On the 12th day of Christmas…

wise-menToday (or yesterday, depending on how you see it) marks the end of the Christmas season.  By now we have received every imaginable gift, from a partridge in a pear tree to 12 drummers drumming.  Not literally, of course, but if you count up every token of affection, gratitude, or umm… obligation you have accepted since Thanksgiving, chances are, they add up to at least as many items.

This day is also called Epiphany, the observation of the Wise Men’s visit to the Christ Child.  Their gifts of gold, frankincense, and myrrh honored the baby king and foretold his life and death.

History and folklore give us many other examples of gift givers such as Santa with toys for good children.  One of my favorite gift bringers is the little drummer boy with his gift of music.  Music is a one-size-fits-all sort of gift with no need for returns, but mostly I love that the little drummer boy found a way to give when he had nothing tangible to offer.  Another favorite is Amahl from the opera, Amahl and the Night Visitors.  When he had no gift to give the Christ Child, Amahl gave his crutch and was healed in return.  This story points out a universal truth.  When we give, we always get something in return.

During this new year, there will be many opportunities for each of us to give.  Sometimes we will give gifts to celebrate special occasions. We may donate money or supplies for those who have little or to further a cause.   Hopefully we will “lend an ear” or a “shoulder to cry on” to a troubled friend.  Some of us will give our time, talents, and hard work to make the world a better place.  I can’t wait to get started!  How about you?

May all your acts of giving bring you ultimate joy in the new year!

P.S.  It has been delightful to share these seasons of Advent and Christmas with my dear readers!  To those of you who purchased a copy of Waiting for Jesus, commented, “liked,” or offered other support and encouragement, please know that I am filled with gratitude.  Thank you, thank you, thank you!

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Christmas Eve

jesus

 

O come, Thou Day-Spring, come and cheer
Our spirits by Thine advent here
Disperse the gloomy clouds of night
And death’s dark shadows put to flight.
Rejoice! Rejoice! Emmanuel
Shall come to thee, O Israel.

 

 

Rejoice!  Advent comes to a close and Christmastide begins.  I wish you joyous celebrations and a year filled with daily “advents” as you welcome Christ into your heart and home throughout the days ahead.  Rejoice!

But the greatest of these…

heart-grass

1 Corinthians 13 is one of the most quoted chapters of the Bible.  It’s used at weddings a lot, but it’s actually part of a letter to the church.  The advice within is sound for any relationship, marriage or otherwise.  Maybe you can spend a few minutes today reading, or more likely, rereading the beautiful, guiding words of the apostle Paul.  Here are some of my favorite highlights:

1 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong…

2 …and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing.

8 Love never fails.

11 …I put childish ways behind me.

13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love.  But the greatest of these is love.

I hope you will revisit 1 Corinthians 13 and see which ideas speak to you the loudest today.  Be sure to share.  And love each other.

Joseph

joseph-maryWe don’t know much about Joseph, but I think it’s safe to say he would have been terrible on a T.V. reality show.  Think about it.  His girlfriend was pregnant, and knowing the child was not his own, he could have slandered her name via social media (literally social), drunk too much wine, and wrecked a perfectly good donkey cart.  Instead, he planned to quietly distance himself from her in a way that would maintain the dignity of everyone involved.  No T.V. ratings there.

Once Joseph understood what was going on, he trusted both God and Mary, and did exactly what the angel told him to do.  Over time, he proved he was the perfect father for Jesus, traveling long distances and making wise, careful decisions to keep his child safe.  Going out of one’s way for the sake of another?  Thoughtful decision making?  Again, no ratings.

I am thankful for the example we have in Joseph, and I am thankful for his role in the Christmas story and beyond.  I’m going to make it a point to follow his example more often and to make it known when others do the same.  I hope you’ll join me.

I hope you are finding great happiness in this week of joy.  If so, please share!