Comments Off on The ABC’s of Christmas

A is for ANGEL. The ANGEL Gabriel began the story by telling Mary,

Luke 1:28-33 – 28 And having come in, the ANGEL said to her, “Rejoice, highly favored one, the Lord is with you; blessed are you among women!” 29 But when she saw him, she was troubled at his saying, and considered what manner of greeting this was. 30 Then the ANGEL said to her, “Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. 31 And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name Jesus. 32 He will be great, and will be called the Son of the Highest; and the Lord God will give Him the throne of His father David. 33 And He will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of His kingdom there will be no end.”

B is for Bethlehem, where our story takes place. People traveled from far and wide to get to Bethlehem, which was not a very big village.

C is for Census, which means an official counting of all the people. The reason so many people came to Bethlehem.

D is for Donkey. A donkey carried the family on their long journey. Mary and Joseph had to travel 107 miles along the Jordan River to get from Nazareth to Bethlehem. That’s a pretty long journey.

E is for Exhausted. That’s how everyone must have felt when they arrived. It would take about 36 hours of walking to go that far. That’s three days in a row of doing nothing but walking.

F is for Family. Mary and Joseph and their new baby Jesus created a new family, one that would bless the whole world.

Luke 2:6-8 – 6 So it was, that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered. 7 And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. 8 Now there were in the same country SHEPHERDS living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.

G is for the Good News about to be shared with all the earth. This is what the ANGELS said:

Luke 2:10-14 10 Then the ANGELS said to them, “Do not be afraid, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy which will be to all people. 11 For there is born to you this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. 12 And this will be the sign to you: You will find a Babe wrapped in swaddling cloths, lying in a manger.” 13 And suddenly there was with the ANGEL a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying: 14 “Glory to God in the highest, And on earth peace, goodwill toward men!”

H is for Hope. Hope is knowing that good news is coming, even when things look bleak. Jesus is the source of our hope.

I is for Imagine. If we close our eyes and imagine the scene, we can see the beauty and wonder of the ANGELS proclaiming good news to all men and women. We can see the SHEPHERDS, first terrified, but then overcome with joy as they hear the good news. If we try even harder, we can imagine a world where God’s peace reigns, where there is no war or hunger. And if we can imagine it, we can do it with God’s help.

J is for Joy. Joy is a kind of happiness that comes from God. It cannot be dampened, and is always shared. The birth of Jesus gives us joy.

K is for King. Though Jesus would be King, he was not the kind of King people were used to. Most kings are born in palaces, surrounded by servants. He was born in a stable, surrounded by dirty, smelly SHEPHERDS. Most kings rule with power and fear. Jesus rules with mercy and love.

L is for Lost. When Jesus grew up he told a lot of stories, and three of them were about lost things that were found. He loved to find lost things, and when you are with Jesus, you will never be lost. He is the good SHEPHERD, who do anything to find his lost sheep.

L is also for Love. Jesus summarized his ministry by saying “Love God…” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”

M is for Manger. A manger is usually used to hold food for animals, but this time it held the baby because he had no crib.

N is for Noel. Noel is another word for Christmas. It means new birth, and that’s what happened in our story. That’s what happens every year at Christmas time. That’s what happens every time we decide to follow Jesus – he is born anew in us.

O is for Offering. The WISE MEN gave gifts to the baby, and we can offer our gifts every day. We give our time, our talents, and our treasure to God, and pray that as a Church, we are good stewards of all that is entrusted to us. So we share our gifts now.

P is for Peace. Jesus is the Prince of Peace, and is the source of the kind of peace that surpasses all understanding.

Q is for Quiet. We begin a time of prayer in quiet, allowing God to speak to us, and joyful when the quiet is broken by small voices.

R is for Revealed. Revealed means “showing us something that was once hidden.” God revealed to us what love looks like by giving us Jesus. Jesus is love, and reveals to us the way to love one another.

S is for Star. One special star guided WISE MEN to come to see the baby. They were mysterious, and they lived far away, but they brought gifts to Jesus because they knew that he would grow up to be a King.

Matthew 2:9-11 – 9 When they heard the king, they departed; and behold, the star which they had seen in the East went before them, till it came and stood over where the young Child was. 10 When they saw the star, they rejoiced with exceedingly great joy. 11 And when they had come into the house, they saw the young Child with Mary His mother, and fell down and worshiped Him. And when they had opened their treasures, they presented gifts to Him: gold, frankincense, and myrrh.

T is for Table. When Jesus grew up he invited all to his table. He gave his friends bread and wine, and told them to remember him always. When we gather at the Lord’s Table today, we call it Communion because we come together. So, at this table, we also remember the next letter:

U is for Unity. Communion is a time when all people can come together and be one. Just as many grains come together to form one bread. We, who are many people, come together to be one body of Christ.

Luke 22:19-20 – 19 And He took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is My body which is given for you; do this in remembrance of Me.” 20 Likewise He also took the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in My blood, which is shed for you.

V is for Vulnerable. Vulnerable means, “able to be hurt.” Every baby is very vulnerable, and so are we when we love one another. God became vulnerable when Jesus was born, and we are called to be vulnerable when we love our brothers and sisters.

W is for Wonder. Like the WISE MEN, we stand in awe and wonder of the newborn King.

X is for Christ. X is the Greek letter Chi, the first letter in the word “Christ.” The X is one of the most ancient symbols of Christianity. People have been using the letter X to stand for Christ for centuries. And now we light the Christ candle, symbolizing the coming of light into the world. Jesus is born.

Y is for You. You ANGELS. You WISE MEN. You SHEPHERDS. You sons and daughters. You mothers and fathers. You friends and strangers. You are all here to worship and celebrate the birth of Jesus.

Z is for Zeal. Let your zeal for Christ burn brightly. The light of God is steadfast, and endures forever.

 

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