Three Kings Day 2016 (January 6)

“Isn’t it overwhelming that even Jesus’ jubilant birth with the magi offering him awesome gifts prophetically points to his somber death on the cross which is Jesus’ gift to us?”- Haven Caylor

 

3 kings

The “yonder star” guides us to Jesus, the “perfect light”

Not being raised Roman Catholic, you can imagine my riveted 13 year old attention to the story of Spain’s Three Kings Day December 1979. 1979-1980 was my first school year to study the Spanish language, and with the language Hispanic culture.

This Varnell, Georgia, country boy, Protestant-Christian had never heard of Three Kings Day. Yes, the Roman Catholics had Santa Claus, but they also had the Three Kings who left presents for children on January 6 . The holiday with its best title as Epiphany has been around the Christian world for over 1,600 years. Many modern scholars say that the magi arrived in Bethlehem and gave Jesus his gifts on January 6.

The Magi (Ancient Astronomers probably from Babylon) followed the Star of Bethlehem to the place where Jesus was. The Jewish nation had been exiled into Babylon (returned to the Holy Land 70 years later) in approximately 600 B. C., and scholarly, Babylonian men had documented and studied the Jewish prophecies concerning the coming Messiah. These Magi were the 1st Gentile believers in Jesus Christ.

Of course we have no idea how many magi came to adore and worship the baby Jesus, but with the Bible mentioning gold, frankincense and myrrh, people say 3 Kings.

Here is a short explanation of the meaning of the three gifts from http://www.gotquestions.org/gold-frankincense-myrrh.html#ixzz2pcptzSE9:

Gold is a precious metal and as such was a very valuable commodity. Its value could very well have financed Joseph and Mary’s trip to Egypt. The Bible does not tell us any other significance to these three gifts; however, tradition has it that there is a deeper meaning for each of the three. Gold is a symbol of divinity and is mentioned throughout the Bible. Pagan idols were often made from gold and the Ark of the Covenant was overlaid with gold (Exodus 25:10-17). The gift of gold to the Christ child was symbolic of His divinity—God in flesh.

Frankincense is a white resin or gum. It is obtained from a tree by making incisions in the bark and allowing the gum to flow out. It is highly fragrant when burned and was therefore used in worship, where it was burned as a pleasant offering to God (Exodus 30:34). Frankincense is a symbol of holiness and righteousness. The gift of frankincense to the Christ child was symbolic of His willingness to become a sacrifice, wholly giving Himself up, analogous to a burnt offering.

Myrrh was also a product of Arabia, and was obtained from a tree in the same manner as frankincense. It was a spice and was used in embalming. It was also sometimes mingled with wine to form an article of drink. Such a drink was given to our Savior when He was about to be crucified, as a stupefying potion (Mark 15:23). In other words, it would make his body numb. Matthew 27:34 refers to it as “gall.” Myrrh symbolizes bitterness, suffering, and affliction.

The baby Jesus would grow to suffer greatly as a man and would pay the ultimate price when He gave His life on the cross for all who would believe in Him.
Our remarkable savior refused the gall (Matthew 27:33 – 34). He loved us enough to take on our sins FULL FORCE! Isn’t it overwhelming that even Jesus’ jubilant birth with the magi offering him awesome gifts prophetically points to his somber death on the cross which is Jesus’ gift to us?

Okay, there is a very brief explanation of the Three Kings (LOL). I absolutely LOVE the hymn “We Three Kings”. The key and the harmony are perfect, and it always sends chills down my spine and puts tears in my eyes when I hear/sing about the birth of Jesus the Christ child. Enjoy!

Advertisements

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane

Our Lord and Savior, Jesus, was human like us. He did not want to endure the physical pain of his upcoming crucifixion. From Mark 14:36, Jesus implores to God in the Garden of Gethsemane  “Abba, Father,” he said, “everything is possible for you. Take this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” The “Abba” is Aramaic for “Daddy”. It reminds me so much of when Carter wants something and says “Please, Daddy!”, and my heart either wrenches and gives in or I say  “No” to what Carter wants.

God’s answer was for Jesus to endure the cross and be the sacrificial lamb for all mankind. My human heart can only imagine the anguish God was feeling for Jesus to die for us. An angel came from God and comforted Jesus (Luke 24: 43) so as to fortify him for the excruciating death that awaited him.

I also think of the 12 disciples being “cowards”, but yet, what would I have done? Do I betray Jesus like Judas did (Matthew 26: 47-49)? Do I like money, cars, clothes, traveling, or food more than Jesus and put them before my love and dedication to him? Sometimes I feel that I would have run like everyone but Peter and John. However, Peter snuck around and denied that he knew Jesus. Tradition tells that John and his family was well-received in high Jerusalem circles and probably mingled with the crowds during those early morning hours being as close to Jesus as could even until Jesus gave up his Spirit on the cross (John 19:25-27). Oh, how I would love to think that I would stay by Jesus’ side until the end.

No matter what, Jesus still loves me like he loved Judas until the end. Jesus STILL called Judas “friend” (Matthew 26: 50): Unbelievable and remarkable! However, that’s Jesus! He is LOVE and forgiveness!

Tonight as we lay down in our cozy beds for a great night’s rest, let’s remember our tired and sleepless Jesus praying in the Garden of Gethsemane and getting ready to face the death on the cross so he could be our sacrificial lamb and take on our sins. What a man and what a savior! Thank you, Jesus!

Autumn 2013

img_2146

Our Autumn Mantel is set. Our harvest angels have graced our home for several years now. During the autumn, they flank our Lladró figurine of Jesus Christ, The Master Teacher. As I turned their faces toward the figure of Christ, I couldn’t help but think of Dantes Paradiso XXIII 43-45

Then her eyes turned to the eternal Light

Into whose depth we may believe the eyes

45 Of no other creature penetrates more clearly.

When there are angelic figures or human figures on our mantel, I try to position them where their eyes are fixed on the Eternal Light, our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

Happy Autumn Everyone, and God bless you all.

Jesus Washes Feet: Holy Week

John 13: 3-30

If you knew you would be dead in the next 24 hours, would you take time to wash your friends and family’s feet? Wouldn’t that be a bizarre act? Well, that is one thing Jesus did KNOWING he was going to die. Jesus wanted the 12 disciples to know that he did not think he was any better than they. He was their master yet he wanted to serve them. The serving wasn’t to stop there but to continue with them serving others.

I’ve often thought of Jesus washing dirty, stinking, calloused feet of his friends. Here is the son of God that came down from heaven and all of its glory sitting on the floor of an upper room in some home in Jerusalem almost 2,000 years ago, humbly and gently washing 12 burly men’s feet.

During the Holy Week, the main idea is that Jesus was crucified and while being crucified took on the sins of the world. However, we sometimes skip over the fact that the one of the last things he taught just hours before his death was to love and serve others.

To answer my own opening question, I’m not sure how and where I would fit serving others in, but, yes, I would serve others in fullest capacity I could in those last hours. However, I can do it HERE and NOW without waiting….that is what Jesus wants us to place in our hearts and act upon immediately. Have a blessed day, friends.

Palm Sunday

Matthew 21:1-11, Mark 11: 1-11, Luke 19:29-42, & John 12: 12-19

Jesus was a human who experienced times of elation just like us. How many times have we had the thought, “It can’t get any better than this?” buuuuuuuuuuuut, we know it is fleeting and cannot always be this way. Our lives are not this way.

It is important to first mention that all four of the Gospels write of this event.  Jesus’ triumphant entry into Jerusalem must have been quite a sight to behold. The clamor, the hubbub about the Messiah/Hosanna, and the spiritual excitement of the King of Jews entering Jerusalem to “reign forever” must have been a glorious moment. It was a fulfillment of prophets from Zechariah (9:9): Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion. Shout aloud, O daughter of Jerusalem. Lo, your king comes to you; triumphant and victorious is he, and riding on an ass and upon a colt the foal of an ass. The people even lay palm branches on the street like a red carpet for their king.  What deserved pomp and circumstance for Jesus yet what physical and mournful tragedy awaited our Lord!

If you will, imagine all the Gospels from their beginnings to this point being like a roller coaster that chugs up a hill: Palm Sunday is the top/pinnacle of the hill. For Jesus, his physical life creeks over the top, then begins to plummet. In five days, Jesus the future Christ would be humiliated, beaten, and killed on a cross a criminal…to the world a crash at the bottom of the hill. However, it wasn’t the end, but the beginning of our assuredness of eternal life though Jesus Christ.

Enjoy Palm Sunday and get ready to walk Holy Week with Jesus anew.

Updated Valentine’s Day 2013

Haven Caylor

In the late 1990s, an article appeared in the Diario de Yucatán (The Yucatan Journal http://bit.ly/12jViAi). It was my favorite newspaper when I lived in the Yucatan in 1994, but I used the electronic version frequently from 1995 to 1999 when I was teaching English as a Second Language. The students I was teaching were all Spanish speaking, so I would use the articles to translate into English. The article that appeared one Valentine’s Day during those years was absolutely spectacular. It covered the three Greek loves: eros (sexual), phileo (brotherly), and agape (self-less).

The lines about eros were not illicit, but very appropriate for that passion a person has for a boyfriend, girlfriend, or spouse especially on Valentine’s Day. My students and I appreciated the lines regarding the phileo due to the fact they were all pre-teens or young teens who had absolutely NO USE for eros

View original post 105 more words

Ash Wednesday 2013

Genesis 3:19. “By the sweat of your brow you will eat your food until you return to the ground, since from it you were taken; for dust you are and to dust you will return.”

ash_wednesday

Luke 9: 23:  “Then he said to them all: “If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow me.”

Ash Wednesday

How bold Christians must be to wear ashes on their foreheads, and I love, appreciate, and admire those that will today!  By no means does an outward form of appearance show what is in the heart of a person, but it is one of the few times in the year that people in droves of numbers actually show that they are followers of Jesus Christ as they go out and about with an ash cross on their foreheads.

Non-Christians, maybe take a few minutes today to “google” Jesus Christ, or Ash Wednesday. The event isn’t found in the Bible, but it is an event that many use to remember Jesus as a human and his sacrifices. This is the first event in a Christian “season” that leads up to Easter over 40 days from now.

ash_wednesday-1

Christians in Chattanooga, I know the Episcopal, most Methodist, and Presbyterian churches will have Ash Wednesday services: usually morning, noon, and maybe an evening service as well. I do know that Christ Methodist in East Brainerd is having a 7 AM, Noon, and evening service today.