Yesterday we woke up to a winter wonderland here in SW Louisiana. There was snow everywhere! Since it's a rarity of course we had to get pictures. Here are a couple for you to enjoy.....
Over the last couple of months we've met Dr. David Biebel and he's shared thoughts and treasures with us and introduced us to his Christmas book, Away in a Manger. Today Dave is sharing an excerpt with us.
Take it away Dave.....
Away in a Manger:
The Christmas Story from a Nativity Scene Lamb’s Point of View
(Excerpted from Chapter 4: “Angelic Visitations”)
by Dr. David Biebel
This is how Jesus the Messiah was born. His mother, Mary, was engaged to be married to Joseph. But before the marriage took place, while she was still a virgin, she became pregnant through the power of the Holy Spirit. Joseph, to whom she was engaged, was a righteous man and did not want to disgrace her publicly, so he decided to break the engagement quietly.
As he considered this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream. “Joseph, son of David," the angel said, “do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife. For the child within her was conceived by the Holy Spirit. And she will have a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins."
All of this occurred to fulfill the Lord’s message through his prophet:
“Look! The virgin will conceive a child!
She will give birth to a son,
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’
and they will call him Immanuel, which means ‘God is with us.’
When Joseph woke up, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded and took Mary as his wife. But he did not have . . . relations with her until her son was born. And Joseph named him Jesus.”
“To me, one amazing part of this passage is the message of the angel in Joseph’s dream," the pastor [narrator] said. “Joseph knew that Mary, to whom he was engaged, was pregnant, and that he was not the father. But he was a just man and he loved Mary, so he was going to divorce her secretly.
“Have you ever wondered how the angel knew what Joseph was thinking? The point is that God knows us through and through—our thoughts before we have them; our words before we say them; our deeds before we do them. That is definitely a sobering truth, and one that should motivate us to keep our mind stayed on him, for when we do that, we are so much more likely to live a life that honors him.
“But of course there’s another side to this story, and that is presented by Dr. Luke, who must have interviewed Mary in order to obtain the details that are included. Reading from Luke 1, in the New Living Translation:
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!”
Mary asked the angel, “But how can this happen? I am a virgin”
The angel replied, “The Holy Spirit will come upon you, and the power of the Most High will overshadow you. So the baby to be born will be holy, and he will be called the Son of God. What’s more, your relative Elizabeth has become pregnant in her old age! People used to say she was barren, but she has conceived a son and is now in her sixth month. For the word of God will never fail.”
Mary responded, “I am the Lord’s servant.
May everything you have said about me come true” And then the angel left her.
“So Mary went to visit Elizabeth and this is what happened next," the pastor said:
She entered the house and greeted Elizabeth. At the sound of Mary’s greeting, Elizabeth’s
child leaped within her, and Elizabeth was filled with the Holy Spirit.
Elizabeth gave a glad cry and exclaimed to Mary, “God has blessed you above all women, and your child is blessed. Why am I so honored, that the mother of my Lord should visit me? When I heard your greeting, the baby in my womb jumped for joy. You are blessed because you believed that the Lord would do what he said."
“Oh, how my soul praises the Lord.
How my spirit rejoices in God my Savior!
For he took notice of his lowly servant girl,
and from now on all generations will call me blessed.
For the Mighty One is holy,
and he has done great things for me.
He shows mercy from generation to generation
to all who fear him.
His mighty arm has done tremendous things!
He has scattered the proud and haughty ones.
He has brought down princes from their thrones
and exalted the humble.
He has filled the hungry with good things
and sent the rich away with empty hands.
He has helped his servant Israel
and remembered to be merciful.
For he made this promise to our ancestors,
to Abraham and his children forever."
As if on signal, someone started playing a guitar and singing “Away in a Manger,” while the adults and teens joined in loudly, and the children ran forward to pet the animals. Many of them headed right for Ransom [the lamb] who was watching intently for [his new friend] Jenny, but she was nowhere to be seen. His countenance fell, well it fell as much as any lamb’s countenance can fall, but he knew he had to pay attention to the other children, whose caresses took away his sadness in a very short time.
On the way back to the ranch, Ransom asked, “Mommy, what is ‘lineage’? Do I have one of those?”
“Everyone does, dear,” she replied. “It means your parentage or family tree. This helps place a person like Jesus in history, and shows how his lineage could be traced back to King David, which was one element of the prophecies about him.”
“Is a family tree like a spruce or an oak?” he asked.
“Well now, I’ve never thought about it that way. An oak loses its leaves each year, but it also grows a little bit with each new spring, and it branches out so if you look up from the trunk, you can see branches in all directions, some of them with their own branches off the main branch. Since the phrase ‘family tree’ is using the idea of a tree that branches out, I’d say it’s more like an oak than a spruce.”
“So where am I on our family tree?”
“You’re like a bud at the very end of one of the branches. And if you become a father someday, you’ll then become part of a branch that has grown even longer.”
“And you are part of the same branch, only a little closer to the main trunk. I think I understand. . . .” Ransom stopped mid-sentence. “But I must also have a father. You’ve never mentioned him.”
“His name was Virgil, and for many years he was the master ram of our herd. But this spring, just after you were born, and I was not strong enough to defend you, he gave his life to save us from a mountain lion. He won the battle, but the lion wounded him so badly that there was nothing that could be done to save him.”
“Oh,” Ransom replied, not knowing if he should be sad he’d never gotten to know his father, or proud that his father had laid down his life to save the herd.
And for the first time in a long time, he couldn’t think of anything else to say.
NOTE: This article is adapted from Away in a Manger: The Christmas Story from a Live Nativity Scene Lamb’s Point of View, published (2017) by Healthy Life Press, all rights reserved. No part of this book, including its segments or its illustrations, may be copied, printed, or redistributed without the express, written consent of the author. Original artwork is © Marina Calin.
Unless otherwise noted, Scriptures are from The Holy Bible, New Living Translation Copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013 by Tyndale House Foundation, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Dr. David B. Biebel is a minister, author, editor, and publisher. He holds the Doctor of Ministry degree from Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He invested 25 of his 40-year ministry career in editing two national magazines for Christian doctors: Physician magazine for Focus on the Family, followed by Today’s Christian Doctor for the Christian Medical & Dental Associations.
Dr. Biebel has authored or co-authored twenty books, including one bestseller: If God Is So Good, Why Do I Hurt So Bad? and the Gold Medallion winner, New Light on Depression. His recent releases include Making God Visible and his latest, Away in a Manger.
This full-color book is available in two sizes, 6.5x6.5 and 8xl0 (Large Print). The ISBN for the 8xl0 (Large Print) version is: 978-1-939267-85-6, $15.99. The ISBN for the 6.5x6.5 version is: 978-1939267399, $12.99. It is also available for $6.99 as an eBook in various formats, at Amazon.com or HealthyLifePress.com.
What a lovely way of presenting this story, Dave! We wish you the best of luck and God's blessings with it!
Well friends, hope you enjoyed today's spotlight and that you'll check back weekly for Tuesday Treasures, Thursday Thoughts and Saturday Spotlight.
Until next time take care and God bless.