The Hidden Meaning

 

The Hidden Meaning cover

A popular religion is deep seeded in the hidden meaning of the holiday song, The Twelve Days of Christmas. Did I say a secret meaning? Yes, that is correct! From 1558 to 1829, the Roman Catholics in England could not practice their faith in public because it was a crime. As fate has it, an unknown person, prior to 1780, wrote the popular carol as a catechism song for young children to sing at Christmas. It was encoded to avoid any outsiders from detecting it was written by a Catholic member. As I did some detective work on the ‘hidden meaning,’ I found a few articles which disputed this fact. But Catholic commentaries stand by their story.

Let’s enjoy “The Twelve Days of Christmas” sung by Mitch Miller!

Before I begin breaking down the Catholic’s hidden meaning of this Christmas song, let me pose a question. Just when are the twelve days of Christmas? Is it before Christmas, during Christmas, or after Christmas? What day does it begin? I’ve heard this song since I was a young child but I never thought to ask until now. We will come back to the answer.

Let’s breakdown the song’s hidden meaning….

The Hidden Meaning Pic 1

“On the first day of Christmas my true love gave to me”
Who is the true love? It is Jesus Christ! Love for mankind started on His birth.

“A partridge in a pear tree”
The partridge is willing to sacrifice it’s life to protect its own, therefore this represents Jesus.

“On the second day of Christmas my true gave to me – two turtle doves”
The two turtle doves were the Old and New Testaments.

“On the third day of Christmas my true love gave to me – three French hens”
A representation of faith, hope, and love

“On the fourth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – four calling birds”
The four calling birds are the gospels of the New Testament known as Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John.

“On the fifth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – five golden rings”
The five rings are the first five books of the Bible called the Book of Moses, Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy
These passages are important for they describe man’s fall into sin and God’s great love in sending His son to save us.

“On the sixth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – six geese-a-laying”
This represents the six days of God’s creation of the earth.

“On the seventh day of Christmas my true love gave to me – seven swans a-swimming”
The sevenfold gifts of the Holy Spirit to build up the church – wisdom, understanding, counsel, fortitude, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord.
Romans 12:6–8, 1 Corinthians 12:8–10, 1 Corinthians 12:28, Ephesians 4:11, and 1 Peter 4:11

“On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – eight maids a-milking”
This is the eight beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10 which describes Jesus’ famous Sermon on the Mount:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the land.
Blessed are they who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the clean of heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.
Blessed are they who are persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The Hidden Meaning Pic 3.jpg

 

“On the ninth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – nine ladies dancing”
The nine fruits of the Holy Spirit – Galatians 5:22-23
Love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control

“On the tenth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – ten lords a-leaping”
A representation of the Ten Commandments

“On the eleventh day of Christmas my true gave to me – eleven pipers piping”
This is the eleven faithful Apostles: Simon Peter, Andrew, James, John, Philip, Bartholomew, Matthew, Thomas, James bar Alphaeus, Simon the Zealot, and Judas bar James.

The Hidden Meaning Pic 2
The eleven faithful Apostles

 

“On the twelfth day of Christmas my true love gave to me – twelve drummers drumming”
The twelve points of belief in the Apostle’s Creed:
Belief in God, the Father Almighty, Creator of heaven and earth
Jesus Christ, God’s only Son
Conceived by the power of the Holy Spirit and born of the Virgin Mary
Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, was crucified, died, and was buried
He descended into hell. The third day he arose again from the dead.
He ascended into heaven and is seated at the right hand of God the Father Almighty.
He will come again to judge the living and the dead.
I believe in the Holy Spirit (Father, Son, and God the Holy Spirit)
I believe in the holy catholic Church, the Communion of Saints
the forgiveness of sins
the resurrection of the body
life everlasting

 

Before I conclude this blog, let me reveal the actual timeframe of the twelve days of Christmas. This joyous season is considered sundown on December 24th (Christmas Eve) to sunset on January 5th (the eve of Epiphany). There are many renditions of this glorious song, but for me, the original carol will forever deepen the meaning of Christmas. Let us celebrate Jesus’s birth!

www.danabicksauthor.com

Please join us again for the next Everything Christmas Blog on Tuesday, December 18th!


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My blog, my passion!

Hi friends,

How are you all doing?  As usual, I am doing good. I am enjoying the change of season here.

I love the winters here as the weather is good and we get to explore all the places.  There are countries that slow down during winters because of the cold weather but this country is the most active during the winters.  There are people enjoying long walks and cycling, all around.

Anyways, something happened recently that changed my outlook towards my blog.  During one of my conversations with my husband,  he had told me how much he had loved cycling during his school and college days and the places he had gone cycling.  But after he had come here, he had stopped cycling.

One day my husband took me shopping.  I had no idea what it was all about until we reached a cycle shop.  We went inside and my husband started looking for a cycle.  I asked him was he serious about buying a cycle and he said yes.  This was not something that he had been thinking for a while because otherwise, I would have known.  That day itself we visited a few shops and bought a cycle.

Once the cycle was bought, the shop guy started getting it ready with seat, lights, bell, and helmet, that is when I realized how much my husband loved a cycle.  He was so carefully selecting everything to match his cycle.  He was also observing how everything was being done. I felt happy about the whole thing.

After that, he regularly started cycling which was good because it was a good exercise.  A few days back, we went to another shop for some other purchase and there he found a bell that matched his cycle. His cycle already had a bell so I asked him why he wanted to buy another one to which he replied that the new one matched his cycle color.

I can see so much passion in his eyes for his cycle.  He takes care of it really well. The cycle is his baby now.  The best part about the cycle is that he loves to cycle which motivates him to exercise regularly.

From this one experience, I learned to be passionate about my blog.  My blog is my baby, my creation.  I created it as a hobby to share my knowledge and experience so that it may help somebody in need.  I don’t earn anything from it, but that doesn’t make it less important.

Just as cycling is a passion for my husband which also helps him to exercise and stay healthy, my blog is my passion which helps me think better, write better and be of help to others.

When I realised this, I stopped feeling guilty about spending time on my blog and began to give it a lot of importance.

Blog and cycle are just two examples. There are so many things that we possess, hobbies that we pursue and things that we learn not for the sake of making money but merely out of interest. We shouldn’t feel guilty about them. Not everything is about making money. Yes, if you make money it’s good but that’s it.

Being passionate about something doesn’t mean you have to earn money from it. Both are two different things. It is important to understand this to be able to pursue things that interest us just for the sake of our interest.

When we pursue an interest just as a hobby it helps us relax and this in turn helps us build our skills and get better at it. We also know what we are good at and what interests us.

It is important to do certain things like buying a house, learn new things like pursuing a hobby, build meaningful relationships, keep in touch with people with the intention of enjoying them. Not everything should be about money or building business (this is not for people who pursue business but it is for people who stop pursuing their interest because they think that they should earn from it). It is only then that we will be able to enjoy our interests without worrying about making money.

I enjoy writing on my blog. This year onwards, I started working more seriously on growing my blog content-wise and building new relationships. I feel so good to be able to share my thoughts with you all and also read some good writings of my fellow bloggers. I feel good to be able to build a good community of like-minded people.

The blog made me realise my interest in writing and helped me make new friends. So now I enjoy learning about different forms of writing and also how to blog better.

Just like my blog and writing, there are other interests that I would like to pursue just for the fun of it. Just for myself.

What do you think? Have you felt relaxed while pursuing an interest just to enjoy it?

Love,

Rashmi

P.s. image taken from http://www.123RF.com

A Step By Step Guide To Wrapping Presents As A Blind Person

My daughter’s sixth birthday was on the thirteenth, and Christmas is cruising in hard and fast. For me, this time of year involves a lot of present wrapping. When I mention this to sighted individuals, some of the questions and comments I get every year without fail are:

  • Do you have someone wrap them for you?
  • But you don’t wrap them yourself, do you?
  • I know (insert store name here) has gift wrapping services for a really good deal around this time of year! That would be perfect for you!
  • You must need so much help getting ready!

I’ve actually got it covered, guys, and today’s post is to show you how I do it. I’m sorry I couldn’t do a Youtube video about this, but that would require a second person to zoom in at the proper angles and I just don’t have a second person I can bribe into doing it right now.

Read it all here!

The Top Ten Questions I Always Receive As A Blind Parent

Parenting is hard. Every mother and father know this. When blindness is added to the equation, floods of questions arise from sighted individuals. For many of them, it’s impossible for them to wrap their minds around the fact that while being a blind parent presents its share of challenges, it really isn’t the constant, horrific struggle they believe it to be. Today, I will share and answer (in no particular order) the top ten questions I always receive as a blind parent.

10. Is your daughter your eyes?

Not at all. My daughter is my child. I didn’t want to have her in order to have a set of working eyes at my side 24/7. She isn’t my guide, and she isn’t my caregiver. She is a typical little girl who is allowed and encouraged to play with her toys, to enjoy her artistic streak with markers, crayons and paint and to just be a little girl.

Now, there are times when I may drop something, and if she’s nearby, I’ll ask her if she can point out the object I dropped if I can’t find it on my own. (That, too, isn’t as difficult as it’s made out to be, and I’ll do a future blog / podcast / video on it.) Sometimes she sees me performing a task and asks if she can help, but if she’s busy doing her own thing, I never tear her away from it to serve as my eyes. She doesn’t guide me in unfamiliar environments. She doesn’t help me match outfits, even her own. She doesn’t help me cook meals or let me know if my makeup is applied well. With the Aira service, the Be My Eyes and The Seeing Ai apps coupled with the other tools in my toolbox, I don’t, and won’t, place my visual needs upon the shoulders of my five-year old. She is just a child, and I want her to enjoy being one.

Read the rest here! The Top Ten Questions I Always Receive As A Blind Parent.

The Ambiance of the Season

The Ambiance of the Season cover

Ah… the ambiance of a warm, crackling fireplace at Christmas! Stockings are hung by the chimney with care, hoping St. Nicholas will soon be there. But, if you live in a Scandinavian or a European country, do not hang those stockings too low for they will go up in flames! You see, one of the oldest traditions of Christmas is the burning of a Yule log, and it’s not just any old piece of wood.

Enjoy “The Christmas Song” by Mary J. Blige!

In the 12th century, Norway kicked off the pagan custom of burning a Yule log on the day of Solstice. Norsemen believed the giant ball of fire, known as the sun, rolled away from the earth. Technically though, it was only the shortest and darkest day of the year, but their superstitions ran rampant. So they cut down an entire tree and dragged it into their homes. Yes, the whole tree! Families shoved the largest end of the tree into the fire while the other end of the tree laid in the middle of the room. As the Christmas season progressed, they continued to push it slowly into the flames while singing, dancing, and feasting on holiday goodies. It was a celebration of the sun’s rebirth, so it was important those flames never ceased before the twelfth day of Christmas; it was bad luck.

Victorian Yule Log Christmas card c 1870

Through the centuries, this tradition of prosperity spread as far west as Ireland, as far south as Greece, and as far north as Siberia. Each country individualized the Yule log custom. In France, folks stored any remaining pieces of the cherry tree log at the end of the twelve days, inside their home to protect against lightning strikes. The UK appears to be cleaner about their holiday mess. They dry out an oak tree and strip the bark off before it comes inside to burn. Some Europeans scatter the ashes of the flames inside their home to ward off evil spirits, and others spread them around their plants to encourage blooming. In Holland, the Yule log is stored under a bed in the home as a safety against bad luck.

The Ambiance of the Season pic 2.jpg
Yule Winter Solstice Celebration

Moving away to a modern civilization known as North America, is there a doubt we commercialized the Yule log? Walk into Hobby Lobby or any craft store, and you will spend a lot of money on Yule log centerpieces or the supplies to make one. But like the French, I think it’s much yummier to whip up a rich, chocolate Yule log, Bûche de Noël, dripping in chocolate icing and filled with cream. I would much rather sit in front of the fireplace, celebrating the ambiance of the season, eating this sponge cake. How about you?

The Ambiance of the Season pic 3

 

Let us remember, as Christians, the yule we celebrate today is the reality that God became man in order to bring the man to God. Happy Holidays!

Please join us again on Sunday for another “Everything Christmas Blog”!


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Answering Ten Of Google’s Most searched Questions About Blind People

What do people do when they don’t know the answer to a question these days?

They ask Google.

My Google Search Terms:

  • Blind people.
  • Questions about blindness.

Some of the asks within the top ten returned results, under the ‘people also ask’ heading of these searches weren’t different questions, merely rephrased ones. Between the two searches, I managed to find some of the top googled questions about blind people, and I’m here to answer them, because as you all know, I am a blind person, and I love to talk. So, let’s do this!

Answering Ten Of Google’s Most Searched Questions About Blind People

In order of how they were found.

1. Do blind people see black?

It’s a very common misconception that individuals who are considered totally blind see only blackness. Some do, but that’s rarer than you might think. The spectrum of visual impairment is huge. You can be considered legally blind and still be able to read print and navigate with no assistance whatsoever, or you can be legally blind without being able to see anything much at all. Most blind people do have some residual sight, be it the ability to see mere light and dark, shades and shadows of things, contrasts and indistinct shapes, etc.

So, the short answer is no. Not all blind people see black. Some do, some see whiteness or a world of fog, but many who consider themselves totally blind are not, in fact, living in darkness.

Head on over here for the rest of it!

Sledding in the Streets

Sledding in the Streets cover

As the cold snow wistfully falls, I dream of romantic horse-drawn carriage rides through Central Park in New York City. Thick, soft blankets and some steaming, hot chocolate add to the ambiance. The horses appear happy trotting down the paved walkway sparkling in Christmas lights. But, some of these animals are better suited for a faster track, like sledding in the streets. For example, the ever-popular horse racing in the 1800s. The Massachusetts resident, James Pierpont wrote about the sport in his tune, “One-Horse Open-Sleigh,” later known as Jingle Bells in 1850.

Sledding in the Streets pic 2
Portrait of James Lord Pierpont, courtesy of New England Historical Society

Enjoy James Pierpont’s tune, “Jingle Bells”, sung by Bing Crosby

As this story tells, he wrote it in the Simpson’s Tavern, a boarding house, on the only piano in town. An unproven detail is he wrote his winter song for his father’s Sunday School class for Thanksgiving. It was so popular enthusiasts sung it again at Christmas time. One of Pierpont’s friends called the melody, “a merry little jingle.”

The earliest recorded versions of the song played on music boxes but it didn’t become prevalent until the phonograph record era. Among all the recordings, it was Bing Crosby with The Andrews Sisters who made the tune most popular. Their 1943 recording is the one most often heard today during the Christmas season in the United States.

Pierpont’s song inspiration was the annual one-horse open-sleigh races on Salem and Pleasant Streets between Medford and Malden Square. What were these competitions? In the 19th century, harness racing was extremely popular in towns. Straight, snow packed roads made great racing lanes as men hitched their best horses for the matches. Local newspapers from the 1800s and early 1900s included the latest sleigh racing reports, winner’s names and the breeding of the best horses. For many, this sport was a cold-weather pastime, much like sledding and skiing. Horse necks, tied with large bells, helped avoid collisions at intersections (thus the inspiration for the title, “Jingle Bells”).

Sledding in the Streets pic 1
Image of a one-horse open-sleigh courtesy of Toronto Public Library

 

The sleigh described in “Jingle Bells” is known as a “cutter”—a two-person vehicle designed for a single horse in harness. The bobtailed mare, referenced in the song, covered a mile in two minutes and 40 seconds. Fast one! They bobbed tails of these horses to avoid entanglement in the tack.

As for sleigh racing, it dwindled in popularity each year after introducing the automobile.

~~~~~~~

Horses are one of the most fascinating creatures created by God! In the Bible, they were sources of transportation, symbols of army strength, royal gifts, pagan worship, and badges of wealth, character and prophecies. To ride a horse in biblical times implied war, so men usually rode donkeys, mules, camels, and ox-driven carts. They were rarely used for agricultural purposes.

Proverbs 21:31
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but the victory belongs to the Lord.

Sledding in the Streets pic 3

People imported and exported horses daily so chariot cities were built to stable them. Archaeologists have uncovered the ancient city of Megiddo, which was one of King Solomon’s chariot cities. Massive stone hitching posts still may be observed at the location.

1 Kings 10: 28-29
Solomon’s horses were brought out of Egypt, and the king’s merchants received them in droves, each at a price. A chariot could be brought out of Egypt for 600 shekels of silver, and a horse for 150. And so to all the kings of the Hittites and of Syria they were exported by the king’s merchants.”

1 Kings 4:26
“Solomon also had 40,000 stalls for his chariots and 12,000 horsemen”.

But for the notoriety horses are famous for, God wants us to understand this about horses. He created them for their strength and power but not as a replacement for His power in your life. As horses are stubborn and independent, so the Lord encourages you to lean on Him at all times, for His guidance. Just as in the Bible, it can symbolize destruction or victory in His holy name! Have a blessed Christmas!

Join us again on Thursday, December 13th for another Everything Christmas Blog!


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The Most Holy Dynasty: A Prelude to Christ

Welcome back to the final part of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. If you missed the first two parts of this special story, you may want to read them first by clicking on the following links:

www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/a-real-father-christmas

www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/the-humble-mother-of-a-christmas-savior

As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus and His family. Today, we will discover, as written in the Bible, the enthralling nativity story and birth of Jesus. Though some information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts to substantiate the most holy dynasty. It is truly a moving story!

I’ll never forget hearing these words from a “Christian” radio announcer who interviewed me, “So what if  Jesus was born by a virgin? Why is that important?” What a question for a true Christian to ask for God prophesied His son’s birth! Matthew 1:22-23 is definite proof Jesus is the Messiah and born of the Virgin Mary!

This was just one of many prophecies God gave us in the Old Testament. He wanted believers to know, beyond any doubt, who the real Messiah was when His son’s miraculous birth occurred on that wondrous night. In the biblical days of Joseph and Mary, everyone knew of God’s predictions. The wandering eyes of many who lived in Bethlehem and Nazareth waited for the great announcement. But, who would be the newborn King’s mother and father? Unbeknownst, it was a very young woman, a virgin, and she resided amongst them! 

You must understand how God performs miracles. He uses individuals and situations least suspected by others. Here, Mary was betrothed to Joseph, not yet wed, so she became the least dubious choice. Pregnant women in those times were married, not single, for they would have been stoned to death. It could place no worse of a stigma on Jews than to be born out of wedlock, so a virgin was necessary to carry out God’s goal. Shrouding Mary’s conception of the Messiah in mystery was of the utmost importance. Joseph had difficulty understanding her circumstance until a visiting angel described God’s plan. Divine intervention was the only way people would see this birth as God’s miracle and proof of His existence. Joseph’s testimony would help convince others along with one other woman…

Mary Visits Relatives

After Mary’s immaculate conception, she visited her cousin to share her pregnancy news. As God’s plans are always well thought out, He performed another miracle, but for a special reason. Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah, were expecting their first baby, a boy, in three months. This elderly couple could not conceive so God blessed them with an infant who would one day become His ordained messenger. The angel, Gabriel, told Zechariah their son, John the Baptist, would soon introduce Jesus, as the Messiah.

Once again, God would use Elizabeth and Zechariah to prove He was the Almighty Savior of life on earth.

What Will Joseph Do Now?

After Joseph learned of Mary’s impending birth, he was very tormented and shocked. But, God sent an angel (unnamed in the Bible) to him to clarify the self-fulfilling prophecy. 

To protect Mary’s safety and obey God’s command, Joseph lovingly married her. He moved her into his home in Nazareth to prepare for her childbirth. But, several months later, Augustus Caesar organized a compulsory census and general taxation in Judea. For those who didn’t want to lose their property and possessions, it was imperative every citizen (which included Nazareth and Bethlehem) appear in person to register. There was much chatter a Savior was soon be delivered, and speculation arose. Some believed Caesar contrived the census so he might determine who was pregnant. He also instructed the Three Wise Men to search for the child who claimed to be the Messiah.


Augustus Caesar Census

Joseph worried about the health and welfare of Mary should they embark on the long trip (approximately eighty miles) to Bethlehem. But, since they were both descendants of King David, it was mandatory they make the trudge, cautiously south. I’m sure they faced many perils because of Mary’s limitations of being nine months pregnant. It does not indicate in the bible what mode of transportation they used, but Joseph was not a poor man. Therefore, a donkey may have been used to give her a some comfort.

The Journey to Bethlehem

They may have only voyaged ten miles a day, realistically, over the mountains and Judean desert. They probably also traveled with trade caravans as protection from bandits. The freezing weather was an obstacle too. Snow and rain would have drenched their long wool robes and socks. I cannot imagine such a horrific trip! But, God protected their every move for this was His ultimate plan.

As Joseph and Mary entered Bethlehem, it surprised them how many people were in the area. Maybe they were in Bethlehem for the census as well or because of the season of the year. So, Joseph walked from inn to inn trying to finding a warm, protected space for Mary. He finally convinced someone to allow them to stay on their property but, it was an area where animals slept and ate from troughs. Making the best of a bad situation, Joseph made Mary a bed of straw, and she rested in the old, run-down structure. You see, God felt it was important for Jesus to be born in the most humbling of circumstances. It would be less conspicuous to authorities because they wouldn’t suspect a Messiah to be born in a stable. This was a private time and not one to share with strangers.

It does not describe Mary’s birthing of Jesus in scriptures but allow me to reveal some interesting facts about childbirth in biblical days. Men were not allowed in a room when a woman was having a baby. Undernormal circumstances, village women stayed for the entire birth, and they announced the arrival of a newborn after the mother was comfortable. If no one were present for a delivery, it raised many suspicions. So, my curiosity peaks as to perhaps there were other people with Mary during the birth of Jesus. It’s hard to say, but it’s a fascinating thought.

The Importance of a Virgin Birth

So, let’s return to the significance of our Lord being born to a virgin. God created Adam and Eve sinless. They were to be the beginning of His perfect world. However, upon eating the forbidden fruit, sin stayed forever in the veins of mankind. As the centuries passed, God’s attempt to prove to the world He was the ruler of humanity failed many times. His greatest miracle and the only way to convince others of His existence, was to anoint a virgin woman to bear His Son. She would be fully dedicated to God. Jesus was born to replace Satan’s ruling on earth. For Him to be born without original sin and stay sinless, He could not inherit sin through man’s seed of sexual contact. It needed to be an immaculate conception.

Jesus is truly divine. He is the third part of the Holy Trinity who humbled Himself to become a poor man, born in the worst of conditions, to erase sin from this world. Yet today, mankind continues to devalue His words and even His existence. Is it any wonder God will not let humankind enter His gates of heaven except through His Son, Jesus Christ?

As Christians, this season is the time to celebrate God’s entrance into the world as a man. He is our forgiving and Almighty Savior. He wants us to have an everlasting life with Him by merely accepting Jesus into your life. We have but one chance to make this decision. Will it be yours or will you remain where evil lurks?

What can Joseph and Mary’s story teach us today? FAITH and OBEDIENCE! Amide fear and perils we each face in life, it is critical we carry our faith in Jesus Christ. He will guide us down a path designed perfectly for you. Sometimes it may not make sense, but allow Him to open doors. His ways always go beyond man’s comprehension, challenging both us and society, but you will not regret being obedient to His word.

May your Christmas be filled with the spirit and miracles of our Lord!

Thank you friends and followers for allowing us to share this special family’s story with you this week. The regular “Everything Christmas Blogs” will continue on Tuesday, December 11th. Hope to see you then!

______________________________________________________________________________

Give the gift of something special!

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior cover

Welcome to Part Two of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus. For example, how many details do you actually know about His family? Though most information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts of the Bible, to understand this holy dynasty. Today, we will learn of Mary, the virgin mother of Jesus Christ. Enjoy!

Enjoy this gorgeous Christmas song, “Mary, Did You Know?” sung by Clay Aiken:

 

Nothing is more glorious or miraculous than giving birth to a child. Who will the baby resemble and what will they become in adulthood? But, can you ever imagine going to sleep a virgin and waking up to discover a baby growing in your womb? And then, to compound the mystery, you are told the child will be a Savior to all mankind! What?? How does this happen? God’s power over man is astounding, if not scary. It proves we, ultimately, have no control over our lives. His miraculous deeds exceed earthly desires, so let us praise His name!

This is the true account of Jesus’s mother, Mary, a poor Jewish girl who lived in Nazareth. Her honorable family was descendants of King David, but they were not any different from others who struggled to live daily in the thriving, small town. Mary’s parents raised her with strong convictions and a deep love for the Lord. She was carefully trained in the Scriptures and so highly favored by God to be the mother of His Son.

Mary’s story begins in the Bible at the tender age of twelve to fourteen where she lived with her parents but betrothed to Joseph. (This is young to be engaged but the lifespan of the generations in biblical days were short.) One day, the angel, Gabriel, came to visit her and said:

Luke 1:28-33

“….Greetings, you who are highly favored! The Lord is with you.” 29 Mary was greatly troubled at his words and wondered what kind of greeting this might be. 30 But the angel said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary; you have found favor with God. 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you are to call him Jesus. 32 He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his father David, 33 and he will reign over Jacob’s descendants forever; his kingdom will never end.”

the-humble-mother-of-a-christmas-savior-pic-1.jpg

 

Put yourself in Mary’s place. What would your reaction be to such a claim? I think it would terrify me, as it did Mary, for she was still a virgin. Though she didn’t understand, she humbled herself before the Lord. Her faith and trust in God would see her through the explanation to Joseph and the birth of the child. What a remarkable young girl!

Mary paid a visit to her older cousin, Elizabeth and her husband, Zechariah in a small town of Judea. Would they believe her story? They were preparing for the delivery of their first child. As the Bible tells, when Mary arrived, Elizabeth dropped to her knees and said, “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the child you will bear!” God used Elizabeth to confirm to Mary that she would be the mother of the Son of God. She knew nothing was impossible for God. But, Elizabeth understood, too, an unmarried mother in their culture could be stoned or put to death. It would place shame on the tribe in their township. So, she let Mary stay with her until their son, John the Baptist, was born three months later.

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 2

 

Upon Mary’s return trip home, many thoughts afflicted her. How would she explain her pregnancy to Joseph and her parents? They would accuse her of something she did not do. This young woman of such character was about to be put to the ultimate test.

When Mary relayed her story to Joseph, he appeared extremely upset and hurt. She knew he didn’t believe her. What would she do now, and where would she go to stay safe in Nazareth? The Bible does not detail her parent’s reaction, but one can only imagine. Mary’s stress level must have been unbearable.

The next day, Joseph arrived at Mary’s home to pick her up and take her to his house. He loved her! A visit from an angel to him the night before confirmed her pregnancy. (Read Joseph’s history in the first part of this Special Edition – www.danabicksauthor.com/blog/a-real-father-christmas). He protected her and her character, and still wanted to marry even though the townspeople gossiped and shadowed her reputation. Is being a servant of God ever easy?

Near the end of Mary’s pregnancy, she and Joseph trudged an eighty-mile path to Bethlehem. Caesar required the citizens to enroll in a tax census but there was a hidden agenda. He knew a child was to be born who held the name “Savior.” The only way to find out who was carrying the miracle was to demand all citizens report to him in person. So, not only was Mary very pregnant, tired, and concerned of Caesar’s request, she endured a trip which must have been physically painful. Little to eat and little to drink, Joseph, and Mary climbed the many mountains, probably making many short stops along the way for her to rest.

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 3

As they approached Bethlehem, Mary began the early stages of labor. The city was full of people, and no place was available for them to stay the night. Joseph found a stall for animals and made a bed of straw for her to lie upon and be comfortable. In a strange town, with no relatives to help, a young Mary gives birth to her first child. She must have been terrified, and perhaps, even a little sad she could not share their joy with family members. But God’s celebration of His son was her drive to remain strong and steadfast. What an extraordinary, uncomplaining mother!

The Humble Mother of a Christmas Savior Pic 4

 

Mary, the humble mother of our Savior, Jesus Christ, was an incredible girl. She served God at any cost and was an obedient follower. How many women, today, can hold a candle to her? She was a nurturer, entirely devoted to her son’s health and spiritual well-being. But, as like all servants of the Lord, there’s great suffering too, especially being the mother of a Messiah. She was a holy woman of rare strength, confirming the human nature of Jesus Christ.

I think it’s proper to remember Mary on Christmas. She taught us to reach out and take a gift, accept God’s blessings, with a faithful and sincere heart. This is the reason for the season, my friends.

www.danabicksauthor.com

Please join us for the final part of this three-part Special Edition of “Everything Christmas Blogs” on Sunday, December 9th.


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A Real, Father Christmas

A Real, Father Christmas cover

This is part one of a three-part Special Edition of Everything Christmas Blogs. As Christians, it is important to know about Jesus. For example, how many details do you actually know about His family? Though most information is minimal, try to use your imagination, along with the details and facts of the Bible, to understand this holy dynasty. Today, we will learn of Joseph, the carpenter, legal father of Jesus Christ. Enjoy!

 

Jesus’s father, Joseph, was a real father Christmas – he personified a great example of fatherhood. A direct descendant of King David, his birthdate is circa 1782 BC, according to the Gregorian calendar method. In the book of Matthew, Joseph was one of eleven children, but only one of two natural-born children to Jacob and Rachel. Rachel could not conceive until late in life. Joseph was her first child and the most favored by Jacob.

Joseph lived in Nazareth, a tiny town of 400 residents, just twelve miles southwest of the Sea of Galilee. The meager, peasant families, all of whom were Jewish, barely survived farming the rocky, hilly terrain. But he became a skilled carpenter and later a well-respected contractor. He passed his family’s inherited talents on to his son, Jesus.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 1
Biblical Nazareth

A faithful and devout man to Judaism, Joseph raised his family under the same practices and beliefs. As the story of Mary and Joseph unravels in Matthew 1:1-18, this compelling man was of middle age when he met Mary. In biblical days, the parents of young girls arranged marriages. Because the age span of humans was short (35-45 years), girls wed at twelve to fourteen years old. It is unclear in the Bible if a marriage arrangement was the situation with Joseph and Mary because their story began when they were betrothed.

So, to describe Joseph’s personality and strength of character, let me set the scene of events. He was an honorable man who loved his soon-to-be-wife, Mary, very much. One day, Mary solemnly approached him and told him she was pregnant. His first instinct could have been anger and rejection. An acceptable response, in those days, would be to send her off to be stoned and ridiculed by the masses because she was pregnant with another’s child. Instead, his faith in God led him to believe her story of an immaculate conception.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 2

Joseph lovingly took her under his wing, setting aside his own needs for Mary’s protection. Men in this culture were not inclined to bend to a woman’s needs, but he set the bar very high. He traveled many miles with Mary until he found a safe and quiet place for her to give birth. But his starring role was about to begin.

Mary gave birth to our Savior, and Joseph was overcome with emotion. He named the baby Jesus (meaning Savior). Biologically, Joseph was not the father, but in every way, this man was a proud, surrogate patriarch. He raised Jesus in the Jewish religion and taught him a spiritual life. His role as a protective father ensured the survival of the child. This was evident when a second angel relayed another message:

A Real, Father Christmas verse

 

Again, Joseph traveled by night with Mary and Jesus, from Egypt back to Nazareth. He humbly and quietly saved Jesus’s life and established a residence for his family. Joseph certainly proved his willingness to be obedient to God’s direction and guidance.

A Real, Father Christmas pic 3

Though an exact date of Joseph’s death is not available, we can surmise it occurred sometime between the beginning of Jesus’s ministry and His crucifixion; Jesus made arrangements for John the Baptist to take care of His mother after His death. This was indicative Joseph was not alive.

What a silent hero Joseph was and a real role model for Christians today! He took his son, God Almighty, and taught him to pray and how to work. This is a man who was forced to live, initially, a life of purity within his marriage to Mary. Sacrificing the ability to have any kind of normal life came with many struggles and much criticism, but Joseph overcame them all. Few examples of these godly traits were seen in biblical days and even less so in today’s generations. Is it any wonder Jesus was a sinless man with such endearing and loving qualities?

Joseph was a gentle and wonderful man. Thank you, to this real, Father Christmas for living and teaching us the example of true love.

Enjoy this video called, “Joseph’s Hands”:

 

To be continued…. please join us on Thursday for Part Two of Everything Christmas Blogs!


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