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Shepherds, a stable and a star #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

There are several words beginning with S associated with the Christmas story. There was the stable where Jesus was born. This may have been part of a house where the animals were kept rather than an outbuilding. The shepherds visited Jesus when he was lying in a manger. The animals feeding trough became a makeshift cradle.

A star guided the Magi to the house where the child was. By the time the Magi arrived Jesus was no longer a newborn baby. It is likely that he was a year old or more. As we saw in the post about Herod children up to the age of two years were regarded as a threat by Herod.

There have been many theories about whether the star was a comet or the conjunction of planets. The Magi had studied astronomy well enough to recognise something new in the sky. They decided to investigate the meaning and to go in search of a new king.

The carol While shepherds watched their sheep by night tells the Christmas story as far as it involved the shepherds. This is a less usual tune for a popular carol.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4

In case you missed it yesterday I was privileged to have a guest post on the official A to Z Challenge blog. You may read it on Blogger and/or on WordPress.

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Rejoice #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Rejoice is a word very much associated with Christmas. The song of Mary in Luke 1:46-55 has her spirit rejoicing. The shepherds were given news of great joy by the angel of the Lord. They visited the baby Jesus in Bethlehem and returned glorifying and praising God for all that they had seen. That is surely another way of saying they rejoiced.

My A to Z challenge posts about important words in the Bible included rejoice.

Many Christmas carols are about rejoicing. I have chosen the Advent carol Hills of the north, rejoice for his post.

Although my A to Z posts are on the theme of Christmas, in the western world we are now in the season of Easter. Resurrection Sunday (or Easter Day) was on Sunday. This is Easter week – a time to rejoice.

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4

Today I also have a guest post on the Blogging from A to Z in April blog.

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Questions #AtoZChallenge

This year my A to Z challenge is about Christmas, a major festival in the Christian Church. Another major festival is Easter, which I wrote about for the A to Z Challenge in 2020.

Two people from the story of Jesus’ birth had questions. The first was Zechariah to whom the angel Gabriel appeared and predicted the birth of his son, John. Zechariah asked the angel how he could be sure. His question perhaps demonstrated that he didn’t trust the message or the messenger. He became dumb until his son was born. The story may be read in Luke 1: 5-25 and 57-80.

Zechariah has appeared in another A to Z series on this blog.

Mary also asked a question of the Angel Gabriel, when he appeared to her. How can this be? Her question seems to have been one arising from wonder rather than mistrust. She was a very young woman, probably still in her teens, whereas Zechariah was a priest, who should have known the scriptures and how God had given other barren women children in their later lives. A reflection in New Daylight from the Bible Reading Fellowship by Amy Boucher Pye in December 2021 touched on the question of these two angelic encounters.

There is nothing wrong with asking questions, but we have to learn to trust God.

A Christmas carol, which asks and answers some questions about the Christ-child is What child is this?

While this year’s A to Z badges by Anjela Curtis honour the late Jeremy Hawkins, I hope that my posts about Christmas honour Jesus Christ, ‘who was and is and is to come’. Revelation 1:4