Wrap This One Up

Over the past few years Christmas has been such an interesting holiday, for me. Interesting because I’ve had a hard time really feeling the joy and excitement of the season. It’s a little embarrassing to admit. As a Christian, this time of year is holy and sacred, it’s supposed to be full of joy! But as I mature in faith, celebrating Jesus’ birth has become just as important as his death and resurrection. They go hand in hand. It’s come to the point where I can’t really think of this time of year without also thinking of the sacrifice he made for me, and you.

It’s been a while since I really took the time to posture my heart and mind towards the coming of our King this time of year. I’ve known the story most of my life, but it’s been a while since I really had a fresh understanding and revelation about our tiny Savior and fully present in the story of Who he is.

However, this year is different and I think it’s sourced in a song and the posture of my heart. Before ever hear the song, Wrap This One Up by Christy Nockles, I heard the story. It captured my thoughts. I didn’t really dive in to studying, I just sat in awe. I sat in awe at how God so delicately orchestrated the story of Jesus. He orchestrates the story of our own lives the same way, every detail purposed.

You see, not far from where Jesus was born, is a place called Migdal-eder or Tower of the Flock. As temple worship in the Promised Land was established, a field just outside of Bethlehem was designated for sacrificial lambs to be raised. With at least two sacrifices per day, there would need to be over 700 lambs each year. When lambs reached one year old, they would make their way to the altar.

Special shepherds kept watch from the Tower of the Flock, caring for these sacrificial lambs. As ewes approached birth, shepherds would bring them in close, perhaps even inside. Upon the birth of a new male lamb, the shepherds would inspect the new baby for blemishes – designating the spotless ones for sacrifice. These sacrificial lambs would be wrapped up in swaddling clothes, keeping the sacred baby safe, warm and dry.

On the night of his birth, our Savior Jesus would be wrapped up by his momma. He was probably inspected and found to be perfect, complete. This song painted a picture of what it would have been like to be Mary, wrapping up her baby boy on that very night of his birth. Mary knew. She knew Jesus was Messiah, the Son of God. You see, as Mary wrapped up her baby – she was also wrapping up our Sacrificial Lamb.

“…but with the precious blood of Christ, like that of a lamb without defect or blemish. He was chosen before the foundation of the world but was revealed at the end of the times for you who through Him are believers in God, who raised Him from the dead and gave Him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God. 1 Peter 1:19-21 (HCSB)

Jesus would once again be wrapped up.  “So, Joseph took the body, wrapped it in clean, fine linen, and placed it in his new tomb, which he had cut into the rock. He left after rolling a great stone against the entrance of the tomb.” Matthew 27:59-60 (HCSB)

There are so many little details throughout scripture that put me in awe. As you read the story of Jesus’ birth this holiday, I pray that God’s well-orchestrated and perfectly timed plan restores a fresh sense of wonder in you. As we wrap and unwrap the gifts under our Christmas tree this year, let’s unwrap the gift wrapped up by Mary so long ago – Jesus. Knowing, believing and trusting the King in an intimate and personal way is the greatest gift we could ever receive.

For the sake of trying to keep it short, I’ve left so much out of this story. But I pray that Christy’s song, Wrap This One Up, blesses you as much as it does me. It’s a beautiful picture of the reason we celebrate Jesus’ birth – in full circle. Along with a link to the song on her lovely Christmas album, here’s a little clip of Christy’s song story.

Blessings for a joyous and holy Christmas, dear ones.

With love and gratitude, Amy

Luke 2_12_Wrap this one up (1)

 

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Christmas Treasures

Do you ever sit back and really take the time to be in awe of God? His creation, and who He is? This time of year, Christians celebrate the birth of Jesus coming in flesh, so that he might shed His blood as the ultimate sacrifice. It’s a time set aside, to remember and celebrate. But it always seems like the pace of life quickens, and the time to be in awe gets cut short by the long shopping list. I know the hour’s tick by at the same rate of speed as they did when Messiah was born, but our world seems to be spinning at a dizzying pace these days.

I think about Mary, the mother of Jesus, and what that time must have been like for her. There weren’t 25 people to buy gifts for with various houses to visit. They settled down. It may have been in a manger, filled with the excitement of a birth, but I think they stopped. They paused, and fully enjoyed His presence.

I believe this to be true because of one little piece in Luke’s account of Jesus’ birth. To me, it’s become one of Mary’s ‘words of wisdom for mom’s’. Luke tells of Mary and Joseph’s traveling to Bethlehem, the shepherds and the angels. Then he writes, “But Mary treasured up all these things, pondering them in her heart.” (Luke 2:19, ESV)

You’ve probably heard the saying about the minutes drag on, but the years fly by? It’s so true, and now that we’ve reached the middle school era in our family, things seems to have been taken to a whole new realm. Even our son comments on it. Be still, my heart! I think there must have been something special stirred by the Holy Spirit within Mary’s heart. She knew to treasure up all these things, that special time. I envision Mary taking the time to be in awe of God; not only this precious little Lamb, wrapped up in her arms, but the Creator.

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Mary didn’t have a cell phone to click pictures and share with her friends back home. She didn’t have the ability to rely on a picture to conjure up all the warm fuzzies. All she had was the gift of those thoughts and feelings being stirred in her heart and mind, treasured up. She may not have remembered every little detail, but I’m certain she clearly remembered the thoughts and feelings she experienced.

Don’t get me wrong, I love walking down memory lane with the pictures on that little rectangular device. And I wouldn’t trade the message, and seeing the beautiful new born face of my sweet niece today, for anything! But when I’m wrapped up in getting the right picture to capture the moments of Christmas, it’s hard to really capture it with my heart. It’s hard to simply be in awe, and let myself feel the wonder, mystery and freedom of the season.

As the days click by to the time we celebrate Jesus’ birth, I desire to posture my heart and mind towards our Savior. What would it be like, for you, to slow down and simply be in awe of Him? What would it take, to posture yourself before the Lord? What would it be like to stop, and treasure up in your heart the events of this season? What do you need from God, and what do you need to give God?

I want to challenge you, as I do myself, to stop this season and be still. Take some time to rest in Him, the gift of a little baby, treasuring it all up in your heart.