Joy

Today is Saturday, the twenty-fifth of December, 2021. It is Christmas Day!

I wish you the peace and joy of Jesus Christ, today and every day!

Day 23,298

Seven days until 2022!

Christmas Eve was very nice at our house. C’s family started showing up around 2:00-ish, to help with food preparations. Everyone was there by 4:30, and I think we ate dinner around 5:00 or so, but I don’t rightly remember. Dinner was quite delicious, with ham, turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, rolls, and gravy. There were also sweet potatoes, but I don’t eat those. Oh, and there was cranberry sauce, which I enjoy, as well. We also had the savory and sweet crescent pull-apart Christmas trees, fudge, and two kinds of pie. Everyone was so full that one of the pies never got touched. The pecan pie was left at our house (yay!!).

We have plenty of everything left over. We decided to not make the green bean casserole, because there was plenty of food. We may not make it for today, either, as there is probably enough of everything else left over. So we will be taking ham, the leftover corn and mashed potatoes (I think my mother is making more), and rolls that were left, as well. And fudge, the rest of the crescent Christmas trees, and pecan pie . . . all of this to Mineral Wells today.

After all of that, we will still have a whole twenty-pound ham left. If we can’t find someone who needs it, I guess we will be eating ham for a while. That’s fine with me, though. And we will likely have green bean casserole for New Year’s.

As for gifts, I got a new telescope, along with a book about the night sky (National Geographic), and Stephen King’s latest book, Billy Summers. Just for kicks, I had gotten $20 scratch-off lottery tickets for everyone. Out of the seven tickets that were scratched, last night, C’s sister won $30, S won $50, and C’s niece’s boyfriend won . . .

TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS!!!!

I feel like we got my money’s worth on that. I kept trying to convince him that I gave him the wrong ticket, but it didn’t work.

This morning, in a few minutes, we will be zooming with R & J, as we open presents. The blog will be interrupted during that time, but will be resumed immediately afterward. I have my cup of coffee and have had a few pieces of fudge (it’s Kahlua fudge, by the way) for “breakfast.” Oh, and I also already went up to the nearby Amazon Hub Locker to retrieve the final Christmas gift that wasn’t supposed to arrive until Tuesday, because it showed up yesterday! So everything (at least I think) has been delivered!

I wish everyone who reads this a blessed and joyful Christmas day. I pray that the peace of Christ will be in your hearts today. If you are not a Christ-follower, I pray for peace to be in your heart and soul, anyway. And I have no ill will toward anyone, Christ-follower or not. “Love one another” is my mantra.

Okay . . . time to go play Santa Clause. Be back in a bit.

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS

Come, by Daryl Madden

Come to awaken
In the dawning light
Come Spirit to dwell
With deeper insight

Come to contemplate
And celebrate
The gift of wonder
Of His birth so great!

The gift of love
Come to our hope
Of binding divine
Beyond human scope

Source of our joy
Come wisdom revealing
He is God with us
Our comfort and healing

Through His sacrifice
His grace is the key
Come know the way
To eternity

With great rejoicing
To all the world
Oh come, oh come
Emmanuel!

Please check out Daryl’s other poetry at the link provided above.

For I am sure that 
neither death
 nor life,
 nor angels 
nor rulers, 
nor things present 
nor things to come, 
nor powers, 
nor height 
nor depth, 
nor anything else in all creation,
 will be able to separate us from 
the love of God 
in Christ Jesus our Lord. 
(Romans 8:38-39 ESV)

Today I am grateful:

1. for the truth of those two verses
2. for all the wonderful Christmas gifts
3. for the angels who sang "Glory!" at the birth of Christ
4. for my Savior, Jesus Christ
5. for love, received and given, shared and experienced

For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
(Luke 2:11 KJV)

And the glory of the LORD shall be revealed, and all flesh shall see it together: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it.
(Isaiah 40:5 KJV)

And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 
Glory to God in the highest, 
and on earth peace, 
good will toward men. 
(Luke 2:13-14 KJV)

Scriptures and Prayers from Seeking God’s Face: Praying with the Bible through the Year

CHRISTMAS – DAY 1

INVITATION

A psalm. For giving grateful praise. 

Shout for joy to the LORD, all the earth. 
Worship the LORD with gladness; 
come before him with joyful songs. 
(Psalms 100:1-2 NIV)

As I pause, during the mid-morning quiet, after all the gifts are opened, I reflect on the best gift, the gift of Jesus. Because after all these years, “through the pain, and the grief, through the lies, through the storms, through the cries, and through the wars” . . . “through the cold and the heat, through the pain and through the tears, through the crowds and through the cheers” . . . “through the shame and through the grief, through the heartache, through the years, through the waiting” . . . I still believe!

BIBLE SONG

The LORD reigns, let the earth be glad; 
let the distant shores rejoice. 
Clouds and thick darkness surround him; 
righteousness and justice are the foundation of his throne. 
Fire goes before him 
and consumes his foes on every side. 
His lightning lights up the world; 
the earth sees and trembles. 
The mountains melt like wax before the LORD, 
before the Lord of all the earth. 
The heavens proclaim his righteousness, 
and all peoples see his glory. 
(Psalms 97:1-6 NIV)

BIBLE READING

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register. 
So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. 
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah, the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." 
Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying, 
"Glory to God in the highest heaven, 
and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests." 
(Luke 2:1-14 NIV)

DWELLING: SILENCE AND MEDITATION

As I leisurely read these passages again, I look for words or ideas that stir within me. As I linger over them and give them my attention, I look for anything that I want to ask God about. I pray my life to God, resting firmly in His presence.

Father, I praise You for Your reign on this earth. Sometimes, we sit back and think that You’ve lost control. But I do not believe that to be true. You are allowing humanity to “do their thing.” You could have created robots, who would never do anything other than Your will. Instead, You created us with a measure of free will (I used to cringe at that phrase), able to act on our own accord, within the framework of Your “bigger picture.” And even though I still believe that my salvation was planned out before the foundations of the earth, and You chose me to be one of Your children, there was still a point at which I had to decide to follow You.

You reign over all the earth. Your power is evident in the forces of nature, and even that is a small indication of the scope of Your infinite power. The heavens proclaim Your righteousness, and we see Your glory.

On this, Christmas Day, I praise You for the Gift. I thank You for Jesus, for His life, His death on the cross, and His resurrection. I praise You for His teachings, which He gave us to show us how to live and walk in Your kingdom. I pray that more of Your children would follow those teachings rather than being sucked into the erroneous teachings of men. Help us to love one another and to leave the judging to You, the One who is perfect in all Your ways.

Give me the willingness and ability to share the good news of Jesus to others. Give me the words to speak when opportunity arises, and the means to answer the questions that will naturally come up. Thank You for “Christmas,” and I pray for Christmas hope and joy for anyone who stumbles across this blog.

"Jesus Christ,
our newborn King,
we rejoice that You came among us in all Your glory,
taking on our life so that we might share in YHours.
In Your conception and birth You've come to remove our sin -
ours since we were first conceived -
delivering to us the hope of new life.
Make Your home among us today and always.
Amen."

BLESSING

“Praise be to the Lord, the God of Israel, because he has come to his people and redeemed them.”
(Luke 1:68 NIV)

Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

Grace and peace, friends. Merry Christmas!