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We have guests coming to our home soon. All of us are getting into the Christmas spirit. Our fault and staff along with their families are converging on our home to celebrate this very precious season commemorating our Savior’s birth.
My wife and I are incredibly busy so neither of us can wait until the last minute to decorate and set up to entertain our nearly 40 guests. Days in advance I have mapped out the errands that need attention. Each day I knock off a chunk of that list.
High on that to-do schedule is setting up the Christmas tree. It is a long-process. Yet, without the tree everyone would know that something is missing.
Over a week ago I was in the closet pulling out from storage our decorations. The tree was in a box. That tree has been set up and taken down in three different states of the Union.
Each time it has been surrounded by joy and cheer. It is a part of this favorite time of year. So many symbols and memories and reminders of the reason for the season is represented on this central decoration.
I fluffed up each of the branches. Once the tree was presentable I decked it with a multi-colored string of lights. The lights were tested and approved.
The garland added color and sparkle. Ornaments made us reminisce over the years of happiness and great memories that have passed by. Special people, amazing moments and deepening love are all a part of what those ornaments point to.
Of course the tree topper is a climax. Over the years we have had different tops to finish off our tree. But, we often favor the Precious Moments angel. She smiles down on all of our guests as they fill our home with more laughter, cheer and memories.
Love is a big deal this time of year. Sure, it takes a lot of planning and effort. But, that is all lost when I stand back, turn off the lights in the house and turn on the lights of the Christmas tree.
A moment of pause fills my spirit. Smiles linked with special people ooze into the night. Our musical clock chimes out a Christmas carol.
Love dominates the moment. Family and the devotion of treasured ones rises to the surface of life. Warm embraces will soon come. It is all about love from family and friends so close they are family.
photo credit: brucefong photography
The Bible makes a detailed notation about the stone that was positioned to seal Jesus’ tomb. No one knows where that stone is today. Yet, it is described as one of specifics in the language of the New Testament that should encourage the hearts of all who follow Jesus.
When Jesus was crucified there is undisputed evidence that He died on Good Friday. His suffering and beating was excruciating. The ignominy of His death was torturous.
The Roman soldiers declared Jesus dead and therefore saw no reason to break His legs to expedite what they concluded had already been accomplished. Just to be sure, a spear was thrust into his side and confirmed that He was deceased. Jesus did not pass out, He did not fake His death, His body was not stolen by His disciples.
Those who loved Jesus mourned over His death. Like a loving family they laid His body to rest in a tomb hewn out of rock. Once His body was there a large stone was rolled in front of the opening, sealing it.
As an added measure to insure that no one would tamper with the body a professional pair of guards were posted in front of the tomb. The seal of Rome was added to the stone so that no one would tamper with the stone upon sentence of death. Rumors of a resurrection in three days had the unbelieving authorities guarding against any foul-play.
Then the Scriptures declare that on Sunday, the first Easter the stone was rolled away. Grammatically, the Bible could have said that the stone was rolled away in one single definitive act. That could have shown the power of God to counter the human measures to resist the Resurrection. But, the Bible does not say that.
The Bible could have said that the stone was rolling away capturing the continuous action of the stone moving without any resistance against human endeavor. But, it does not say that either.
Instead, the Bible uses language to say that the stone was rolled away and stayed that way. Once the opening to the tomb was reopened, the Resurrection could not be stopped and the grave would never hold the Savior again. He died and now is alive forever!
That emphatic piece of grammatical detail is a thrilling notation to the glory of Easter. He is Risen. He is Risen Indeed!
photo credit: brucefong photography