Christmas: The Birth of Hope

christmas-the-birth-of-hope-by-karen-jurgens

Do you think Mary dreamed God-given dreams? Perhaps even becoming the Mother of God? From their study of the scriptures, every girl knew of the promise that Messiah would one day be born of a virgin. So, can you imagine her shock when Gabriel appeared, unfolding God’s purpose for her life? Chosen above every other woman, Mary listened as the angel told her she would carry the Promised One, Messiah, in her womb. She even discussed with this heavenly messenger the biological technicality of how this pregnancy were possible, seeing as how she was a virgin. All she had to do was trust God and the Holy Spirit would deposit this immaculate conception inside her—a marvelous mystery of scripture fulfilled.

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel ~ Isaiah 7:14 NASB.

Like Mary’s physical womb, God fills up our spiritual wombs with godly hope and dreams. We must guard them carefully to avoid spiritual abortion. Our enemy, described as a roaring lion, is secretly lurking to devour us and steal our deepest desires.

But sometimes God may give us a dream and then call us to move. And it may seem to make absolutely no sense.

God moved Mary in the last days of her pregnancy due to a census registration in the land. Instead of staying home in her nice, warm bed surrounded by family and friends, Joseph placed her on the back of a donkey and led her to Bethlehem.

Why did God do that to her at a time so close to her delivery date?

When they arrived, Mary was in hard labor. Although imperative that Joseph find a place for her immediately, even that was tenuous. No room at the inn for a mother-to-be. But a smelly stable full of animals and straw was available. I imagine that Mary was grateful for any place she could lie and give birth to Jesus, even if it meant being surrounded by a chorus of moos, baas, and neighs of animals witnessing this great event.

The blessing of the birth taking place in Bethlehem is also a fulfillment of scripture.

‘But as for you, Bethlehem Ephrathah, Too little to be among the clans of Judah, From you One will go forth from Me to be ruler in Israel. His goings forth are from long ago, From the days of eternity’ ~ Micah 5:2 NASB.

It’s easy to understand from a human perspective how a stable in Bethlehem would be God’s perfect plan. In Nazareth, Mary’s reputation was tarnished by this out-of-wedlock pregnancy. Which of those prejudiced townsfolk would have understood that this was the Savior of the World? This great event had to take place where Mary and Joseph were strangers, as well as apart from crowds registering for the census.

The angels appeared in the skies that night to the shepherds in the fields, who came running to witness the miracle told to them. Could that announcement have been possible in Nazareth? With all the gossip during those nine months, perhaps no one would have believed that Messiah, instead of an illigitimate baby, had been born.

God always brings glory to Himself, and that is what He did the night of Jesus’s birth. He glorified His name through the birth of His Son, who was born both fully God and fully man. The sinless One was born to die thirty-three years later for the sins of every person. The time to worship Him is now as we celebrate His divine entrance into the world.

No matter what trials you face in this life, Jesus brings ultimate hope. Like Mary, may you conceive and carry God-given dreams, and may this Christmas season birth in you the hope of heaven.

 

Locket Greedy

This blog post is written by a Heartwings sister, Danele. It touched my heart, so I reblogged it in hopes that it will also touch yours. A good lesson for us all, especially at Christmas season.

dragonflydanele

grandma-5When I was a senior in high school, my grandmother died. I loved her very much, and I was devastated. What made it even worse was that I’d begged God to let her live. I didn’t see why God had to take her away. I thought it was mean.

Later, after the funeral, the extended family went to Grandma’s house to dispose of her belongings. Several of us were in Grandma’s bedroom sorting through clothes when one of my relatives spotted a locket on the dresser. I spotted another one. We asked the rest of the family if we could have the lockets as keepsakes. They agreed.

locket-1My locket wasn’t very large, and it definitely wasn’t expensive. But I thought it was lovely. I planned on putting a picture of Grandma in it. I was going to wear it constantly to remind me of her love and kindness. I was…

View original post 756 more words

Thankful for Advent

thankful-for-advent-by-karen-jurgens

First published on http://www.HeartWingsBlog.com

The Advent of the Lord Jesus is a wonderful time when we are truly thankful. God bestowed an abundance of blessings on all people and for all generations when He created His First Family into which Jesus would be born.

I’ve often guessed what it must have been like for Mary on that day of angelic visitation. What joy to hear Gabriel announce that she would become the Holy Mother of the promised Messiah. Furthermore, he brought news about her relative Elizabeth who had conceived in her barrennes and was six months pregnant. I can imagine Mary dropping everything and running to the hill country to witness this miracle for herself.

As Mary entered the house of Zacharias in the city of Judah, Elizabeth, her round belly protruding, proved God’s Word. Thankfulness and joy abounded, and even John leapt in his mother’s womb at the sound of Mary’s greeting. Then Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit and rejoiced:

“Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! 43And how has it happened to me, that the mother of my Lord would come to me? 44For behold, when the sound of your greeting reached my ears, the baby leaped in my womb for joy. 45And blessed is she who believed that there would be a fulfillment of what had been spoken to her by the Lord” ~ Luke 1:42b-45, NASB.*

Mary responded with worship, praise, and thankfulness to God for His goodness in her famous Magnificat:

And Mary said: “My soul exalts the Lord, 47And my spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior. 48″For He has had regard for the humble state of His bondslave; For behold, from this time on all generations will count me blessed. 49″For the Mighty One has done great things for me; And holy is His name. 50″And His mercy is upon generation after generation Toward those who fear Him. 51″He has done mighty deeds with His arm; He has scattered those who were proud in the thoughts of their heart. 52″He has brought down rulers from their thrones, And has exalted those who were humble. 53″He has filled the hungry with good things; And sent away the rich empty-handed. 54″He has given help to Israel His servant, In remembrance of His mercy, 55As He spoke to our fathers, To Abraham and his descendants forever” ~ Luke 1:46-56, NASB.*

Did Mary know what would really happen? Not fully, but she understood that she had been chosen to give birth to the Promised One who would bring deliverance and salvation to the Jews. The births of these two babies—one God’s only Son and the other a trumpeter of His Advent—would change the course of human history.

That may have been enough then, but there would be so much more to unfold in the next thirty-three years. Still, I wonder … Mary, did you know? (Click the link below to watch)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ifCWN5pJGIE

*www.Bible.com

Favorite Christmas Carols

This time of year, my memory and my soul flood with the sweet French carols I taught to my students every December. One of my very favorites is called Il est né le divin enfant, which translates The Heavenly Child is Born.

I chose this particular YouTube video because it has the French words at the bottom and the French at the top. The next in queue will be a lovely solo by Lexi Walker. Both are beautifully performed, and I hope you enjoy listening. Let’s worship with song as we celebrate the advent of Jesus.