Archive | December, 2008

Without the Cross, the Manger is Just a Feeding Trough

25 Dec

Holy Night

Holy Night

Luke 2:1-20

2:1 In those days a decree went out from Caesar Augustus that all the world should be registered. This was the first registration when Quirinius was governor of Syria. And all went to be registered, each to his own town. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the town of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed, who was with child. And while they were there, the time came for her to give birth. And she gave birth to her firstborn son and wrapped him in swaddling cloths and laid him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with fear. 10 And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11 For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

14 “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!”

15 When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.” 16 And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger. 17 And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.



John 19:17-30

So they took Jesus, 17 and he went out, bearing his own cross, to the place called The Place of a Skull, which in Aramaic is called Golgotha. 18 There they crucified him, and with him two others, one on either side, and Jesus between them. 19 Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It read, “Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews.” 20 Many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and it was written in Aramaic, in Latin, and in Greek. 21 So the chief priests of the Jews said to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews,’ but rather, ‘This man said, I am King of the Jews.’” 22 Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.”

23 When the soldiers had crucified Jesus, they took his garments and divided them into four parts, one part for each soldier; also his tunic.  But the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece from top to bottom, 24 so they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it to see whose it shall be.” This was to fulfill the Scripture which says,

“They divided my garments among them, and for my clothing they cast lots.”

So the soldiers did these things, 25 but standing by the cross of Jesus were his mother and his mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26 When Jesus saw his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to his mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” 27 Then he said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” And from that hour the disciple took her to his own home.

28 After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished, said (to fulfill the Scripture), “I thirst.” 29 A jar full of sour wine stood there, so they put a sponge full of the sour wine on a hyssop branch and held it to his mouth. 30 When Jesus had received the sour wine, he said, “It is finished,” and he bowed his head and gave up his spirit.



John 20:1-31

20:1 Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” So Peter went out with the other disciple, and they were going toward the tomb. Both of them were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. And stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen cloths lying there, and the face cloth, which had been on Jesus’  head, not lying with the linen cloths but folded up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the Scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 10 Then the disciples went back to their homes.

11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb, and as she wept she stooped to look into the tomb. 12 And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17 Jesus said to her, “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her.

19 On the evening of that day, the first day of the week, the doors being locked where the disciples were for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said to them, “Peace be with you.” 20 When he had said this, he showed them his hands and his side. Then the disciples were glad when they saw the Lord. 21 Jesus said to them again, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, even so I am sending you.” 22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them and said to them, “Receive the Holy Spirit. 23 If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven them; if you withhold forgiveness from any, it is withheld.”

24 Now Thomas, one of the Twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. 25 So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the mark of the nails, and place my finger into the mark of the nails, and place my hand into his side, I will never believe.”

26 Eight days later, his disciples were inside again, and Thomas was with them. Although the doors were locked, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you.” 27 Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side. Do not disbelieve, but believe.” 28 Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” 29 Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”

30 Now Jesus did many other signs in the presence of the disciples, which are not written in this book; 31 but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.


12 and 11….and counting

20 Dec

Twelve years ago on December 21, my roommate, Ch-narla and I made a trip to Atlanta for me to meet Mojo.  He and I had been communicating by email and telephone since August 18.  It was a whirlwind autumn friendship that was budding into a romance…and little did we know what God had planned for us!!!

Mojo and I had made plans to meet at Lenox Square Mall on December 21, 1996, and for the life of me I can’t remember what time!!!  He was bringing his sister, whose name ironically, was almost EXACTLY the same as mine!  We shared a first and last name, and ended up being known by our middle names in family conversation….anyway,  I had the brilliant idea that I would stand on the second floor above the food court so I could see him before he saw me…little did I know, he was thinking the same thing!!!!  I was so nervous about meeting him face to face!  I had seen pictures of him…had spoken with him numerous times a day on the phone…and of course we emailed constantly!…but to actually meet him…to look him in the eyes.  Oh, My!  I was scared!  What would I think…what would he think?  What would his sister think???

When we finally saw one another all of the fears were laid to rest!  It was as if we had known one another forever.  We embraced, we talked, we walked.  We held hands, we laughed…

There is nothing like the first meeting.  Being able to remember your feelings for someone the first time you saw one another.  The first time you realized that you actually loved this person that you have known…and that the rest of your life was meant to be with them…through everything.  Good times and bad.  Sickness and health (and multiple surgeries).  Through children and aging parents.

With that said, a year minus one day later, we were married.  In front of God and our family and friends, we pledged to be with one another forever.  I have to admit, humbly, at that point in my life, I did not realize exactly what that meant.  I just knew that my life needed him.  I didn’t care where we lived, what we did, or how we did it.  I just needed Mojo to complete me.  As time went on, we struggled, as most couples in their first year of marriage do.  We were not mentored through our courtship.  We were not formally mentored in our first year of marriage.  We had decided that we would be active in Mojo’s home church, but did not really have a close relationship with our Lord, and were pretty much going through the motions…, but during our first year of marriage God did some amazing things.  He reached out his hand, and introduced us to some wonderful God-fearing people in the small church we were attending (Mojo was a member and I became a member after a few months of marriage).  During the three years in North Carolina, we grew in our faith and understanding of God’s Word.  We became to love God and try to put Him first in our marriage.  We still fail at this, but when we see ourselves failing we pick ourselves up and get back on the right track.

We continue to seek God’s path for us as husband and wife.  We struggle to find our own time at this point in our life, but we are very fortunate to have a strong support network of family and friends, and we are able to have a night here and an afternoon there to come together and date.  Whether we are just sitting and watching a movie together or we are able to steal an entire uninterrupted evening together. 

Mojo,  you are the love of my life and I thank God for bringing us into each other’s lives.  I love you for your faithfulness to God’s Word, your seeking Him in our marriage and family life.  I love listening to you talk to our children about God and what His Word teaches us…and I love learning from you.  You have supported me in the past few years more than I ever could have imagined.  You never asked me to change, but were happy to help me and to continue helping me….You complete me.  I love forever and always!!

December 20, 1997

December 20, 1997

Merry Christmas!

15 Dec