|Sir Anthony Van Dyck |
"Madonna della Paglia" (Madonna of the Straw)
It's somewhat difficult for me to accept that time has passed with days turning into months; and those months have once again accumulated into a year. The final two weeks are a flurry of activity, as we try to cram much celebrating into the hours before the new year dawns.
Most of you know I like to read my Bible first thing in the morning. It's in these moments of quiet reading, I have an opportunity to absorb some peace and calm before the craziness of my day begins with children who leap out of bed, feet thrust to the floor in running-mode, always alert and ever chattering. Gentle awakenings do not happen here! LOL
In these planned moments of quiet, I find myself delving into the thin, crinkly pages of my Bible, while trying to absorb and find meaning and purpose in the stories. Sometimes I just open the Good Book and begin reading wherever my eyes land. Other times, I am more methodical in which I choose to read. Lately, and really no surprise, I've been focusing on the birth of Christ. The account of His birth can be found in the Gospels of the New Testament. Which version do you like best? Which story of the birth of Christ do you tell your children?
Matthew's account begins with the genealogy of Jesus Christ. If you can get through the first chapter, reading all those names correctly, I am in great admiration. My eyes cross while reading that! LOL I understand the setup and why Matthew felt it necessary to show Jesus' lineage. I just like getting to verse 18 where Matthew begins telling of the birth. For me, Matthew is very 'factual' and defining in his account. I think that's why I prefer Luke's version.
|Gerard van Honthorst|
Die Anbetung der Hirten, Adorazione dei Pastori, 1622
(Adoration of the Shepherds)
I like that Luke humbly admits there have been others who have written the same accounts, though he feels compelled to do the same. He makes himself human to me, and therefore, more relatable. I can 'hear' his voice when I read his record of the birth of Christ.
I imagine him sitting in an amphitheater or around a fire at night, his gravelly voice filled with emotion as he shares the life story of his beloved friend Who died to save him. Luke begins with the basics, setting up the scene so people will understand the time and place these events occurred. His entire account, to me, reads like a good book that keeps my attention throughout the two chapters. Luke breathes life into these people who have been gone from this world for thousands of years. Do you read this story to your children? Do you read it and feel a connection through the pages, relating to 'characters' of the story and the lives they lived?
Take time this season to celebrate the Word. Share it with your family. Read the story to your children. Don't look at it as some dried-up, has-been, boring story from long ago. Read it with a fresh heart and renewed eyes. Delve into the words and hold the rapt attention of your children as you 'use' voices for the characters. Be bold and booming when you speak the words of the Angel Gabriel. Be gentle and joyous when you sing Mary's Song. Use your 'angry' voice for King Herod. Use your 'wise old owl' voice for the Magi.
Make this story come alive for your children. Enjoy the story again for yourself. Read it with a renewed spirit. Your heart will be glad you did.
Jesse Tree Readings
Isaiah 1:10-20, 6:1-13, 8:11-9:7...symbol...Fire Tongs with Hot Coal