ASSURANCE

HOW TO KNOW GOD AND THAT HE IS DELIVERING YOU

The prophet Daniel at 85, reading Jeremiah, and writing Chapter 9. (plaintruth.org, 1975)

The message last Sunday at Saddleback Church was one of the best authoritative sermons on prayer I’ve ever heard. I get to receive Pastor Rick Warren’s excellent presentations with their Saddleback App. The reception is dependant upon the weather, and my faith in hearing the Holy Spirit impress me with a leading to attend. 

Also, Friday, at our favorite craft store, I saw Anne Graham Lotz’ book, The Daniel Prayer, ‘Prayer that moves heaven and changes nations’, describes her experience using the same text. Her story is something we want to read! Her personal stories we can easily relate with, knowing and loving her. [I linked it to Amazon.com, so you might see it too.]

My past most recent post on prayer by pastor Rick was in August also about the prophet Daniel at age 15. Last Sunday was about Daniel at age 85. (WordPress.com link) Seventy years were significant because of the period Israel was actually in exile under Babylonian rule. [Link is for ‘Overcoming Impossible Demands, 8-26-16]

My question this week was, how did Daniel know about the limit of 70 years? “He was acquainted with Jeremiah . . .”

(I looked in my chronological bible and found where Jeremiah’s prophecy was written in Jerusalem and given to Daniel before Nebuchadnezzar captured them and brought them both to Babylon. . .a study text and context for another time.)

SIX POINTS TO HEAR FROM GOD

(gospelherald.com)

Jeremiah chapter 9, we can find six clues to learn how to get answers from our Heavenly Father:

1. LET GOD SPEAK TO YOU (LISTEN)

Texts: Daniel 9:1,2 (John 15:7, Jeremiah 29:10-12; James 4:2) “In the first year of Darius the son of Ahasuerus, of Median descent, who was made king over the realm of the Chaldeans— in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the books the number of years which, according to the word of the Lord to Jeremiah the prophet, must pass before the desolations [which had been] pronounced on Jerusalem would end; and it was seventy years.”

“God always makes the first move. We pray because he gave us his promises. I learn from God’s word. The apostle John tells us about God’s blank check. The context of Daniel 9 is the Torah that says, “If you stay connected to me, and my words stay in your mind, ask anything. (A blank check)” Pastor Rick said.

[“34 Days of seeking God” is Saddleback’s teaching for next year. Sign up by November 21. Six thousand have signed up with Pastor Tom’s (Holliday) Daily Hope.]

“When you pray, God will listen. Two factors apply, our praying, and God’s timing. Man’s responsibility and recognizing God’s sovereignty. [How do we know we are waiting on God, or He is waiting on us?] We have not because we ask not.”

2. FOCUS YOUR ATTENTION ON GOD

Text: Daniel 9:3 (Amos 5:4, Proverbs 8:17; Jeremiah 29:13, #unshakablelife, Hebrews 11:6, Hosea 5:15-6:1, Luke 12:31) 

So I directed my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.”(AMP)

“So I gave my attention to God. (NIV) I turned my face to God–seeking Him, find Him, He is #unshakable.” Rick told of how when his wife calls him, he physically has to turn his face toward her, and she knows she has his attention. And he put both hands flat on the sides of his face, and slowly turned his head, as if forcing it to turn. (Audience laughed.)

3. EXPRESS YOUR DESIRES WITH EMOTION

Text: Daniel 9:3b, (Jeremian 50:4b-5a) “3 So I directed my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes.”

“God feels very deeply for you–only look at the cross. . .express all your feelings! Emotionally means anger, sadness, happiness, joyfulness–earnestly pleading–loudly, intense; I poured out my heart, baring my soul, I cried out to God!” Ask the way home. . .[don’t tweet, weep!]

4. DEMONSTRATE YOUR SERIOUSNESS

Text: Daniel 9:3c, “So I directed my attention to the Lord God to seek Him by prayer and supplications, with fasting, sackcloth and ashes. Even for 34 days to Monday of Thanksgiving Week–fast, wear rough clothes, put ash on your face.”

5. BE THANKFUL FOR GOD’S ANSWER

Text: Daniel 9:4-9 “I prayed to the Lord my God and confessed and said, 

“O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps His covenant and extends lovingkindness toward those who love Him and keep His commandments, we have sinned and committed wrong, and have behaved wickedly and have rebelled, turning away from Your commandments and ordinances. 

“Further, we have not listened to and heeded Your servants the prophets, who spoke in Your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land. 

“Righteousness belongs to You, O Lord, but to us confusion and open shame, as it is this day—to the men of Judah, to the inhabitants of Jerusalem, and to all Israel, those who are nearby and those who are far away, in all the countries to which You have driven them, because of the treacherous acts of unfaithfulness which they have committed against You.

“O Lord, to us belong confusion and open shame—to our kings, to our princes, and to our fathers—because we have sinned against You. To the Lord our God belong mercy and lovingkindness and forgiveness, for we have rebelled against Him.”

6. HUMBLY CONFESS SIN TO OPEN WINDOW (OF HEAVEN)

Text: Daniel 9:10,  “And we have not obeyed the voice of the Lord our God by walking in His laws which He set before us through His servants the prophets.”

Daniel 9:13-14, 16, 18 “Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this tragedy has come on us. Yet we have not wholeheartedly begged for forgiveness and sought the favor of the Lord our God by turning from our wickedness and paying attention to and placing value in Your truth.

“Therefore the Lord has kept the tragedy ready and has brought it on us, for the Lord our God is uncompromisingly righteous and openly just in all His works which He does—He keeps His word; and we have not obeyed His voice. O Lord, in accordance with all Your righteous and just acts, please let Your anger and Your wrath turn away from Your city Jerusalem, Your holy mountain. 

“Because of our sins and the wickedness of our fathers, Jerusalem and Your people have become an object of scorn and a contemptuous byword to all who are around us. 

“O my God, incline Your ear and hear; open Your eyes and look at our desolations and the city which is called by Your name; for we are not presenting our supplications before You because of our own merits and righteousness, but because of Your great mercy and compassion.”

 “No pride, but humble confession–humility opens the windows of heaven.  Admit: Spiritual adultery . . . That we ignored You . . . We kept on sinning . . . We sought all nation’s desires.” Pastor said.

CONCLUSION

2 Chronicles 7:14 Promise: The context is prayer God will answer — all elements of Daniel’s prayer included. Pastor prayed for all the church, and then all the church (audience) is led in prayer for our nation.

 “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then I will hear from heaven, and I will forgive their sin and will heal their land.”

(charisma news.com)

Today, as we were riding to the Earth Fare store, where we were to fill up our water bottles (our water run) I heard these words in my spirit: “If the prayer of a ministry is given to you, and you receive it and pray its words; then you are partnering with them and their mission, and need to openly subscribe and support that ministry.” 

I remembered to record that word, go to their website and subscribe. [Ransomed Heart Ministries]

If you have gotten anything from this humble post, (my notes are sketchy, except for the texts are accurate) Be obedient to God in this posting. He is real. God is really good! You can trust him completely. He wants to show himself perfectly toward you, if you will let him.

Bless you,

Charles 

@wordlifejournal

Expanded Daily Prayer, Promised Soil Blog

CONTEMPLATING AMERICA

– HOW TO PRAY FOR AMERICA

“If we think of the gospel as applying only to our eternal destiny, we are short-changing the death of Christ in a dramatic way. According to St. Paul, the gospel isn’t only for the lost; the gospel is also for the saved. It’s not only for when you die but also for every day of your life. In fact, the only way someone can truly live the kind of life Jesus intended is to understand that the gospel is for your past, present, and future. It’s the means by which you are saved, are made holy, and are preserved until the end.” (Romans 15:19) [From Matt Chandler, The Explicit Gospel]

Reviewing last week’s post, which has had a great rave response, (thanks Mom) I would like to openly admit this blog is not mine, but (Father) Frank’s. If you have seen his book, A Worthy Rock, you may have a feel for his insight. I only write what I hear from him. The worldview tweek was about converting a Muslim to become a Catholic Christian, which IS miraculous!

Today, after a long ride over the Appalachian foothills, here in Huntsville, Alabama, I have given up on writing you about prayer. This is something totally different, better. “This is Christian Mysticism” Said Lisa Garr, interviewing David Frenette. “‘It’s about deepening your experience with God.’ Says Fr. David Steindl-Rast, OSB, a Catholic Benedictine monk.”

INCARNATIONAL CONTEMPLATION

picture credit: blog.adw.org

“Father Thomas Keating, Trappist monk, [MA, Transpersonal Counseling Psychology] entered the Order of Cistercians of the Strict Observance, OCSO, in Valley Falls, Rhode Island, in January, 1944. He was appointed Superior of St. Benedict’s Monastery, Snowmass, Colorado, in 1958, and was elected abbot of St. Joseph’s Abbey, Spencer, Massachusetts, in 1961. He returned to Snowmass after retiring as abbot of Spencer in 1981, where he established a program of ten-day intensive retreats in the practice of Centering Prayer, a contemporary form of the Christian contemplative tradition.” She said.

“In 1984, Fr. Thomas Keating along with Gustave Reininger and Edward Bednar, co-founded Contemplative Outreach, Ltd., an international, ecumenical spiritual network that teaches the practice of Centering Prayer and Lectio Divina, a method of prayer drawn from the Christian contemplative tradition. Contemplative Outreach provides a support system for those on the contemplative path through a wide variety of resources, workshops, and retreats.”

BACK TO THE FUTURE MEDITATION

“The Lord called them away from fishing and pointed them to their future . . . to a deeper love.” The above peaceful photo comes from Bishop Charles Pope, and his Community in Mission, ‘Creating a culture of encounter’. Also, Matt Chandler’s The Explicit Gospel, includes, “personal and cosmic levels of meditation.” (LifeWay.com)

So I just took a nap, laying down in the warm fall sunshine with cool breezes and turned on my favorite sacred music stream. The Latin chant was playing and instantly brought tears to my eyes. It is so beautiful to me. Let me try to post YouTube here. Have you heard this? O Nata lux de lumine, O Light born of Light, ‘Jesus redeemer of the world . . .’

“WHERE CHARITY AND LOVE ARE, GOD IS”

Now, this morning, dressed and resting before church, the beautiful Ubi caritas et amor is being played. Wow. I just had an   idea-vision. What if our government believed in washing each other’s feet while in session–so everyone would have to be there? How humbling is that? God would be present at congressional sessions. Strife would leave, as the choir sings . . .

CHURCH TODAY IS DIFFERENT – About Trump in prophecy!

I just followed a more positive path today listening to a dramatic documentary called, Trump: Coming Landslide Ancient Prophecy 2016 narrated by a conspiracy rockstar named Trey Smith. I have linked it here with his strong conclusion of the prayers that are taken out of context, that of 2 Chronicles 7:14, and 14:7, that many think can apply to our present . . .

‘2 Chronicles 14:7 “Now is the time to do it, while the Lord is blessing us with peace because of our obedience to him,” he told his people. “Let us build and fortify cities now, with walls, towers, gates, and bars.” So they went ahead with these projects very successfully.’ [credit: YouTube, Casper McCloud, for editing-in several actual live, prophetic events: Trump is a Cyrus type.]

I agree about prophecy, that it is a spiritual gift, that is to be most desired and sought after, and that “the spirits of the prophets are subject to the prophets. God is not the author of confusion.” (1Corinthians 14:30-33) But, I cannot agree how prophecy is used so dramatically with sound effects and hyper-emphatic, hand gestures. This is just not in God’s power.

PRAY FOR GOD TO DO HIS WILL IN MEN’S HEARTS

The use of bible texts in conspiracy theory is consistent with the trend of the Donald Trump following. If you willingly hear this prophecy presentation, consider how such an edited video is designed to make a certain effective political point. Does your spirit discern God in this? Or can a sense of grave truth be missing. [God speaks from his timeless eternal word.]

After some thought and periods of meditation, oh, and that debate last night, I am feeling somewhat confident that our loving Heavenly Father knows his will is already in place for our nation. Only a few more weeks to go . . . Trust God!

A landslide isn’t necessary. But the gentle giant compared to a little happy woman is a no-brainer to me. [Please see the below linked article, ‘How to pray for America.’]

May the Lord bless and keep you dear friend.

Charles

@wordlifejournal

[Pray for America]

WORLDVIEW TWEEK

Abdullah II bin Al-Hussein, king of Jordan, was interviewed Sunday on 60 Minutes, Wikipedia

DISCERNING THE PROMISE OF OUR NATION’S FUTURE

Understanding differences in philosophical humanity is knowledge worth knowing; especially, when a national election hangs in the balance. Can anyone tell how many worldviews exist in the world? The thought came to me Sunday night during 60 Minutes interview with the king of Jordan, a sovereign country in the Middle East. Then yesterday, when the conversion from Muslim to Christian caught my attention. That is called a worldview tweek we can apply here..

King Abdulah appeared to be a man who understands his worldview as a monarch of an Islamic state. “There are around 1.6 billion Muslims in the world, comprising over 23% of the world’s population. But, the radical, Jihadist  movement is only 2% of Islam. [Islam, ‘submission’, is the religion, while Muslim, ‘believer in Allah’, is the person following Islam.](Google.com)

“Jihad is a worldwide movement against unbelievers — in Muhammad, who began the Islamic religion — or radical intolerance of any other worldview.” King Abdullah said, confident that he is safe in his worldview. The Islamic worldview is his worldview, but the worldviews of the world are not the same. . .as we can define here as Theism.

I managed to do some research to find the best answer — this is not difficult. I learned they are as few as fingers on your hand [– although a division may exist whether right or left]. The king of Jordan represents the same worldview as does Israel, and the Vatican, and every Christian because all are theists — although worship different gods, but agree one — single supreme being exists. The worldviews: Naturalism, Pantheism, Theism, Spiritism, and Pluralism — simple. (Dennis McCallum, Tyndale, tgcresourses.com)

THE BIG PICTURE

Professor Carol Hill says, “By ‘worldview’ I mean the basic way of interpreting things and events that pervades a culture so thoroughly that it becomes a culture’s concept of reality — what is good, what is important, what is sacred, what is real. Worldview is more than culture, even though the distinction between the two can sometimes be subtle. It extends to perceptions of time and space, of happiness and well-being. The beliefs, values, and behaviors of a culture stem directly from its worldview.” (University of Glasgow, Scotland, http://www.gla.ac.uk)

A good definition is worth a thousand words. According to the Dr. Hill’s definition, each of the five worldviews are further broken into categories in common that help complete the comparison of concepts: i.e. God plus truth equals reality, etc..

OUR FOCUS TODAY IS A COMING ELECTION

We are not electing a king, or a queen, but probably greater — the top leader of the free world. King Abdullah was appointed by his dying father, since he was the crown prince. In just a few weeks we citizens will elect one of the two candidates that have earned their place. They are vastly different, and the consequences of choosing wrongly is huge. One represents theism, while the other represents atheism, naturalism (modernism) or pluralism (postmodernism). 

So, with this little research, how can our country be changed for the better? My conclusion is prayer. Only God can enable a person to wakeup to revealed knowledge and understanding — to see the error of his way — and stop, turn around, and begin their new and improved direction . . . And not just prayer with words, but prayer of the heart, even ecstatic prayer.

“The dialogical character of prayer is most fully realized in the so-called passive or mystical prayer, in which the divine motion is in the foreground of consciousness and divine love stirs the heart, and the loving majesty of God manifests itself in infused contemplation. Though the prayer is called passive, man is not purely passive in it. On the contrary, one is never so completely and utterly active as when God moves him by the graces of mystical prayer. But in this mystical experience the “divine partner in the dialogue” is in the foreground rather than the human response. In mystical prayer, the soul experiences the life in grace and from grace as a gift of divine love. It is the experience of faith in its most exalted realization.” (Bernard Haring, Christian contemplation, Wikipedia)

LEARNING CONTEMPLATIVE PRAYER

To begin with, I thought a logical conclusion might be made from learning the complexity of worldviews, but no longer. Now we hear of dialogical character of prayer is a level above what we are doing. Most worldviews, or half, have prayers; the theists, and the pantheists. But the naturalists (modernist) and the pluralists (postmodernist) don’t — and cannot pray.

The reality of Christian prayer is that it changes things. 

“Don’t allow discouragement over unanswered prayer to cause you to doubt that God has heard you. If you have received Jesus, and pray in his name, then God hears you and something is happening whether you see it or not. In fact, every time you pray, you are advancing God’s purposes for you. Without prayer, the full purpose God has for you can’t happen.” [Stormie Omartian, 7 Prayers that will change your life forever, Christianitytoday.com (confession, salvation, release, submission, praise, promise, and blessing.)]

ONLY GOD CAN CHANGE THE ATHEIST HEART  

All the worldview issues of our nation can be humbly placed in the Father’s hands. As followers of Jesus Christ, we are kings and priests by faith in his word and his will. We live to please the Father, and to grow closer to him and his church. If it is his will that our nation is led into an atheistic government, then, so be it. The end will just come sooner.

When King Abdullah was asked his opinion of the progress of his nation, he said. “We have 160,000 children in school, unemployment under 50%, over 9 million unemployed, the world has a stake in the Jordanian economy. We call the Jihadists outlaws — a sect that splintered from Islam in the first century. Only 2% of Islam are jihadist.

“Refugees are stranded. Jordan endures because the price of failure is much too high. We understand worldview differences. We pride ourselves with confidence, of who we are in our reality, and our struggle keeps us united to thrive.” (He was in military uniform as a major general, while the troops yelled, “Long live the king!” “Long live the king!“)

A SECULAR MUSLIM IS CONVERTED TO CATHOLICISM – The Tweek

“Glancing at life’s rear-view mirror, there is always a temptation to impose more cohesion on one’s thoughts than they possessed at the time. I’m no doubt doing that now. But if I were to boil down my worldview as a young man, before I came to the faith, to a single idea, it would be this: man’s place in the world is unsettled; we are homeless.” -Solrab Ahmari, My Journey from Tehran to Rome

There is hope for Muslims to see the light. A young secular Muslim from Iran, Sohrab Ahmari, a Wall Street Journal editor, is reported, by the Catholic Herald this week, to have become a Christian. You can read the testimonial here, which explains his Philosophy college major, understanding his worldview needed tweeking, and why Catholicism was his choice.

An atheist is like my father was, he lived a long rewarding, moral life as an atheist. He learned it from his father, who learned from his father. So, when he died, he went to be with his fathers. I was unable to influence him otherwise. Our federal government is set in it’s atheisic worldview too. When God changes our government, through a miraculous election of a conservative theist, he will get all the glory for it.

The king of Jordan is in the perfect time and place for his own powerful revelation from Elohim God (not Allah). We can pray for him just like we are praying for Israel and Jerusalem. Peace! King Abdulah is well educated and very close to realizing that his reality needs a tweek. Just as editor Ahmari discovered Jesus is King of kings, so can king Abdulah.

May Adonai bless and keep you,

Charles

@wordlifejournal

Please consider former posts about prayer:

Hey Ray!

Saturday
July 30,2016

To Ray Carson;

Let us introduce ourselves. Aside from the referral from my brother Chuck Kirkland who said you are his other brother-inlaw relating to the one whom I met at his wedding here recently, (I have known Chuck over ten years. We have a brotherly fellowship like no other. I miss him.) I know practically nothing about you — and I miss not knowing you better.

This is me, Charles, without my old glasses when getting our driver’s licenses renewed in April this year.

I am married to my second and best wife, Vivian. Her photo I don’t have. We married in the Overcoming Faith Center in Fort Worth, 1981, thirty-five years ago. We made the best move to Alabama in 2000 just after witnessing that terrible tornado downtown. That capped-off living there with God’s exclamation point.

I am laying down resting after a light breakfast, listening to sacred music that blesses my heart. Having just made my bed and thinking of writing you this note, I feel we might benefit — communication can be improved when some first-things can be explained — like I came from California and moved to Texas just after serving one tour in the Marines. . .

MY STORY HAS THREE PARTS

My first wife of 10-years, was the mom to four children, who were all grown up through my Army duty assignments. But leaving that, divorcing and remarrying, put me in the place for experience in Navy and Army Aviation schools, with Northrop University A&P Course, I was hired to train in engineering writing and was certified there, before computers.

We stayed with that really great company, General Dynamics and Lockheed Martin Aeronautics Co., until retirement when I turned sixty. That was then, when the tornado came. Incidently, our church was in it’s path when heading through. There were people praying in the prayer tower when the tower walls blew away and they survived by holding the steel beams.

[I’ve just had lunch while Viv is on the phone with her daughter Terry, I am peacefully watching live television on EWTN, one of the four Christian TV stations we can receive. The program is the prayer vigil for young people that’s being broadcast from Europe, well Eastern Europe would be evening now, so it is live, seeing the sun setting.]

We were so willing to move here to be close to the grandchildren and the youngest, Brianna, will be sixteen in September. Living seven hours away by car, is not close enough. So we left the home we had in Texas, after former children moved on to their new families. Our world is not perfect, but we are content and well provided for with social security.

THE FUTURE IS THE BEST PART

Now, about our working together to produce for God, the story of your life. I feel personally honored to have this really rare opportunity, and want only to be obediently available to do such work. God is able to reach many others, or, as I view my calling, if I can reach even one other human being, then God can bless that, and He will welcome more, and more.

However, as you may certainly have learned already — our self, our flesh, the world, and God’s mortal enemies (the devil, Satan, and his evil forces) all resist such purposes as God calls us to. And our ignorance of such resistance is an obstacle that is possibly interfering with our progress and communication about closing the gap from the first and last chapters.

The devil is smarter than we think he is. Good men do bad things because they are not smart enough to understand the battle. God gives us weapons that we need to know about and use skillfully. Wisdom to live the victorious Christian life doesn’t come easily. Trials and failures prove the paths we must travel. Now, Ray, can we find our bond in Christ here?

CONCLUDING WITH ROYAL GUIDANCE

The prayer vigil for young people (on TV) just now, is providing the anointed sacred music with which to do this. You may desire to listen to such music of your choice. My heart rejoices to tears to see how God is working in our lives. I hope this letter is finding you peacefully. This morning’s  devotional led me to a quote long forgotten but may help us here.

“We ought, like David, to keep our spirit in stillness (carefully, cautiously) even in times of intense confusion, our inner being should never-the-less be able to sustain an independent quietude. A placid spirit is essential to anyone walking after the Spirit. Without it, he shall quickly fall into sin. If our spirit is hushed, we can hear the voice of the Holy Spirit there, obey the will of God, and understand what we cannot understand when confused. Such a quiet inner-life constitutes the Christian’s adornment which betokens something manifested outwardly.”       –Watchman Nee, The Spiritual Man, page 181

Psalms 54:1, “Save me, O God, by your name.” captured my attention. I just had to look up the Hebrew word for God used here. Elohiym, ‘El-Oheem’, professor Larry Richards says,

“This word used for God is frequently used more than other names in the OT. It is a plural form — a form used to suggest a fuller manifestation of diety. It is often called, “The Plural of Majesty” indicating more than one Person is included. (Although One Person, in the Father, Son, and the Holy Spirit.) Dictionary of Bible Words, Zondervan, 1985

Thank you Ray for bearing my attempt to regain your personal confidence. We can do your book for you! Amen! And the above verse goes on to say, “And vindicate (clear) me by your wondrous power.” If there is any obstruction in our getting to know one another, please let me know. Nothing you’ve sent me is lost. I use Frank’s email server to send iZip copies.

Oh, did you get the prayer I sent you? Please acknowledge you have it. And pray for me too, thanks.

Your friend and brother in the Lord,


Charles Bundschu

Phone: 256-617-0028

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Christmassing

Doing Christmas Together

Here we come a wassailing among the leaves so green
Here we come a wandering so fair to be seen

(chorus) Love and joy come to you and to your wassail too
And God bless you and send you a happy New Year
And God send you a happy New Year

We are not daily beggars that beg from door to door
We are your neighbor’s children whom you have seen before

(Chorus)

God bless the master of this house, likewise the mistress, too
And all the little children that round the table go.”

(Chorus)

(Taken from:  ChristmasTree.com)

Today, I am inspired to write you despite the quiet, even silent house from which my thoughts can run tippy-toe throughout.  So I am getting the title and my mind is racing with this song:  ‘Here we go a Christmassing among the trees so green!’  It sounds correct, but I still have to check it.(See PoemHunter.com)

The Olde English Christmastide then.  Here is the interesting story of the wassail that I found in the Britanica Encyclopaedia of 1912 (from wikisource.org):

WASSAIL (O. Eng. was hál, “be whole,” “be well”), primarily the ancient form of “toasting,” the term being applied later to the Christmas feasting and revelries and particularly to the bowl of spiced ale or wine which was a feature of the medieval Christmas. One of the earliest references to the wassail-bowl in English history is in the description of the reception of King Vortigern by Hengist, when Rowena “came into the king’s presence, with a cup of gold filled with wine in her hand, and making a low reverence unto the king said, ‘Waes hael hlaford Cyning,’ which is ‘Be of health, Lord King.’” In a collection of ordinances for the regulations of the royal household in Henry VII.’s reign, the steward on Twelfth Night was to cry “wassail” three times on entering with the bowl, the royal chaplain responding with a song. Wassailing was as much a custom in the monasteries as in laymen’s houses, the bowl being known as poculum Caritatis. What was popularly known as wassailing was the custom of trimming with ribbons and sprigs of rosemary a bowl which was carried round the streets by young girls singing carols at Christmas and the New Year. This ancient custom still survives here and there, especially in Yorkshire, where the bowl is known as “the vessel cup,” and is made of holly and evergreens, inside which are placed one or two dolls trimmed with ribbons. This cup is borne on a stick by children who go from house to house singing Christmas carols. In Devonshire and elsewhere it was the custom to wassail the orchards on Christmas and New Year’s eve. Pitchers of ale or cider were poured over the roots of the trees to the accompaniment of a rhyming toast to their healths.”

THE FIRST DAY OF CHRISTMAS 

Since John was born on Passover, the 15th day of Nisan (the 1st Jewish month), Jesus would have been born six months later on the 15th day of Tishri (the 7th Jewish month).  The 15th day of the 7th month begins the Feast of Tabernacles (Lev. 23:34-35), also known as Sukkot.  Jesus was born on the 1st day of the Feast of Tabernacles!  In the year 5 BCE, this fell in the month of September.  (See ‘Jesus Real Birthday’ by Bryan T. Huie)

“The first day of Christmas occurred in a stable of a crowded inn that had a hord of horses and camels and mules, all used to transport the travelers.  You can imagine how it was warmed by the foul breath of the animals, but also the droppings that are ever present there. (September 29th in the year 5 B.C.E.)”

My meditations don’t stop there, though my thought was to leave this soon-to-be-holy place.  And Joseph and Mary arrived late with their hopes dashed for ever finding a decent place with which to accomplish their child’s imminent arrival.  ‘What a deal! We had to come here for this?’  He asked himself as he ducked out into the alley-way for a breath of fresh air.  His thoughts were of the dream he had as was the angelic visitation.  (And speak of the Angel!)

A bright light was shining out of the stable entry, and Joseph was blinded by the sliver of light that reached out to where he was standing, but he realized it was coming from their stall.  His tongue was stuck to his mouth when he saw his wife Mary being lifted up onto the immaculate delivery table where three angels were holding her and so gracefully taking the honors of bringing forth their King.  Joseph took a step back in aghast, and steadied himself, as his imagination took over — was this another angelic dream he was having?  It only took a few minutes.

“Whack!”  Joseph heard from within.  He heard the baby cry, and the light went away.  Joseph hurriedly entered the now sweet smelling stable stall where he found Mary holding her beautifully perfect baby clothed in plain cloth completely protected from the harsh elements.

“Wha-what happened?”  Joseph stutteringly asked his betrothed (wife).

“I was just feeling some movement like the baby was suddenly becoming alive within me, and my water broke.”  She said beginning to describe the miraculous event.

“Ah, I saw the bright light and some other people in here that looked like a medical staff in an operating room.”  He said.

“No Dear, they were really angels tasked to deliver our Lord as child.”

“Well I knew that, but while they were here, and I was watching, I could not even breathe for the fear their holy presence brought.”

“That is their supernatural nature, Joseph.  Didn’t you tell me you met with Gabriel, the archangel, in a dream?”

“Right.  That’s how I knew you were alright and being well taken care of.”

“Oh, Joseph!  How you can carry on.”  Mary said thinking his reaction was typical for the young Jewish man he was, and a Son of David at that.

Mary was holding her child as she was reclining on the blanket over the hay.  She lifted up the baby to present him to her betrothed (husband).

“Isn’t he wonderful?”  She said.

“Hello baby Yeshua.”  Joseph said greeting him softly.

“Goo-gle ga-ga.”  Jesus said in his baby-Nazareth dialect.

“What did he say?”  Joseph asked Mary.

“He was greeting you with his very first words as he knows who you are.”

“Who’s that?”

“His step-father, Silly.”

“I will have to write that down.  His first words were calling me his google-gaga which is interpretted as Step-father.”

“That’s funny, Joseph.”

“What was that whacking sound?”  He asked.

“The three angels had to decide who was going to slap our baby’s bottom, so they quickly did the scissor-rock-paper motions twice so that the one angel who won did the honors.”

“Aw, that’s not the truth, Mary?”  Joseph said squinting his eyes.

“You’re right, I made that up.  I felt no pain at all because the conception was exempt from the curse that enables pain. So what I think I saw might just be discounted and no one will want to remember that anyway.”

“Well who slapped Jesus’ bottom?”

“It was the last angel.  He was bigger than the other two.  He slapped him with a smile on his face, like he always wanted to do that, while the other two witnessed the event.”

“What happened then?”

“Yeshua breathed his first breath.  And the angels left.”

“That was the cry I heard, right?”

Just then there was a knock on the stable entry, and a crowd of shepherd-looking people wanted to come in just to see their beautiful child. . .

“Quick, where shall we lay him? . . .”

And so you know the rest of the story.  We were there briefly (in my mind) when it was the historic event that it was . . .  The Bible says only that “Mary stored all these precious memories in her heart.” (Luke 2:19)

For a child is born to us, a son is given to us; dominion will rest on his shoulders, and he will be given the name Pele-Yo’etz El Gibbor Avi-‘Ad Sar-Shalom [Wonder of a Counselor, Mighty God, Father of Eternity, Prince of Peace],”  (Isaiah – Yesha’yahu 9:5 CJB)

Christmassing today with our family and friends, or even being totally alone with yourself and our Deliverer, take these thoughts with you.  Our imagination is an extension of our heart which is filled up with many wonderful thoughts.  My thoughts are warm towards doing this toast with you right now,

“May your Christmas be the Christmassing of your heartfelt dreams, to take the cup of blessing and lift it high to our Deliverer and King, to give us all our place within himself, and welcome each other by his Spirit, drinking our full measure — even to fill us full from bottom to top and overflowing with his love.  Amen”

And I think you need a hug.  So watch this:

Video: Christmas Hugs YouTube

Charles