Tuesday, December 28, 2010
Monday, December 06, 2010
Whenever I get my out, I don’t just see a pretty decoration. I see something with a special story behind it. On my tree you may see a white Styrofoam ball with a green glitter tree and the name Ruth in red glitter with a pipe cleaner to hold the hook. However, when I see that, I see a little 7 year old girl, sitting at her desk in an old fashioned schoolroom, trying to make the Elmer’s glue come out just right. When I see the ornaments that look like badly crafted stained glass, I see the first year we had all 3 girls and no money and not enough ornaments for the tree. I still see their faces as we put lots of colorful, though not that pretty, ornaments on the tree.
So come with me to see something more behind the Christmas….. that we take out at
To start with, I want to give you all a few reminders. Jesus was crucified in Jerusalem . John the Baptist proclaimed in John 1:29, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world.” Peter talked about our redemption in 1 Peter 1:19 as the “Precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot.”
In the Old Testament, the lamb was sacrificed for the forgiveness of sin. It had to be a lamb without blemish or spot – it couldn’t be scarred or cut or bruised. Jesus died in Jerusalem , where the temple was and where the lambs were sacrificed.
The story of Christmas has Christ born in a manger as the Saviour of the world and to take away the sins of the world. This would involve sacrifice. Bethlehem cannot be understood without Calvary . The manger must be seen in the light of the Cross. Birth would also involve death., to be the
We all know the Christmas story from Luke:
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this came upon them, and the shall be a sign to you; You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. 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 see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord has made known to us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told to them. ()
Have you ever wondered who these shepherds were? Has anyone ever wondered why the angels didn’t give them any more details of where to look? No street sign, no neon light, no flag…
The Christmas story takes on added meaning when we consider that, according to multiple writings of rabbis, the shepherds who were abiding by their flocks in the fields were perhaps watching over temple sheep, sheep that were being bred and protected to be sacrificed at the temple in Jerusalem. These shepherds may have been men who were accustomed to preparing lambs which symbolically represented the Messiah in their cleanliness, perfection, and their sacrifice on the altar of the temple. This gives added depth of meaning to these scriptures which tell of the angels who came to these shepherds to proclaim the birth of the Lamb of God, the Savior of mankind, who would offer the last and ultimate sacrifice.
With the establishment of Temple worship in Jerusalem , the fields outside of Bethlehem became the place where this special group of shepherds raised the lambs that were sacrificed in the Temple . The place where the angels appeared to the shepherds is traditionally known as the “Tower of the Flock,” or Migdal Edar, which is very near Bethlehem . This watch tower from ancient times was used by the shepherds for protection from their enemies and wild beasts. It was the place ewes were brought to give birth to the lambs. In this sheltered building/cave the priests would bring in the ewes which were about to lamb for protection. The shepherds who kept them were men who were specifically trained for this royal task. Being themselves under special Rabbinical care, they would strictly maintain a ceremonially clean stable for a birthing place. It could have been to this place that Joseph took Mary. It was in this special stable at “Migdal Eder” that Christ was born!
They were educated in what an animal that was to be sacrificed had to be and it was their job to make sure that none of the animals were hurt, damaged, or blemished. The shepherds would wrap the newborn lambs in swaddling clothes to protect the body of the lambs, keeping the new lambs without spot or blemish, they would then be laid in a manger until they had calmed down.
These lambs would be offered as sacrifice at the Temple just four miles away in Jerusalem.
There was no need for the angels to give these shepherds directions to the birth place because they already knew. These were the men who raised that were sacrificed in the Temple . When the angelic announcement came, they knew exactly where to go, for the sign of a manger and swaddling coths could only mean their manger at the tower of the flock!
The Lamb born at Migdal Eder was the Lamb to be sacrificed to take away the sin of the world.
You see our Lord Jesus was born in where all sacrificial lambs were born, and our Lord Jesus died in Jerusalem where all sacrificial lambs were killed.
So when you look at a nativity set this year, and you see the shepherds and Mary and Joseph and then you see the baby wrapped in swaddling cothes lying in a manger, I hope you’ll think of the story behind it. And I hope Christmas will touch you a little deeper this year.
(This is a compliation of the following sites: http://www.mayimhayim.org/Rabbi%20Mike/Migdal%20Eder.htm,
Thursday, December 02, 2010
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Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Once upon a time, there was a 15 year old teenager named Jaime. Jaime grew up in a house full of pets but she really wanted her very own cat.
The summer Jaime was 15, she was gone for a couple months touring with Young Continentals. While she was gone, her mother found a sweet, friendly stray cat. This cat followed Jaime's mother home and she decided to keep the cat for Jaime. Since it was going to be Jaime's cat, the sweet friendly cat was called JC. When Jaime returned home, she was very happy to have her own cat.
JC was spayed and declawed and was a very content inside cat. The vet said JC was a little younger than 1 year old. She had a few odd quirks.
JC loved to jump up onto the counters. Actually, she loved to jump onto anything taller than her. And while she explored the counters, she developed the habit of tipping over cups. Every cup she would find, she would knock it over. Eventually, she trained all of us to put our cups in the sink or empty them before we set them down.
JC also loved to lie on top of things. She really liked lying on bakery boxes. She slept on top of Kylene's birthday cake and Christy's graduation cake. If there was a box, JC was on it or in it.
And JC loved people. If she couldn't sit on your lap, she'd sit on your shoulders!
Now teenage Jaime started growing up. She met Slade and wanted to get married. Slade was not a cat person. Jaime had to find a new home for JC. Her friends, the Holcomb's, took JC in.
A few years went by and the Holcomb's called Jaime's parents. They couldn't keep JC anymore and would Jaime's parents like to take JC back? So JC went back to her original family and settled in to enjoy her old age.
A couple more years went by and JC decided she wanted to explore the great outdoors. She figured out how to go through the dog door and figured out how to wiggle out of her collar. She made friends with another cat in the house, Tux. Tux got sick and had to be put to sleep. Did JC sense something that day? We'll never know. JC went out the dog door and didn't come back.
JC's family called the Shelter, Animal Control, put an ad in the paper, but to no avail. JC was never found and her family finally figured she'd been hit by a car since the house was only a short way from a busy street. The family got a new cat who settled in to enjoy being pampered and spoiled.
3 years later, Jaime's mom was driving up the street and happened to see a neighbor walking into his house and the cat at his feet looked exactly like JC! JC was a very distinct calico and Jaime's mom recognized JC right away. She backed up and asked the neighbor about the cat. "Did you find this cat?" The neighbor said that the cat showed up at their house 3 years ago and they took her in!!! Jaime's mom called the cat and JC walked right up to her! Jaime's mom was excited and amazed! The neighbors were very gracious and apologized for not checking with the neighbors before they took her in. JC had only been 2 doors away for 3 years!!
Jaime was 15 the summer of 1995. JC was born in the early spring of 1995. That makes JC 14 years old!!! JC is now at Jaime's parents' house, warm and snug and getting used to being home. She is happily napping with Ally. She answers to her name and will be slowly introduced to the other animals who joined the family after JC disappeared.
So, after 3 years of being presumed dead, JC is home and will live the rest of her life in warmth, comfort and love.
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