The Christmas story: From the NIV Bible

Luke 2

The Birth of Jesus

1In those days Caesar Augustus issued a decree that a census should be taken of the entire Roman world. 2(This was the first census that took place while Quirinius was governor of Syria.) 3And everyone went to his own town to register.
4So Joseph also went up from the town of Nazareth in Galilee to Judea, to Bethlehem the town of David, because he belonged to the house and line of David. 5He went there to register with Mary, who was pledged to be married to him and was expecting a child. 6While they were there, the time came for the baby to be born, 7and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn.

The Shepherds and the Angels

8And there were shepherds living out in the fields nearby, keeping watch over their flocks at night. 9An angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were terrified. 10But the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. 11Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ[a] the Lord. 12This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger."
13Suddenly a great company of the heavenly host appeared with the angel, praising God and saying,
14"Glory to God in the highest,
and on earth peace to men on whom his favor rests."

15When the angels had left them and gone into heaven, the shepherds said to one another, "Let's go to Bethlehem and see this thing that has happened, which the Lord has told us about."

16So they hurried off and found Mary and Joseph, and the baby, who was lying in the manger. 17When they had seen him, they spread the word concerning what had been told them about this child, 18and all who heard it were amazed at what the shepherds said to them. 19But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart. 20The shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things they had heard and seen, which were just as they had been told.

Jesus Presented in the Temple

21On the eighth day, when it was time to circumcise him, he was named Jesus, the name the angel had given him before he had been conceived.
22When the time of their purification according to the Law of Moses had been completed, Joseph and Mary took him to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord 23(as it is written in the Law of the Lord, "Every firstborn male is to be consecrated to the Lord"[b]), 24and to offer a sacrifice in keeping with what is said in the Law of the Lord: "a pair of doves or two young pigeons."[c]

25Now 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 upon him. 26It had been revealed to him by the Holy Spirit that he would not die before he had seen the Lord's Christ. 27Moved 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, 28Simeon took him in his arms and praised God, saying:
29"Sovereign Lord, as you have promised,
you now dismiss[d] your servant in peace.
30For my eyes have seen your salvation,
31which you have prepared in the sight of all people,
32a light for revelation to the Gentiles
and for glory to your people Israel."

33The child's father and mother marveled at what was said about him. 34Then Simeon blessed them and said to Mary, his mother: "This child is destined to cause the falling and rising of many in Israel, and to be a sign that will be spoken against, 35so that the thoughts of many hearts will be revealed. And a sword will pierce your own soul too."

36There was also a prophetess, 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, 37and then was a widow until she was eighty-four.[e] She never left the temple but worshiped night and day, fasting and praying. 38Coming 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.

39When Joseph and Mary had done everything required by the Law of the Lord, they returned to Galilee to their own town of Nazareth. 40And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him.

The Boy Jesus at the Temple

41Every year his parents went to Jerusalem for the Feast of the Passover. 42When he was twelve years old, they went up to the Feast, according to the custom. 43After the Feast was over, while his parents were returning home, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem, but they were unaware of it. 44Thinking he was in their company, they traveled on for a day. Then they began looking for him among their relatives and friends. 45When they did not find him, they went back to Jerusalem to look for him. 46After three days they found him in the temple courts, sitting among the teachers, listening to them and asking them questions. 47Everyone who heard him was amazed at his understanding and his answers. 48When his parents saw him, they were astonished. His mother said to him, "Son, why have you treated us like this? Your father and I have been anxiously searching for you."
49"Why were you searching for me?" he asked. "Didn't you know I had to be in my Father's house?" 50But they did not understand what he was saying to them.

51Then he went down to Nazareth with them and was obedient to them. But his mother treasured all these things in her heart. 52And Jesus grew in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.


song in progress (not what it seems by jon tam)

Half past the hour and it’s getting cold and I’m all alone, but that’s the usual.
You called me out to write a song about love, a melody of truth, but I can’t believe it now.
Around the world people singing, feet are dancing, children laughing, eyes are gleaming along.
People working, educating, singing praises, and just living among.
But why are they sleeping?

Sky’s dark, moon’s lit, and branches swinging around.
City lights, can’t you see, oh don’t you hear, the liveliness up here.
The symphony of streaming lights, pretty sounds, beauty and depression.
He’s mingling around, seen ups and downs, wanting, needing everything in this world.
Why do the birds escape?

Lives are broken, chains are tied, and they’re full of lies.
The people of the beautiful are being wrestled to tears.
Send your love, show your power, oh can’t you feel the depth.
And revive this stupid death of life.

Crazy as it seems she’s called a superstar.
And she lives in a mansion with an ocean or two.
All the sights to experience and taste and sense beyond the five we know.
Seeing beauty, hatred, kindness, and compassion, and I could go on and on.
Done it all in a week, what the freak it takes a lifetime for me.
But why can’t she open her eyes.

God is here, no fear no near, no more crazy lies.
The hope of nations is released and with freedom to give.
This is love, Jesus’ power; oh won’t you just take a rest.
And teach in love that this is the truth revived.

People of the church this is a miracle.
Coming in, singing out, learn and teach all about.
A man was hanged on a cross and died that so we could live.
Anything but this recklessness and trying to please the world.
Let me remind you that.

God is here, no fear no near, no more crazy lies.
The hope of nations is released and with freedom to give.
This is love, Jesus’ power; oh won’t you just take a rest.
And teach in love that this is the truth revived. (x2)


The blog from Starbucks (vol. 1)

It's been three months and nine days since I've first come to Syracuse. Lots of things have happened, both good and bad.

Let's take a look at the major aspects shall we?

August - Coming to SU. A week of intense band camp. Burnt to a crisp from the sunlight and sweating from 8am - 930pm. Nice experience though. August 30th (day before first day of classes): dropped out of band.

September - Got Bronchitis... which includes being short of breath from just a few steps of walking up hill.. so it was definitely not fun walking up 160 steps every day to my residence hall. Afternoon naps became second-nature to me (those are always nice). Coughing and vomiting at 3 in the morning isn't that much fun though =/.

October - I'm not sure what happened this month, but small events here and there really changed my perspective on things during this month.

November - Grown to really like church and fellowship around here and already cannot believe I'm almost done with the first semester of college. College life flies by way to quickly. People have told me to enjoy it as much as I can. But whenever I think back to enjoyable moments like Thanksgiving break with my family and friends, it almost seems like time went by too quickly to enjoy it.

Okay it only seems like I'm complaining about my life. But I promise you I'm really not. This thanksgiving weekend, I spent a lot of time with friends and family, enjoyed time with them, and had attended an awesome praise night at my church. But it's time to get my priorities straight. It's time I give thanks to God for every good and bad moment I've experienced so far. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't change a thing. There's absolutely nothing I can do to conjure a plan that's even close to God's plan.

Thank You very much JC. For what was, and is, and is to come. For love that came down. For him. Thanks a million.