Tag Archives: Joseph

Why candles in the window at Christmas?

candle in windowThe practice of placing lighted candles in the windows at Christmas was brought to America by the Irish. The historical background of this custom is quite interesting.

When religion was suppressed throughout Ireland during the English persecution, the people had no churches. Priests hid in forests and caves and secretly visited the farms and homes to say Mass there during the night.

Every Irish family longed for at least one chance during their lifetime to be visited by a priest at Christmas to celebrate the Divine sacrifice during Holy Night. Many hope and prayed for this all through the year.

When Christmas came, they left their doors unlocked and placed burning candles in the windows so that any priest who happened to be in the vicinity would know they were welcome and were guided to their home through the dark night. Silently he entered through the unlatched door and was received by the faithful who were grateful that their home was used to worship the birth of Christ Jesus.

To justify this practice in the eyes of the English soldiers, the Irish people used to explain: “We burn the candles and keep the doors unlocked, that Mary and Joseph, looking for a place to stay, will find their way to our home and be welcomed with open doors and open hearts.” The English authorities, finding this Irish “superstition” harmless, did not bother to suppress it.

Candles or not the choice is ours. God’s Spirit resides in us and pausing to be aware of that makes any moment or any location sacred.

question mark orangeIn the midst of another busy holiday season are we making room for Jesus to enter more deeply into our hearts?

***
© Richard Alvey and iLife Journey, 2012. All rights reserved.

2 Comments

Filed under Advent, Christmas, Divine presence, Holy Spirit, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Relationship with God, Religion and Spirituality

When troubles come…

Notice that I didn’t title this blog entry “IF troubles come…” If you’re breathing, trouble will NOT be a stranger to you!

The notion that following Jesus equals an easy, comfortable, pain-free journey through life is one of the BIGGEST, oldest and most dangerous of misperceptions. False expectations, in general, set us up for disappointment; but this one can crush our spirit and even our faith if we’re not careful.

Often when a hard time hits, when a crisis hits, when a tragedy hits, we want out. We ask God for an airlift out of our problems. But many times God wants us to learn in the midst of those difficulties—and to learn especially about His love for us:

Can anything ever separate us from Christ’s love? Does it mean he no longer loves us if we have trouble or calamity, or are persecuted, or hungry, or destitute, or in danger, or threatened with death?…No, despite all these things, overwhelming victory is ours through Christ, who loved us. (Romans 8:35, 37 NLT)

Notice that phrase “all these things.” This passage isn’t saying we won’t face some of these struggles, but that in them we’re “more than conquerors.”

If you’re seeking to obey the Lord, expect opposition. Expect obstacles. Expect difficulties. But also expect God to see you through.
~ Excerpted from Beyond by Greg Laurie

Joseph is a prime example! (Genesis 37, 39-50) Betrayed and sold into slavery by his brothers! Falsely accused by his employer’s wife and tossed into prison. Forgotten about by a friend after helping him understand a dream.

From our Lower Story, earthly perspective we could easily conclude that God had forsaken Joseph. But twice – when he arrives in Egypt as a slave and when he is thrown in prison, it clearly states that “the LORD was with Joseph.” (Genesis 39:2, 21)

God sustains Joseph and we eventually learn that all of this was used by God to further His Upper Story, kingdom agenda.

How can we prepare our hearts to trust God when troubles come?

***

If you’re reading The Story with us then read chapter(s) 4 this week. If you’re unfamiliar with The Story then check it out on the page tab above!

Leave a comment

Filed under Divine presence, Faith, God, Hope, intimacy with the Lord, Jesus, Love of God, The Story, Trusting God

A secret too good to keep!

Ever have a secret so good, so big, so special that you just couldn’t help but tell someone about it?

It’s fun to have something extra special planned for someone you love. In fact, the more you love them the harder it can be to keep it a secret. I think that’s what God must have been feeling when he orchestrated the events surrounding the life of Joseph.

Joseph was the great-grandson of Abraham and the favorite son of Jacob. Beyond all the lessons or insights that we can glean from Joseph’s difficult and unusual journey the biggest is that God was foretelling the gospel story of rescuing mankind.

Thank about it…

In short, the story of Joseph goes like this…

He was the favored son of his father. His father sent him to his brothers who rejected him. He was taken to Egypt to avoid being killed. He was sold for the price of a slave and then was falsely accused. He was condemned between two prisoners. His suffering eventually led him to a place of prominence and honor, and his brothers bowed their knees to him at last. In the end, he had suffered much but knew that all he’d endured was to save the lives of those he loved.

Now, the story of Jesus…

He was the favored son of his father. His father sent him to his brothers who rejected him. He was taken to Egypt to avoid being killed. He was sold for the price of a slave and then was falsely accused. He was condemned between two prisoners. His suffering eventually led him to a place of prominence and honor, and his brothers bowed their knees to him at last. In the end, he had suffered much but knew that all he’d endured was to save the lives of those he loved.

God was so eager to tell us about the final rescue plan involving Jesus that He gives us a glimpse of it in the life and story of Joseph.

God loves us that much!

***

6 Comments

Filed under Christianity, Love of God