A Favorite Christmas Story

I love the stories of Christmas! Especially the ones that make me think about the ways it (Christmas) applies to my life. I heard this story many years ago and immediately decided to buy the book. (The copyright on the inside cover dates its release as 1968.)

It’s so important to remember that the gifts we give should have meaning to the people we are giving them to. It’s important to remember how unique and special we are and use those characters and qualities to make life better for others. It’s really important to remember that our God is watching us constantly, caring for us constantly, and loves us… constantly!

Barrington Bunny: A Christmas Story

by MartinBell

ONCE upon a time in a large forest there lived a very furry bunny. He had one lop ear, a tiny black nose, and unusually shiny eyes. His name was Barrington.Barrington was not really a very handsome bunny. He was brown and speckled and his ears didn’t stand up right. But he could hop, and he was, as I have said, very furry.In a way, winter is fun for bunnies. After all, it gives them an opportunity to hop in the snow and then turn around to see where they have hoped. So, in a way, winter was fun for Barrington.But in another way winter made Barrington sad. For, you see, winter marked the time when all of the animal families got together in their cozy homes to celebrate Christmas. He could hop, and he was very furry. But as far as Barrington knew, he was the only bunny in the forest.When Christmas Eve finally came, Barrington did not feel like going home all by himself. So he decided that he would hop for a while in the clearing in the center of the forest. Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Then he cocked his head and looked back at the wonderful designs he had made.“Bunnies,” he thought to himself, “can hop.” And they are very warm, too, because of how furry they are.” (But Barrington didn’t really know whether or not this was true of all bunnies, since he had never met another bunny.) When it got too dark to see the tracks he was making, Barrington made up his mind to go home. On his way, however, he passed a large oak tree. High in the branches, there was a great deal of excited chattering going on. Barrington looked up. It was a squirrel family! What a marvelous time they seemed to be having.“Hello, up there,” called Barrington.“Hello, down there,” came the reply.“Having a Christmas party?” asked Barrington.“Oh, yes!” answered the squirrels. “It is Christmas Eve. Everybody is having a Christmas party!”“May I come to your party?” said Barrington softly.“Are you a squirrel?”“No.”“What are you, then?”“A bunny.”“A bunny?”“Yes.”“Well, how can you come to the party if you’re a bunny? Bunnies can’t climb trees.”“That’s true,” said Barrington thoughtfully. “But I can hop and I’m very furry and warm.” “We’re sorry,” called the squirrels. “We don’t know anything about hopping and being furry, but we do know that in order to come to our house you have to be able to climb trees.” “Oh, well,” said Barrington. “Merry Christmas.” “Merry Christmas,” chattered the squirrels. And the unfortunate bunny hopped off toward his tiny house.It was beginning to snow when Barrington reached the river. Near the river bank was a wonderfully constructed house of sticks and mud. Inside there was singing.“It’s the beavers,” thought Barrington. “Maybe they will let me come to their Party.” And so he knocked on the door.“Who’s out there?” called a voice.“Barrington Bunny,” he replied.There was a long pause and then a shiny beaver head broke the water.“Hello, Barrington,” said the beaver.“May I come to your Christmas party?” asked Barrington.The beaver thought for a while and then he said, “I suppose so. Do you know how to swim?”“No,” said Barrington, “but I can hop and I am very furry and warm.”“Sorry,” said the beaver. “I don’t know anything about hopping and being furry, but I do know that in order to come to our house you have to be able to swim.”“Oh, well,” Barrington muttered, his eyes filling with tears. “I suppose that’s true–Merry Christmas.”“Merry Christmas,” called the beaver. And he disappeared beneath the surface of the water. Even being as furry as he was, Barrington was beginning to get cold. And the snow was falling so hard that his tiny, bunny eyes could scarcely see what was ahead of him.He was almost home, however, when he heard the excited squeaking of field mice beneath the ground.“It’s a party,” thought Barrington. And suddenly he blurted out through his tears, “Hello, field mice. This is Barrington Bunny. May I come to your party?” But the wind was howling so loudly and Barrington was sobbing so much that no one heard him.And when there was no response at all, Barrington just sat down in the snow and began to cry with all his might.“Bunnies,” he thought, “aren’t any good to anyone. What good is it to be furry and to be able to hop if you don’t have any family on Christmas Eve?”Barrington cried and cried. When he stopped crying he began to bite on his bunny’s foot, but he did not move from where he was sitting in the snow.Suddenly, Barrington was aware that he was not alone. He looked up and strained his shiny eyes to see who was there.To his surprise, he saw a great silver wolf. The wolf was large and strong and his eyes flashed fire. He was the most beautiful animal Barrington had ever seen. For a long time the silver wolf didn’t say anything at all. He just stood there and looked at Barrington with those terrible eyes.
Then slowly and deliberately the wolf spoke. “Barrington,” he asked in a gentle voice, “Why are you sitting in the snow?”Barrington replied, “Because it is Christmas Eve and I don’t have any family and bunnies aren’t any good.”“Bunnies are good,” said the wolf. “Bunnies can hop and they are very warm.”“What good is that ?” Barrington sniffed.“It is very good indeed,” the wolf went on, “because it is a gift that bunnies are given, a free gift with no strings attached. And every gift that is given to anyone is given for a reason. Someday you will see why it is good to hop and to be warm and furry.”“But it’s Christmas,” moaned Barrington, “and I’m all alone. I don’t have any family at all.”“Of course, you do,” replied the great silver wolf. “All of the animals in the forest are your family.” And then the wolf disappeared. He simply wasn’t there. Barrington had only blinked his eyes, and when he looked– the wolf was gone.“All of the animals in the forest are my family,” thought Barrington. “It’s good to be a bunny. Bunnies can hop. That’s a gift. A free gift.”On into the night Barrington worked. First, he found the best sticks that he could. (and that was difficult because of the snow.) Then hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. To beaver’s house. He left the sticks just outside the door. With a note on them that read: A free gift. No strings attached. Signed, a member of your family.”“It is a good thing that I can hop,” he thought, “because the snow is very deep.”Then Barrington dug and dug. Soon he had gathered together enough dead leaves and grass to make the squirrel’s nest warmer. Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. He laid the grass and the leaves just under the large oak tree and attached this message: “A gift. A free gift. From a member of your family.”It was late when Barrington finally started home. And what made things worse was that he knew a blizzard was beginning. Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop. Soon poor Barrington was lost. The wind howled furiously, and it was very, very cold. “It certainly is cold,” he said out loud. “It’s a good thing I’m so furry. But if I don’t find my way home pretty soon even I might freeze!”And then he saw it– a baby field mouse lost in the snow. and the little mouse was crying.“Hello, little mouse,” Barrington called.“Don’t cry. I’ll be right there.” Hop. Hop. Hippity-hop and Barrington was beside the tiny mouse.“I’m lost,: sobbed the little fellow. “I’ll never find my way home, and I know I’m going to freeze.”“You won’t freeze,” said Barrington. “I’m a bunny and bunnies are very furry and warm. You stay right where you are and I’ll cover you up.”Barrington had only two thoughts that long, cold night. First, he thought, “It’s good to be a bunny. Bunnies are very furry and warm.” And then, when he felt the heart of the tiny mouse beneath him beating regularly, he thought, “All of the animals in the forest are my family.” The next morning, the field mice found their little baby, asleep in the snow, warm and snug beneath the furry carcass of a dead bunny. Their relief and excitement was so great that they didn’t even think to question where the bunny had come from. And as for the beavers and the squirrels, they still wonder which member of their family left the little gifts for them that Christmas Eve. After the field mice had left, Barrington’s frozen body simply lay in the snow. There was no sound except that of the howling wind. and no one anywhere in the forest noticed the great silver wolf who came to stand beside that brown, lop-eared carcass. But the wolf did come.
And he stood there.
Without moving or saying a word.
All Christmas Day.
Until it was night. And then he disappeared into the forest.

Blessings to you and yours! Merry Christmas!

Marie

Martin Bell died in 2009 but The Way of the Wolf is still available for purchase and is full of great stories based on the characters of the Bible.

Prophesy Fulfilled

I have always simply accepted the profecies of Jesus as true and that was that. For some reason I decided to do some research and what I found was astounding. Take a look at these figures:

The chances of 1 person fulfilling 8 prophecies – 1 in 100,000,000,000,000,000. 1 person fulfilling 48 prophecies – 1 chance in 10 to the 157th power. 1 person fulfilling 300+ prophecies – Only Jesus! (from Biblical Prophesies Fulfilled by Jesus)

Is that amazing or what?  BTW that long number with all the zeros is a quintillion.  10 to the 157th power… is one and one-half+ googols or 157 zero’s after the 10.  It’s fun to think about but it definitely becomes mind-boggling, doesn’t it?

There are 8 specific prophecies that are connected to the birth of Jesus.

In the beautiful Christmas Hymn by Charles Wesley, Hark, The Herald Angels Sing (click on the picture to hear the song, are these words:
Throughout this song, and many of the other Christmas hymns, the prophecies are repeated, reminding us that Jesus is who He says He is.

None of this should be mind-boggling.  It is what it is.  God’s Word is the truth.  Yet, there are millions who are still in the darkness.  Who believe only what they want to believe.  Who limit the beauty of this season to what’s going to be under the tree.

Let’s be different.  Let’s quit thinking and focusing on what we’re going to get and move on to what are we going to give.  Will you be the one to share the Story for the first time?  Will you be the one that shines light into the darkness?  Will you be the one, like Mary, who was called blessed because she believed? (Luke 1:45)

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

All scripture links are from BibleGateway.com.

The Last of the Old Testament Prophets


One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith. Simeon means obedient and listening. Anna means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.

So, what is in this story for us?  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waited for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and watching. Second, a life of prayer is important in seeing God’s work. Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God. He is everywhere! And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises. God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

Simeon and Anna

One of my favorite parts of the Christmas Story is that of two people who waited patiently for the Messiah.  Simeon and Anna were both New Testament witnesses to the Christ Child. Their stories are as follows (from the NIV, Luke 2):

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

Simeon at the Presentation of the Child by Rembrandt

25 Now there was a man in Jerusalem called Simeon, who was righteous and devout. He was waiting for the consolation of Israel, and the Holy Spirit was on him. 26 It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord’s Messiah. 27 Moved by the Spirit, he went into the temple courts. When the parents brought in the child Jesus to do for him what the custom of the Law required, 28 Simeon took him in his arms and praised God…

     

Anna by Rembrandt

Anna by Rembrandt

Luke 2:36–38 There was also a prophet, Anna, the daughter of Phanuel, of the tribe of Asher. She was very old; she had lived with her husband seven years after her marriage and then was a widow until she was eighty-four. She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. Coming up to them at that very moment, she gave thanks to God and spoke about the child to all who were looking forward to the redemption of Jerusalem.

Simeon and Anna were the first to see Him in a public place.  They were the first witnesses to who He really was.  More importantly, they were not afraid to say, to other worshippers in the Temple, who He was.

Simeon and Anna were the last of the Old Testament prophets.  Their entire life purpose was to listen for and to God.  Also, they shared with the other worshippers what they had heard God say in the temple.  They did not sugar-coat the words but spoke clearly and with conviction.

Both of their names point to a strong, long-lasting faith.  Simeon means obedient and listening.  Anna means gracious, one who gives.

Dr. William Smith in Smith’s Bible Dictionary suggests that she was probably more than a hundred years old when she spoke over Jesus.  (If she was married at approximately 14, lived with her husband for 7 years, and had spent 84 years after that in the temple, then she was at least  105 years old.)  It is possible that Simeon was also quite old.  Tradition has it that he was one of the 72 translators of the Septuagint.  If that is truly the case he was over 200 years old at the time of this incident.

So, what is in this story for us.  First, Isaiah 40:31 pops into my mind when I think of the words ‘they that wait upon the Lord…’.  In all the years they waiting for the Birth neither one gave up on God’s promise and they were rewarded with seeing Him personally. We often wonder when God will finally act on one of His promises or our requests.  Simeon and Anna are a great example of waiting and waiting and waiting…  Second, a life of prayer is important in seeing God’s work.  Although the scripture says Anna had lived, prayed, and fasted in the temple since her husband’s death, it does not mean that we have to live in our churches to experience God.  He is everywhere!  And finally, we can trust that God will follow through on His promises.  God will and can do what He says He will.  Our trust and obedience in matters of faith always lead to God’s blessings.

Blessings to you and yours!

Marie

TWAS THE NIGHT BEFORE CHRISTMAS – HEAVEN’S VERSION

‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through Heaven‘s house,
All the angels were stirring, the Saviors birth to announce!
The Heavenly Host’s were getting ready to sing,
In the hope that their anthem would let True Freedom ring.

The shepherds were keeping their sheep late that night,
While the Provision from Heaven hung just out of sight.
Mary was weary from traveling all day,
While Joseph was searching for a place they could stay.

A decree from Caesar made travel a must,
Mary’s feet were now cold, tired, and covered with dust.
Yet, in her heart she quietly remembered,
That the Angel of the Lord said, She was highly favored!

All Joseph could find was a room in a barn,
But at least for the night Mary’s feet would be warm.
The time of her delivery would be here soon,
As the light of the day, gave way to the moon.

The Son of the Highest he shall be called,
A Horn of Salvation given for all.
He will sit on the throne of his father David,
And one day all men will sing his praises.

The Mighty God and Everlasting Father,
Whose Government alone will rest on his shoulder.
A Wonderful Counselor, and the Prince of Peace,
Whose Government over time will only increase.

The Spirit of the Lord will rest upon him;
He is anointed to heal all who are broken.
He will set at liberty them that are bruised,
Mistreated and jailed, and by power, abused.

The promised Messiah from a time long ago,
Was now ready to be given to the world down below.
The promise of His Kingdom reigning on Earth,
To govern our hearts, and to show men their worth.

The shepherds were resting; the sheep were silent that night,
When the Angel appeared, and caused them great fright.
Fear not, said the Angel, I bring tidings of great joy,
Which will be for all people, so all may rejoice!

Your Savior has been born in the City of David,
Which is Christ the Lord, who has come to save us.
He will make the dark places lighted within,
Take away all guilt and do away with all sin.

Peace on Earth! The Angel said, All is well with mankind!
For the Father has sent his Gift right on time.
The Gift of forgiveness for all to enjoy,
His salvation and blessings for you to employ.
You’ll find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes,
His name will be Jesus, and he is God’s love exposed.

Then the Angel was joined by the Heavenly Hosts,
Giving glory to God in the Highest, as together they rose.
The shepherds heard them exclaim as they rose out of sight,
God’s forgiveness to all, and to all, a very good night!

By Elizabeth McAndrew
Merry Christmas 2010

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