Hello Almost Christmas. I know it’s close because my birthday has been, and gone. We really celebrated this year. Over the month of December. I’ve never done that before. And don’t think it will happen every year Thanks to all my family and friends and my little BBs for the love
I don’t know if I told you what my birthday present from Ryan was… well… It’s a Kenwood Kmix in Almond. It arrived at the beginning of December – and I was allowed to open it It is FABULOUS. It came with 3 attachments and I have used them all. It sits right next to my cream scales and on the other side is the recipe stand. It is a perfect addition to my kitchen: Welcome Kmix you will be used almost daily, and will make my friends & family happy with the cakes, cupcakes, loaves… and I’m going to try and make butter (one blogger said once you make it you will never buy butter/marg again, I would like to try that!)
So Christmas Eve. We don’t really have any traditions as a family for Christmas or Christmas Eve. As the Barnes family are in Christ Church – NZ (Which had more earthquakes and you are in our prayers…) we won’t be seeing them this Christmas – unless we skype So it’s a Baker Christmas. However, Beth will count the number of Bakers present (3) and then will count the number of BB’s present (4 or will she include baby bump!? 5) and then she will say who the winner is. She does this with girls and boys in a room. I think she likes to be on the winning team so doesn’t count certain items if she knows there’s less….
What do you do that’s become a ‘tradition’. Of course, we will sit down to eat a most delicious Christmas Dinner, we will go to our friends Church for the 11am service. We will open our gifts. We will enjoy playing with the children’s toys. And I hope that we will go for a little walk – to feed the horses? I’m so badly allergic to most animals, but I like going for a walk to let the children throw apples and carrots into the fields……
I will read the Christmas Story: The Bible Version. Every year when I read it on Christmas it feels more real than before. It’s as though my walk with God has deepened in a new way and I am thankful for his incredible Birth, his self-less Death and his miraculous Resurrection: From Luke 1 (read the rest of the story here )
The Birth of Jesus Foretold
26 In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, 27 to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. 28 Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you![d]”
29 Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. 30 “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! 31 You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. 32 He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. 33 And he will reign over Israel[e] forever; his Kingdom will never end!”
34 Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin.”
35 The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. 36 What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she’s now in her sixth month. 37 For nothing is impossible with God.[f]”
38 Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her.
There are so many things I could talk about from this passage. I know I will leave some out – not because they are not important, not because they don’t speak to me, but because I will only highlight some.
1. Mary was favoured. What was she doing? What was special about her life? How was her life different than EVERY other girl in the world at that time? Maybe she led a simple life of devotion and her actions were honouring to God. Maybe she always knew? Her life had destiny and purpose. A destiny and purpose that would cause her to be despised by others. That would see the very life that she nurtured crucified. [I feel silly to write this bit, but it must have been really hard for her as a 40 ish week pregnant Mama ride on a donkey FOR DAYS....... No wonder she gave birth when they arrived - I will remember this if baby 3 is late;) ]
2. Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. – Have you ever thought you’ve heard something from God: whether an Angel came to tell you or whether it was a spontaneous thought that appeared out of no-where? Being confused as to whether you made this up, or disturbed as to how the plan would work out… I can learn a lot from her. She hears from God – via an Angel. And then the natural mind seeks to understand. I love the miracle of the birth of Jesus. Here Mary is reminding the Angel that she is a virgin…. Her mind is telling her that it is impossible.
3. But she has faith: Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant. May everything you have said about me come true.” And then the angel left her. The Angel left when his work was done. Mary speaks words of truth – she is the Lord’s servant (as we can all choose to be) And her words are so important as she says “may everything you have said about me come true”. This is significant also to our own lives. God has a wonderful plan for our lives – where destiny meets purpose and you live life with clarity, knowing your place in the world………. We can use the phrase in the same way as Mary to let the Masterplan for our lives unravel. Rather than speaking negatively and almost criticising the things that God has destined for us or for others.
This leads onto a verse that I awoke with a couple of mornings ago: I pondered on the words ‘how vast are your thoughts for me’ (It is from Psalm 139). I had paraphrased it in my mind, but that’s ok! Anyways, I lay there awake, in the dark, in the stillness – I was the only one awake – like usual And I began to think of God’s thoughts for me. I got to about 10 and then my mind wandered off and I got out of bed to make a pot of coffee…
I am reminded this morning of that verse once more, Psalm 139 – see verse 17.
13For You did form my inward parts; You did knit me together in my mother’s womb.
14I will confess and praise You for You are fearful and wonderful and for the awful wonder of my birth! Wonderful are Your works, and that my inner self knows right well.
15My frame was not hidden from You when I was being formed in secret [and] intricately and curiously wrought [as if embroidered with various colors] in the depths of the earth [a region of darkness and mystery].
16Your eyes saw my unformed substance, and in Your book all the days [of my life] were written before ever they took shape, when as yet there was none of them.
17How precious and weighty also are Your thoughts to me, O God! How vast is the sum of them!(E)
18If I could count them, they would be more in number than the sand. When I awoke, [could I count to the end] I would still be with You.
God has more thoughts about us than the number of the sand, and I got fidgety after numero 10…! These are thoughts about our future, about the plans He has for us, about the destiny awaiting to be unravelled. Imagine if I’d have got to even 20 – it would have set me up for the day. If I was thinking about what God thinks towards/about me, then honestly 20 good thoughts verses say 1 negative comment from someone else (say) that comment would have NO impact as I would be so secure in God’s thoughts for me. Go on, try it
And finally: The very reason for Jesus’ Birth – not for my traditions, not for a delicious dinner – though it may all be part of celebrating the Messiah’s Birth I must leave you with this: John 3:16
16For God so greatly loved and dearly prized the world that He [even] gave up His only begotten ([a]unique) Son, so that whoever believes in (trusts in, clings to, relies on) Him shall not perish (come to destruction, be lost) but have eternal (everlasting) life.
Thank you God for prizing the world, for prizing me and my family and friends (and the rest of the world who I don’t know! I sound like Beth when she says grace ‘thank you Lord Jesus for all the people in the world, I love them all and thankyouformydinner amen”!) that you would give your son for all.
Thank you for giving your most precious gift to the world. Help us to trust, cling and rely on you in a new way as we remember your Son’s glorious birth that made a way for our eternal life. THANK YOU Jesus for your life, and your sacrifice. AMEN xoxoxox
ps I’m feeling Christmassy now…. In a new way once more – maybe it’s ok we don’t have exact traditions: but people we can share the wonderful news with. Does that sound a little anti-commercial? Sorry… I did buy presents for my family and friends, I really did But I’m also glad that Christmas isn’t just about the presents and tinsel and turkey but a much deeper relationship – one that changed history and my story FOREVER x