Jesus—Word Made Flesh

Around that time Caesar Augustus sent out an official order that every person living under Roman rule must be registered in a public record. This first happened during the time that Quirinius was governing the province of Syria. So everyone had to go to his family’s hometown to be registered. Joseph also traveled to his family’s hometown, along with Mary, who was engaged to him and was pregnant. Because Joseph was a descendant of King David, they left the town of Nazareth in the region of Galilee and traveled to the region of Judea, to the town of Bethlehem, which is also known as the city of David. Joseph and Mary went there to be registered in the public record. When they arrived in Bethlehem, there was no place for them to stay in a place where visitors usually stayed. So they had to stay in a place where animals slept overnight. While they were there the time came for Mary to give birth and she gave birth to her first child, a son. She wrapped him in wide strips of cloth and laid him down where the food was kept for the animals inside the barn.

Jesus—Word Made Flesh — Kimia Wood — Jesus

Mom’s “Christmas” nativity (Precious Moments ceramic), which has come out with the decorations for as long as I can remember. When we had a mantle, it always lived there for Christmas.

That night, there were some shepherds who were taking care of their sheep in the fields near Bethlehem. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared to them. A bright light shone all around them, showing the Lord’s glory. So they became very afraid. But the angel said to them, “Do not be afraid! I have come to tell you good news, which will benefit all people and will make you all very happy! Today, in the city of David, a baby has been born who will save you from your sins! He is the Messiah, the Lord! This is how you will recognize him: In Bethlehem you will find a baby who has been wrapped in strips of cloth and placed in a feeding place for animals.”

Suddenly a large group of angels from heaven appeared and joined the other angel. They all praised God, saying,

“May all the angels in the highest heaven praise God! And may there be peace on earth among people who are pleasing to God!”

Jesus—Word Made Flesh — Kimia Wood — Jesus

Plastic and wood créche, that sat under my grandma’s tree every Christmas for the kids to play with. When she went home to be with Jesus, I inherited it.

After the angels left them and returned to heaven, the shepherds said to each other, “We should go right now to Bethlehem to see this wonderful thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about!” So they went quickly and when they had found the place where Mary and Joseph were staying, they saw the baby lying in a feeding place for animals. After seeing him, they told everyone what had been told to them about this child. All the people who heard what the shepherds said to them were amazed. But Mary kept thinking about all the things she had heard and carefully remembered them. The shepherds returned to the fields where their sheep were. They kept talking about how great God is and praising him for all the things that they had heard and seen, because everything happened exactly like the angels had told them.

Eight days later, it was the day when the baby was circumcised, and they gave him the name Jesus. This was the name the angel had told them to give him, even before he was conceived.

When the required number of days for their purification had gone by, according to the law of Moses, Mary and Joseph traveled up to Jerusalem to dedicate their son to the Lord. It had been written in the law of the Lord, “Every male offspring that is the first to be born will be set apart to be holy to the Lord.” The law of the Lord also said the parents of a newborn son must offer as a sacrifice: “two turtledoves or two young pigeons.”

Jesus—Word Made Flesh — Kimia Wood — Jesus

Hand-carved créche from the Democratic Republic of Congo.

At that time there was an old man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon. He did what was pleasing to God and obeyed God’s laws. He was eagerly waiting for God to send the Messiah to encourage the Israelite people, and the Holy Spirit was directing him. The Holy Spirit had previously revealed to him that he would see the Lord’s promised Messiah before he died. When Joseph and Mary brought their baby, Jesus, to the temple in order to perform the rituals that God had commanded in his laws, the Spirit led Simeon to enter the temple courtyard. Then he took Jesus up in his arms and praised God, saying,

“Lord, you have made me content and I can now die in peace according to your promise.

I have seen the one whom you sent to save people,

the one you prepared in the midst of all the peoples.

He will be like a light that will reveal your truth to the Gentiles, and he will bring honor to the Israelite people.”

Jesus’ father and mother were very amazed at what Simeon said about him. Then Simeon blessed them, and said to Jesus’ mother, Mary, “Note what I say: God has determined that because of this child, many Israelite people will turn away from God, and many others will turn to God. He will be like a sign to warn people, and many people will oppose him. As a result, the thoughts of many people will be made evident. A sword will also pierce your own soul.”

There was also in the temple courtyard a prophetess named Anna who was very old. Her father Phanuel was a member of the tribe of Asher. She had been married for seven years and then her husband died. After that, she lived eighty-four more years as a widow. She was always serving in the temple area and worshiped God night and day. She often fasted and prayed. At that very moment, Anna came up to them and began thanking God for the baby. Then she spoke about Jesus to many people who were expecting God to redeem Jerusalem.

Jesus—Word Made Flesh — Kimia Wood — Jesus

Hand-carved wooden Philippine nativity – normally displayed year-round at our house.

After Joseph and Mary had finished doing everything required of them by the laws of the Lord, they returned to their own town, Nazareth, in the district of Galilee. As the child grew up, he became strong and very wise, and God was very pleased with him.

Every year Jesus’ parents went to Jerusalem to celebrate the Passover. So when Jesus was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem for the festival as they always did. When all the days for the festival had ended, his parents started to return home, but Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. His parents did not know he was still there. They assumed that he was with the other people who were traveling with them. After walking a whole day’s journey, they started to look for him among their relatives and friends. When they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem to search for him. After three days, they found him in the temple courtyard, sitting in the midst of the Jewish religious teachers. He was listening to them teach, and he was asking them questions. All the people who heard what he said were amazed at how much he

understood and how well he answered the questions that the teachers asked. When his parents saw him, they were very surprised. His mother said to him, “My son, why have you done this to us? Your father and I have been very worried as we have been searching for you!” He said to them, “Why were you searching for me? Did you not know that I needed to be involved in what my Father does?” But they did not understand the meaning of what he said to them. Then he returned with them to Nazareth and he always obeyed them. His mother kept thinking deeply about all those things.

As the years passed, Jesus continued to become wiser and he grew taller. God and people continued to approve of him more and more.

MERRY CHRISTMAS EVERYONE!


Text comes from the free Unlocked Dynamic Bible, Luke chapter 2, which is FREE and used as a translation source text around the world.

“Christmas Carol” Sings the Eternal Song

This is a re-blog from last year, but the points it makes are still true this year! And if you still haven’t read Dickens’ classic work, now’s a great time. Better yet, if you haven’t read the Christmas story in Luke chapter 2 or Matthew chapters 1-2, it’s available for FREE here – and here…and here or here (for Mac). What’s your excuse?

And if you go see the new movie The Man Who Invented Christmas, let me know what you think! WORLD Magazine gave it a recommendation!

Three Things to Think On This “Holiday Season”

51ycpilxgcl If you’re like me, you’re pretty familiar with the mythos of A Christmas Carol, but have never actually read the original. This year, I remedied that.

Charles Dickens’ original story of rich, cantankerous, “Bah-Humbug” Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas, and the joy of celebration is available on Project Gutenberg and on Amazon as free ebooks (or as an audiobook!), so there’s no barrier to enjoying this classic tale.

As I read Dickens’ version of the story, three things jumped out at me.

Scrooge is still a sympathetic character.

Yes, he snarls at carolers, deals rigidly with his clerk, and Bah-Humbugs the charity collector, but his actions are so over-the-top he is not really villainous. His evil, uncharitable nature is more a caricature of real-life tyrants than otherwise. Further, in the visions of the Ghost of Christmas Past, we glimpse the back-story that led Ebenezer to this point, offering a counter-point to his self-insulated misery.

Everyone (bar grumpy Scrooge) is full of “holiday spirit.”

From the cheery Christmas fruits on the shelf, to the grocers working Christmas morning, to the customers bubbling with good humor toward each other, everyone shows Ebenezer the general aura of “good cheer” that supposedly characterizes the season.

How about us, in the modern world? Did you banter with the people waiting with you in line? Were you cheerful toward your waitress, when you were eating out to celebrate and she was working her feet off on a holiday? Did you show Christmasy compassion and kindness toward your check-out clerks, your annoying uncles, that out-of-control kid in the mall?

Sharing “good will” certainly includes bestowing donations on the “work-houses” of our day (a la Christmas Carol) but it involves so much more than that. I admit it’s difficult, in the midst of extra hours, presents, coordinating vacation plans, and all the rest of the bustle, to remember an upbeat attitude, but it seems to me sort of the whole point. The new-made Scrooge does {SPOILER} give generously with his money, but he also starts giving smiles, greetings, well-wishes, and time – he frivoles at his nephew’s party, leaves his office to enjoy the Christmas-day streets, and invests not just money but time and himself in a relationship with his clerk’s family.

Did anyone else have trouble remembering to be generous with ourselves this year?

Everyone goes to church.

There’s no indication Scrooge’s Christmas day was on a Sunday, but when the church bells ring, everyone sallies out to their ecclesiastical duties (cheerfully, of course).

In 2016, Christmas Day was also Sunday, which is highly fitting. On Christmas, we remember when God the Son came in human flesh as a defenseless baby; on Easter (and, technically, every “first day of the week”) we remember that His purpose in coming was to die on the cross, a sacrifice for our sins, and to rise again, defeating Death forever.

How many people struggled with whether or not to go to church that morning? How many churches cancelled services so people could “be with their families,” forgetting that worship of God was the whole point of Christ-mass?

Yet, in the London which Charles Dickens portrays, everyone gladly follows the bells to the church – Ebenezer Scrooge included.

Forget “Christmas Movies” – Do Your Christmas Reading!

If your only experience of this classic is an abridged children’s version, or one of the movie versions, or vague cultural references, it’s worth it to pick up this Christmas classic and consider the allegories, lessons, and themes it celebrates for yourself.

In the meantime, Merry Christmas, and a Happy New Year!

God bless us, every one.

Get More Than You Pay For With Free Books

Get More Than You Pay For With Free Books

Over the past year or so, I’ve been downloading and reading free ebooks from a number of sources – partly because I have a weakness for free, partly because I want to find greats reads for you that you don’t have to shell out a penny for!

But sometimes “you get what you pay for”. Sometimes a book is free because we wouldn’t slog through it for any other reason.

Is that the rule? Are the reading-gems the exception? I’ve dug back through my review archives to figure out which books are worth reading (and worth paying for, even if I didn’t have to).

Note: All deals are listed as of this writing. Authors naturally have the prerogative to change how they charge for their works. By that same token, some books that I loved but couldn’t list because they didn’t qualify might become free again later 😉! Continue reading

Top Ten Best Books for Children to Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly list event created and hosted by the Broke and Bookish blog. Today’s theme is “Top Ten Books I Want My Future Children to Read”.Top Ten Best Books for Children to Read — Kimia Wood — books

Perfect! I’m approaching the time of life when this consideration is important, so here are the books that will be important for me to share with my children (should they ever appear). From picture books, to chapter books, to read-alouds, here are fun and timeless reads for kids of all ages! Continue reading

“Conception Control” by Phillip Kayser, PhD

What is the Biblical basis for forming a family? Does the Bible provide principles for a Christian couple’s sex life and the conceiving of children? Conception Control: Avoiding Antinomianism and Legalism seeks to answer these and other questions from a Biblical perspective.

While its medical detail isn’t suitable for everyone, and while I didn’t agree with all of the Scriptural applications, it was an interesting, thought-provoking read. Continue reading

“Eugenics and Other Evils”

 G.K. Chesterton was a prolific writer and giant of religious thought around the turn of the 20th century, and his works on theology and philosophy, while from a Catholic perspective, continue to ring true today – even for us Evangelicals.

While I have primarily read his fiction (the semi-fantastical The Man Who Was Thursday; the thought-provoking Father Brown series), I found Eugenics and Other Evils full of his characteristically fanciful turns of phrase and complex, allegorical illustrations. While I didn’t always follow his argument (and while I didn’t always agree with it when I did), his unique perspective (observing the Eugenics movement when it was in an earlier and more intellectual stage of its life-cycle) is worth reading.

As he says, “Eugenics itself is a thing no more to be bargained about than poisoning.” Continue reading

“Hazardous Duty” by Christy Barritt

A Cautionary Tale for Writers

 Surfing Amazon one day for “Christian mystery” (or some similar keyword) I came across this book about a crime scene cleaner who finds evidence that the police missed – and it was free! I downloaded it, eager to start reading, and went to load it onto my e-reading device.

BLAM!

File is locked with DRM (digital rights management), meaning I couldn’t read it on my Nook (it’s a Kindle/.mobi file), nor on my dad’s Kindle (device registered to him, book registered to me).

Almost a year later, I did finally get to start reading (because AT&T got me a smartphone, long story short)…but needless to say it left a bad taste in my mouth.

Gabby St. Claire is a professional crime scene cleaner, and an interesting enough character. The perky go-getter type, with an interest in chemistry and forensics, she uncovers evidence in one of the houses she’s cleaning that seems to shed light on a murder investigation.

She then immediately jumps to a conclusion, and pursues that conclusion through the rest of the book. Most sleuths pursue a mystery: she pursued her conclusion…and guys. Continue reading

“The Mysterious Affair at Styles”

 The very first of Agatha Christie’s detective stories, Mysterious Affair at Styles was a breath of fresh air – air scented with ancient country mansions, rich but foolish old ladies, a rogues gallery of extended family, poison, wills, minute yet vital clues, and, of course, an intelligent detective to bring it all together. Continue reading

“Pride and Prejudice” by Jane Austen

 It might seem that to pen a review of literary titaness Jane Austen’s best-known (and possibly best-loved) novel would be presumptuous.

Nevertheless, I shall proceed to gild the lily and explain why, when I finally crossed its threshold several years ago, I found it worthy of every adulation ever laid at its door. Continue reading

Reflections on “A Christmas Carol”

Three Things to Think On This “Holiday Season”

51ycpilxgcl If you’re like me, you’re pretty familiar with the mythos of A Christmas Carol, but have never actually read the original. This year, I remedied that.

Charles Dickens’ original story of rich, cantankerous, “Bah-Humbug” Scrooge, the ghosts of Christmas, and the joy of celebration is available on Project Gutenberg and on Amazon as free ebooks (or as an audiobook!), so there’s no barrier to enjoying this classic tale.

As I read Dickens’ version of the story, three things jumped out at me. Continue reading