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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Children Are a Heritage From the Lord

backtoschool2School starts around here on Monday, August 24th.  Signs along the streets near schools or over the highways remind us that children are back in school, to drive safely.  Flashing lights warn us to slow down to 20 miles per hour because we are in a school zone.  Children are crossing streets under a school guard’s care.  The signs and signals warn us of the caution we should be taking as we near schools in our neighborhoods…young lives are at risk.

But does anything warn us of the ways of the world entering into the minds of our children whether at school, in front of the television or the internet, in the park, or even in the home?

“I believe that at birth, all children bear the stamp of their Creator.  Their purity and innocence is a great gift.  Once it has been lost, it cannot be replaced.  All the more, it must be guarded as a treasure which no one has a right to destroy.”   ** Johann Christoph Arnold, p. 133

“If we are going to protect innocence in a child, we need to cleanse our own hearts of pollution.  Our response upon encountering a child must be nothing less than reverence.  Perhaps because the word sounds old-fashioned, its true meaning has been blurred.  Reverence is more than just love.  It includes an appreciation for the qualities children possess (and which we ourselves have lost), a readiness to rediscover their value, and the humility to learn from them.  Reverence is also an attitude of deep respect….”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 133-134

At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”  And calling to Him a child, He put him in the midst of them and said, “Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.  Whoever receives one such child in My name receives Me, but whoever causes one of these little ones who believe in Me to sin, it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.”  Matthew 18:1-6

Children are beautiful creations and we need to protect them.  We need to teach them God’s values and what is important to Him.

“See that you do not despise one of these little ones. For I tell you that in heaven their angels always see the face of My Father Who is in heaven.”  Matthew 18:10-11

“For whatever else might define childhood, one thing is constant: it is the gathering place of life’s first and most indelible memories — the unalterable frame for all the experiences that accompany us through life.  And thus, in the end, the task of bringing up children is not only a question of effective parenting, and even less one of educational insights, theories, or ideals.  It is, first and foremost, a matter of the love we give them, which has power to awaken more of the same, even years down the road.”  ** Johann Christoph Arnold,  p. 161

Unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labor in vain.  Unless the Lord watches over the city, the watchman stays awake in vain.  It is in vain that you rise up early and go late to rest, eating the bread of anxious toil; for he gives to his beloved sleep.  Behold, children are a heritage from the Lord, the fruit of the womb a reward.  Psalm 127:1-3

Let us pray for our children and their teachers.  I am not a parent, but I taught and now I tutor.  I want to be the image of Christ in their little lives, as well as to their parents.  I want to do the right thing for and with these children.

Father God, our children are returning to school.  I pray for their safety, their protection by your legions of angels.  I pray for a loving, respectful teacher to guide them in the matters of learning.  I pray that the parents, grandparents, foster parents, be an example of Your Son to these children.  They need You more than anything this world can offer.  They need Your salvation as they raise these young ones.  May they each and every one come to know Your Son as Lord and Savior.  Father, please give the parents the wisdom to raise their children in Your Name, by Your Word.  Teach them what they need in order to raise their children.  Open their eyes to You, Lord.  By this, they can truly raise their children in the Name of Jesus.  Oh, how I want that because I want that for the innocent ones.  Children are precious in Your sight.  Save them from this evil world, Father.  I thank You that You have a plan for them and love them dearly.  In the Name of Jesus, I pray.  Amen.

For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.  Jeremiah 29:11

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** Arnold, Johann Christoph, Their Name is Today: Reclaiming Childhood in a Hostile World, 2014, Plough Publishing House, New York
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P.S.  This book is excellent and will be doing a book review on it soon on my “The Reader and The Book” blog.

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