Twelfth Night

wise-menNow when Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judaea in the days of Herod the king, behold, there came wise men from the east to Jerusalem, Saying, Where is he that is born King of the Jews? for we have seen his star in the east, and are come to worship him.” Matthew 2:1-2

Good evening, Dear Readers,

I wanted to write you a quick message about today, January 5th. In England it is called “Twelfth Night” because it is the 12th night after the Lord Jesus was born on Christmas Eve. Traditionally, it is the day we take our Christmas tree down, and it is bad luck to take it down before (confession: mine is already down!). In other countries, January 6th is celebrated as Epiphany, or Three Kings’ Day – celebrating the day that the three “kings” (actually Magi or wise men) came and visited Jesus as a young child. Especially in Hispanic countries, it is a big celebration. According to Wikipedia:

In Christianity, the Epiphany refers to a realization that Christ is the Son of God. Western churches generally celebrate the Visit of the Magi as the revelation of the Incarnation of the infant Christ, and commemorate the Feast of the Epiphany on January 6.

I remember as a child, the adults talking about Twelfth night, and Epiphany as a religious holiday of some sort, but mostly it was the day we took our Christmas tree down.

When I was reading through the Christmas story this year, I was struck by the following verses about the Magi:

“When they had heard the king, they departed; and, lo, the star, which they saw in the east, went before them, till it came and stood over where the young child was. When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” Matthew 2:9-11

These men followed a star from far away in the East, knowing that it would lead them to a great King. They asked Herod, King of the Jews at that time in Jerusalem where this new King of the Jews would be born, and he in turn asked his chief priests and scribes, and they told him what scriptures said – in Bethlehem of Judaea. Now Herod was a proud evil king, and did not want to share his glory with anyone, so he had all the baby boys under the age of 2 killed in order to prevent this new King from taking over his position of power. What he didn’t realize is that he cannot thwart God’s perfect plan. He chose to reject Jesus and tried to destroy Him!! The Magi, on the other hand, hurried to follow the star to Bethlehem, and when they saw Jesus “they rejoiced with exceeding great joy” – they were overjoyed at seeing the new King!! Can you imagine a King so great that a special star was created by God just for Him, and that it led these wise men to the place where He was? No wonder they were so excited!! They chose to accept Jesus – they were struck by the Epiphany (definition: “manifestation or striking appearance”) of Emmanuel – God in the flesh! They loved Him and worshiped Him, and gave Him their treasures—gold, frankincense, and myrrh – gifts fitting for a King.

So, who are you like? Herod who rejected and destroyed? Or the Magi, who loved and worshiped?

The choice is still ours today.

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Wise men still seek Him

A “Sweet” Christmas Poem

Dear Readers:

Last week I gave you some Christmas Reminders as we look at Christmas decorations to remind us of the Reason for the season.  This week I will focus on candy, I LOVE candy, especially at Christmas!

In England, we call candy “sweets”, and I wrote this poem based on a devotional that my friend read at our Christmas ladies’ meeting at Church (Click here for original devotional). I printed this out to give to my grandchildren, my grandson is allergic to nuts so I picked candy that is nut-free. Feel free to copy and share.

A “Sweet” Christmas Poem

The bright Starburst® with a Holy light         starburst

On sweet Baby Jesus that special night.

The shepherds left their Canes and flocks to see

The Baby the angels spoke of with such glee.candy-cane

Turn the cane upside down, it makes a “J”

That stands for Jesus, Who was born for us that day.

The white reminds us He was pure outside and in

And the red stripes for the blood that He shed for our sin.

Those wise men were Smarties®, they traveled to smartiesbring

Gold, frankincense, and Myrrh to the newborn King.

The Father was pleased, the Spirit came like a Dove®,

And the Son is Heaven’s gift send down from above.

dove-gift

So eat this candy at Christmas and pause to remember

Jesus our Savior was born in December.

Happy Christmas!!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

May your Christmas be sweet!!

Christmas Reminders

christmasI love Christmas, it is such a beautiful time of year, it’s a time when we get together with friends and family, and share some fun times. But…

At Christmas time it is so easy to get caught up in the busyness of the shopping, baking, wrapping, running, entertaining, visiting, etc and forget the real wonder of it all. So I thought to myself, “what if we had little reminders every day to help us keep our focus on the real Reason for the Season?” I came up with some Christmas decorations we will see every day that have a spiritual significance that we can focus on.

So here goes…

christmas-lightsLights – One of the first things people do to begin the Christmas season is put up Christmas lights on and in their houses. Jesus came to be the “Light of the world” (John 8:12), He came so that we did not have to live in darkness. When we trust Him as our Savior, He guides us and helps us to shine His Light to others. So when we see Christmas lights, remember that Jesus is the Light of the world, and we are to let our lights shine for Him.

christmas-treeChristmas Tree – Some people put their Christmas tree up before Thanksgiving, now to me that’s a little extreme, but to each his own. Christmas trees are evergreens, so they are always green, they never turn brown and lose their color. They remind us that God’s love for us is forever, it never fades, He will never leave us or forsake us (Hebrews 13:5). So, when we see a Christmas tree, we can remember God’s unfailing love for us.

Stars – Most people put a star on top of their Christmas tree. The star is a reminder of that star that the Wise Men followed that led them to Jesus. Those Wise Men rejoiced when they saw Jesus, they knew that He was the Christ, the King of the Jews (Matthew 2:1-11), and they gave Him their treasures – Gold, Frankincense, and Myrrh. So, when you see a star on a Christmas tree, be wise – remember that “wise men still seek Him”.

Gift in handGifts –If there is a tree, there are usually gifts under it. The Wise men brought gifts to the baby Jesus because they knew He was a special baby who would grow up to be the Redeemer of all. Even though the Wise men brought gifts for Jesus, He came to be the Greatest Gift of all. Just like when someone offers a physical gift to you and you reach out and accept it, The Lord Jesus offers a spiritual gift to you of eternal life in Heaven with Him and all you have to do is reach out and accept it. He died for our sins to pay the price that we could never pay, and we must believe in Who He is and what He did for us to be saved. “…by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life”(Romans 5:18). So, when you see gifts under the tree, remember the Free Gift that Jesus gave to us – our Salvation!

I’ll quit here and keep it simple, but I’m sure you can come up with some ideas of your own, some ways to keep “Christ” in Christmas so that we don’t lose focus of why we celebrate this wonderful time of the year.

As we say in England, “Happy Christmas”!!

~Graced and Grateful Grammy

Keep “Christ” in Christ-mas