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‘Twas the Week Before Christmas
Witnessing Tools
Thursday, December 18, 2014
J.L. Robb

Christmas waits patiently, just a week into the future; and the Spirit of Christmas is alive and well throughout much of the world. It always seems to be, this time of year.

Last week there was a story about a lady walking into Walmart and paying off all 154 layaways, $20,000. This week there is the story of a man who did the same for $50,000. For charities, this is a great time of year.

I know no one who claims to know what day or month Jesus was born and don’t feel it’s significant in the whole scheme of things. Most of the world celebrates this magnificent event December 25, and European Orthodox Christians celebrate the birth on January 7. For the sake of this article, let’s assume it was December 25; and now we’re one week away. Can you imagine what was going through Mary’s and Joseph’s heads?

There was the mystery in Mary’s mind about who exactly was she giving birth to, and what did it all mean? There was the mystery in Joseph’s mind of how did Mary get pregnant in the first place? Marrying virgins way back then was expected, and it stayed that way throughout most of Jewish and Christian history until the last fifty years or so. Of course, marrying at the age of twelve or thirteen does make the virgin part easier I suppose, before hormones rage; but the point was: All his family and friends knew his wife-to-be was very pregnant December 18, and they were not married… taboo under Jewish law.

As if pregnancy wasn’t difficult enough, for the first time in many years a census was called. This meant that Joseph and Mary had to walk to Bethlehem and register. There were no trains, planes or automobiles; so walking was the usual mode of transportation. Mary was fortunate and rode a donkey. Nine months pregnant and riding a donkey. Bet that was comfy.

Six to seven hundred years before Jesus was born to a virgin, the ancient Jewish prophets predicted that the messiah to come would be born in Bethlehem but would be from Nazareth. The prophets did not mention how God would make this happen, only that it would. Now, here Mary with child and Joseph were on their way from their home in Nazareth to the little town of Bethlehem for the census. And there, Jesus was born, in a stable because there was no room at the inn.

In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. (This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) And everyone went to their own town to register.

So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no guest room available for them. ~ Luke 2: 1-7 NIV

How did the prophets know that? They knew it because Somebody told them, Someone who said: Here’s what’s going to happen to the Jewish people, so go shout it on the mountain so they will know.

The prophets did shout, at least most of them; and they could do some wondrous things, not just predict the future with 100% accuracy. Elijah called fire down from heaven to set some water-soaked logs on fire.

“Answer me, Lord, answer me, so these people will know that you, Lord, are God, and that you are turning their hearts back again.”

Then the fire of the Lord fell and burned up the sacrifice, the wood, the stones and the soil, and also licked up the water in the trench.

When all the people saw this, they fell prostrate and cried, “The Lord—he is God! The Lord—he is God! ~ 1 Kings 18: 37-39 NIV

Most have heard at some point in time, the story of Daniel making it through the lion’s den, unharmed.

When the prophets were predicting the birth of Jesus, I don’t imagine they knew of the impact Jesus would have on the entire world. The man who was more than a man, who was born of a virgin, remained virtually unknown to the world until the last three years of his ministry. And in the end, he educated the rabbis.

“Teacher, which is the greatest commandment in the Law?”

Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” ~ Matthew 22: 36-40 NIV

When Jesus told the rabbis this, the same message was stated in Leviticus, 1500 years before Jesus was born.

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the Lord. ~ Leviticus 19:18 NIV

The Christmas Spirit is not invisible and is the personification of Jesus’ second greatest commandment. His decree to love other people the same way we love ourselves would be the greatest plan of all if folk would only oblige.

During Christmas, people actually do seem to love their neighbors as much as we love ourselves. If it works one month a year, why can’t it work all year?

I think that was and is the plan.

“’Twas the week before Christ’s birth and all through the world,

Creatures were stirring, as the world waited to be stirred.”

That doesn’t rhyme, but I’m a writer, not a poet. You get the point. This is a great week to help someone.

Jesus the Christ stirred the world like no other- ever; and He continues to do so today.

Robb" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/content/?Bio_Jerry_Page">About J.L. Robb

Last week: Robb" href="http://www.omegaletter.com/articles/articles.asp?ArticleID=7947">The Birth was Predicted

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