Merry Christmas

The birth of our Savior Jesus Christ is profoundly beautiful and filled with hope. As I reflect on this special blessing in my life, I thank God for knowing that nothing is impossible with Him. I am human and continue to fall short of His graces, but I have the full knowledge of understanding that I serve a God of forgiveness.

The First Nativity

St. Francis of Assisi was the first to introduce the Nativity scene into the world.

St. Francis had a special devotion to the Child Jesus. St. Francis was inspired after visiting the Holy Land  and the humble stable, a Bethlehem cave. In the year 1223, with permission from Pope Honorius III  on Christmas Eve, St. Francis set up a manger in the village of Grecio, Italy, with hay and two live  animals. There St. Francis preached about “the Babe of Bethlehem.” St. Francis was so overcome by emotion  that he could not say “Jesus.” So the first Nativity did not have Mary, Joseph, baby Jesus, or wise men either, just an ox and an ass.

Silent Night

Joseph Mohr, a Catholic priest from Austria, wrote the lyrics to Silent Night. The choir director of St. Nicholas Church in  Oberndorf, Austria, Franz Xaver Gruber composed the melody. Silent Night was first performed on Christmas Eve in 1818 at St. Nicholas Church.

The Holy Family

The divine providence of God was in perfect order when He picked this family. Mary was visited by the Archangel Gabriel heralding the great news of the up coming birth of the Christ Child. Mary was engaged to marry Joseph, but when he discovered that she was with child (by the Holy Spirit) Joseph had second thoughts. After an angel appeared to him in a dream, he understood the importance of his role as the holy foster father of Jesus. He was called to protect his family from all harm. St. Joseph is mentioned in the Bible, but he was never quoted in the Word of God. He became the silent example of holiness. He listened to the messages sent from God through holy angels and departed to Egypt to save the Christ Child from the hands of King Herod.

The Flight to Egypt.
13 When they had departed, behold, the angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, “Rise, take the child and his mother, flee to Egypt, and stay there until I tell you. Herod is going to search for the child to destroy him.”

Because of Joseph’s obedience,  Jesus’ life was spared from the hands of the evil King Herod. That’s what holy fathers do; they protect their children from all harm. Joseph serves as a role model on how to be a great father. The idea that he was a foster father to the Son of God gives us insight as to how deep the Lord wants fathers to exemplify Joseph’s fatherhood. Not only did he raise Jesus as his own, he handed down his trade as a carpenter to his Son. It is a common misconception that Jesus had brothers and sisters, but in the New Testament times close relatives were referred to as brothers and sisters. Mary was set aside to carry the Christ Child in her womb; this was her main purpose in life, and Jesus, God’s only begotten Son, was her only child.

St. Anne and St. Joachim 

Mary was born to St. Anne and St. Joachim. St. Joachim was a wealthy man who benevolently gave to the work of God. He gave  one-third to the Temple, one-third  to the poor, and kept one-third for St. Anne and himself. They were judged harshly by their Jewish community because they were elderly and they could not bear children. They both fasted and prayed for a child. St. Joachim went to the desert and prayed for 40 days and 40 nights, while his wife fasted and prayed at the temple. An angel appeared to St. Anne first to announce that she would bear a child. St. Joachim experienced an angel apparition around the same time, telling him to go back home to his wife because she was with child. When Mary was three-years-old her life was consecrated  in the temple.

Jesus’ Grandparents

As parents, St. Anne and St. Joachim made the ultimate sacrifice by consecrating Mary in the temple. They understood that Mary was a special gift from God. Their role as grandparents was to pray for the future of the Mother of God, their daughter Mary. St. Anne must have known that Mary would become the most famous woman in the world. Mothers have a God-given intuition for their children.

Mike and I have four grandchildren. Each one is different, and we have learned that we cannot treat them the same. We love them the same but our involvement as grandparents is to be available to help at any time. I will drop everything when it comes to the needs of our grandchildren. I want to teach our grandchildren to love the Lord and to be an example of serving God. All grandchildren are special because we as grandparents have a great opportunity to witness what we have experienced in life. We have grown from all of our past hurts and pains and can offer great wisdom. Every time that I have served as the taxi for our grandkids, I always have the radio on a religious station. None of them seem to mind.

God Bless You! And Merry Christmas!



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