Being a New Widow this Christmas

2Mary

But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  Luke 2:19

συμβάλλω

symballō

“to throw together, confer,” etc., has the meaning “to ponder,” i.e., “to put one thing with another in considering circumstances,” as in Luke 2:19

Other definitions of the word, pondering, in other Bible verses are: to combine, i.e. (in speaking) to converse, consult, dispute, (mentally) to consider, (by implication) to aid, (personally) to join, attack:—confer, encounter, help, make, meet with, ponder.

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But Mary was treasuring up all these things in her heart and meditating on them.  CSB

…but Mary kept all these things in her heart and thought about them often.  NLT

…and Mary was preserving all these things, pondering in her heart;… YLT

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As they listened to Simeon speak of their child…

And His father and His mother marveled at what was said about Him.  Luke 2:33

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And seeing their 12 year old child sitting with three teachers, listening to them and asking question…

And He went down with them and came to Nazareth and was submissive to them. And His mother treasured up all these things in her heart.  Luke 2:51

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To be given these words would make one think about the future of this child:

And Simeon blessed them and said to Mary His mother, “Behold, this child is appointed for the fall and rising of many in Israel, and for a sign that is opposed (and a sword will pierce through your own soul also), so that thoughts from many hearts may be revealed.”  Luke 2:34-35

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Thirty-three years later, Mary stood near the Cross watching her son.  Before Jesus took His final breaths, He made sure Mary, His mother, would be cared for by John.  We do not know when nor how Joseph died, but he has not been written of in the Bible since Jesus was twelve and he is not around when Jesus is teaching.  So Mary is, most likely, a widow.

…but standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene.  When Jesus saw His mother and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!”  John 19:25-26

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As I have walked through this Christmas as a widow, I have found my mind and heart wondering and pondering hard things.  I cannot imagine Mary watching her son hanging on the Cross.  Yet, I am making note of Mary’s ways when Jesus was born, when he was growing up, as well as when Jesus was 33 years old and Mary being a widow (in all probability).

There is a calmness about the way she ponders and treasures and listens.  I desire that calmness about me too.  Then God provided for Mary through John.  I must say that this season of my life has far more peace and tranquility than it does fear.  This first Christmas season without Kenneth has been very difficult…hard.  Yet the Lord has been with me all of the way, and has provided for me all the way.  It is in the arms of Jesus that I want to be for He comforts me and loves me and will until I am in His heavenly arms and then through eternity.  Hallelujah!!

Whoever is wise, let him understand these things;
whoever is discerning, let him know them;
for the ways of the LORD are right,
and the upright walk in them,
but transgressors stumble in them.  Hosea 14:9

Father, I thank You from the deepest place in my heart for all You do for me each and every day.  I thank You for loving me.  Thank You for blessing me with a loving and kind husband in Kenneth.  I am so grateful for 25 years with him.  I am so in love with him and cannot help but cry tears of sorrow alongside tears of joy for being blessed by Kenneth himself and then by the beautiful marriage we shared.  I thank You, Abba, for walking with me through this difficult first Christmas season as a widow.  I believe you are going to walk with me for always.  You are such a loving God.  I want to honor You in who I am, how I behave, and the words coming from my mouth as well as the words of my heart.  I want You to be glorified in the way I represent You.  I desire to walk the steps that You have assigned for me.  You gave a wide place for my steps under me, and my feet did not slip. Psalm 18:36 I praise You and pray in the Name of Jesus, Your Son, born so that He could die for me.  Amen.  

 

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photo: origin unknown

graphic: https://southatlanticcoaching.com/a-treasured-pondering/

painting:  by Arent de Gelder, 1645 – 1727, (also: Aert de Gelder); Dutch painter.

YouTube: Voctave performs with original songwriter Mark Lowry “Mary, Did You Know;” arranged by Jamey Ray: https://youtu.be/uaRpeMT1tjQ

 

Christ – The Bright and Morning Star

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I, Jesus, have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and the Bright and Morning star.  Revelation 22:16

Sunrise is such a time of beauty, of peace, of quiet, and of glory.  The light of day breaks over the earth and with that moment, the darkness is dispelled.  Jesus is that “Bright Morning Star.”  The fullness of the glory of God is upon the earth and reflected in Jesus.

As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world.  John 9:5

BRIGHT

λαμπρός

lampros

radiant; figuratively, magnificent or sumptuous (in appearance):—bright, clear, gay, goodly, gorgeous, white.

While he was still speaking, a bright cloud overshadowed them, and behold, a voice out of the cloud said, “This is My beloved Son, with whom I am well-pleased; listen to Him!”  Matthew 17:5

But it happened that as I was on my way, approaching Damascus about noontime, a very bright light suddenly flashed from heaven all around me, and I fell to the ground and heard a voice saying to me, ‘Saul, Saul, why are you persecuting Me?’  “And I answered, ‘Who are You, Lord?’ And He said to me, ‘I am Jesus the Nazarene, whom you are persecuting.’    “And those who were with me saw the light, to be sure, but did not understand the voice of the One who was speaking to me.  Acts 22:6-9

MORNING

ὀρθρινός

orthrinos

 relating to the dawn, i.e. matutinal (of or occurring in the morning) (as an epithet of Venus, especially brilliant in the early day):—morning.

So we have the prophetic word made more sure, to which you do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star arises in your hearts.  2 Peter 1:19

But that which ye have already hold fast till I come.  And he that overcometh, and keepeth my works unto the end, to him will I give power over the nations: And he shall rule them with a rod of iron; as the vessels of a potter shall they be broken to shivers: even as I received of my Father.  And I will give him the morning star.  He that hath an ear, let him hear what the Spirit saith unto the churches.  Revelation 2:25-29

STAR

ἀστήρ

astēr

a star (as strown over the sky), literally or figuratively:—star

Now 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

When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceeding great joy.  Matthew 2:10

There is one glory of the sun, and another glory of the moon, and another glory of the stars: for one star differeth from another star in glory.  1 Corinthians 15:41

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Father God, thank You for Your Son, the Bright and Morning Star.  He radiates throughout my soul, dawning each day with hope, His eternal hope.  He spreads His morning beams into my heart.  I am filled with love and light.  I so desire to be a reflection to the world in which I live.  Jesus is the Light in a dark world.  He is the breaking of the dawn, bringing  His Light to take away that darkness.  He is the Star that radiates upon the earth in full array.  Oh, Father, such a gift You bring.  My heart bubbles over with all that You lay out for me.  I have manna each day when my eyes are open to see, when my ears are open too to hear.  I pray they are each day.  I feel so very blessed and loved.   I also am ashamed that I struggle with sadness when I do not wake with the hope that is mine to grasp, when I am not a reflection of Jesus to this world.  I am sorry.  This world needs the Light of Jesus so badly and I want to be one of His lights so deeply.  I pray in the Name of the Bright and Morning Star.  Amen.

He rises with the dawning of the day…

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O Holy Night

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But the people of God will sing a song of joy,
like the songs at the holy festivals.
You will be filled with joy,
as when a flutist leads a group of pilgrims
to Jerusalem, the mountain of the LORD
to the Rock of Israel.  Isaiah 30:29

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Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed.   Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me?  When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy.  You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what He said.”

Mary responded,

“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For He took notice of His lowly servant girl,
    and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
    and He has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
    to all who fear Him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
    He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
    and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
    and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped His servant Israel
    and remembered to be merciful.
For He made this promise to our ancestors,
    to Abraham and His children forever.”  Luke 1:42-55

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When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  And they went with haste and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby lying in a manger.  And when they saw it, they made known the saying that had been told them concerning this child.  And all who heard it wondered at what the shepherds told them.  But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.  And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all they had heard and seen, as it had been told them.  Luke 2:15-20

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Father God, such joyful news You have given me in the beauty of Your Son, Your One and Only.  You have brought glad tidings to us all.  May my ears be open to hear the words of the shepherds.  May my eyes be open to see this wonderful “thing” that You have done.  May my heart be open to hear Mary’s heart-words.  I thank You for blessing me with the saving grace of Christ Jesus.  I bow humbly, Father, in adoration and respect and honor.  I love You so.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.  

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Jesus is Our Joy

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‘Tis hard to look at this world and see joy at times.  There is so much going on, near us and far away.  It just looks so terrible.  Yet, God sent Jesus to us and for us.  He sent Joy to live in our hearts.  He wants us to be joyful.  As empty vessels, He can fill us with the Presence of His Holy Spirit.  Hope, Joy, Peace, and Love want to fill us up to overflowing so that we can be the joy in this world…the peace in this world…the hope and the love in this world.   He wants us to spread the good tidings of great joy everywhere we go and are.  May this be our prayer.

Then the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people.”  Luke 2:10

εὐαγγελίζω

euaggelizō

  • to bring good news, to announce glad tidings (used in the OT of any kind of good news)
  • of the joyful tidings of God’s kindness, in particular, of the Messianic blessings (in the NT used especially of the glad tidings of the coming kingdom of God, and of the salvation to be obtained in it through Christ, and of what relates to this salvation)
  • glad tidings are brought to one, one has glad tidings proclaimed to him
  • to proclaim glad tidings
  • instruct (men) concerning the things that pertain to Christian salvation

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This world so needs the joy of the LORD…

The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the LORD,
and the poor among mankind shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.  Isaiah 29:18

They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.  Isaiah 24:14

…yet I will rejoice in the LORD;
I will take joy in the God of my salvationHabakkuk 3:18

“…And do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength.”  Nehemiah 8:10b

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He has come…

And she gave birth to her firstborn Son and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths and laid Him in a manger, because there was no place for them in the inn.

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night.  And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear.  And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord.  And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and 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 among those with whom He is pleased!”

When the angels went away from them into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let us go over to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has made known to us.”  Luke 2:7-15

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from Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke 2: “He furnishes them with abundant matter for joy: “Behold, I evangelize to you great joy; I solemnly declare it, and you have reason to bid it welcome, for it shall bring joy to all people, and not to the people of the Jews only; that unto you is born this day, at this time, a Saviour, the Saviour that has been so long expected, which is Christ the Lord, in the city of David,’ …. Jesus is the Christ, the Messiah, the Anointed; He is the Lord, Lord of all; He is a sovereign prince; nay, He is God, for the Lord, in the Old Testament, answers to Jehovah. He is a Saviour, and He will be a Saviour to those only that accept Him for their Lord. “The Saviour is born, He is born this day; and, since it is matter of great joy to all people, it is not to be kept secret, you may proclaim it, may tell it to whom you please. …. This is matter of joy indeed to all people, great joy. Long-looked for is come at last. Let heaven and earth rejoice before this Lord, for He cometh.

“The angels’ doxology to God, and congratulations of men, upon this solemn occasion. The message was no sooner delivered by one angel than suddenly there was with that angel a multitude of the heavenly hosts; sufficient, we may be sure, to make a chorus, that were heard by the shepherds, praising God; and certainly their song was not like that which no man could learn, for it was designed that we should all learn it.  Let God have the honour of this work: Glory to God in the highest. God’s good-will to men, manifested in sending the Messiah, redounds very much to His praise; and angels in the highest heavens….  Other works of God are for His glory, but the redemption of the world is for His glory in the highest.

Let men have the joy of it: On earth peace, good-will toward men. God’s good-will in sending the Messiah introduced peace in this lower world, slew the enmity that sin had raised between God and man, and resettled a peaceable correspondence.  If God be at peace with us, all peace results from it: peace of conscience, peace with angels, peace between Jew and Gentile. Peace is here put for all good, all that good which flows to us from the incarnation of Christ.  All the good we have, or hope, is owing to God’s good-will; and, if we have the comfort of it, He must have the glory of it. Nor must any peace, and good, be expected in a way inconsistent with the glory of God; therefore not in any way of sin, nor in any way but by a Mediator. Here was the peace proclaimed with great solemnity; whoever will, let them come and take the benefit of it.” *

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Father, I come to You this day and sense Your very Presence in my life.  You love me.  You have sent Your One and Only Son, Jesus, to save me from my sins, to draw me near and grow me to be more and more as Jesus, into the image of Your Son.  I can only imagine the blessing that I can be through the obedience to You in my daily walk.  I desire to bless You, Father.  I desire to love You from the very depth of this heart that You created as it fills up with Your Love. 

Thank You for bringing Your Joy to this Earth for our sake.  You give me smiles and hope and peace and love.  You have given me JOY deep in my heart.

I’ve got a joy, joy, joy, joy down in my heart
Down in my heart, down in my heart…

I’ve got the love of JESUS down in my heart
Down in my heart, Down in my heart
I’ve got the love of JESUS down in my heart..
Down in my heart to stay….  **

Precious Heavenly Father, the joy I feel, as I sing these songs, takes the stress and strain away that this world carries.  You know all and have complete control.  Thank You for sending Your Son to bring us Hope, Peace, Joy, Love and much more.  As I spend time in Your Word, at the foot of the manger, I know that this Joy is real.  He cometh.  Praise You…Praise You.  Glory be to You, the Father, the Most High.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray with Joy…Amen. 

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* Matthew Henry’s Commentary on Luke 2

**  I’ve Got the Joy (also called: Down in My Heart), George W. Cooke, 1926