The Names of Christmas: Joseph and Mary

18 Now the birth of Jesus Christ was as follows: After His mother Mary was betrothed to Joseph, before they came together, she was found with child of the Holy Spirit. 19 Then Joseph her husband, being a just man, and not wanting to make her a public example, was minded to put her away secretly. 20 But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. 21 And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name JESUS, for He will save His people from their sins.” Luke 2: 18-21

Joseph, a just man

In verse 19, we learn why Joseph was chosen to be Jesus’ earthly father. He was a just man. He was just the man God had in mind to raise his Son. So God tells Joseph, “Do not be afraid to take Mary to be your wife.” What does Joseph fear? For his reputation? For his business? For his personal relationships?

How did Joseph find out? Was it a friend? Was it an enemy who came to him with the the news? Whether friend of foe,

Someone delivers the bad news.

Mary is with child.

How could this happen? Everyone knew Mary’s reputation. She’s a woman of integrity and great character. But she is with child.

God delivers the good news.

The child is not his, but His. The baby is conceived of the Holy Spirit. God tells Joseph not to be afraid to take Mary to be his wife.  The have a quick wedding and head to Bethlehem for the honeymoon.

And Mary delivers the Good News, Jesus!

The Names of Christmas.

The name Joseph descends from the Hebrew root yacaph,  means to add, to increase. To add more and more. God is always in the business of adding more and more to His people. More righteousness, more grace, more love, and more blessing.

The name Mary also descends from the Hebrew root marah, and it means bitterness, rebellion, a rebellious house. I am not proposing a new doctrine, but perhaps Mary is a symbol of the rebellious nature of the people of Israel. And amid their rebellion and bitterness, God appears one silent night  to add more and more to the lives of His people by sending His only begotten Son. More grace, more love, more blessing. If you have bitterness in your heart, you need more and more Jesus.

God yacaph life to our marah by sending the King of Kings.

God is redeeming us from our rebellion and bitterness.

Reflect: How is God adding more and more to your life this Christmas season? Please leave a comment down below. I’d love to chat with you!

Merry Christmas!

by Mary Kane

all rights reserved. Copyright 2019




Christmas Past and Present

Memories of Christmases past shimmer in my mind. 

  • My sisters and I sneaking out of bed and tiptoeing down creaky stairs, anxious for our first glimpse of the Christmas tree.
  • Baking and frosting Christmas cookies.
  • Waiting my turn to open the next door on the Avent calendar.
  • The scent of incense wafting in the air at Christmas Eve mass.
  • Visiting Grandma and Grandpa and Uncles Dave and Bill on Christmas afternoon.
  • Holiday singalongs with my huge extended family. Laughter and love float around the room, like angels’ wings.
  • Grandma and Grandpa Herrmann singing Silent Night in German.
  • The Hallelujah chorus ringing through the auditorium and echoing in my heart.
  • My husband noisily putting together a bunk bed on Christmas Eve.
  • My own little children excitedly bounding up the stairs on Christmas morning, a bundle of laughter and energy.



The older I get, the more I reflect on those times, those people who are no longer with us, or, like my children, who have grown up to establish their own families and traditions. Intertwined in the memories is a sadness for what has changed. 

I Miss …

I miss my mom, my aunts and uncles, my grandparents who are no longer with us. I miss those shared celebrations of laughter and love. I miss my children as little ones, carefully holding our candles together in the Christmas Eve service. I miss seeing them race up the stairs on Christmas morning. 

These are precious memories, part of the fabric of who I am. 

Yet, It’s Time To Move On

But I realize God doesn’t intend for me to dwell in my Christmases past (or my life past) because if I do that, I will miss my Christmas present, the present life that is waiting to be discovered and lived now — and shared with the next generation. 

This quote by Joyce Meyer puts it in perspective for me:

We often spend our mental time in the past or in the future, instead of living in the moment we have now. When we don’t truly give ourselves to what we are doing at the moment, we become prone to anxiety. If we live in the now, we will find the Lord there with us.

Joyce Meyer Battlefield of the Mind Bible, p. 814

If I’m honest, I was spending too much time wishing that this Christmas, this season of life looked more like some past ones. But that cannot be. It should not be. God has given us this Christmas present, this life present and has promised us His presence now. After all, He is called the Great I AM. Not the great I was.

We are to rejoice in Him for who He is, for the amazing gift of heaven intersecting earth through Jesus’ miraculous birth — to be celebrated in our current season of life.  If we just let Him, He will make every season of our lives purposeful and filled with His presence. It is the miracle of Emmanuel, God With Us.

Merry Christmas!

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The Names of Christmas: Zacharias and Elisabeth

There was in the days of Herod, the king of Judea, a certain priest named Zacharias, of the division of Abijah. His wife was of the daughters of Aaron, and her name was Elizabeth. And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless. But they had no child, because Elizabeth was barren, and they were both well advanced in years … 11 Then an angel of the Lord appeared to him, standing on the right side of the altar of incense…  “Do not be afraid, Zacharias, for your prayer is heard; and your wife Elizabeth will bear you a son, and you shall call his name John. 14 And you will have joy and gladness, and many will rejoice at his birth.

He was a priest of the Most High God. He had been praying for years, we might even say decades, for a baby. Now He and his wife were advanced in years…beyond hope…beyond help.

Yet Zacharias prayed.

The name Zacharias transliterates from the Hebrew as Zakaryah which means Jehovah remembers. And what does God remember? He remembers His word, His will, His promises. He remembers your prayers.

God remembers.

It’s not that God ever forgets your prayers. When the Bible says  He remembers it means He is going to act, according to His word, His will, and His promises, In His perfect timing. God is always on time.

The name Elisabeth is derived from Hebrew and it means God has sworn. What has God promised us at Christmas time? To send His only beloved Son, to be born of a virgin, in the dark of night, in the darkness of our sin, to be the Light of the World.

Let’s put those two names together and receive a Christmas message from God:

Zacharias Elizabeth: GOD REMEMBERS HIS PROMISES.

He will never leave you.

He will never forsake you.

He forgives you.

He loves you.

He promises.

What has God promised you? Please leave a reply in the comment section below. I’d love to chat with you! Merry Christmas!

by Mary Kane

all rights reserved. Copyright 2019

 




The Sower

They skitter across the ground.

Smooth, hard, precious drops of life, scattered to the wind.The sower puts his hand in, draws it out and releases another handful of hope. He watches as they arc through the air and rains down on the barren ground. Step, release, scatter. Planting for the future. He raises dust with each step but it goes unnoticed as the sower sees only the fields of green.

So the sower tends his seeds, watering, weeding, and watching for signs of new life.

They scatter across the ground.

A cloud of ebony, on the wing, descending upon the seed. A ravenous, raven-ous shroud of black.

Hundreds, thousands, masses of birds snatching at the seeds of hope.

The sower hears the carnage. One against thousands. He takes a step of faith into the cloud and speaks. Words of command. Words of authority.

Be gone.

An explosion of black leaps from the seed and takes to the sky. Feathers, shadows, claws, caws. Black of night takes wing at the light.

Sower becomes victor by speaking the word.

The Word. His Word. The sower tends his seeds. 

“A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

By Mary Kane

copyright 2019. all rights reserved.

 




Give Thanks

“16 Rejoice always, 17 pray without ceasing, 18 in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”

In everything give thanks. God has given us a tall order in 1 Thessalonians 5:18. Give thanks in everything? What about hard things, hurtful things, impossible things? How do we give thanks for losing a job, losing friends, losing a home, or a dream? 

I have learned to give thanks by faith, not because what has happened is good, but because God is good. He has promised to use all things for our good. Regardless of how bad, hard, painful or scary, He is the great I AM.

I AM able to use that pain.

I AM able to heal that hurt.

I AM able to bring you through this season of loss with gain.

With God, there is always more, always another, always healing. There is life after death, joy after sorrow, and light after dark. One day all things will be made right and we shall see Him as He is. So we give thanks in the now, in the pain and hurt, in the joy and in the peace.

Give thanks in everything.

By Mary Kane

All rights reserved. Copyright 2019