Tuesday, December 26, 2017

From Strength to Strength...Opening the Most Precious Christmas Letters

Dear Friends, 

I still enjoy opening Christmas cards from dear friends, and reading their “enclosures”… those special updates on the past year’s highlights and happenings.  They often bring a smile… sometimes a tinge of sadness…always a flood of warmth to my heart. 
Pondering this I realized…I look forward to reading other precious letters at this time of year also. 

Those letters are the thoughts, prayers, and heart cries, that have filled my spiritual journals most of the past 365 days; and often, the faithful responses from Him, the Lover of my soul. 

Reopening those journals has become a yearly ritual for me. 
  • What treasures are re-discovered as I walk through the past twelve months with Him again!  
  • What fresh insights are gained from the vantage point of significant time having passed!   
  • What opportunities are presented to discern His perspective!
  • What treasures can be gleaned through those windows of remembrance!
  • And perhaps best of all, what nuggets of fresh awareness can be carried into the new year!
  • Take some special moments with Him, dear friends, even if you’re not a “journal-er.” 

You won’t regret it.

See you in 2018. 

“I will stand at my guard post and station myself on the lookout tower.  I will watch to see what He will say to me and what I should reply about my complaint.”  Habakkuk 2:1

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

From Strength to Strength...Migdal Eder

 Periodically the Lord brings a powerful insight from His Word that remains etched…chiseled as it were…in my heart forever.  Such was the case with Migdal Eder, “the tower of the flock” and the podcast my daughter and I listened to last Christmas while I was in Kentucky. 

The site, Migdal Eder, is first encountered in Scripture as the place near Rachel’s death after she gave birth to Benjamin: 

“So Rachel died and was buried on the way to Ephrath (that is, Bethlehem).  And Jacob set a pillar on her grave which is the pillar of Rachel’s grave to this day.  Then Israel journeyed and pitched his tent beyond the tower of Eder.”   Genesis 35:19-21.   

Hebrew tradition also speaks of this site:
“There was a place just outside of Bethlehem city, but still within the region commonly known as Bethlehem, where Passover lambs (as well as those born at other times), were kept by specially trained and purified shepherds. The lambs were born in this ‘tower of the flock’ known as Migdal Eder under the watchful eye of the shepherds who would then lay them in the manger for inspection.  Either they would certify them for use as sacrifices in the temple or designate them to be released for common use. The newly chosen lambs would, according to some sources, even be wrapped in special swaddling clothes, as the shepherd would direct:  “wrap this one up.”

Then, somewhere around 4 BC:
“Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judea, to the city of David, which is called Bethlehem, because he was of the house and lineage of David, to be registered with Mary, his betrothed wife, who was with child.  So it was that while they were there, the days were completed for her to be delivered.  And she brought forth her firstborn Son, and wrapped Him in swaddling cloths, and laid Him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.  Now there were in the same country shepherds living out in the fields, keeping watch over their flock by night.”  Luke 2:4-8

Was Migdal Eder the actual location of Jesus’ birth?  Was this the ceremonially clean manger where Jesus was laid, wrapped in swaddling clothes? Were these specially purified shepherds the ones who received the angelic host that night?  Only God knows for sure, but isn’t it wonderful to ponder as we approach this holy day again?

“…So the Lord will reign over them in Mount Zion from now on even forever.  And you, O tower of the flock, the stronghold of the daughter of Zion, to you shall it come, even the former dominion shall come, the kingdom of the daughter of Jerusalem.”  Micah 4:7-8

God bless you all!