Saturday, December 24, 2005

Merry Christmas From Livin' La Vida Low-Carb

Christmas is about knowing why we celebrate Jesus' birth

Christmas comes around every December 25th and is a special day for people all around the world. In the United States, it gives us a chance to be with our families, exchange gifts, and enjoy the blessings that God has given us for yet another year.

Here is how Wikipedia describes the reason for the season from a Christian's perspective:

"The story of Christ's birth has been handed down for centuries, based mainly on the Christian gospels of Matthew and Luke. The gospels of Mark and John do not address the childhood of Jesus, and those of Matthew and Luke highlight different events.

According to Luke, Mary learns from an angel that the Holy Spirit has impregnated her. Shortly thereafter, she and her husband Joseph leave their home in Nazareth to travel about 150 km to Joseph's ancestral home, Bethlehem, to enroll in the census ordered by the Roman emperor, Augustus.

Finding no room in inns in the town, they set up lodgings in a stable of the house of David (from which Joseph is descended), in a town of Bethlehem in Judea. There Mary gives birth to Jesus in a manger or stall. Jesus' being born of the house of David in Bethlehem fulfills the prophecy of Isaiah.

Luke's Gospel has some references to historic events at this time, saying "In these days the Roman emperor Augustus ordered to excise a counting of all population in the world" (Lk 2,1), but the only known census was in the year 6 AD/CE.

Matthew's gospel begins by telling the genealogy and virgin birth of Jesus, and then moves to the coming of the Wise Men from the East to Bethlehem. Matthew mentions no trek to Bethlehem from Nazareth. The wise men, or Magi, first arrive in Jerusalem and report to the king of Judea, Herod the Great, that they have seen a star, now called the Star of Bethlehem, heralding the birth of a king. Further inquiry leads them to Bethlehem of Judea and the home of Mary and Joseph. They present Jesus with treasures of "gold, frankincense, and myrrh".

While staying the night, the wise men have a dream that contains a divine warning that King Herod has murderous designs on the child. Resolving to hinder the ruler, they go home without telling Herod of the success of their mission. Matthew then reports that the family next flees to Egypt to escape the murderous rampage of Herod, who has decided to have all children of Bethlehem under two killed in order to eliminate any local rivals to his power.

After Herod's death, Jesus and his family return from Egypt, but fearing the hostility of the new Judean king (Herod's son Archelaus) they go instead to Galilee and settle in Nazareth.

Another aspect of Christ's birth which has passed from the gospels into popular lore is the announcement by angels to nearby shepherds of Jesus's birth. Some Christmas carols refer to the shepherds observing a bright star directly over Bethlehem, and following it to the birthplace.

The Magi, who Matthew also reports seeing a giant star, have been variously interpreted as wise men or as kings. They are supposed to have come from Arabia or Persia, where they might have obtained their particular gifts. Through the years astronomers and historians have offered conflicting explanations of what combination of traceable celestial events might explain the appearance of a giant star that had never before been seen."

As we celebrate the birthday of that little baby boy who was born in a manager in a little town called Bethlehem 2,000 years ago, let us not forget who that boy grew up to become.

Jesus Christ went on to live a perfect life and literally sacrificed himself for all the sins of the world so that our souls would not have to endure eternally damnation in a place called Hell. His triumphant victory over the grave allowed anyone who accepts Him into their heart to be saved from the inevitable fate that sin causes them.

When Jesus Christ was born, he did so with a purpose in mind: to save a lost and dying world of people from the eternal fire they deserve. But God's loving intervention into that process has given you and me an opportunity to become His sons and daughters and live with Him eternally in heaven.

Have you reached a point in your life where you desire a peace that passes all understanding? Do you feel so overwhelmed by your burdens that you don't know how you could live another day?

Then I have good news for you, my friend. You will find a friend who will be happy to talk to you about starting a relationship with Jesus Christ when you call 1-888-NEED-HIM or by going to Pick up the phone or go to the Internet to find a caring person who can't wait to share with you about the greatest gift that's ever been given -- JESUS!

You can make THIS Christmas the best one ever and can rejoice at the prospect of living the rest of your life as a child of God. It's the most amazing feeling of serenity you will ever have and it's all because of a little baby who was born of a virgin in a town called Bethlehem.

MERRY CHRISTMAS to you and yours from the "Livin' La Vida Low-Carb" blog. God bless you!


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