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I was raised in Niceville, Florida. I met my husband who is also active duty military in 1997. We married and had our first son in 1998. . When I was pregnant with my first son, I gave my life to Jesus. I was not very committed to Him but I accepted Him as my savior. We moved to Las Vegas, Nevada in 2001. In 2006 we bought a home in North Las Vegas and one of my neighbors was a pastor for a church plant. My son and I began to attend fellowship dinners at their home and then we began to attend church with them. In 2010, my friend's son drowned at a party that we were at, he was 7 years old. He had an immeasurable love for God in him. We had known him since he was 3 years old. That very night I decided that his life and death would not be in vain and I finally really committed my life to the Lord. Since then, I have learned and been blessed with the opportunity to grow spiritually closer to God. I am planning on pursuing my nursing degree here in Arizona and I am looking forward to serving God as He sees fit.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Immanuel: God is with Us

Luke 2:11  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, which is Christ the Lord.

2 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[a] 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.
And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night.An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10 But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I bring you good news that will cause great joy for all the people. 11 Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is the Messiah,the Lord. 12 This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger.”
13 Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14 “Glory to God in the highest heaven,
    and on earth peace to those on whom his favor rests.”
15 When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, “Let’s go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about.”
16 So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger.17 When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18 and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20 The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.
21 On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise the child, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he was conceived.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

22 When the time came for the purification rites required by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23 (as it is written in the Law of the Lord, “Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord”[b]), 24 and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: “a pair of doves or two young pigeons.”[c]
25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29 “Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
    you may now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30 For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31     which you have prepared in the sight of all nations:
32 a light for revelation to the Gentiles,
    and the glory of your people Israel.”
33 The child’s father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34 Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: “This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35 so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too.”

  
    Could you imagine? Already angels of the Lord have come to you to tell you that, although you have not sinned, you will be pregnant. Your fiance has wrestled with believing you when you say that you have not sinned although you are with child, you are sent away to a cousin's home only for them to reiterate to you that you are carrying the King of Kings. 

    Your fiance decides to support you and this child, and when it comes time for the child to be born into this world you are forced to labor and deliver this King of Kings in a lowly, filthy barn. Yet the angels of the Lord come to others and tell them that our salvation has come. Three strangers from very distant lands bring gifts of untold wealth to lay at your infant's feet. Angels sing praise to this tiny babe lying in the lowest of places. As instructed you name this child Jesus which is translated "God is salvation". 

    What a mighty order for a child! You take him to be presented to the Lord, only to have a man say to you, "Your child will cause people to be saved, the truth of ones heart will be laid bear by your child, and he will bring you great pain." What wonder and fear Joseph and Mary must have felt. I know I would do anything to ensure my children did not have to go through great pain but imagine knowing that there is nothing you can do and that is the fate that lays ahead. 

    Today we know this child by the name Immanuel, "God is with us". We all know the story of what happen to this child, whose birth we celebrate today. A few years ago, when I was starting my faith walk, it dawned on me the symbolism of our Christmas tradition. We give gifts to re-enact God's gift of salvation to us. In our religious lives we aim to be Christ-like, hence like God, one way we do this is by emulating this act of giving. I truly believe that many of us just follow the tradition with out much thought. I know I did. 

    Merry Christmas to you and your families. May your day be filled with the joy that Jesus secured for us all those years ago. 

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