The E.F. Hutton commercial used to say, “Inquiring minds want to know” and I admit to having an inquiring mind.
One of my favorite “newer” Christmas songs is Mark Lowry and Buddy Greene’s Mary Did You Know in which he wondered how much Mary knew and understood about her Son.
There had been prophesies of the coming Messiah for 4,000 years. All through the Old Testament God had shared the wonderful news that He would send a Redeemer. Isaiah recorded the virgin birth and Micah told that His birth would happen in Bethlehem.
Mary and Joseph had been told of His deity and His destiny to be the Savior of the world. And we could, with 20-20 hindsight, wonder how it could have all been missed, but had we been alive 2,000 years ago, we would have missed it, too!
The wonderful night of His birth in the stable, the shepherds and the angels is well known now, but what came next? I often wish God had given more narrative of the first 30 years of Jesus’ earthly life; but all we have are Luke 2 and Matthew 2. And they record very little. But what it does record is amazing.
We don’t know where Mary and Joseph spent the day after Christmas. Did they have to spend more days in the stable? Did the inn clear out so they could get a room? Did some kind citizen hear of the young couple and the newborn baby and offer them a place in their home? We don’t know.
But they were very zealous to keep the Jewish law. At eight days, Jesus was circumcised and named. Then following the law of purification in Leviticus 12:1-6, Mary and Joseph later brought Him to Jerusalem to present Him to the Lord and to offer the necessary sacrifice (two turtledoves). There they met two remarkable people who understood!
Simeon, an elderly man, had been promised that he would not die until he had seen the Messiah, the “Lord’s Christ”. The Holy Spirit took him to the temple at the same time as Mary and Joseph and he took the Baby in his arms and exclaimed, “My eyes have seen Thy salvation which You have prepared for all people; a Light to lighten the Gentiles and the glory of Thy people Israel.” (Luke 2:30-32).
Then Simeon blessed the young family and probably shocked Mary with these words: “This Child is set for the fall and rising again of many in Israel and for a sign which shall be spoken against; and yes, a sword shall pierce your own soul also…” (verses 34-35); this happened when she stood at Calvary and watched her Son bear our sins and pay the price in His death for us!
Next along comes the elderly Anna, a prophetess, and she talked of Him as the “redemption in Jerusalem” (vs. 38). Verse 39 tells us that they returned to Nazareth where Jesus, as a “normal” boy grew and became “strong in spirit, filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon Him.” (verses 39-40)
We know they spent time in Egypt and then we read of the trip to Jerusalem when Jesus was 12 for the Passover. From there until He came into His ministry at about age 30, we know nothing. But we know He understood He had a ministry from His heavenly Father and His life as both human and God were planned and fulfilled according to that eternal plan.
Yes, I wish we knew more about those 30 years, but God didn’t see it necessary to give that to us. He did give us everything we need to understand our sin, our need, His love, His gospel and the salvation by grace through faith that came from that Babe, born in Bethlehem, crucified on that cross, risen on the third day, ascended to the right hand of God and coming again! Hallelujah!
“Mary did you know that your Baby Boy would one day walk on water? Mary did you know that your Baby Boy would save our sons and daughters? Did you know that your baby boy has come to make you new? This child that you’ve delivered, will soon deliver you.
“Mary did you know that your Baby Boy will give sight to a blind man? Mary did you know that your Baby Boy will calm the storm with His hand? Did you know that your Baby Boy has walked where angels trod? When you kiss your little baby, you kiss the face of God.
“The blind will see; the deaf will hear; the dead will live again. The lame will leap; the dumb will speak the praises of the Lamb.
“Mary did you know that your Baby Boy is Lord of all creation? Mary did you know that your Baby Boy will one day rule the nations? Did you know that your Baby Boy is heaven’s perfect Lamb? That sleeping child you’re holding is the great I AM!” And He still is!
Everyone is invited to take part in a community event Jan. 1 in Myrtle Beach.
The New Year’s Day Faith Walk 2020 is taking place at City Hall in Myrtle Beach beginning at 12 p.m. Wednesday. Local leaders will walk together from City Hall to Chapin Park in prayer for leadership, protection and prosperity in the new year.
The event is organized by the Rev. Timothy McCray and is aimed at uniting local law enforcement agencies and faith-based organizations.
In addition, the focus for the new year is centered on human trafficking. McCray is working with the S.C. Coastal Region Human Trafficking Task Force to raise awareness and end trafficking.
Join the Faith Walk 2020 event at City Hall in Myrtle Beach.
Questions? Call McCray at (843) 467-0050.
Proudly Pro-Life Weekend
As we continue to fight the good fight for the lives of our most helpless citizens, our unborn children, we salute and support the organizations that lead us, groups like South Carolina Citizens for Life and Grand Strand Citizens for Life.
SCCL will again sponsor a Proudly Pro-Life Weekend, Jan. 10-11 in Columbia.
On the 10th, attend the Proudly Pro-Life Dinner Theater featuring a one-act pro-life play entitled Viable. This will be held at Seawells, 1125 Rosewood Drive. Tickets are $45. Doors open and silent auction begins at 5:30 p.m., buffet is served at 5:45 p.m. and the program begins at 6:45 p.m.
(If you wish to stay overnight, contact Graduate Columbia, formerly the Inn at USC at (843) 779-7779. SCCL has a block of rooms at a special rate available through Jan. 2
On Saturday join the Stand Up For Life March and Rally. GSCL will provide buses to this rally. Pickup times and locations are: St. Michael’s Church parking lot (542 Cyprus Drive, Garden City), 6:15 a.m.; St. Andrews Community Life Center (37th Avenue North near Kings Highway), 6:45 a.m. and Belks Mall in Conway, 7:15 a.m.
Cost for the bus is $10 and reservations are required (but do not let the cost deter you from attending). For your reservation call Andrew Woitko at (843) 734-0137 or (302) 981-1528. Make checks payable to GSCL and mail to 154 Woodlyn Ave., Little River, SC 29566. Your seat is reserved when your payment is received. Go online to www.maketherightchoice.org.
And on Jan. 15 there will be a press conference on the Heartbeat Bill.
Meanwhile, may we all pray that the holocaust of abortion will end soon!
National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday
Jan. 19 is designated as National Sanctity of Human Life Sunday, remembering that awful day when the US Supreme Court passed the Roe v. Wade decision that led to the deaths of millions of unborn children.
Encourage your pastor, priest or other church leader to emphasize the importance, value and sanctity of all human life from conception to natural death, especially on that Sunday through the sermon, a special program or in some other way!
Coats for the needy
Gracelife Fellowship and Ministries has a new home and is working diligently to clothe the needy for the colder temperatures. Their community coat drive is being held through January at its new location at 568 George Bishop Parkway in Myrtle Beach (X Gym Sports Mall).
Drop off new or gently-used coats (for men, women or children), hats, gloves and scarves etc. on Thursday, Friday or Saturday of each week from 3 p.m.-7 p.m. You are invited to worship services on Sundays at 10:30 a.m. and Wednesday Bible studies at 6:30 p.m. Go online to www.gracelifemb.com.
Conway, Loris, Aynor and Western Horry
■ Friendship Missionary Baptist Church, 1111 Grainger Road, invites you to its New Year’s Eve Watchnight Worship at 10:30 p.m.
■ The Catholic Church of St. James, 1071 Academy Drive, will have mass according to the following schedule: New Year’s Eve: 6:30 pm. English, 8 p.m. Spanish. New Year’s Day: 9 a.m. and noon, English. Phone (843) 347-5168.
■ Conway’s interdenominational First Friday Evening of Prayer will begin the new year with the first meeting on Jan. 3 at 7 p.m. in Bethany Bible Chapel, 1668 Four Mile Road.
As we begin 2020, let’s all put an emphasis on daily, fervent prayer and let’s get together with others of like faith for cooperate prayers as we’ll do this Friday, praying for our nation, our leaders, our churches, homes and schools. Don’t neglect prayer or the gathering together with Christian family. Phone (843) 369-7729.
■ Tilly Swamp Baptist Church, 4619 S.C. 90, is starting a support group for those who have lost someone to suicide. Tilly Swamp Survivors of Suicide will meet at the church on the first and third Mondays of each month, beginning Jan. 6 and 20, from 6 p.m.-8 p.m. Phone (803) 566-0702 to e-mail email@example.com.
■ St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, 3449 S.C. 65, will be distributing food on the second and fourth Fridays of each month from 11 a.m. until all food has been distributed.
■ Loris First United Methodist Church, 3507 Broad St., has a Blessing Box in the church and it is available each Friday from 4:30 p.m.-6:30 p.m. This box contains nonperishable food items and individuals in need are encouraged to come to the church at those times. Also, if you would like to donate items, please place them in the box.
■ Dogwood Hill Baptist Church, 1040 Mt. Zion Road in Loris, has a food pantry on the third Saturday of each month from 8 a.m.-10 a.m.
■ Salem Baptist Church, 4008 Salem Road in Aynor, opens its Food Bank on the second and fourth Wednesday of each month from 9 a.m.-noon. The mission: “We serve Christ when we serve people.”
Myrtle Beach/The Coast
■ First Baptist Church of Myrtle Beach, 500 Fourth Ave. North will have the Puzzle Swam on Jan. 6 in the Compton Life Center at 11 a.m. As always, please make sure boxes are taped or secured and all puzzle pieces are included. All donated puzzles need to be dropped off by
10:45 a.m. Questions? Call (843) 448-3155.
■ St. Andrew Catholic Church, 503 37th Ave. North invites you to New Year’s Eve Vigil Mass 7 p.m. and New Year’s Day, 9 a.m. and 11 a.m. (Spanish at 7 p.m.)
■ St. Michael Catholic Church, 542 Cypress Ave. in Murrells Inlet, will have New Year’s Eve Vigils at 5 p.m. and Spanish Mass at 7 p.m.; New Year’s Day Masses at 7:30 a.m., 11 a.m. and 5 p.m. Phone (843) 651-3737.
■ Temple Emanu-EL by the Sea, 65th Ave. North and N. Kings Highway, invites you to Friday night service at 7:30 p.m. (Kosher Oneg), Shabbat Service at 10 a.m. (Kosher Kiddush).
Sunday and Hebrew School, 9:30 a.m.-noon.
On Wednesdays: Advanced Hebrew 12:45 p.m.-1:45 p.m., Adult Education, 2 p.m.-3 p.m.; Conversion, 3 p.m.-4 p.m.
Current Second Nature Project: we are collecting items for New Directions of Horry County (which provides shelter and meals for those in need). Please bring paper products (toilet paper, paper towels, diapers), bath towels, laundry soap, toothpaste and brushes, and cleaning supplies. We are continuing to collect new packages of children’s underwear and socks. Bring your donations to the Rosen Center and place in the basket provided by the front door. All Mitzvoth greatly appreciated! Questions? Contact Karen Osborne at (843) 446-1060.
Save the Date! Mystery Gift/Silent Auction – Feb. 16.
■ The New Beginnings food distribution (which includes free groceries, lunch social services information and a children’s craft table) will be held Jan. 18 from 10 a.m.-noon at the Church of the Resurrection, 8901 U.S. 16 Bypass in Surfside Beach. Phone (843) 25-4500.
■ Knitting Hearts invites you to Socastee Church of God, 4475 Mill Pond Road, on Jan. 18 at 9:30 a.m. for a special time with international Bible teacher Dr. Peter Wyns and wife Joy. Don’t miss it.
■ Myrtle Beach Christian Church, 1226 Burcale Road, opens its Thrift Store each week, Thursday-Saturday from 9 a.m.-1 p.m. You are encouraged to come out and browse and buy and, in so doing, you’ll be supporting this community outreach. Phone (843) 236-1121.
■ Temple Shalom, 4023 Belle Terre Blvd., invites you to Shabbat services each Saturday at 10:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. Phone (843) 903-6634 or go online to templeshalommyrtlebeach.net.