Sunday Scriptures – The Innkeeper

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Have you ever wondered what the innkeeper thought when he told Mary and Joseph there was no room for them in his inn, yet offered them his stable?

When I was young I thought the innkeeper rather mean to turn them away. I wondered why he couldn’t squeeze them in somehow. Move things around. Make room amidst his crowded inn, and crowded life, for them to stay until Mary gave birth and recovered.

Maybe he was mean. Or maybe he was just preoccupied with all the busyness that surrounded him as he ran his overflowing inn, and accommodated his patrons. Perhaps he just could not handle two more people and a soon-to-be born infant.

Do you think the innkeeper regretted his decision once the multitude of angels’ voices filled the night air above his stable? Do you think he wondered what all the hub-bub was about? Do you think the innkeeper may have searched back in his memory to the scriptures he learned as a child about the Promised Messiah being born in the city of David?

Maybe. Then again, maybe not.

My intention is not to paint the man in a poor light. Nope. Not at all. My intention is for me and you to look at ourselves and see how much like the innkeeper we might be.

Have we told Jesus there is no room in our lives for him right now because of our busy schedules? We’re full up and consumed by other things at the moment. Maybe later.

Are we preoccupied with keeping the things in our lives running smoothly, and do not need to add studying the Bible to our ever-growing to-do list?

Does our busyness leave Jesus out in the cold of night until a more convenient time?

I don’t know. I only know the innkeeper couldn’t find any room for Jesus the King of kings and Lord of lords. Maybe his story is a lesson for us not to leave the Messiah out of our lives.

Just as the innkeeper needed to move something out of the way so Mary and Joseph had a place to stay, shouldn’t we move things out of the way so Jesus has a place in our hearts to stay?

What do you think? Have you any room for Jesus? If not, is that a decision you’ll regret  when the multitude of angels sing at the Savior’s return?

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So Joseph left Nazareth, a town in Galilee, and went to the town of Bethlehem in Judea, known as the town of David. Joseph went there because he was from the family of David. Joseph registered with Mary, to whom he was engaged and who was now pregnant.  While they were in Bethlehem, the time came for Mary to have the baby, and she gave birth to her first son. Because there were no rooms left in the inn, she wrapped the baby with pieces of cloth and laid him in a feeding trough. Luke 2:4-7 (NCV)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — First Day of Advent

by Sandy Kirby Quandt

Today is the first day of Advent 2017. It is a time set aside to reflect on the coming of the Good News to the world through the announcement of Jesus the Messiah’s birth. It is a time to prepare our hearts to reflect on the true meaning of Christmas before the hustle-bustle of the season takes over.

A devotional I once read put it this way. “Advent is a time of preparation and expectation. It is a time of hope and faith and longing. Our anticipation rises during Advent and then our hopes are fulfilled on Christmas with the birth of Jesus.”

Sometimes in our preparation for Christmas Day we might busy ourselves with long to-do lists, and end up exhausted. Sometimes we might allow others’ ideas of what Christmas should look like highjack our celebration, leaving us resentful of their demands. Sometimes the various situations in our life may steal our joy right out from under us. When any of these things happens, we might find the expectation and peace we hoped to experience nowhere to be found.

Today Pilot and I will light the first candle of our Advent Wreath, and as we do, I will recommit to centering my thoughts on the Gift God graciously sent into our world. I will focus on the flickering candle and think of Jesus. The Light of the World who left his throne in heaven, came into our world, lived a sinless life, yet died for the sins of the world, was resurrected, and now sits at the Father’s right hand in heaven so that through Jesus we can have eternal life.

And I will wait in hope and expectation for his return.

Is the Advent Wreath part of your Christmas tradition? If so, do you prefer red and white, or pink and purple candles?

Leave a comment below to share your thoughts on the subject. If you think others would appreciate reading this, please share it through the social media buttons.

In the sixth month of Elizabeth’s pregnancy, God sent the angel Gabriel to Nazareth, a village in Galilee, to a virgin named Mary. She was engaged to be married to a man named Joseph, a descendant of King David. Gabriel appeared to her and said, “Greetings, favored woman! The Lord is with you!”

Confused and disturbed, Mary tried to think what the angel could mean. “Don’t be afraid, Mary,” the angel told her, “for you have found favor with God! You will conceive and give birth to a son, and you will name him Jesus. He will be very great and will be called the Son of the Most High. The Lord God will give him the throne of his ancestor David. And he will reign over Israel forever; his Kingdom will never end!” Luke 1:26-33 (NTL)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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Once Again It’s Christmas

courtesy pixabayby Sandy Kirby Quandt

Less than a week before December 25.

I’m sure you did not need a reminder of that fact. We’ve been bombarded with the countdown to Christmas since before Thanksgiving.

Decorations. Stores. Lights. Wish lists. TV specials. The list goes on and on.

We are surrounded with advertisements telling us our lives will be incomplete if we don’t have X, Y, or Z. Our loved ones will be disappointed Christmas morning if they don’t find P, Q, R under the tree or in the driveway. But is that really true? I think not.

In our quest to have the perfect Christmas tree, decorations, meals, outfits, gifts … have we forgotten something? Is something missing?

What about going back to the original Christmas story. The one recorded in the Gospels of Matthew and Luke about our Savior’s birth. There we find simplicity. Love. Wonder. Praise. Humility. Glory. Peace. Worship.

If Jesus has gotten pushed to the side, or worse yet, forgotten in our striving for the perfect Christmas, how about we pause, take inventory of our priorities, and make the main thing the main thing.

That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened.  The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.” 

Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying:  “Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” Luke 2:8-14 (NCV)

And to quote Linus, “…That’s what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown.”

How are you keeping the main thing the main thing this holiday season?

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I wish you well,

Sandy

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Sunday Scriptures — When We Stumble

Isaiahby Sandy Kirby Quandt

One Christmas when Pie was a toddler I bought him the book, Clem the Clumsy Camel. He and I both loved that book. In fact, we still do. Pie keeps the book among his treasures, and pulls it out to reread during the Christmas season.

This children’s book tells the story of a clumsy camel named Clem who for the life of him, could not get the act of kneeling to the ground right. He tried really hard. Honest he did, but he still stumbled and fell.

Until one night …

When Wise Men following a star needed camels, Clem’s owner saw it as an opportunity  to get rid of the clumsy camel and sold Clem.

After the Wise Men arrived at the place where baby Jesus was, Clem observed how the wise men bowed before the child, and he bowed also. In the presence of Christ, Clem’s clumsiness disappeared. He was able to bow with grace.

At times we may feel clumsy. We may try hard to do the right thing, to not sin, but we stumble and fall. Like Clem, we need to keep trying. We need to not give up. We need to come into Jesus’ presence and kneel before his grace.

Because of the gift we received at Jesus’ birth we can get up when we trip over our clumsy selves. By his grace God gives us as many tries as it takes for us to get it right.

Does Clem’s story encourage you to keep trying? I know it does me.

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Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judea, in the days when Herod was king of the province. Not long after his birth there arrived from the east a party of astrologers making for Jerusalem and enquiring as they went, “Where is the child born to be king of the Jews? For we saw his star in the east and we have come here to pay homage to him.”

When King Herod heard about this he was deeply perturbed, as indeed were all the other people living in Jerusalem. So he summoned all the Jewish scribes and chief priests together and asked where “Christ” should be born. Their reply was: “In Bethlehem, in Judea, for this is what the prophet (Micah) wrote about the matter—‘But you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not the least among the rulers of Judah; for out of you shall come a ruler who will shepherd my people Israel’.”

Then Herod invited the wise men to meet him privately and found out from them the exact time when the star appeared. Then he sent them off to Bethlehem saying, “When you get there, search for this little child with the utmost care. And when you have found him come back and tell me—so that I may go and worship him too.”

The wise men listened to the king and then went on their way to Bethlehem. And now the star, which they had seen in the east, went in front of them as they traveled until at last it shone immediately above the place where the little child lay. The sight of the star filled them with indescribable joy.

So they went into the house and saw the little child with his mother Mary. And they fell on their knees and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts—gold, incense and myrrh. Then, since they were warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they went back to their own country by a different route. Matthew 2:1-12 (Phillips)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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What A Glorious Night

bing imagesBy Sandy Kirby Quandt

Christmas Blessings to each of you as we celebrate the glorious birth of the Savior who came into this world to set us free from the chains and penalty of sin.

Praise God from whom all blessings flow!

After the wrapping paper has been picked up off the floor. After the dishes have been washed and put away. After the guests have left, or you have returned home, I would urge you to find a quiet place to reflect on what this day truly means to you. To the world. And give thanks.

Max Lucado has a wonderful devotion on FaithGateway which I believe would be well worth your reading.

I pray each of you have a blessed, Christ-centered Christmas, and that we all remember to keep Jesus number one in our lives not just on the day we celebrate his birthday, but everyday of the rest of our lives.

Peace. Grace. Hope.

As you will notice, I’ve included an additional video to this post. I hope you view them both. While the first video by Sidewalk Prophets celebrates the Christmas Miracle of Christ’s birth, the second video by Garth Brooks recounts the Christmas Miracle Truce that took place December 25, 1914 during the Great War, as World War I was called at the time. The truce was short-lived, but a miracle nonetheless.

But for just one fleeting moment the answer seemed so clear
Heaven’s not beyond the clouds it’s just beyond the fear
No heaven’s not beyond the clouds it’s for us to find it here

I’d love to hear your thoughts on the subject. Leave a comment below. If you think others would appreciate reading this please share it through the social media buttons.

And Christ became a human being and lived here on earth among us and was full of loving forgiveness and truth. And some of us have seen his glory—the glory of the only Son of the heavenly Father! John pointed him out to the people, telling the crowds, “This is the one I was talking about when I said, ‘Someone is coming who is greater by far than I am—for he existed long before I did!’”  We have all benefited from the rich blessings he brought to us—blessing upon blessing heaped upon us! For Moses gave us only the Law with its rigid demands and merciless justice, while Jesus Christ brought us loving forgiveness as well. No one has ever actually seen God, but, of course, his only Son has, for he is the companion of the Father and has told us all about him. John 1:14-18 (TLB)

I wish you well.

Sandy

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This video starts out very soft. You might need to adjust your volume before starting it.

Sunday Scriptures — Glory to God in the Highest

Isaiah 40That night, some shepherds were in the fields nearby watching their sheep. Then an angel of the Lord stood before them. The glory of the Lord was shining around them, and they became very frightened. The angel said to them, “Do not be afraid. I am bringing you good news that will be a great joy to all the people. Today your Savior was born in the town of David. He is Christ, the Lord. This is how you will know him: You will find a baby wrapped in pieces of cloth and lying in a feeding box.” Then a very large group of angels from heaven joined the first angel, praising God and saying: “Give glory to God in heaven, and on earth let there be peace among the people who please God.” Luke 2:8-14

Which would have been better? To be one of the angels announcing Jesus’ birth, or to be one of the shepherds hearing the announcement? Either way, I think it would have been an amazing privilege.

Think about times when you have been the bearer of glad tidings…good news…exciting information. Think also about when you have been the recipient of such wonderful news. Pretty fortunate, no matter which end of the conversation you are on.

I truly cannot fathom how either of these groups of beings felt at the revelation that Jesus. Messiah. Savior. Redeemer. King. God’s only son, was born.

If you think about it, those of us who claim Jesus as our LORD, are in the place of both the angels and the shepherds. We’ve been given the wonderful news, and have the privilege of telling others.

I wish you well.

Sandy

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