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Thursday, December 23, 2010

Manger scene with cross shadow

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"See Him In A Manger Laid"

"She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn" (Luke 2:7).

A very familiar symbol of Christmas is the manger scene with Mary and Joseph  the baby Jesus, the shepherds and usually it includes the wise men bearing gifts. I enjoy hearing stories of touching and sometimes humorous Christmas memories. When we lived in New England
Rich Weitzel, a pastor friend of ours, shared a memory.

His young son was intrigued by the manger scene in their home and would frequently rearrange it by moving the baby Jesus to the front, rather than in the center of the scene where he was surrounded by Mary and Joseph, the shepherds, wise men and angels. Dad was constantly putting the scene back in place and, a bit flustered, finally asked his son, "Why do you keep moving Baby Jesus?" The little boy explained, "Daddy, I want everybody to see Jesus."

"She wrapped Him in cloths and placed Him in a manger." The very first place the infant Jesus was physically placed, following His birth, was in a manger. The manger was a feeding trough for animals. The specific composition of the manger is not specified in Scripture, but it was likely made from wood or perhaps from a hollowed out log.

One can see Mary wrapping her newborn baby in cloths and gently placing Him in the manger. What an interesting detail and sign of the humble start on earth for the incarnate, eternal Son of God.  He was surely lovingly, gently and purposefully placed in the manger. The eternal Son of God, by whose command the world was formed, was placed in an animal-feeding trough.

The final physical place where Jesus (while still alive) was placed on earth was a cross. As a symbol we now see crosses made of stone, metal, jewels, and other materials (even plastic!), but the old rugged cross upon which the dear Son of God died was most certainly made of wood.  In fact Peter writes, "He Himself bore our sins in His body on the tree."  He was not lovingly placed on the cross by the hands of man as He was in His infancy placed in the manger by His mother.  But it was surely by God's set purpose (Acts 2:23).

This Christmas season let us keep a sense of awe when we view the manger scene. My friend's young son wanted everyone to see Jesus and that should be the goal of every earnest believer.  He Himself stated, "And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto me" (John 12:32).

Today let us lift up the One Mary laid in the manger!

See Him in a manger laid, Jesus, Lord of heaven and earth!
Mary, Joseph, lend your aid, with us sing our Savior's birth.
Glo-ori-a in excelsis de-o
Glo-ori-a in excelsis de-o

Be encouraged today,

Stephen & Brooksyne Weber

Thankful manDaily prayer: Jesus, we know that You no longer physically occupy a place where we can see, touch, or talk with You face to face. But You reside in the hearts of those who make room for You.  We place You on the throne of our hearts where Your principles and Your divine guidance are the authority and rule for our lives. Though the world may cast You aside we place You front and center of all that we do so that all who see us will also see You.

Dorie retirement party
Yesterday we attended a Christmas party at one of our companies.  I snapped this photo of Brooksyne visiting with two co-worker friends.  For years Donna and Dorie have been the only two women in an otherwise male production area.   Dorie said her good-byes yesterday to co-workers after 30 years of employment, as she officially retired.  She has a great work ethic and enthusiasm about her work!  She will be greatly missed.

Mennonite bike and buggy
We saw this bike come up behind the buggy along Rt 322 east of Ephrata, PA just as we stepped out the door. Right after I snapped the photo the bicyclist gained ground and passed the buggy.

Mennonite school Christmas assembly
A few miles away we passed this old order Mennonite one-room schoolhouse.
They were likely having a Christmas program with family and friends in attendance as is their custom every year.

Today's Suggested Music and Supplemental Resources
Click on the link to open and play.
(In some cases you may also need to click again to start the song.)

"Away In A Manger"  Video  

"Angels We Have Heard On High"  Video  

Resources for Christmas Celebrations
(We will leave these resources posted below our daily messages through Christmas)

Each year we share several online resources that we have used over the years and that may be a blessing to families and churches during this Christmas season. As we find additional material that we believe will be a blessing we will add it to this list as well.

"In Remembrance of Me" pdf  This is a passion-filled Scripture reading for two adults. Brooksyne and I have used this reading with great receptivity during Christmas Eve services many years.  We suggest, if possible, a musical background as the message is read. It is also a great lead-in to a Communion service. It should be thoroughly practiced and read with great feeling.

"When Christ Was Born" pdf This is an adaptation to the tune of "How Great Thou Art". It's a great song to sing as a congregation since most are familiar with and love the tune.

Responsive Christmas Scripture readings for church or family:
John 1:1-18  pdf
"O Come Let Us Adore Him"  pdf

My First Christmas In Heaven  This is a blessed reminder for all who lost a loved one this year.  This is the poem that Brooksyne read and wrote about in this message.  

Christmas Knowledge Test

We have also posted two Christmas carol quizzes here (scroll down).

re you Christmas shopping online?

Christianbook.comDaily Encouragement Net is an affiliate of Christianbook.com. Any orders placed to Christian Book Distributers using this link or any specific product link to a recommended resource in a daily encouragement message will help our Daily Encouragement ministry through a small commission on the sale. Thank you for considering using these links when purchasing online through CBD! Tip: If you are regular CBD customer consider bookmarking this link and using it whenever you shop.

Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your parents?  
Here's an idea!  "The Best Gift You Can Ever Give Your Parents"

Looking for a very special Christmas gift for your children?
Here's an idea!  "The Blessing"

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Scripture references are from The Holy Bible: New International Version. © 1984 by International Bible Society; NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1995 by The Lockman Foundation, New King James Version (NKJV) Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. and the King James Version.

Personal Mission Statement: "I am created by God to bring Him glory. Through God's Son Jesus Christ I have been redeemed and I make it my life's goal to please the Lord. My mission in life is to honor God through my faith and obedience and to prepare myself and all whom I may influence for eternity."

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