Celebrating the Real 12 Days of Christmas

CHRISTMAS SWIRL -- Gerd Altmann -- PX

TODAY, DECEMBER 25TH, IS THE BEGINNING OF THE 12 DAYS OF CHRISTMAS — the period which, for centuries, has been set aside to focus on the joy of Jesus’ having come to us in the flesh: 12 days when believers rejoice and celebrate by giving gifts to others every day.

Gifts do not have to be extravagant. They can be very simple. It’s the meaning behind them that matters — Giving something to someone you care about because you want to emphasize God’s gift to us. Probably many of you have given loads and loads of gifts to family and friends during the past couple days. But spreading out the joy and the giving over a much longer period of time intensifies the treasure of this celebration in our own hearts. And it helps to reaffirm for us that the true meaning of Christmas does not come to a close at midnight on December 25th.

In the United States especially, a majority of people seem to have the attitude that after the 25th, everything “Christmas” should come down and be packed away — and wait for another 11 months before being seen or heard from again. How sad. We would do well to take a lesson from believers of previous centuries — particularly in many of the European countries — who relished the celebration of 12 full days of joy that just got started on December 25th.

If you’ve never celebrated the 12 days of rejoicing and sharing the joy with others, try it. Begin today and celebrate through January 5th, 2020. The following day, January 6th, is Epiphany — which is it’s own celebration — focusing on Jesus’ manifestation as savior to the Gentile nations and the whole world.

Get out of the rut of making Christmas a 2-day party and then a “let-down.” Instead, get a fresh start today and let Jesus bring you a brand new revelation of who He is during this 12 days of Christmas and Epiphany season.




photo courtesy of Gerd Altmann @ pixabay.com



 

12 Days of Christmas Blessings: Day 12 – ‘A True Love’s Locket’

What if on the 12th day of Christmas, some girl’s true love gave her a locket?
And what if she lost it?
Here’s what I hope would happen:

HEART NECKLACE - GOLD

 

I found a locket nestled 'neath a tree.
It sparkled, and it twinkled, and it surely winked at me.

It looked forlorn, forgotten, skimmed with dew,
And I felt an intruder as I wondered what to do.

At last I reached and plucked it from the grass.
The chain was fragile – I could tell – and had a broken clasp.

A lovey heart, engraved on back and front,
Showed me it was a gift of love that someone still would want.

I opened it with tender, loving care,
And found, all safe and snug inside, a single lock of hair.

The curly tress was of the darkest brown,
And I felt so entranced by this small mystery I'd found.

But I was in a quandary what to do:
How to locate the rightful owner I had not a clue.

Then finally I thought, “I'll advertise,
and if the owner sees my ad, there'll be a nice surprise.”

I tucked it in my pocket, nice and warm,
And, eager to relay my news, I headed quickly home.

I couldn't help but sing a little song,
So happy I could have a part in helping love along.

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As we come to the real close of the Christmas celebration, I hope you and your loved ones have enjoyed a happy, healthy, love-filled holiday season. And may you carry all that happiness, health, and love throughout this new year.

 

 

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12 Days of Christmas Blessings: Day 11 — ‘What Are You Worth?’

This post is a repeat of an article I posted a couple years ago, but I feel it is important enough to deserve re-posting. The truth incorporated in this lesson is something we need to be reminded of frequently, so for myself — and for you — I’m sharing it again.

WHAT ARE YOU WORTH?

STAR, WISEMAN, FROM FB“Long lay the world in sin and error, pining, ’til He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”  (‘O Holy Night’ by Placide Cappeau de Roquemaure)

These words are familiar to most of us as part of a Christmas carol — a song we hear only during the month of December each year and then put away with all the other Christmas trappings.  But this song, especially this particular line, has so much to say to the human race beyond “Merry Christmas.”  The enormous revelation contained in these lines is a vital and eternal truth that affects the daily lives of every man and woman born into the world.

After the human race’s rebellion against their Father God, the whole world lay in deep darkness and the death grip of sin and its resulting curse. Even man’s intellect had become twisted — a prisoner of error and vain imaginations. The souls of human beings had absolutely no concept of their value or of the unfathomable love for them still in the heart of their Creator.

They were confused, afraid, tormented by the evils let loose in this world by their own sin.  They were without escape, without hope. Until HE came.  God Himself — who had created them, born their betrayal, but loved them beyond it — offered HIMSELF in payment for them.  He purchased their freedom from their own self-made dungeon with the only source of payment rich enough to be acceptable — Himself.

Only then did the human race realize their true value.  Only then did the human soul begin to get a glimpse of its own worth.  Only then did man begin to understand how truly immeasurable — how priceless — his very existence.  Only then did any of the human race experience truth and love.  Darkness fled.  Ignorance fled.  Fear fled.  Death fled.

With the appearance of Jesus Christ, to fulfill His appointed work of pouring out His own blood to release men from their own sin, light burst through the darkness and revealed the value of the human soul in all its glory — as surely as a bright light causes the facets of a diamond to burst forth in shafts of light that reveal its value for all to see.

“… He appeared, and the soul felt its worth.”

HE has appeared!   FOR YOU!   And He didn’t come with the expectation that we would celebrate that coming only once a year.  No, He came so that we could understand how precious we are to Him every single day of our lives.  When we’re good; when we’re bad; when we’ve got it all together; when we’re confused and going under for the umpteenth time. He came when we were totally rebellious and unlovable, and that says it all: it says you are the most important thing in the universe to Him

So don’t wait until next Christmas to think about His coming.  He comes to you continually.  He comes to whisper love words and life-giving truth.  So today — right now — open up your heart anew, and let your soul reach out and receive the revelation of how priceless you are to the God of the universe!

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12 Days of Christmas Blessing: Day 5 — Our God is A Consuming Fire

Exif JPEG
Hebrews 12:29 says, “Our God is a consuming fire.” Let Him burn in you today. Let His fire burn out every root of disease and infirmity that has taken hold in your body. Think about how a raging fire – a “consuming” fire – literally devours and consumes every tree, every bush, every blade of grass, every structure in its wake. Even if we’ve been blessed enough that we’ve never personally faced one of the huge forest fires that literally swallowed up whole neighborhoods as they swept out of wooded areas and right through highly populated suburbs, we’ve still seen on TV how nothing could stand in the face of the power of those fires.

Now, they were burning in response to something evil happening – a lightning strike, a careless match or cigarette, a campfire or bonfire gone awry. But Hebrews 12:29 is talking about a fire that burns from the heart of a loving God who created this world and created each one of us. A God who wants us to be free from sin and the curse it brought into the world. He wants us free from sickness, which is a major part of the curse. In fact, He wants us free so badly that He gave us Jesus to take all the sickness on our behalf, so that we could then be freed from having to bear it ourselves. Isaiah 53:4-5 tells us that Jesus “bore our sins, sickness, weakness, distress … sorrows and pains.” That passage then goes on to declare that “by His stripes, we are healed.”

The God who gave His only Son to bear our sickness considered it a privilege to set us free from the horrors of disease and infirmity. He comes to us in all of His power to do just that when we receive His Word and trust Him to be our physician.

Now, dear reader, don’t let yourself be deceived by those who are ignorant of God’s Word — who know only bits and pieces of it, mainly from someone else’s erroneous teaching. Many of those people will try to tell you that when the Bible refers to God’s fire it is referring to trouble and problems and all kinds of horrible situations that He sends for you to endure. Not So! God’s Word does not say that. On the contrary, God says that He Himself is the consuming fire — not a problem, a tragedy of life, or some evil experience. It is God Himself who will come to you and, by the fire of His own Holy Spirit, burn up the things that have you bound up and suffering.

You don’t have to be afraid of the fire of God. That fire will not burn YOU; it will only burn out the destructive thing that is trying to steal the health and life out of you. In Joel 3:21, the Lord says of the time when His Holy Spirit would be set free in the earth (our present time), “I will cleanse their blood ….” He wants His fire to rage through your entire blood stream, cleansing it and purifying it.

Many times in history, when a city or community was in the throes of some plague, the authorities gave orders for the clothing and even, at times, the very homes of the sick to be burned, because that was the only way to thoroughly get rid of the root cause of the disease. Fire is more than a destroyer. It is a cleanser. The fire of God will not destroy us. It will destroy the disease, the demonic roots, the corruption that has taken hold in our bodies. That fire will cleanse us and set us free.

So, today, turn yourself over to the God who is a consuming fire. Invite Him to come in and burn within you. Now, He isn’t likely to burn out only the disease. When He is allowed to come in and work, He likes to do a thorough job. So don’t be surprised if, while He’s at it, he also burns out some wrong attitudes, ideas, prejudices, and sinful habits. Sometimes those things have been at the root of our sickness problem, or sometimes they hinder our receiving our complete healing. But always they hinder God from making us everything He wants us to be. So, if they are in the way, He’ll burn right through them as well.

Let God be a consuming fire in you today. Let Him consume everything that is not of Him and leave you clean and well and open to receiving all that He can give you of Himself.

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