Galilee, named Nazareth. (Luke 1:26). One month later, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee. (This would bring the date up to December 25th). The date many think that Christ was born. But wait... Now we are going to switch to Joseph and Marry.

  To a virgin espoused to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David; and the virgin's name was Mary. (Luke 1:27). The virgin Mary, a descendant of king David, was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph. (Isaiah 7:14, Matthew 1:18). And the angel came in unto her, and said, Hail, thou that art highly favoured, the Lord is with thee: blessed art thou among women. (Luke 1:28). Now the angel Gabriel appeared to Mary and congratulated her saying; "The Lord is with you." And when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and cast in her mind what manner of salutation this should be. (Luke 1:29). Mary being a little confused tried to think of what the angel meant. But, she did not doubt the angel. And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary: for thou hast found favour with God. (Luke 1:30). The angel told her not to fear not; for the Lord has decided to wonderfully bless you. And, behold, thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name JESUS. (Luke 1:31). The angel Gabriel told her that very soon she would become pregnant and have a baby boy, and she was to name Him Jesus, "Yahshua." (Galatians 4:4). The angel Gabriel continues in his prophecy.

  He shall be great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest: and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father David. (Luke 1:32). He shall be great and be called the "Son of God." The Lord shall give Him His rightful throne of David. And he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever; and of his kingdom there shall be no end. (Luke 1:33). No end to His kingdom; it is for eternity. (Daniel 7:14, Hebrews 1:8). Then said Mary unto the angel, How shall this be, seeing I know not a man? (Luke 1:34). Keep in mind, Mary never had sex with a man and was still a virgin. (She was a little confused, but never lost faith). And the angel answered and said unto her, The Holy Ghost shall come upon thee, and the power of the Highest shall overshadow thee: therefore also that holy thing which shall be born of thee shall be called the Son of God. (Luke 1:35). The Holy Spirit shall come upon you and you will conceive." The baby born to you will be "The Son of God." "Immanuel, God with us." (Isaiah 7:14). The angel continues...

  And, behold, thy cousin Elisabeth, she hath also conceived a son in her old age: and this is the sixth month with her, who was called barren. (Luke 1:36). Elizabeth was pregnant with the child John now for six months, and the date was December 25th. Elisabeth was Mary's cousin (a Levite), of the Levitical priesthood. Elizabeth's mother and Mary's mother were sisters. Mary's mother was of the tribe of Levi, and her father was of the tribe of Judah. (Here we have both the Levitical priest line and the Tribe of Judah king line). Mary's genealogy is found in (Luke 3:23 & Luke 3:31). "Christ would be the priest forever after the order of Melchizedek." (Hebrews 7). For with God nothing shall be impossible. (Luke 1:37). Every promise from God shall come true. Nothing is impossible with God! Now we return to Marry.

  And Mary said, Behold the handmaid of the Lord; be it unto me according to thy word. And the angel departed from her. (Luke 1:38). Mary accepted what the angel Gabriel told her. And Mary arose in those days, and went into the hill country with haste, into a city of Juda. (Luke 1:39). Mary hurried to the highlands of Judea where Zacharias lived. And entered into the house of Zacharias, and saluted Elisabeth. (Luke 1:40). She went to visit her cousin Elizabeth in the house of Zacharias to share the good news. (Zacharias was of the Levitical priesthood). Lets see what "identifying awesome event" happened when Mary and Elisabeth hooked up.

  And it came to pass, that, when Elisabeth heard the salutation of Mary, the babe leaped in her womb; and Elisabeth was filled with the Holy Ghost. (Luke 1:41). As soon as the sound of Mary's greeting, Elizabeth's child (John the Baptist), leaped within her and she was filled with the Holy Spirit. Why? Because this is when Jesus began to dwell with us, at the conception. (December the 25th)! Now as you know, many call this date the birth of Christ, and some even call this date a pagan holiday that should not be worshipped. However, both are not accurate. This is the "great conception" that took place on this date when Jesus Christ began to dwell with us. December the 25th is a glorious holiday that should be celebrated around the world. Nine months later, Christ would be born on September 29th in the year of our Lord (A.D.1). Now lets get back to Elizabeth and Mary.

  And she spake out with a loud voice, and said, Blessed art thou among women, and blessed is the fruit of thy womb. (Luke 1:42) Elizabeth gave a glad cry out to Mary, "You are favored by God above all other woman," your child is destined for God's mightiest praise. And whence is this to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? (Luke 1:43). What an honor Elizabeth said; that the mother of my Lord visits me! "Emmanuel, God with us." For, lo, as soon as the voice of thy salutation sounded in mine ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy. (Luke 1:44). When you came in and greeted me, the instant I heard your voice, "my baby moved in me for joy!" Moved by the very presence of the "Holy Spirit" and the Christ child. Again, life begins at the conception and when the soul enters the child.

  And blessed is she that believed: for there shall be a performance of those things which were told her from the Lord. (Luke 1:45) Elizabeth said to Mary. "You believed that God would do what He said; that is why He has given you this wonderful blessing." Mary had faith to believe in what God had said, even though it would seem impossible. (Nothing is impossible with God). And Mary said, My soul doth magnify the Lord. (Luke 1:46). Mary replied; "How I praise the Lord for what He has done." And my spirit hath rejoiced in God my Saviour. How I rejoice in God my Savior! "Mary was very happy." She would give birth to the Savior of the world!

  For he hath regarded the low estate of his handmaiden: for, behold, from henceforth all generations shall call me blessed. (Luke 1:48). God took notice of His lowly servant girl, and now generation after generation shall call me blessed of God. And blessed she was; ending that lineage all the way back to mother Eve. The mother of all living! (Genesis 3:20). Eve was not the actual mother of all living; but rather the mother of all living because through her lineage, generation after generation, the birth of Christ would come. For he that is mighty hath done to me great things; and holy is his name. (Luke 1:49). "The Most High God." And his mercy is on them that fear him from generation to generation. (Luke 1:50). God's mercy goes from generation to generation to all that reverence Him. (Genesis 17:7, Psalms 103:17). He hath shewed strength with his arm; he hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts. (Luke 1:51). He scatters the proud and haughty ones by the power in His mighty arms. (Psalms 33:10, I Peter 5:5).

  He hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree. (Luke 1:52). He has torn princes from their thrones and exalted the lowly. (Job 5:11-15). He hath filled the hungry with good things; and the rich he hath sent empty away. (Luke 1:53). He satisfies the hungry hearts (filling them with truth), and sends the rich away with empty hands. (Psalms 34:10). He hath helped his servant Israel, in remembrance of his mercy. (Luke 1:54). He helped His servant Israel and has not forgotten His promise to be merciful. (Psalms 98:3). As he spake to our fathers, to Abraham, and to his seed for ever. (Luke 1:55). His promise to Abram, who's name was changed to Abraham. (Genesis 17:5), and to his seed forever. (Genesis 17:19). Now Marry is going to hang with Elizabeth for a while and we are going to come up with another important date.

  And Mary abode with her about three months, and returned to her own house. (Luke 1:56) Mary stayed with Elizabeth about three months and then returned to her own home. (Three months later would bring us up to around March 25th). Now Elisabeth's full time came that she should be delivered; and she brought forth a son. (Luke 1:57). Elizabeth's waiting was over and her baby boy was born. And her neighbours and her cousins heard how the Lord had shewed great mercy upon her; and they rejoiced with her. (Luke 1:58). The news spread quickly and everyone rejoiced with her. And it came to pass, that on the eighth day they came to circumcise the child; and they called him Zacharias, after the name of his father. (Luke 1:59). When the baby became eight days old the circumcision ceremony took place as according to the law and custom. (Genesis 17:12, Leviticus 12:3). Everyone assumed the baby would be called Zacharias, after his father. But, God had other plans.

  And his mother answered and said, Not so; but he shall be called John. (Luke 1:60). Elizabeth said, "No! He must be named John!" She obeyed the Lord. And they said unto her, There is none of thy kindred that is called by this name. (Luke 1:61). There is no one in the family by that name they exclaimed. And they made signs to his father, how he would have him called. (Luke 1:62). They asked the father of the child about what his name would be. And he asked for a writing table, and wrote, saying, His name is John. And they marvelled all. (Luke 1:63). Zacharias writes the name down; "It was John." They were all surprised. Here comes another surprise for Zacharias. And his mouth was opened immediately, and his tongue loosed, and he spake, and praised God. (Luke 1:64). Instantly Zacharias could speak again, and he began to praise God. (His speech was returned because he obeyed God). Never doubt God!

  And fear came on all that dwelt round about them: and all these sayings were noised abroad throughout all the hill country of Judaea. (Luke 1:65). Reverence came about the whole neighborhood and the news of what happened spread through the Judean hills. And all they that heard them laid them up in their hearts, saying, What manner of child shall this be! And the hand of the Lord was with him. (Luke 1:66). They all wondered what this child would turn out to be like. They knew that the hand of the Lord was surely upon him. And so it was; that John the Baptist (second cousin to Jesus), would go forth and preach straight on with the truth of God's Word.

  And his father Zacharias was filled with the Holy Ghost, and prophesied, saying. (Luke 1:67). Blessed be the Lord God of Israel; for he hath visited and redeemed his people. (Luke 1:68). "Praise the Lord," the God of Israel; He has come to visit and redeem His people. And hath raised up an horn of salvation for us in the house of his servant David. (Luke 1:69). He is sending us a "Mighty Savior" from the royal line of His servant David. As he spake by the mouth of his holy prophets, which have been since the world began. (Luke 1:70). Just as He promised through His holy prophets from long ago.

  And thou, child, shalt be called the prophet of the Highest: for thou shalt go before the face of the Lord to prepare his ways. (Luke 1:76). John the Baptist was a prophet of the living God, to prepare the way for the Messiah. (Isaiah 40:3, Malachi 3:1). His message... To give knowledge of salvation unto his people by the remission of their sins. (Luke 1:77). This little child who grew to a great prophet of God. His message would be "Repent and be Baptized," "Love the Lord Jesus Christ."

  Through the tender mercy of our God; whereby the dayspring from on high hath visited us. (Luke 1:78). The Day Spring = The Branch = Christ. (Jeremiah 23:5, Zechariah 3:8). "To be ready for the coming of the Lord." To give light to them that sit in darkness and in the shadow of death, to guide our feet into the way of peace. (Luke 1:79). To give light or peace of mind to those who sit in darkness. (Isaiah 9:2). And the child grew, and waxed strong in spirit, and was in the deserts till the day of his shewing unto Israel. (Luke 1:80). The little child "John" grew strong in the Spirit and loved God. He lived out in the wilderness until he began his ministry to Israel. Now we are going to switch to chapter two in the book of Luke.

  And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be taxed. (Luke 2:1). The Roman Emperor Caesar Augustus (the first roman emperor) decreed that a census should be taken throughout the nation. And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria. (Luke 2:2). This census was taken when Quirinius (a roman aristocrat), who was governor of Syria. And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. (Luke 2:3). Everyone was required to return to his ancestral home for this registration. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David). (Luke 2:4). Because Joseph was of the royal line of King David, he had to go to Bethlehem in Judea. (John 7:42, Matthew 1:16). To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. (Luke 2:5). He took Mary with him, who was pregnant at the time. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. (Luke 2:6). While they were there, it came time for her child to be born. Now we come to the birth of Christ and the most important date.

  And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:7). Mary gives birth to the "Messiah" and gives Him rest in a manger. (Matthew 1:25, Galatians 4:4). This awesome event took place on September 29th (Tisri), of the Jewish Calendar. (The first day of the feast of Tabernacles). And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. (Luke 2:8). Shepherds were in the fields outside the village, tending their flocks of sheep. (Not in the winter, but at the end of summer). And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. (Luke 2:9). The appearance of an "angel of the Lord." The "Glory of God" was all around them.

  And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. (Luke 2:10) Joyful news for everyone. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. (Luke 2:11). The Savior, the Messiah, Christ the Lord has been born tonight in Bethlehem. (Isaiah 9:6). And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. (Luke 2:12). To identify Him; He will be wrapped in a blanket, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying. (Luke 2:13). Joined by a multitude of other angels praising God. What were they singing?

  Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (Luke 2:14). And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. (Luke 2:15). Then the great army of angels returned to heaven and the shepherds said to each other; let's go and see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. (Luke 2:16). They ran to the village and came upon Mary and Joseph. There they found the baby lying in the manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. (Luke 2:17). The shepherds told everyone what had happened and what the angel of the Lord had said to them about the child. "A King was born, and we have seen the angel of the Lord!" Now the people were really excited and at awe. (They had good reason to be).

  And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. (Luke 2:18). All who heard the shepherds story were astonished. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. (Luke 2:19). Mary treasured Him in her heart. She knew what a wonderful thing has just happened. (Isaiah 7:14). And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (Luke 2:20). The shepherds went back to attending their flocks of sheep in the fields, praising God all the way, because they have seen the child that the angel of the Lord had told them about.

  And when eight days were accomplished for the circumcising of the child, his name was called JESUS, which was so named of the angel before he was conceived in the womb. (Luke 2:21). Eight days later He was circumcised, and He was called Jesus. "Yahaveh Savior!" (Matthew 1:21). And when the days of her purification according to the law of Moses were accomplished, they brought him to Jerusalem, to present him to the Lord. (Luke 2:22). When the time came for Mary's purification offering at the temple, as required by law, Mary and Joseph took Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord. (Leviticus 12:2). "We call it a child dedication today." As it is written in the law of the LORD, Every male that openeth the womb shall be called holy to the Lord. (Luke 2:23). "If a woman's first child is a boy, he shall be dedicated to the Lord." (Exodus 13:2). And to offer a sacrifice according to that which is said in the law of the Lord, A pair of turtledoves, or two young pigeons. (Luke 2:24). The sacrifice of purification as by law.

  And, behold, there was a man in Jerusalem, whose name was Simeon; and the same man was just and devout, waiting for the consolation of Israel: and the Holy Ghost was upon him. (Luke 2:25). Simeon, a resident of Jerusalem, was in the temple. He was a good man "filled with the Holy Spirit" who was constantly expecting the Messiah to come soon. And it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost, that he should not see death, before he had seen the Lord's Christ. (Luke 2:26). The Holy Spirit had revealed to Simeon that he would not die before he had seen God's anointed King. Christ means "anointed one." And he came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for him after the custom of the law. (Luke 2:27). The Holy Spirit had told him to go to the temple that day, and when Mary and Joseph brought the child to be presented to the Lord, he was there.

  Then took he him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said. (Luke 2:28). Simeon took the child in his arms, "praising God." Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word. (Luke 2:29). Thanking the Lord; "Now I can die in peace!" For mine eyes have seen thy salvation. (Luke 2:30). God always keeps His word. Thy Salvation, Which thou hast prepared before the face of all people. (Luke 2:31). The Savior you have given to the world. What will He be like?

  A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel. (Luke 2:32). A light to shine upon all the nations as well as the people of Israel. (Isaiah 9:2, Acts 13:47). And Joseph and his mother marvelled at those things which were spoken of him. (Luke 2:33). And Simeon blessed them, and said unto Mary his mother, Behold, this child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel; and for a sign which shall be spoken against. (Luke 2:34). Simeon blesses them and tells Mary that many would reject this child, but He will also be the greatest joy to others. Is He the greatest joy in your life? "He should be." Especially around this time of the year.

  But wait... What about the Christmas tree? The tree presents God as a great fir tree. (Hosea 14:1-9). Christ presents Himself as the true vine, and we are the branches. (John 15:1-8). The Christmas tree would be another symbol of Christianity if you will. Don't let people ruin this awesome holiday for you with their crazy ideas about worshipping trees. We don't worship the Christmas trees, we worship what it represents. So, There we have it. Enjoy the "Christmas Holiday and Celebration," for it is "The Miraculous Conception" preceding the birth of our Lord and Savior; Emmanuel, GOD WITH US! "Have a Merry Christmas and Happy New Year."

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Keep The Faith,
Bart