1007. “The magi, as you know, were wise men–wonderfully wise men–who brought gifts to the Babe in the manger. They invented the art of giving Christmas presents.” ~Excerpt from the The Gift of the Magi by O. Henry

We three kings of Orient are;
Bearing gifts we traverse afar,
Field and fountain, moor and mountain,
Following yonder star.
O star of wonder, star of night,
Star with royal beauty bright,
Westward leading, still proceeding,
Guide us to thy perfect light.
~Excerpt from a hymn
by John H. Hopkins, Jr. (1857)

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The Journey Of The Magi

“A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you may say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again…”
~Excerpt from a poem by T.S. Eliot

After they had heard the king, they went on their way, and the star they had seen when it rose went ahead of them until it stopped over the place where the child was. When they saw the star, they were overjoyed. On coming to the house, they saw the child with his mother Mary, and they bowed down and worshiped him. Then they opened their treasures and presented him with gifts of gold, frankincense and myrrh. ~Matthew 2:9-11  ✝

**White horse image found on Pinterest

587. “Twas Christmas told the merriest tale…” ~Excerpt from Walter Scott

I will honor Christmas in my heart,
and try to keep it all the year.
~Charles Dickens

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In the 17th century after Oliver Cromwell came to power in England, Catholics were subsequently not permitted to practice their faith openly. Tradition holds that Catholic parents then developed the song, The Twelve Days of Christmas, not only to teach their beliefs surreptitiously to their children but also to help them remember them. So it is that the partridge in a pear tree represents Jesus (the partridge will sacrifice its life to save its young). The two turtle doves refer to The Old and New Testaments. The three French hens stand for faith, hope, and charity or the three gifts the Wise Men brought to the baby Jesus. The four calling birds designate the four Evangelists–Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. The five golden rings denote the first five books of the Old Testament. The six geese a-laying constitute the six days of Creation as described in Genesis. The seven swans a-swimming represent the seven gifts of the Holy Spirit (wisdom, understanding, counsel, strength, knowledge, piety, and fear of the Lord). The eight maids a-milking are the eight Beatitudes. The nine ladies dancing depict the nine choirs of angels (Seraphim, Cherubim, Thrones, Dominions, Virtues, Powers, Principalities, Archangels, and regular angels); or the nine fruits of the Holy Spirit (love, joy, peace, kindness, goodness, patience, gentleness, faithfulness, and self-control). The ten lords a-leaping point to the Ten Commandments. The eleven pipers piping are the eleven faithful Apostles. And the twelve drummers drumming signify the twelve points of belief in the Apostles’ Creed.

For everything that was written in the past was written to teach us, so that through the endurance taught in the Scriptures and the encouragement they provide we might have hope. ~Romans 15:4   ✝

** Image via Pinterest

17. God is closest to those with broken hearts. ~Jewish Saying

Loving God, help us remember the birth of Jesus
that we may share in the song of the angels,
and the gladness of the shepherds,
and the worship of the wise men.
Close the door of hate and
open the door of love all over the world.
~Robert Louis Stevenson


More than likely the man in this photo has no address, no phone number, no car, no money in his pocket, and certainly no credit cards.  He probably doesn’t know from whence his next meal is coming, if it comes at all, nor does he know where he’ll lay his head to sleep tonight.  I’d like to help in some way, but I know not his name nor where he’s from nor where he is now.  What trials lead this man to the harsh realities of the streets where he currently exists are a disturbing mystery, at least to me, and yet in spite of all he doesn’t have and all the things I don’t know about him, I do know in whose image he was made and by whose hands he was created.  I also know that if there is to be joy in his world and peace in his silent nights and ours, it will happen only with help from those of us who are part of Christ’s body.  I know that in the Father’s eyes this man’s worth is no less than that of any man, and the story of desperation in his eyes is deserving of compassionate hearing from those able to to lend a helping, healing hand.  But then given what I don’t know about this man, or where he is, or what he needs, how can I help.

 “. . . if two of you agree on earth about anything they ask, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven.  For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I in the midst of them.”  ~Matthew 18:19-20   ✝

Please help me pray for this man, the well being of all God’s children, and for peace on earth and good will towards men.

**The photograph of this homeless man was taken from an enews bulletin at the First United Methodist Church of Fort Worth.