Out of the Abundance of the Heart, Christmas Edtio n

Saturday, December 24, 2016

Building People of Substance for Works of Power

Merry Christmas, Friend!

It’s that time again. We are celebrating Christmas this weekend, and it will be good. Each year, I try to find an old legend or tradition from the Christmas season, and use it in remembering the Christ event. And what an event it is. God became a human so He could be the sacrifice for my sin. That’s a big deal.

This year I found the Legend of the Sage Plant. The story first appeared around the fourth century, and it goes like this: When God warned Joseph about Herod’s impending slaughter of all the male children under 2 years of age, he told Mary to get ready to run. She was, of course, terrified and began the trek with her baby clutched to her breast. She heard the sound of approaching hooves, and knew the soldiers were on her heels. Looking for a place to hide her child, she turned first to the rose bush, but the beautiful plant was too concerned that the

soldiers might do damage to her petals. She was unwilling to risk paying that price. The rose bush has been a beauty with thorns ever since. Mary turned to the clove bush, which was covered with lovely blooms. The clove, however, was too busy making new blooms to be bothered. From that day forward, the flowers of the clove have been accompanied by a bitter stench.

Finally, Mary approached the lowly sage bush. The sage shook with fear at the task, but began to spread her branches. As she did, she was covered with new blooms and foliage until she had the wherewithal to conceal both mother and child. The soldiers passed by without a glance, and Mary spoke a blessing over the sage plant. From that time to this, sage has been known as a source of healing, cleansing, long life, and peace. Indeed, the botanical name, “Salvia officinalis,” comes from the Latin word meaning “to be saved.” In a suspiciously convenient twist, sage came to be the spice most associated with the American holiday of Thanksgiving. It infuses our turkey and dressing dinners with the aroma of gratitude.

I can’t help but be reminded of John’s proclamation: “But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God. (John 1:12-13 NKJV)” Christmas makes it real one more time that Jesus bore the thorniness of the rose on His brow, drank the gall of the clove’s bitterness, and offered sonship to everyone who would open his heart to receive Him.

Somebody Said: Christmas, my child, is love in action. Every time we love, every time we give, it’s Christmas. Dale Evans

Thank you for your friendship and faithfulness. A joyous and peaceful Christmas to you and yours.

Virgil & Judy Stokes

FCF of Tucson

3141 W. Ironwood Hill Dr.

Tucson, AZ 85745


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