Posted in advent

Nativity & Advent: The Angel Gabriel

By Elizabeth Prata

In the sixth month the angel Gabriel was sent from God to a city of Galilee named Nazareth, to a virgin betrothed to a man whose name was Joseph, of the house of David. And the virgin’s name was Mary. And he came to her and said, “Greetings, O favored one, the Lord is with you!” But she was greatly troubled at the saying, and tried to discern what sort of greeting this might be. And the angel said to her,”Do not be afraid, Mary, for you have found favor with God. And behold, you will conceive in your womb and bear a son, and you shall call his name Jesus. He will be great and will be called the Son of the Most High. And the Lord God will give to him the throne of his father David, and he will reign over the house of Jacob forever, and of his kingdom there will be no end.” (Luke 1:26-33).

What a blessing that believers read this and know that we know the Lord, and even better, that we love Him and we know that He loves us.
Continue reading “Nativity & Advent: The Angel Gabriel”

Posted in advent, theology

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 10- the Boy Jesus at the Temple

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of Jesus day 10

With Him are wisdom and might; To Him belong counsel and understanding (Job 12:13).

Further Reading:

The Day Jesus Went AWOL

Twelve-year-old Jesus goes to the Temple

The Son of God at twelve years old
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Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship
Day 9: The Child Grew

Posted in theology, thirty Days of Jesus

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Day 9, The Child Grew

By Elizabeth Prata

thirty days of jesus day 9
Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

Further Reading

What happened during Jesus’ childhood?

Why doesn’t the Bible say much about Jesus childhood?

The boyhood of Jesus

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Thirty Days of Jesus Series-

Introduction/Background
Day 1: The Virgin shall conceive
Day 2: A shoot from Jesse
Day 3: God sent His Son in the fullness of time
Day 4:  Marry her, she will bear a Son

Day 5: The Babe has arrived!
Day 6: The Glory of Jesus
Day 7: Magi seek the Child
Day 8: The Magi offer gifts & worship

Posted in nativity, theology

Nativity & Advent: Nazareth the Podunk Town

By Elizabeth Prata

Fourth in a series.
Nativity & Advent: Zacharias, there is no such thing as luck even when casting lots Nativity & Advent: Anna, the Lord’s Precious Widow
Nativity & Advent: Sacrifice of Pigeons

Israel’s borders are small, and space is at a premium. Nazareth today, in the district of Galilee, is a bustling city of 77,000. Nazareth is known nowadays as the Arab capital of Israel, populated mainly by Muslims, who comprise 70% of the religious demographic there, Christians being 30%. Continue reading “Nativity & Advent: Nazareth the Podunk Town”

Posted in theology, thirty Days of Jesus

Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Introduction

By Elizabeth Prata

Christmas is coming. It’s a blessed time of year.

We think of the Savior, all the year, every day. (Philippians 4:8). But the Christmas season is a time when we think more pointedly about His incarnation, life, ascension, and return. Who is this Jesus? He was born, lived, died, rose again, and promised to return, to bring eternal life to those who believe and eternal death to those who reject. He tore the veil of human history, parted it into BC and AD, and changed everything. Continue reading “Thirty Days of Jesus Repeat: Introduction”

Posted in advent, theology

Nativity & Advent: Anna, the Lord’s Precious Widow

By Elizabeth Prata

#1 : Nativity & Advent: Zacharias- There’s no such thing as chance, even when casting lots
#3: Nativity & Advent: Sacrifice of Pigeons

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The Nativity story includes wonderful elements as we learn them and repeat them year after year. We truly are little children, saying to our parents, “Tell me again!” We never tire of hearing as much as we can about our Savior who left His throne, left glory, left the perfect adoration of his angels, and came to earth to serve and die. (And resurrect)

This year I’m focusing on a few of the people and events of the Nativity story during Advent with which we may not be as familiar. Or, if you are familiar, then please enjoy another round of delving into this magnificent story in all its aspects. Continue reading “Nativity & Advent: Anna, the Lord’s Precious Widow”

Posted in advent, prophecy, theology

Nativity & Advent: Zacharias- There’s no such thing as chance, even when casting lots

By Elizabeth Prata

#2: Nativity & Advent: Anna, the Lord’s Precious Widow
#3: Nativity & Advent: Sacrifice of Pigeons

Did you know that the practice of casting lots is called cleromancy? I didn’t. Wikipedia defines it-

Cleromancy is a form of sortition, casting of lots, in which an outcome is determined by means that normally would be considered random, such as the rolling of dice, but are sometimes believed to reveal the will of God

What is casting lots? by Matt Slick Continue reading “Nativity & Advent: Zacharias- There’s no such thing as chance, even when casting lots”

Posted in theology

Jesus was not born in a stable; more on ‘The Nativity’, art by Gari Melchers

By Elizabeth Prata

I love biblical art, and I’m entranced with a few particular pieces. One I come back to a lot happens at Christmas time, and I love to look at it. I’ve written about it before, here, in December 2015, and here, in December 2017. It is called The Nativity, by Gari Melchers.

 

When preaching about this moment in history, Pastor S. Lewis Johnson emphasized the virgin conception rather than the virgin birth. He preached that the birth was typical, human, bloody, and messy. It was the conception that was immaculate. The art by American painter Gari Melchers depicts a scene more reflective of a birth than most nativity scenes usually do.

Here, we see a deeply concentrating Joseph gazing at his newborn son, perhaps pondering the spiritual implications of this new life that promised to bring new life to one and all. Note his furrowed brow. Mary, exhausted, drooping, leans against her husband sleepily, a recently used washbowl and cloth by her side. Is the glow from the Babe’s head, or the lantern that has been set by Him? The scene depicts exhaustion, wonder, light, and hope.

Julius Garibaldi Melchers (1860-1932) was an American artist. He was one of the leading American proponents of naturalism. He won a 1932 Gold medal from the American Academy of Arts and Letters, according to Wikipedia.

As for the setting itself, it is unusual in that it does not show the usual display of a barn or stable, with animals around. Certainly the Wise Men from the East were not present. Historically we know that appeared up to two years later, when Mary and Joseph were living in a house and the babe was a toddler. This is another reason I’ve always liked this painting, above all others. It is more closely historical and accurate than many people know in setting the scene in a house.

It was highly likely, almost certain, that Mary gave birth in a house. Perhaps the house was crowded with other relatives who’d arrived for the census prior to their arrival, so the only spot left was the downstairs entry where the animals were usually kept. Here is information about the likelihood that Jesus was not born in a barn or stable, but in a home, and probably a relative’s domicile. The essay also discusses what is meant by “inn”, and more.

Once More, Jesus was Not Born in a Stable

The mention of a ‘manger’ in Luke’s nativity story, suggesting animals, led mediaeval illustrators to depict the ox and the ass recognising the baby Jesus, so the natural setting was a stable—after all, isn’t that where animals are kept? (Answer: not necessarily!)

The third issue relates to our understanding of (you guessed it) the historical and social context of the story. In the first place, it would be unthinkable that Joseph, returning to his place of ancestral origins, would not have been received by family members, even if they were not close relatives.

Thanks be to God for his inexpressible gift! (2 Corinthians 9:15)