Good morning, everyone!
In keeping with a tradition that is more than a decade old, an old friend, Connie Estell sent me a copy of the King James Version of the Birth of Jesus. She and I have been doing this, posting the Christmas Story in our respective versions of the Bible online, since before 1998, although I had posted the story previous to that, since 1992. This ritual, if you can call it that, is one of my final Steps Toward Christmas, as I wrote in late November of this year.
It is now Christmas Day, very early on a cold winter's morning. What better time than this to tell the true Story of Christmas?
For most of the people in Spokane, Washington, Christmas has already passed them by, as Christmas is largely consumerism and hyperbole. However, for some, Christmas is a celebration of a father's love for his Son, and the mystery thereto.
If you can imagine a father conceiving a son, knowing in advance that his son would be forced to die an ignoble death on a wooden cross, would you? Moreover, would you accept the pain and suffering of being the person to ask your son to so give his life that others might find redemption? While these religious tenets and beliefs are somewhat out of favor in our world, and while people are turning away from religious events in droves, what no one can change is that the birth of his Son Jesus is still one of the many mysteries of faith, and thus is the cornerstone for the true meaning of Christmas.
As is my habit each year for over the last decade, tonight I willingly step aside from the vacuum we call modern society, and for whatever good it might find in each of your hearts, I post the story of the birth of Christ in a manger in Bethlehem, as was originally foretold by the prophets. It represents a love of a father for his child, and for the generations that would follow his name.
Ladies and gentlemen, I give you the only true star of Christmas, in a story that has withstood the test of time for us all, Emmanuel, which translates from the Aramaic to mean, Christ with us.
From conster@xxxxxx Fri Dec 24 23:32:22
Subject: Luke 2:1-17
From: Connie Estell <email@example.com>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 23:32:22 -0800
(headers altered with consent)
And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.)
And all went to be taxed, everyone unto his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:)
To be taxed with Mary his expoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no
room for them in the inn.
And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid.
And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tiding of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord.
And this shall be a sign unto you: You shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest and on earth peace, good will toward men.
And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said on to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us.
And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in the manger. And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child.
From dlaird@xxxxxxx Fri Dec 24 21:12:09
Subject: Where it all began---
From: Dave Laird <dlaird@xxxxxxx>
Date: Fri, 24 Dec 21:12:09 -0800
Good evening, everyone...
Luke, the Second Chapter, verses 1-20 from the New American Standard Edition of the Holy Bible:
1 Now it came about in those days that a decree went out from Caesar Augustus, that a census be taken of all the inhabited earth. 2 This was the first census taken while Quirinius was governor of Syria. 3 And all were proceeding to register for the census, everyone to his own city. 4 And Joseph also went up from Galilee, from the city of Nazareth, to Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and family of David, 5 in order to register, along with Mary, who was engaged to him, and was with child. 6 And it came about that while they were there, the days were completed for her to give birth. 8 And she gave birth to her first-born son; and she wrapped Him in cloths, and laid Him in a manger because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 And in the same region there were some shepherds staying out in the fields, and keeping watch over their flock by night. 9 And an angel of the Lord suddenly stood before them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them; and they were terribly frightened. 10 And the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of a great joy which shall be for all the people; 11 for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in cloths, and lying in a manger." 13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, 14 "Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace among men with whom He is pleased." 15 And it came about when
the angels had gone away from them into heaven, that the shepherds began saying to one another, "Let us go straight to Bethlehem then, and see this thing that has happened which the Lord has made known to us." 16 And they came in haste and found their way to Mary and Joseph, and the baby as He lay in the manger. 17 And when they had seen this, they made known the statement which had been told them about this Child. 18 And all who heard it wondered at the things which were told them by the shepherds. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart. 20 And the shepherds went back, glorifying and praising God for all that they had heard and seen, just as had been told them.
May the peace and meaning of this story, and of the birth of the Christ child find a place in your hearts, as in mine, always. From our house and places on this earth and life, Merry Christmas to all.
Dave Laird and family