Writer: JulieAnn Davis
Writer’s Ministry: Event Coordinator and member of Missions/Outreach
Text: Isiah 7:14 – “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, a virgin will be with child and bear a son, and she will call His name Immanuel.”
Although I was born in the United States, I was raised by my grandparents who were from the Czech Republic. They migrated here in the early 1920s, not speaking a word of English. In order for my grandfather to get a job, he had to learn English but did not feel his wife, my grandmother, needed to. She stayed at home to take care of her children and then her grandchildren. He also felt that children did not need to know how to speak English. So, when I entered school I spoke Slovak (a form of Russian) and was made fun of. As I progressed through school, I remember the cold war. Everyone was afraid that Russia would attack us, which made me the enemy. It was a difficult time, but my grandmother, was such a loving and caring woman, she assured me that all would be well. Just believe that “Bože” (God) is always with you and will protect you. It was hard to believe that someone I didn’t and couldn’t see could do this. My grandmother was a strong faith-filled woman and I finally understood what she meant.
Holidays and religion were very sacred in my grandparent’s home. I particularly remember Christmas, which we always celebrated on January 7, and how we awaited the baby Jesus to come to our home. We would have thirteen non-meat items on the table, straw under the table and a candle lit as we sat down for the dinner celebration of Jesus’ birth. The thirteen items signified the twelve apostles and Jesus; the straw was for the manager and the candle was to light the way for Him to come to us. There was always one empty chair in the event He would come and bless us. My grandparents would say they could feel his presence in the room while we ate dinner. It was hard for me to understand when I could not see Him. But, as I grew up and learned about Jesus and God, I understood. It was the love of the whole family. Jesus WAS there! Just as His love is always with us – ALL THE TIME! Not just at the holiday time, but ALL THE TIME! So, to me, this was a birth! A birth of our Lord and Savior who reigns forever and ever!
REFLECTION/DISCUSSION: How did you encounter Jesus’ birth? How did you feel? Was there an overwhelming warmth? Do you continue to pass this on to others?
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